Take on the NES Library

An 8-bit Extravaganza!



#49 – Kings of the Beach

No crowns required to be kings in this four-player volleyball game.

Very chill setting!

To Beat: Win a tournament
To Complete: Beat the game on the Difficult setting
What I Did: Completed the game
Played: 4/7/17 – 4/13/17
Difficulty: 5/10
My Difficulty: 5/10
Video: Kings of the Beach – Tournament Mode Final Matches

I am not good at sports. I still like to play them when I get the chance even though I wasn’t blessed with any ability. If there’s one game I am at least decent at, it would be sand volleyball. I organized a weekly sand volleyball night with a bunch of friends for several years, and that afforded me the opportunity to practice often. Now don’t let me fool you, I’m still not all that good at volleyball. However, I am pretty good at playing video games. Therefore, it shouldn’t be that much of a stretch for me to complete one of the few NES volleyball games.

Kings of the Beach is a volleyball game developed and published by Electronic Arts in 1988 on DOS. It was ported to the Commodore 64 in 1989 and the NES in January 1990. Ultra Games published the NES port. However, it is unclear if either Konami or Electronic Arts developed this version of Kings of the Beach. The game was only released in the US.

Kings of the Beach is a two-on-two beach volleyball game. You play as professional beach volleyball players Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos. In single-player mode, you only control one character and your partner is computer controlled. The main draw for single player is the Tournament mode. Here you will play against other pairs of players in five different locations all around the world. To win the tournament mode and beat the game, you must win three consecutive matches at each of the five beaches for fifteen total matches.

Interesting cursor choice!

At the start of the game, you move a green cursor around in an overhead map of the beach. This is your menu. The first place you will want to go is the registration tent, which is the game’s options menu. To start, you can assign either a controller or computer control to Smith, Stoklos, and two other competitors. Kings of the Beach supports up to four players simultaneously using the NES Four Score accessory. Next, you can choose between cooperative play or competitive play. This is only needed for a two-player game to decide if you want to play on the same team or not. You can set the difficulty of computer opponents to either Easy, Medium, or Difficult. You can choose if you want to play either a single set or a three-set match, and you can toggle the sound on and off. Choose Exit to Beach to go back to the main menu.

The other menu options are for practice or setting up a game. At the top of the screen there are three beaches labeled Bump, Set, or Spike. If you choose one, you are put in a practice beach where you get easy setups to practice the basic moves. Press Select at any time to exit the training and go back to the menu. At the lower left of the menu is the Match option where you jump directly into an exhibition match with the defined settings. This is the mode you want for a three or four player game. The bottom right part of the menu starts up the Tournament mode. You can select either a new game, or continue a previous game with a password. After that you jump right into the action.

Kings of the Beach plays by standard volleyball rules. Each side has two players and each point starts with a serve from the back of the court. Each side can hit the ball up to three times before hitting it over to the opponent’s court, and teammates must alternate hits. If the ball lands in your opponent’s court, the opponent hits the ball more than three times, or the opponent hits the ball out of bounds, then you win the point. The serving team is the only team that can score, otherwise the non-serving team gains control of the serve if they win the point. In a single set match, the first team to fifteen points wins. In a three-set match, teams play to twelve points per set. In either case, teams must also win by two points. This means play will continue beyond the required winning score until a team leads by two.

Bump, set, spike!

The basic strategy of beach volleyball is to use your three hits to bump the ball, then set the ball, and finally spike the ball. You will use the D-pad to move your player around the court. Quite often you will move on your own to the spot where the ball will land as it’s heading toward you, but sometimes you need to position yourself properly. The ball casts a shadow on the sand that will guide you toward where you want to stand. Press A to bump the ball in the air toward your teammate. To set the ball, press B. To spike the ball, press both A and B. The spike is a powerful jumping hit toward the opponent. You will need to focus on timing for all hits, but spiking the ball requires the best timing. The idea is to run up to the net and jump, meeting the ball with your hands at the top of your jump. For all hits, you can guide it in a direction using the D-pad in conjunction with the hit.

