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Video Game: Tyrian
Good luck...

Developed by Eclipse Productions (now World Tree Games) and published in 1995 by Epic Megagames (now Epic Games), Tyrian is an addictive Vertical Scrolling Shooter.

It is the year 20,031. You are Trent Hawkins, a terraformation pilot currently assigned to the planet Tyrian, the only planet in the entire sector that contains samples of Gravitium, a material that causes huge chunks of its landmass to float in the air. While on the job, Trent's best friend, Buce Quesillac, a Hazudra, was shot in the back by a hoverdrone belonging to Microsol, the company in charge of the terraformation efforts on Tyrian. With his dying breath, Buce informs Trent that Microsol intends to use the Gravitium to take control of the sector, and that he's next on their hit list. With that, Trent begins a long, dangerous fight for his survival.

For a game of the genre, Tyrian actually has a surprising amount of story to it, primarily in the form of datacubes that can be collected from certain enemies and read between levels when you get the opportunity to upgrade your ship in the game's Story Mode. Tyrian also includes arcade mode for both one and two players on the same computer or over a local network.

With great graphics for its time, addictive gameplay, and catchy music, along with a wide variety of levels, weapons, enemies, and hidden secrets, Tyrian is a game with a lot of replay value. It is considered by many to be one of the best scrolling shooters ever made.

Three iterations of the game were released. Version 1.x contained three episodes (with the first being released for free, as was common among shareware publishers in the '90s) and chronicled Trent's escape from Tyrian and his hunt for the Microsol invasion fleet. Version 2.x added a few extra levels to Episode 1 as well as a new fourth episode featuring a raid on the research planet Ixmucane. A later re-release, Tyrian 2000 (Version 3.0), added a short fifth episode. Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance ports were started but never released. ROM images of these uncompleted games are available from the author's website. An iPhone- and iPod touch-compatible applet based on Version 2.1 is also available.

It is freeware since 2004. The official page of author Jason Emery is quite sparse, so it's better to refer to this excellent fansite. Since 2010, it is also available on GOG.com, with the game's music encoded into a collection of MP3 files (about 12 times as large, disk-space-wise, as the game itself) as a bonus download. Even the graphics were released with an open license. A source port of the game from Pascal to C, called OpenTyrian, is available for many platforms and consoles.

Back around 2005, a small group of fans got the OK from Jason Emery to make a freeware sequel, which would have featured a retired, alcoholic Trent Hawkins fighting against the Zica, who had returned to conquer the sector. Unfortunately, the project never seems to have left the planning stage (scroll down to the January 27, 2005 entry on this page to see details).


Tyrian provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 2-D Space: Mostly, very occasionally you can fly under or over something coming at you.
  • Abnormal Ammo/Edible Ammunition: The SuperCarrot FoodShip Nine, a Carrot-shaped vessel, shoots out food as its main weapons. Not to mention some of the bananas it fires out can cause a really devastating explosion...
    • There's also a rather weak sidekick which fires out bubble gum that moves rather erratically and randomly.
    • Taken Up to Eleven with the Hot Dog Front and Rear guns. Yes, they fire hot dogs. Bun, mustard, and all.
  • All There in the Manual: A lot of players are surprised to hear that the game has a plot, or that the player character has a name (Trent Hawkins).
    • Reading the cubes fully can occasionally lead to secret levels or side passages that the player would not have access to normally; the Ixmucane crisis in Episode 4 comes to mind here.
    • There are even some that explain why a flamethrower would work in space, or how food production equipment could be weaponized.
  • Apocalypse How: Ixmucane gets a Class X in Episode 4 if you fail to defeat the boss in level "Core", or if you beat the boss of "Core" but fail to defeat the boss of "?Tunnel?".
  • Artillery Game: There's a hidden Easter Egg game called Destruct, which (unusual for the artillery genre) plays in real-time.
  • Attack Drone: Side-kicks, which offer extra firepower to your ship and they come in many varieties, from simple pea shooters to laser cannons and even short-ranged flamethrowers.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The boss of Ixmucane is a floating robot encased in rock. The only way to damage it is to hit its core when it is open, otherwise, it is impervious to all weapons.
    • Javi's Dreadnaught in Episode 4. The game actually makes a set of green arrows pointing to the vulnerable part(s). Lampshaded by an explanation from one of your allies in a datacube prior to the mission, stating that he has a scanner that is strong enough to transmit the weak point of the Dreadnought to your ship, indicating them with green arrows.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Missiles. All of them. They look and sound very nice, and most of them can deliver splash damage, but for whatever reason, they always seem to do a lot less damage than cheaper and easier-to-find weapons such as the Pulse Cannon that you start out with. The Atomic RailGun, your front gun in Super Tyrian mode, also falls into this category as well, more so given that the only good thing going for it is its name.
