Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

Parker Brothers' Gyruss -Colecovision
Retro Gaming Review

 Colecovision console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewParker Brothers' Gyruss for Colecovision Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: Gyruss
Manufacturer: Parker Brothers
Platform: Colecovision
Release Date: 1984
Part #: 9980
Rating: 4 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: Parker Brothers' Gyruss Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating
Parker Brothers' Gyruss Screenshot:
Parker Brothers' Gyruss for Colecovision screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

When I encountered Gyruss in my favorite mid-80s arcade, I never considered it a perspective game. I simply saw it as a single-screen shooter in which enemies emanated from the screen's center as your ship traveled a circular periphery. In several places I've seen it referred to as a Tempest-like game. Tempest had a very obvious perspective via the lines that guided you toward enemies coming from the center of each geometric structure.

Perhaps it was my youthful indifference, but I never perceived the enemies scaling in size or any other clue to indicate their was a greater distance involved. Revisiting Gyruss on my Colecovision, this tub-shooter inference was quite clear. Funny how the mind works... or doesn't work. As you circle the screen, it does seem as though you are engaging enemies as the come towards you. I will say, the perspective to Gyruss is much more subtle than Tempest.

Gyruss' arcade controls were quite simple and was easy to replicate with the Colecovision controller. No overlay was included with this game due to this simplicity.

Gyruss' Story Arc

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 runaway satellites. Stops at Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars will mark your progression towards Earth.

Holy shit! Check this out...
Gyruss was released by Konami in 1983 and licensed to Centuri. It came in both upright and cocktail configurations. Gyruss saved high scores in RAM meaning that info was lost if the machine was powered off. However, in 2003 a mod kit was released to save the top five scores after the machine was powered off. Gyruss was ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, and ColecoVision. A NES port included some
changes, but a faithful reproduction of the arcade version was included in Konami Arcade Classics for PlayStation, and the Konami Collector Series: Arcade Advanced for Game Boy Advance.

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!

I'm warming up to the Tempest comparison and the Galaga tie-in with the various stages and dual-shot reward. All in all, gyruss is a pretty unique game and the home ports prove it's success. I prefer the Colecovision version a bit more than the Atari 5200 port.

I'm not a fan of controllers with side-mounted fire-buttons, but the Colecovision version has slightly better graphics, although this port wasn't as spectacular as most of them are. I found the controls a bit harder on the Colecovision than the 5200.

Gyruss' Game Play

Gyruss is a 1 or 2-player game in which you are battling your way through the solar system on a mision to get to Earth. As you survive warps (4 enemy plane formations) between each planetary stage, you will advance to the next planet. You will encounter various obstacles in the form of enemy planes, meteors and satellites. at 60,000 points you get an extra life and every 100,000 points afterward.

The game ends when you lose your last spaceship. If you reach Earth with at one (or more) remaining life, you'll continue the game at the start - Neptune.

If you dig the chiptune in the background you can thank Bach - yes, that Bach - it's Johann Sebastian Bach's Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor.

 Colecovision console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Final Judgement:

Parker Brothers' Gyruss

was a unique arcade game with enemies emanating from the screen's center while you circle at the outer edges of the screen. Some like it to a Galaga/Tempest like experience, but it stands on it's own. The Colecovision graphics are not as good as other arcade ports, but the action is fast and when you get the control down, the fun soars. Fun game. Good retro vibe!

Read about our Spaceship video game review rating system

« Return to Retro Video Game Reviews