The above moves are mostly offensive moves, but you do have a couple of defensive moves at your disposal. If you know the opponent will spike the ball, you can move up against the net and press A and B together to jump up and attempt a block. Sometimes you can repel the ball right back into the opponent’s court for a quick point. Stoklos has his own signature block called the Kong block, which is very powerful. The other defensive move is called the dig. This happens automatically whenever the ball is just far enough out of reach normally. You will make a dive toward the ball to bump it back up into the air. I didn’t seem to put myself in good positions to do this very often, so in my experience it was left to chance.

Serving the ball effectively is a vital skill. When it’s your turn to serve, you can move up and down the line to put yourself in the position of your choice. There are three different ways to serve the ball. The easiest method is the underhand serve. Simple press A and B together to lob a slow serve at the opposite court. You want to pay attention to the flags that indicate wind direction because an underhand serve may come up short if the wind is blowing in hard. The overhand serve is more powerful. Press A to toss the ball straight up, wait for the ball to come down, and then press B to do a standing, overhand hit. You can use the D-pad to aim the ball while serving. The most powerful serve is the jump serve. Like the spike, it’s the most difficult serve to perform. Press A to toss the ball just before, but this time press A to jump and hit the ball. The more powerful the hit, the more likely the opponent will be unable to return the ball.

With the right timing, the jump serve is the best one.

One neat thing you can do is argue a call with the referee. Every now and then the line judge will make a mistake on a ball that lands near the lines. If you think a bad call went against you, then you can run up next to the judge’s stand and press Start to dispute the call. You will see your player make a scene as persuasively as possible. If you are successful, the referee reverses his call and you get the ball! If the judge disagrees, then he will shake his hand no and hold out a penalty card. This can be either a yellow card or a red card. The yellow card is just a warning, but if you lose a second disputed call in a set the referee will give you a red card instead and you lose a point off your score. Your opponents and even your partner can dispute a call on their own. One key thing is that if you want to dispute a call, you need to decide quickly and get over to the referee right away to plead your case. You lose your opportunity to argue a call if play advances to the next serve.

As stated earlier, to complete Tournament mode you must win fifteen total matches broken up into groups of three. After you win three consecutive matches on the same beach, you get a password for the next beach. The passwords are up to eight characters long and are normal words that are easy to write down or remember. I noticed that the passwords are the same for each beach no matter what difficulty or length of match. For instance, you can win the first round of matches on the Difficult setting with three-set matches, and the next time you play with the password you can select Easy difficulty and single set matches. You can play however you want!

This was my first time playing Kings of the Beach. The game was a later addition to my collection, but it is pretty common and inexpensive so I have had a few copies pass through my hands. I am not a huge fan of sports games even though I enjoy playing a little volleyball. Chances are I would not have given Kings of the Beach much of a chance if not for this project. Chances are I will also say this same thing about many other future games!

Digs are done automatically. This one was successful!

For my playthrough, I decided on playing single set matches on Medium difficulty. I played as the default Smith and let the computer play Stoklos for me. My intent was to learn the game on Medium difficulty and then go back and play the game again on the Difficult setting. At first, Medium difficulty was enough of a challenge. I understood the fundamentals early on, and other than some mistakes with spiking I was already playing well enough to make some progress. My struggles came in the third match of any beach. I could play well enough to win the first two matches, and then I would lose the third and have to start over at the top. That is awfully frustrating. Kings of the Beach became a fight of attrition and required some good old fashioned grinding to seal the win.

It seems like many sports games have some kind of exploit or tactic that makes life much easier. I found one such tactic that helped me win points much more often. The first thing is I needed is the setup to spike the ball myself. Usually this required getting the first hit on the return so that I could get the third hit and spike, but sometimes I would take the spike myself on the second hit instead. It’s a little riskier but it can catch the opponent off guard. My spike position was up against the net either slightly above or below the center. I would spike toward the corner of the net and the closer side line. For example, if I set up below center, I would aim for the lower line near the net, and do the opposite when closer to the top. The opponent tended to favor guarding the larger area so I could sneak it in on the other side close to the line without either player getting to it. That trick does not always work, but it works often enough to be useful.

My partner is disputing a call unsuccessfully.