    • The Up to Eleven Lightning Cannon emits a dazzling stream of opaque lightning and is relatively powerful, but the power it drains is colossal (even the most powerful generator in the game, the Gravitron Pulse-Wave, cannot recharge fast enough if it is used alongside other energy-draining weapons such as the Zica Flamethrower), higher than the Level 2 or 5 Mega Pulse, and it is often less effective than the Level 11 Mega Pulse. This is not helped by the fact that the Mega Pulse is cheaper and usually available for purchase before the Lightning Cannon.
    • Tyrian 2000 gives us the Gencore Solar Shield, which does not draw power from your generator to recharge, but by the time it is available, there is another shield that gives you the same protection for just over half the price, and the drain on the generator isn't really an issue except with constant-fire weapons like the Lightning Cannon and Zica Flamethrower.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Quite a bit of everything in the game has some sort of fancy name to it. The Gencore Phoenix and Maelstrom's not-so-signature armor recovery twiddle command, for example, is called "particle redefinition technology".
  • Battleship Raid: Dread-Not is a borderline example.
  • Beam Spam: The Laser and Zica Laser weapons definitely fit this, but the Needle Laser is probably the best example (5-6 lasers in one shot on the highest Power level).
  • Big Good: Transon Lohk, head of the Gencore Tech Alliance, Microsol's biggest competitor. You get into contact with him early on and he issues you most of your orders for the better part of the game. Then one day he leaves his transmitter on and you overhear a conversation between him and an underling declaring he's just going to keep using Trent to deal with whatever new galactic crisis comes up. Trent decides there and then that he's getting the hell out of Dodge.
  • Blessed with Suck: Your Story Mode game turns into a Super Tyrian run if you are flying The Stalker 21.126 at the end of Episode 4 and complete Zinglon's Revenge. All your weapons and sidekicks will be replaced by whatever you managed to generate while playing the minigame and your shield gets dropped to a basic level. The ease with which a player can accidentally Button Mash some of the secret twiddles for the hidden special weapons or functions, combined with the fact that all of them drain some of your shields or your armor, means that you will inevitably trigger one at a bad moment. Using a mouse to play, however, makes it a lot harder to execute them, although this may not be a good idea in some cases.
  • Body Horror:
    • The boss of Gyges, Episode 2 is essentially a large mouth with two Combat Tentacles.
    • Vykromod becomes a giant nose (with eyes, tongue, and red blood cells as appendages) at the end of Episode 4.
  • Bold Inflation: The datacubes and ship descriptions. Names and values get priority, but text is sometimes bolded for emphasis as well.
  • Bonus Level: Quite a few, some mutually exclusive. Item shopping is done before levels, so getting the best items usually means visiting the bonus levels that are the only places that sell them.
    • The first episode pushes this trope into overdrive. What's better than a bonus level? A bonus level inside a bonus level inside another bonus level!
  • Bonus Material: Tyrian 2000 includes a CD soundtrack with 25 tracks from the game, as pointed out on the box. The GOG.com re-release includes a digital soundtrack of 40 tracks from the game in MP3 format, taking much more disk space than the game itself.
  • Boring, but Practical: Your starting Pulse Cannon has good damage when fully upgraded (which is pretty cheap to do compared to most weapons) and can conceivably be used throughout the entire game.
    • The Atom Bomb side-weapons are one of the more available side-weapons in the purchasing menu, and are not terribly expensive compared with many late-game options. However, it is one of the most useful options available due to plentiful ammo (which recharges over time), and providing a devastating burst of damage when extra kick is needed against a target.
  • Breakout Mook Character: You can use the very first Mook in the game as a secret playable character in Arcade Mode. Seems like a Joke Character until it gets the Mega Cannon...
  • Charged Attack: The Charge Cannon and Zica SuperCharger side-kicks charge power as long as the player doesn't fire. Additionally, the 2nd player in the 2-player mode can do this with any weapon, but the charge time decreases as the ship's shot level increases.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Inverted. Trent is the one who is constantly backstabbed or betrayed.
  • Crapsack World: The Tyrian Sector is always on the verge of being conquered by Microsol, and Trent seems to be the only competent fighter pilot out there.
