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The Arcade Graveyard: Ghoulishly We Play

GunNail, Gyrodine, Gyruss

GunNail is a decent shmup, with decent play, and is fairly colorful.  It's also a pain in the ass. In my last play, I got through 2 levels and continued about 5 times.  I kept dying after collecting several power ups, making my now-killer monster fighter into a pop-gun shooting terror with no power.  It also has some satisfyingly large special bombs to help when things get too nutty.  The backgrounds and enemies are nicely detailed considering the age of the game.  There are bonuses hidden throughout the playfield that are uncovered when something is destroyed or the right clump of land is destroyed adding to the power-up collection frenzy.  Nice game though, but I'm sure it would start to piss me off if I kept at it for awhile.


Gyrodine is a basic helicopter scrolling shooter, sort of like Xevious without branching paths.  Sound wise and music wise, it's tolerable without being annoying.  The gameplay is so-so, but it does have an interesting feature with the fire buttons.  One button fires in the direction the helicopter is facing at sky targets, the other button fires the direction you're facing, but it shoots downwards towards ground targets.  A nice evolution, but not particularly a game I'd like to play often.  Oh, the 7th screenshot down there has people on the beach running towards umbrellas.  What are they doing there in a warzone?

Gyruss is a guilty pleasure of mine.  Think of it as Galaxian in a circle with depth.  It's really the same gameplay with upgradeable firepower.  The enemies swoop in for a few waves and can either be shot down or make their way down the center of the screen, forming a battle formation.  They attack individually from the center, and sometimes there are white asteroids flying at you from the center.  If you have the basic weapon, you can upgrade it by destroying the circling satellites with a ball in the center of it that will wander around the outer rim, just ahead of where your ship is.  There are also wall ships that fly out in pairs carrying a force field trying to ram you between them which are easy to take out, but can be a nuisance when there are other enemies attacking at once.  Each level is warping to a different planet, which I have never really gotten to Earth because the game is fairly difficult.  The game play, as mentioned before, is Galaxian in a circle, where you patrol the outer rim and the enemies inhabit the inside of the ring.  The sounds are decent, but the music is awesome.  It's classical music by Johann Sebastian Bach sped up, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, and is foreboding enough to fit the style of the game.  In layman's terms, it fits perfectly.  A very enjoyable game, available on the XBLA, in the XBox GameRoom, and on the NES as well.  The NES version has its own arrangement and includes boss battles to lengthen the game and is awesome in and of itself.

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