I beat the entire game on Medium over the course of a few days. Once I accomplished that, I bumped up to the Difficult setting and repeated the final three matches with the last password. If I can beat the last beach on Difficult, then I should be able to beat any other configuration, so I didn’t bother repeating anything else on Difficult. I did not notice any significant changes between Medium and Difficult settings. Perhaps the opponents make fewer mistakes or make powerful serves more often on the higher settings, but I could not tell the difference. With my spiking tactic, I could score more often than not regardless of difficulty. I recorded my video of the final set of matches on Medium difficulty, and then played the final matches again on Difficult unrecorded. The ending is the same on either difficulty.

I would have considered the game more difficult overall if not for the fact that the computer controlled Stoklos handled nearly all the defense for me. Actually, my computer partner played very well in general and handled many situations better than I could have. Most of the time he plays close to the net so he can utilize his powerful Kong block. My job was to back him up and try to get to anything hit past him if I could. We worked together well on the offensive side too. He is a good spiker and serves very well. He’s not a perfect partner and makes mistakes that are unavoidable, but in my opinion he is a more consistent player than I am. It’s a pleasant surprise to have a competent computer player for once!

There are not many volleyball games on the NES to compare, but I think they did well with Kings of the Beach. The game sets itself apart somewhat for having a simultaneous four-player mode. It also performs well as a single player game. The computer controlled players are competent both as opponents and partners. The graphics and music are well done, just as you would expect in a Konami game. The game is a tad lengthy and repetitive, but it’s just the nature of the game so it hard to fault Kings of the Beach for that. If you are looking for an NES volleyball game, you won’t do wrong with Kings of the Beach.

#49 – Kings of the Beach


#45 – Rollergames

Maybe this game should have been called Skate or Die instead.

They aren’t even shy about this being a Konami game.

To Beat: Reach the Ending
Played: 12/30/16 – 1/2/17
Difficulty: 6/10
My Difficulty: 6/10
Video: Rollergames Longplay

I used to go roller skating often growing up. The local roller rink was the place to be for young kids on a Friday night, and even though I was not particularly good at skating I still enjoyed being there with my friends. It wasn’t until years later that I learned about the contact sport roller derby, and it just so happens there is also an NES game based on the sport. With a library this vast, I guess I should not be so surprised!

The sport of roller derby originated in the 1930s. The game is played with two teams of skaters who skate laps around a banked track. The object of the game is to score points by having a designated member of the team lap opposing players. The sport grew in popularity during the 1940s and 1950s. As interest started to decline, and as television became more prominent, the sport shifted more toward storylines and theatrics and away from pure competition. Since then the sport has shifted back toward its competitive roots. Roller derby has seen a resurgence beginning in the early 2000s, predominately in all-female leagues.

In the middle of all this is Rollergames, a 1989 TV show that went all in on the theatrical approach to roller derby. There were changes made for Rollergames, such as introducing a figure eight shaped track instead of the traditional banked oval track. Rollergames is like the WWE with a heavy focus on rivalries and storylines. The show was quite popular, but despite that it only ran for one season because some of the show’s producers when bankrupt.

Complete with broadcasters!

There are two video games based on Rollergames. The first is an arcade title of the same name developed by Konami in 1990. The gameplay is modeled closely after the TV show. The second name is the NES version of Rollergames, also developed by Konami and published under the Ultra Games label. This version is also influenced by the show, but it plays more as a classic beat-em-up game. It was released in the US in September 1990 and in Europe in October 1991. It was not released in Japan or ported to any other systems.

Rollergames is a side-scrolling beat-em-up game with some platforming elements included. Members of a criminal organization have corrupted three of the Rollergames teams leading to the capture of the league commissioner, and the only people that can save him are the members of the other three good teams. The introductory cutscenes frame the game as a storyline fitting of the TV show. You must complete all six levels to save the commissioner and win the game.

At the start of each level, one of the sideline reporters asks you which team you would like to choose. You can pick either Ice Box of the Thunderbirds, Rolling Thunder of the Hot Flash, and California Kid of the Rockers. Each character plays differently so that you want to choose the team best suited to clear the current level. Ice Box is the slow but powerful character, while Rolling Thunder is the weak, but speedy character. California Kid is naturally the balanced choice.

You can knock down the bad guys quickly.