  • Critical Annoyance: A klaxon sounds when your ship is low on armor and gets faster as you get closer to death.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted for your character. An annoying warning will occur once your armour is low.
  • Crosshair Aware: Soh Jin in Episode 2. The "Warning! Missile Ships!" sign is quickly followed by rather rapid-firing, damaging ships that look like grey missiles. Fleet, in Episode 3, also has a brief warning for you to get out of the way before a fiery beam from a Wave Motion Gun pulverizes your ship. Similar things exist in Lava Run, Episode 4.
  • Cut Song: The music tracks "The MusicMan" and "The final edge" appear in the setup program's jukebox, but not in the game itself.
  • Deadly Walls: Present in some stages, most notably those red walls from the bonus levels Soh Jin and Windy. The first level of Episode 4, Surface, also has rock arches that you can pass under; touching the sides causes you to take damage.
  • Deconstruction: Episode 4 veers heavily into a surprisingly poignant deconstruction of stereotypical "one man against the world" video game plots. Microsol keeps coming up with bigger and bigger threats, old foes return as Eldritch Abomination Body Horrors, the good guys are shamelessly taking advantage of Trent's uncanny ability to destroy these threats over and over again and Trent... Trent is tired of it all.
  • Deflector Shields: Upgradeable shields are available for purchase between missions.
  • Degraded Boss: Type B. The boss of Deliani in Episode 1 returns as a Giant Mook in Harvest, Episode 4.
  • Disc One Nuke: The Plasma Storm. Obtainable before the first level, it can completely fry anything, even bosses, in a matter of seconds. This is balanced out by its very limited ammo, especially in the newer version.
    • On the first level, by taking an obscure detour to Soh Jin, one can obtain the most beefy purchasable shield in the game, provided they sell-off/downgrade enough of their ship components to be able to afford it. Congratulations, you now have some of the best protection in the game, though you'll probably be glad you have it on the Harder Than Hard difficulties.
  • Doomed Hometown: Failing to kill Trent when they had the chance, Microsol decides to kill his parents in Savara's capital city of Midway with a Kill Sat.
  • Earn Your Fun: The SHIPEDIT program. What weapons and equipment you can give to any of the ten custom ships available is limited by how far you have progressed into the game, the weapons and equipment you have used for an entire level, and your Destruction percentage at the end of each level. The more weapons you use in any of the game's modes, and the higher your Destruction percentage at the end of each level, the more weapons and better equipment SHIPEDIT will allow you to outfit.
  • Easter Egg: A vast number of hidden bonus arcade modes, hidden ships, and a hidden Scorched Earth type game called Destruct.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: In the serious fashion. Savara in Episode 1 has a drastically different (i.e. more challenging) layout on Hard difficulty or higher. If you play Episode 3 on Easy or Normal difficulty, it ends when you complete Fleet. On Hard difficulty or higher, you continue on to Tyrian X, Savara Y and New Deli, where you can purchase some of the more powerful weapons in the game and are given an early chance to buy the Prototype Stalker-C, probably the most useful ship in Story Mode and the second strongest in terms of hull strength. To balance this out, the additional levels are quite a bit more difficult as compared to many of the game's other levels and might take a few attempts for a new player to complete.
  • Edible Collectible: The point/money pickups include coins and gems as well as fruit and mugs of ale. Lampshaded and Hand Waved in one of the data cubes: ship captains came to regard food stores recovered from destroyed enemy vessels as war trophies.
  • Energy Weapon: In Story Mode, almost every single weapon fired by the player ship, excluding ammo-based sidekicks, draws power from its generator. This might explain why front- and rear-mounted weapons of mass never run out of ammunition.
  • Evil All Along:
    • Javi Onukala, Gencore's Security Chief, first led Trent on a wild goose chase across many planets to stop him from interfering with Microsol's plans to dominate the entire sector while at the same time planting a homing beacon that painted Trent as a target to every pirate and organism. In Episode 4, he severely crippled the fighting strength of Gencore by turning the defence system of its headquarters on Deliani against itself.
    • Emperor Milktoe aka. Muldar turns out to be working for Microsol at the end of Episode 4. Presumably he's the one piloting the brain ship in Brainiac.
  • Evolving Attack: Most of the weapons have "stages" in their upgrade chains where the weapon gains a fairly terrifying amount of power after being upgraded by a single level. For instance, the Vulcan Cannons, at one stage, drop their fire rates and upgrade their projectiles to deal twice the damage per hit, and the Mega Cannon switches from shooting small peas to launching huge energy pulses at the same rate of fire near the middle of its upgrade chain. Nearly always, the upgrade is accompanied by a change in weapon visuals: pairs of bullets, wider lasers that pulsate, faster missiles that deliver greater splash damage and range, giant sonic waves and so on.
