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By Konami Arcade 1983


US Arcade flyer - click to enlarge!!

Three billion miles is a long way from home. But there's no shorter route from outer Neptune to Earth.
As if that weren't enough . . it's got to be a shoot-out
all the way. You alone in your rapid-firing spaceship, swirling in a circular flight pattern . . . orbiting to the right . . . arcing to the left . . . trying to mow down
wave after wave of enemy plane formations, rocketing meteors and run- away satellites. Stops at Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars will mark your progression towards Earth. Each one's a short visit, though. Then
it's off again to the next planet--and the next wave of enemies. Reach Earth in one piece and maybe you'll think twice about leaving home. Then again . . .
maybe not!

From Atari 2600 manual

Gyruss is a unique and timeless piece of arcade game
design, a pure, simple and unadulterated shooter of the
kind they just don't make any more..and more's the pity.
The game was designed by Konami programmer Yoshiki
, who also created the classic
Time Pilot. It can
best be described as a pseudo-3D version of Galaga, with
the player controlling a ship which can move through 360
degrees around the edges of the screen, while alien ships
swirl in from all directions converging in a formation at the vanishing point at the screens centre. As you clear each stage you get progressively closer to Earth, the game's
final objective.

Playing Gyruss is an almost hypnotic experience,
while the aliens zoom in from the edges of the screen
and the stars swirl and spiral in the background, and
a great pop-synth version of Bach's Tocatta blares out
on the soundtrack, it's all too easy to lose concentration
for a second or two. Which can be a fatal mistake at the higher levels, as they are Hard with a capital H!

While I was a huge fan of the arcade version the nearest
I could get at home to the Gyruss experience was with Parker Bros (admittedly good) C64 version. The NES version also warrants a mention due to the fact that it included a few added end-of-stage bosses, unlike the original. Hmm.. there's a time and place for bosses but Gyruss wasn't really one of them in my opinion.. However now we can enjoy the original (and best) arcade version in all it's glory (great music and all) in MAME.

Interestingly, Gyruss programmer Yoshiki Okamoto left Konami soon after it was released after it failed to do as well as Time Pilot - he went on to design 1942, 1943, Sidearms, Final Fight and Street Fighter 2 for Capcom (where he still works) soon after..

Further reading: hyper-space over to Justin Carpenter's excellent ' Three Warps Till Neptune ' site for a full run-down on everything you ever wanted to know about Gyruss.

Another nice Gyruss page! :
Computolio's Gyruss Home Page

Also well worth reading is a fascinating
interview with Gyruss creator Okamoto here:
Videogame Spot's interview with Yoshiki Okamoto

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