The controls are very natural. Use the D-Pad to skate in all eight directions. The A button is for jumping and the B button is used to attack. The standard attack is a basic punch, but you can do a jump kick by pressing B during a jump. You also have a special attack that you trigger by pressing both A and B at the same time. Each character has a slightly different special move. Ice Box does a body slam, Rolling Thunder does a spinning jump kick, and California Kid has a double jump kick. The moves are powerful but you are limited to only three per level, so use them wisely.

The levels all play from a side-scrolling perspective, but there are two different types of levels. The normal levels can scroll in all directions and you progress linearly through the level. There are many slopes to navigate and pits to jump across, as well as other enemies and traps that stand in your way. These can be quite tricky to clear while on roller skates! As you go, you will run into groups of enemy skaters and you must beat them all up before moving forward. Three normal levels revolve around each of the bad teams, which are the Bad Attitude, Maniacs, and Violators, and these levels have two sections each. The final level is in this normal style but it has four parts.

The other type of level is an auto-scrolling level. The skater of your choice is always moving forward here and the goal is to survive to the end. These levels follow along a broken highway so there are many gaps to cross. Of course, there are also various obstacles, traps, and enemies to contend with. These levels also feature boss-like encounters, but all you need to focus on is dodging the attacks until they go away, ending the stage.

Roads are always under construction!

At the top of the screen, there is a timer in the middle. This countdown only applies to the normal stages where you have to move ahead on your own pace. At the lower left is a vertical health bar. Your skater can suffer several hits before losing a life, though falling down a pit or landing on spikes results in immediate, swift death. The lower right area shows markers that indicate how many special attacks are remaining for the stage. There is a separate screen at the start of each stage that displays your score, high score, current level, and number of lives remaining. There are no powerups in the game for replenishing any of these elements. However, you can earn an extra life when reaching either 20,000, 50,000, or 80,000 points.

The obvious gimmick to Rollergames is that you play the entire game while on roller skates. As a result, your character controls in a fitting manner. It’s akin to playing a game with nothing but ice levels and ice physics. The skaters are generally slow to accelerate and slow to come to a stop. Often, I found myself making quick turns in a different direction than where I was moving to keep myself from falling. The game has various sections of platforming where you need clear gaps of different sizes. Not only that, but there are falling platforms, moving platforms, and crumbling floors to deal with. It’s a tough combination to work with and there is much trial and error involved to learn the right moves.

Slopes and tiny jumps on roller skates don’t mix.

The game balances this difficulty out in several ways. The levels tend to be reasonably short with checkpoints after every sublevel. The hand-to-hand combat is simple and the enemies themselves don’t pose much of a threat. Lastly, there are infinite continues in the game, so you can keep banging away at each level until you clear it. You always start at the beginning of each sublevel if you die, so once you reach the checkpoint you don’t have to play past sections again.

Seeing as it’s a Konami game in the middle of the NES lifespan, Rollergames is a quality title. Not only do the controls make sense, but the game has good graphics and some excellent music. It’s the soundtrack that really stands out overall. In my mind, it has a similar sound to TMNT II and III. Maybe that is because both games are beat-em-ups, but regardless it sounds good and it suits the game well.

I first played Rollergames last year for the NintendoAge weekly contest. Unfortunately, I did not have much time to play that week and I only reached Stage 2. That was barely any experience so this was the first time I seriously played Rollergames. This was one of those filler titles that I acquired in a random NES game lot that I purchased back in my collecting heyday. When it showed up on the list, I knew that Rollergames was a pretty good game that is easily overlooked, so I was happy to play through it.

This part is particularly devilish.

I beat Rollergames over two days and those two days just happened to fall on either side of New Years, making this the first game I have played for the project over two separate years. On the first attempt, I reached Stage 5-1 and this is where I got stuck. The first part of level isn’t all that bad, but the section right before the checkpoint is pretty nasty. You have to cross along the edge of a cliff where the ground periodically crumbles away in front of you. It forces you to move slowly to reveal the hidden gaps, and then you must back up enough to get the momentum to leap to the other side. But you must be careful not to go too far past the hole or you will fall into the next one. It wouldn’t be so bad if the controls weren’t slippery, but here it’s a pretty evil little section under the game’s ground rules. After several attempts at Stage 5-1 I turned the game off for the night.