  • Explosions in Space: Justified for the Zica Flamethrower. The weapon works in space due to an energy-based particle field used to generate a flame without any external air or energy source.
    • This is also played straight with the explosive weapons, even though they do not use Zica technology.
  • Eye Scream: EyeSpy has you fight loads and loads of eyeballs, some of which can spawn even more eyeballs. The boss of Nose Drip can detach his eyeballs to attack you, and yes, you have to shoot them down.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: 'Warping to next level'. Hyperspace is briefly mentioned it seems even escape pods are warp capable.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Coral is a level where all the enemies are based off aquatic animals. They can fly, too.
  • Foreshadowing: Before the second level of Episode 4, there's a datacube containing a news report with two items. The second, concerning the imminent destruction of Ixmucane, is the only one that seems important, as the first is just a report on the apparent theft of the god Zinglon's nose from a museum. The final boss of that episode is Vykromod in the form of ... a giant nose.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Near the end of Episode 4, Trent reminisces on how the assassination of his best friend Buce was what threw him in the middle of his galactic warzone hell.
    "Dang. Can't even remember his name now."
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Any weapon that has "Laser" in its name. Even the projectiles fired by the constant Laser aren't Hit Scan like the Soul of Zinglon.
  • Fruit of The Loon: Fruits play a ridiculously prominent role in this futuristic space shooter. Fruit has its own weird cult. The bosses of the last episode of the game? FRUIT. To be fair, ale and pretzels do, too. And the hot dog guns. There's even a giant carrot ship whose attacks are all based on foods. Maybe this one should be Foods of the Loon.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: If you destroy the boss in the HARVEST level in Episode 4 before its lifebar shows up, the game will be stuck in an infinite loop until you quit the stage and restart.
  • Gainax Ending: The ending to Tyrian 2000. The protagonist gets sick and tired of playing hero all the time and attempts to flee to Earth, only to suddenly get picked en route and forced to do battle against a deadly fruit cult.
  • Gatling Good: The Vulcan Cannon.
  • Gemstone Assault: The enemy ships in Gem War shoot destructible gems at you, some of which are homing.
  • The Ghost: General Nortaneous, owner of one of the most powerful ships in the entire galaxy, has his transmission regarding stargates intercepted by Trent in the first episode, and it is rumoured that Gencore made two custom companion ships for his own use, but he never plays an important role in any of the major events that happened in Story Mode. However, he does personally send Trent a message allowing the latter to borrow his own ship if Trent makes it to Episode 5 of Super Tyrian mode. If Trent actually completes the game on Super Tyrian mode, the player receives the code to use the Nort Ship Z in Super Arcade Mode.
  • Giant Flyer: Gryphon, the Final Boss of Episode 2, is a blue griffin-dragon hybrid thing. Which can shoot out it's head and re-attach it.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Lord ZZT/Gopenhagen, the blimp boss in Savara V, attacks civilians on the planet, causing the Fridge Horror explained above. No explanation is given for this.
  • God Mode: F2 + F3 + F6 (or F5, depending on the version) = Cheaters Always Prosper. Note that this cannot be done in Super Arcade Modes.
  • The Goomba: The U-ship, the first enemy in the game, has relatively weak health AND no attacks at all.
  • Guide Dang It: Getting to Holes, one of three secret levels in Tyrian, Episode 1, requires the player to destroy all U-ships at the start of the preceding level very quickly and a spinning enemy in the first wave of ships after the "Approaching enemy platforms..." message. This is why some people still have not found the exact way to get to it.
    • Arguably even harder to do is getting to one of the other secret levels, Soh Jin, which requires the player to not shoot any of the U-ships in the first wave and obtain the level orb from destroying an additional interceptor near the end of the level.
    • In Stargate, Episode 3, one of the mooks drops four secret level orbs from four of its components, two of them leading to one secret level, and the other two leading to another. The trouble is that the components in question move over and under each other, so it is nearly impossible for the player to know if a level orb for Sawblades or Ast. City was obtained.
  • Hailfire Peaks: Not exactly a single level, but in Episode 4, you have fly into the core of a planet in order to stop it from turning into a sun. If you succeed, the planet starts cooling down rapidly and you have to exit via an icy passage after saving the inhabitants from an icy death.
    • Also happens in Brainiac: part of the level becomes fiery, and shortly after that, another part turns icy.
