Most arcade shooters require great hand-eye coordination and incredible reflexes. They also bank on the fact that after prolonged periods of play, fatigue sets in and that coordination breaks down and you actually get worse at the game rather than better. For this reason, most arcade shooters are infinite, meaning that if you could possibly play forever, you would. (barring programming limitations, kills screens, etc.) Gyruss, however is one of the few arcade shooters that has a definite goal, meaning that if you are just sharp enough, and just talented enough, you could possibly reach the end. And that is where it gets you.
For all intents and purposes, Gyruss is a fairly typical arcade space shooter featuring you as the pilot of a space ship which must shoot all kinds of other space ships and interstellar debris. It's the mission that makes Gyruss special. Your goal is to pilot your way to the center of the Sol Solar System, through a veritable armada of enemy space craft, all manner of space creatures, and various other cosmic brik-a-brak. (is that how you spell brik-a-brak?) Therefore, your cosmic quest is broken into distinct segments, each of which is comprised of three standard levels and then a big showdown with a boss.
The main learning curve in Gyruss is the controls. You rotate your ship around a central axis and the enemies come flying in or out of the area along a conical framework. If you are to have any success, you must master this unique control scheme early on or you will collapse as soon as the action gets intense. And while Gyruss's difficulty ramps at a near perfect rate, the intensity sets in pretty quickly somewhere around the third section. (on the way to Uranus, pronounced "Yur'-ah-nus," Beavis) A large part of the difficulty is a function of the enemy set. Some of the toughest foes are the space amoeba-like monsters that appear in the second section and require multiple hits to destroy. Shooting them only pushes them back away from you temporarily and they just keep coming. Other tough enemies replicate at absurd rates and make suicide runs at your ship. The boss fights are also extremely challenging. There is one boss in particular who patrols the very circumference your ship navigates and tends to smack into you no matter how hard you try to stay opposite it.
The end result is a tough space shooter with a finite mission, but limited continues. On the plus side, the levels are patterned and can be memorized and there are a generous supply of opportunities to acquire extra ships. The only thing the game asks is that you master it along the way to take full advantage of these features. The action in Gyruss is fast paced and success usually comes down to a matter of being quick and accurate. The difficulty ramps smartly, but doesn't top out until the end so you must always be on your toes. Ultimately, Gyruss is certainly beatable, but getting there is not going to be easy.
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