The next time I sat down to play, I performed decently up to 5-1. After many new attempts, I reached 5-2 and from there I pushed my way through to the very end. I recorded my playthrough on video, but it was the ugliest playthrough I have recorded so far. There are several sections that must be practiced, and without any of that experience I died a bunch of times until I made it through. There are enough problem spots that I would have to beat the game a few times just to record a decent run. However, a game finish doesn’t have to be pretty to count, so I’ll accept this one and move on!

Rollergames is a fun game that I enjoyed playing. It’s got that Konami standard level of polish to it with solid controls, good gameplay, nice graphics, and catchy music. The one problem with the game is that there’s a significant amount of platforming that doesn’t properly fit the game’s slippery physics. It makes this game less accessible than other NES games of similar style right off the bat. If you can get by the initial hurdles, I think you would enjoy playing the game. It’s also an inexpensive cart for the collector or player insisting on the original cart. It’s too bad that it is overlooked because I think it deserves more recognition than it receives.

#45 – Rollergames

Gyruss Box Cover

#34 – Gyruss

Go ahead … give it a spin!

Yay starfield!

To Beat: Reach the ending
To Complete: Complete 2 Loops (maybe 3?)
My Goal: Beat 2 loops
What I Did: Reached about halfway through Loop 2
Played: 10/16/16 – 10/17/16
Difficulty: 7/10
My Difficulty: 4/10
Video: Gyruss Longplay

One way I have seen people try and describe a game is by forming it in terms of one or more other games that have shared elements. For instance, the term Metroidvania is widely used to describe a game that contains elements of both Metroid and Castlevania. Even though these comparisons may not always be the best, I think I can sum up Gyruss in this way. A cross between Galaga and Tempest, Gyruss is a fun shoot-em-up that is unlike anything else on the NES.

Gyruss originally is a 1983 arcade game developed by Konami. It was designed by Yoshiki Okamoto. He worked on only two games for Konami, Gyruss and Time Pilot. The arcade version was also published by Konami in Japan and Centuri in the US. Gyruss was later ported to five other home platforms by Parker Brothers. The NES version is not an arcade port, but a complete remake of the game by Konami. It was first released in Japan on the Famicom Disk System in November 1988 and in North America on the NES in February 1989, published by Ultra Games.

This is probably a good time to explain the relationship between Konami and Ultra Games. Nintendo decided to implement strict licensing agreements with companies that wanted to release games on the NES, and one of their policies was that companies were allowed to produce no more than five titles on the system per year. These policies were not in effect on the Famicom and some companies such as Konami were releasing many more titles. To get around the restriction, Konami created a separate publishing label named Ultra Games that received its own allotment of five games per year. So when you see Ultra Games on a cart you know the game is really developed and published by Konami. Nintendo certainly did a lot of hand waving here to let Konami release extra games, but I won’t complain since for the most part it works to our benefit!

Quite the generic story!

As I mentioned earlier, Gyruss borrows elements from both Galaga and Tempest. The game play is similar to Galaga in that each level has a few waves of enemies that enter in and all of them must be eliminated to proceed to the next stage. However the style is a tunnel shooter very reminiscent of the arcade hit Tempest. Your spaceship can orbit in a fixed circular path around the screen and enemies sit in the center of the screen moving outward toward your ship.

To beat the game, you must clear all 39 levels. You do this by planet hopping every four levels starting from Neptune going all the way to Mercury, and finally finishing off at the Sun. You can logically break down the level structure in groups of four. The game begins as you approach Neptune with the text “3 Warps to Neptune.” This level is the basic level type where four waves of enemies fly into the stage and you must defeat all of the enemies to warp to the next level. The second level “2 Warps to Neptune” has the same four enemy waves but with four enemy bases stationed in the middle of the screen. These take a lot of firepower to destroy so this type of level takes a little longer. The third level is “1 Warp to Neptune” which mirrors the first stage and includes a boss battle at the end. After reaching Neptune, the fourth level is a Chance Stage which plays out just like the Challenging Stages in Galaga. Here you get different enemy formations than the previous levels but the enemies cannot hurt you and your only goal is to defeat as many of them as you can for a point bonus at the end of the stage. This set of four stages repeats with the approach to each planet. There is no Chance Stage after the final boss so that sets the level count at 39.