  • Harder Than Hard: Tyrian has three hidden extra-hard difficulties, with the hardest of them making most levels damn near-impossible to beat.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: For some reason, all the bosses in Episode 5 have very little health, allowing you to destroy them in seconds. Especially visible on the "Station" level, where the boss is immediately preceded by a very hard part with several green platform-like ships firing at you from the bottom of the screen while a giant magnet keeps tossing you left and right.
  • Harmless Freezing: The Ice Beam special weapon does this. It doesn't do any damage, but it freezes enemies that it hits, preventing them from firing at you.
  • Healing Factor: The Gencore Phoenix and Maelstrom, as well as the Prototype Stalker-C and The Stalker 21.126 in Super Tyrian mode can recover armor points as one of their hidden twiddle commands. The drawback is that the recovery process is very easily triggered and completely drains all existing shield power.
  • Hero of Another Story: Transon Lohk and Reid aren't just spectators in this game. Each one of them play a major role in some pretty large-scale or important operations. Transon helped to co-ordinate the evacuation efforts on Ixmucane onboard the Gencore flagship Icostar II while Trent was busy blasting his way through Microsol's defences on his way into the planet's core, and Reid led the forces on Savara against an invasion force while Trent was helping Transon to liberate Deliani after Javi turned its defence system on itself.
  • Holiday Mode: The game prompts you whether or not to activate it if you start the game during December. Among the many changes, your ship's voice has a new set of sayings and an entirely new, Santa-esque voice.
  • Homage: There are several references to NES shooter Zanac in Tyrian; two music tracks, "Zanac3" and "Zanac5", were even borrowed from the game.
  • Humanoid Aliens: Pretty much all of the sentient ones, the most prominent examples being the Hazudra Collectors and Emperor Milktoe.
  • Hyper Destructive Bouncing Ball: The Nortship Spreader B, one of the Nort Ship Z's available Super Arcade weapons, shoots massive blue balls that damage and bounce off everything they hit. Hilarity Ensues if they get wedged between two enemies or a multi-part boss.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: From one of the datacubes describing the restaurants on Savara:
    "Many also cater to the more exotic tastes by serving the patrons of competing restaurants, literally!"
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Over the course of the game, Trent goes from space laborer to space hero. It's about the last thing he wants and by the end of it all, he just wants to get the hell out of this crazy war.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Front-mounted lightning cannons, rear-mounted fireball launchers, side-mounted wingmen that fire very damaging energy mines ... need we say more?
  • Infinity+1 Sword: In one secret level, you can get hooked up with one of two very deadly laser Special Abilities. Collecting one of the floating powerups will give you a short bursts of Level 2 Lasers as your secondary weapon. Collecting the power-up a second time will give you the SDF Main Gun.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: One of the secret characters is a dragon that shoots fire and lightning as its main attacks. Also, Torm had worm-like dragons that tried to rush the character for heavy damage. The final boss of Episode 2 was also a blue griffin-like dragon.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Another of the secret characters is a ninja ship that can fire shurikens and acid gas bombs. It belongs to an actual ninja known as... Ninja. Data Cubes from him are scarce, but he is apparently from Another Dimension, accessible through the Stargate. He initially believes Trent to be an agent of Microsol but later learns otherwise and helps out.
  • Interface Screw: On some levels, your perspective flips, or you have to use "headlights" to light up a cone in front of your ship. On Harder Than Hard levels of difficulty, every level requires you to use headlights.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: Three levels have this little, laser-firing thing that attacks you. The problem? It attacks you from behind and cannot be destroyed. It will go away after a period of time, though.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Happens no less than three times in Episode 4, first with a news report commenting on the ongoing war, then twice in succession with Transon Lohk near the end of the episode.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: This is the fate of Mondus in Episode 4.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Plasma Storm and Flamethrower Sidekicks, the fireball front and rear weapons, and there's a special move that you can use that covers the screen in fiery explosions.
  • Kill It with Ice: The Dragon Frost front cannon, available in Episode 5.
  • Lethal Joke Character: One of the secret characters is the very first mook you meet in the first level of the first episode. While its arsenal of attacks is rather so-so, some of the weapons it can obtain are powerful, like the Mega Cannon.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The Banana Bomb. Its firing speed is sub-par, and the projectiles it fires are small and slow, but if it hits...
  • Lightning Bruiser: Microsol's plan for most of the game is to create a fleet of these. With their ships' propulsion systems drawing directly on the Gravitium, more reactor power can be allocated to weaponry. Trent beats the crap out of the fleet anyway.
  • Lizard Folk: The Hazudra.
  • Microsol Missile Massacre: You can pull this off by equipping your ship with Heavy Missile Launcher as your front weapon, Rear Heavy Missile Launcher as your rear weapon, and Micro/Mega Missiles as your sidekicks.
    • Micro missiles do this on their own, though; they burn through their 100 shots — each — in about twelve seconds of continuous fire.
  • Meaningful Name / Punny Name:
    • One of the secret levels, MARKERS, railroads your movement by placing many highly visible blocks on the screen to mark out the only paths you can fly through.
    • Another secret level GEM WAR has loads of gem power-ups floating about, and the only enemies in the level fire out gems at your character. And when you kill them, they drop gems.
    • The first level of Episode 3 is called GAUNTLET. Your ship flies through most of this level at high speed while at the same time dodging mooks, makeshift walls, anti-ship flails and the asteroid thicket.
    • Destroying Microsol's Gravitium-powered fleet is the focus of the level FLEET.
    • What is the name of the level where you sweep the surface of Ixmucane of Microsol's forces so that Gencore and its allies can land and evacuate the planet's inhabitants? SURFACE.
    • The level where you confront Javi in his dreadnought is called DREAD-NOT due to the fact that it can be easily destroyed if you attack its weak points for massive damage.
    • In EYE-SPY, most of the enemies you confront are eyeballs in various sizes. There is also one segment where you have to dodge projectile attacks aimed at you by indestructible eyeballs that momentarily enter the screen from the edges.
    • The boss at the end of BRAINIAC is ... a gigantic brain.
    • The boss of NOSE DRIP is... a giant nose that shoots "snot" as one of its attacks.
  • The Medic: The armor ship, a Palette Swap of one of the mooks in Torm and Asteroid 2, will descend from the top of the screen and hang around for a while whenever you lose enough armor points to reach the Critical Annoyance klaxon (or if you do not have that much armor to begin with in the first place). Destroying the armor ship will drop a hull integrity bonus which, depending on its color, will repair your armor by up to a third of the maximum armor level possible in the entire game (that's the blue one). This armor ship will keep making appearances at fairly long intervals until you have recovered enough armor to shut the klaxon off.
  • Mega Corp.: Microsol, Gencore and several other unnamed groups. Microsol seems to be lead by the Omniscient Council of Vagueness and never runs out of leaders. Each episode presents a bigger bad guy. In the final episode, it's revealed that the entire company is a mere front for the cult of Zinglon and its foul leader, the god himself. In addition, Microsol appears to be the manufacturer of all the game's best items save those made by the Zica.
  • Mercy Kill: This is what amounts to ending Vykromod's life during the NOSE DRIP level. Even the epilogue of Episode 4 discusses about it.
  • Mook Maker: Surprisingly for a Shoot 'em Up, there are almost none at all. The closest ones would be the eyeball-spawning eyeballs in EyeSpy and the bosses of Fleet and Nose Drip.
  • More Dakka: You can get front and rear Vulcan Cannons with 11 levels of power each, Vulcan Shot Option sidekicks, and the Dual Vulcan special weapon. Without a high-end generator, your ship can't handle this much Dakka.
    • The Hyperpulse also follows a similar formula to the Vulcan. At maximum level it rapidly fires off about a 35-degree fan of Pulse-Cannon-Style bullets.
  • New Game+: At the end of the final episode, you start back at the first level of the first episode with all your equipment, the difficulty bumped up a notch, and a Randomly Drops event occurring.
  • Oh Crap: Gencore agent Harble Wom plays this straight and true the very instant he guesses what Microsol is thinking of doing by turning on the Zica computer system deep in the center of Ixmucane.
    "I think...
    I think they're going to turn this planet into a sun.
    GET ME OUT OF HERE!
    I DON'T WANT TO BE CAUGHT OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS PLANET WHEN THEY TURN IT INTO A SUN!!!!
    SEND SOMEONE OUT NOW YOU STUPID

    [End of File]"
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Completely and utterly averted. Your ship has a regenerating shield that absorbs damage. And when your shield is down, your armour then starts taking damage. Only when your armour is down does your ship get destroyed.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Quite a number of these: the Mega Cannon, Needle Laser, Sonic Impulse, Zica Flamethrower, Soul of Zinglon and the SDF Main Gun will pierce through everything they hit.
  • Only Sane Man: Or so Trent would like to think.
  • Outrun the Fireball: The destruction of the brain boss on BRAINIAC causes a massive energy surge that is shown in-game as a extremely lengthy Chain Reaction Destruction. Trent uses it to perform his Screw This, I'm Outta Here!.
  • The Paralyzer: One of the special weapons you can get (as well as a shield-draining twiddle command) was the Ice Beam. If a shot from this hits an enemy, it will not freeze it in motion, but would prevent it from firing shots for a short while.
  • Path of Inspiration: The Order of Zinglon seems to be a fanatical-but-benevolent religious organization for most of the game, then turns out to be the real Big Bad in Episode 5.
  • Precursors: The Zica, sort of. They haven't been seen for millions of years, but a lot of their technology is still around. One of the datacubes mentions their return as a possible Sequel Hook, though this has unfortunately never come to pass.
  • Purposefully Overpowered: The Nort Ship Z, your reward for completing the final episode on Super Tyrian mode. Its special weapons are Astral Zone, a Beam Spam of Zica Lasers across the whole screen for three seconds, and the SDF Main Gun. Yes, the Infinity+1 Sword/Wave Motion Gun of Tyrian is the second of this ship's two default Special Abilities. It also has the same armor level as The Stalker 21.126 the maximum amount possible in the game.
    "TOP SECRET: This ship is on loan from Nortaneous' personal hanger. The rent on this ship is very high, but it's incredibly powerful.
    The only way to describe what this ship does is to fly it and see for yourself. Nothing on the screen is safe with its special weapon active."
  • Ramming Always Works: Smaller mooks can be destroyed by bumping into them, which does inflict some damage to yourself, although your shields will regenerate. However, larger mooks and bosses frequently ram into you, which often translates into an instant death if you are not careful, and even if them ramming you doesn't kill you, they will violently push you off course, most likely into a path of bullets. It's possibly the reason few if any other shooters without constant gravity have no collision inertia.
  • Rare Random Drop: There is a one in six chance that your ship and its front and rear weapons will be replaced by the SuperCarrot and Banana weapons every time you complete the final episode of the game and start over on the next difficulty level.
  • Recurring Boss:
    • The very first boss of Episode 1, a brown, evil-looking ship with destructible detachable claws, had to be fought again in the same episode as the final boss and as a Giant Mook in an extremely hard-to-unlock secret level.
    • The first boss you had to fight in Episode 2 was a large green ship at the end of Torm. It later reappears in Episode 2 in Botany. Then, in Episode 4, the player had to confront it yet again in the secret level ?Tunnel?, but this time it has additional sawblades and exploding missiles in its arsenal.
    • The Z-29 Central Defense Ship, a large red vessel that serves as the main pillar of Savara's defences, shown at the top of the picture on this page. Trent encounters (and destroys) this vessel no less than three times throughout the course of the game. Under the right conditions, he also earns the anger of Transon Lohk because of the number of times he destroys it.
    "Now, look, Trent Hawkins, I am sick and tired of you blowing our Z-29 Central Defense Ship to bits!
    Take your stupid war somewhere else and stop destroying our defense fleet!"
    • The gigantic eyeball in Episode 4 shows up in Lava Run, near the start of the episode, and EyeSpy, near the end of the episode.
    • Dreadnaught (or at least the middle section) too. You confront in one of the lava stages, in Deliani, then as a Battleship Raid.
  • Regenerating Shield, Static Health: The regeneration is power by your generator, same as your weapons. Armor can be restored by enemy drops and, in certain ships, by a twiddle command.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Trent himself at the end of Episode 4, after having just about enough of Transon Lohk using him for whatever crisis happens to be going on at the time.
  • Segmented Serpent: The worm-like dragons in Torm that try to charge the player.
  • Sequential Boss: The Final Boss of Episode 1, the Dreadnaught and Vykromod of Episode 4, amongst others.
  • Shout-Out: Certain datacubes that are usually picked up in the bonus level contain references to other Epic Megagames products like Jazz Jackrabbit and One Must Fall 2097. Only one of these is a direct ad; the others take the form of transmissions from or about characters from those other games.
    • There's also this special weapon called the SDF Main Gun.
    • One of the songs is titled "One Mustn't Fall" in reference to the game "One Must Fall 2097".
    • The final boss from the first level of Episode 2 looks just too much like the first boss from Xenon.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Pretty much all of them, Played for Laughs in the data cubes:
    • Tyrian itself is probably the most diverse, with a Green Hill Zone and Lethal Lava Land in Episode 1 and a water level in Episode 4, but they all have one thing in common, namely lots of floating rocks thanks to the mineral Gravitium, the game's Unobtainium.
    • Soh Jin is a Shifting Sand Land, though only one of the levels on that planet actually takes place on its surface.
    • Savara is mostly water with some beach islands that has all sorts of aircraft and blimps.
    • Deliani is an Eternal Engine. Even the plant life (which only appears in one level) grows on machines.
    • Torm is a giant rainforest.
    • Gyges is more or less a planet-wide Womb Level (the datacube with information on the planet says that all native life is carnivorous and are offended if you don't eat them).
    • Ixmucane is another Shifting Sand Land although it may not stay that way in Episode 4.
    • Camanis is an ice planet, though one level in Episode 5 is Under the Sea.
  • Some Dexterity Required: Unusually for an overhead shooter, each of the many different ships you can pilot has different "twiddle" commands that work exactly like fighting game action commands. Some of these are almost impossible to actually perform when you need them; some are too easy to activate; some of them drain lots of your health when you do activate them. In the extremely difficult Super Tyrian mode, they are your only other attack option beyond your fast-but-weak starter weapon, although thankfully the ship used in that mode can also use the said commands to summon helpers as well.
  • Sound Test: The Jukebox which allows listening to all the music pieces, with trippy colorful visuals as the background. The Jukebox is also available in the Ship Editor.
  • Space Is Noisy: Lampshaded as one datacube explains that all space fighters are equipped with chairs that amplify whatever sound waves they can pick up in space.
  • Sphere of Destruction: Banana Bombs create a very damaging explosion sphere when they hit. The "Xega Balls" of TX Silvercloud count as well.
  • Spiritual Successor: To MSX/NES game Zanac. Most obvious when you trigger a warp zone.
  • Spread Shot: Many of them, such as the multi-cannon, Protron, Banana Blast, Sonic Impulse, Fireball, Dragon Frost, etc. Then again, this game IS a Shoot 'em Up...
  • Supporting Leader: Reid, head of the rebel Mendivian and Anti Microsol league. He becomes the Acting President of Savara late in Episode 4.
  • Take That: What does the name of Microsol, the Big Bad Mega Corp., sound like?
  • Time-Limit Boss: Quite a few of them, such as the core of Ixmucane and Captain Nob's green warship in Episode 4.
  • Time Skip: Episode 5 in Tyrian 2000 takes place 101 years after the end of Episode 4 if you are not flying The Stalker 21.126.
  • Turns Red: The final boss of Episode 1 does this once you destroy its horns, required before you can actually damage him. The background music changes, and then it gets really fast and damaging...
    • Many of the other bosses in the game also do this, albeit to a lesser extent. Whenever their health bar approaches 25%, parts of their outer hull break off and they drastically increase their firepower. Subverted by the blimp boss of Savara V in Episode 1, which loses all its weapons and attacks once its health gets low enough.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Averted, though not strictly in a gameplay sense. The best regular ships you can get, the Stalker series, were designed and built by Microsol. Averted completely by the secret U-Ship, which is the first Mook ever encountered in the game.
    • You can also get the Banana Blaster as a weapon, which is used by the banana ship enemies in the final level of the final episode.
  • Updated Re-release: Tyrian 2000 includes better Windows support (though it's still a native DOS program), a few new ships and ship parts, and most importantly a new episode (albeit a short one) that wraps up the game's story.
    • It also fixes the infamous Turbo Pascal divide-by-zero crash whereby on a computer significantly faster than the state-of-the-art at the time the program crashes immediately. About time.
  • Up to Eleven: The front and rear guns all have eleven power levels. This trope is also the basis of a joke in one of the datacubes that manages to poke fun at The Ten Commandments and This Is Spinal Tap simultaneously.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After throwing everything at his disposal at Trent and failing to kill him countless times throughout Episode 2 to 4, Javi finally loses it and resorts to deploying his personal Dreadnaught.
    "What in the universe are you doing still alive?! I thought I told you to die the last time you showed up!
    HOW MANY TIMES MUST I KILL YOU?!?
    This time, Trent, there is no escape!
    I will take you out with my personal DREADNAUGHT! You are nothing to me, do you hear me! NOTHING!!!"
  • Wave Motion Gun: The SDF Main Gun, which will pierce through absolutely everything in the game for massive damage. The Level 11 Laser also counts; it's just as wide as the SDF Main Gun's projectile, although marginally less deadly.
  • What Have I Become?: Said verbatim by Vykromod before the last level of episode 4.

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alternative title(s): Tyrian
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