When you begin the game you have the option of selecting either Control A or Control B. These determine how your control the movement of your ship. Control A boils down to pushing the D-pad in the direction you want to move regardless of where you are on the screen. So if you want to move to the left, you press left and you will travel the shortest path to the left side of the screen. If you keeping holding left you eventually will lock your ship in the farthest left position which can be handy at times. You can use up, down, left, and right to move to whichever side of the screen you want. Control B only utilizes left and right on the D-pad. Press left to move clockwise and press right to move counter-clockwise. Up and down do not do anything in this control mode. I have always used Control A and in my opinion I find it way more intuitive and useful than Control B. I think the only benefit to Control B is that you get continuous movement all around the screen by only having to hold down one direction on the D-pad.

Knowing where the enemies spawn helps you clear stages quickly.

You have two different types of attacks in Gyruss. The standard unlimited bullets are fired with the B button. You have a limited-use phaser attack by pressing A button. The phaser is a concentrated blast of fire at one position on the screen that plows through just about anything in its path. When you fire a phaser the screen pauses briefly for you to charge up and fire off the shot which is a nice touch to demonstrate the power of this attack.

There are a few powerups to help along the way. During the standard levels, a formation of three enemies in a row will appear on screen. The two outer enemies are cross shaped and the middle one is generally a powerup. The blue cross item upgrades your standard shot to a double shot. The orange cross item adds an extra phaser shot to your reserves. There is a round item with an orange center that gives you points. The round item with a blue center automatically destroys all enemies on screen aside from the enemy bases in the “2 Warps” levels. There is also a 1-up item that gives you an extra life. You also earn an extra life at 50,000 points and for every 100,000 points after that. You can have a maximum of seven lives and seven phaser shots in reserve.

The Chance Stages all have five formations of eight enemies for forty enemies in total. A few of the enemies in these formations will be a different color than the rest. These enemies bestow a powerup when destroyed so these bonus levels are good for upgrading if you get lucky enough with the item drops. You also get 100 points at the end of the level for each enemy you destroy. If you get all 40 enemies you get a 20,000 point bonus instead. Performing well at these stages goes a long way toward earning lives at a fast enough pace to keep going in the game.

That hairy blob enemy is really annoying.

The approach to each planet typically contains a unique enemy type or two in addition to the standard set of enemies across all levels. As an example, the approach to Neptune has indestructible asteroids that fly in a straight path at you. These special enemies can complicate clearing levels because they also must be dealt with before you can finish the stage. Several of them are shielded or have complicated movements, and that means they tend to linger around for awhile until you can defeat them. Others you simply have to wait out until they go away. You will have to learn what to do for each enemy to make progress in the game.

As mentioned previously Gyruss has a boss battle before warping to each planet. About half of these bosses are the same type consisting of a core surrounded by pods. These pods open up to shoot at you and that’s the only time they are vulnerable. The boss is defeated when all of the pods are destroyed. The remaining bosses are unique from one another and they are the ones I enjoy fighting the most.

Gyruss is a pretty difficult game on its own merits, but it is made more challenging due to the lack of continues. If you run out of lives you have to start over at Level 1. It is also frustrating that the stock of lives has a hard cap at seven. Granted, if you are maxed out on lives you are likely playing well enough to make a deep run, but it would be nice to have a larger buffer. I have had runs come crashing to a halt even with a full complement of lives. Gyruss has a lot of stages but they typically go fast so it isn’t that costly timewise to put in several attempts in a row to try and get the hang of it. I thought about going higher with the difficulty assessment, but perhaps fittingly I decided to give it a 7/10.

This boss has waving arms that are difficult to avoid.

Gyruss is one of the games I had in my childhood collection and I had played it enough to beat it many years ago. I had also beaten the game a few months earlier as part of the NintendoAge contest. Combining both of those experiences left Gyruss relatively fresh in my mind.

My first run of the game was one of those where I lost all of my lives in one spot. The boss at Jupiter I find to be very troublesome. Sometimes I can defeat him pretty quickly, and other times I simply can’t do anything to him and burn through all my lives. This time he wiped me out completely. Starting over, I managed to beat that boss and the entire rest of the game without much trouble.

Gyruss starts over after the final boss with increased difficulty. The enemies shoot more often and some of them move more quickly. The real problem for me is that one of the recurring boss attacks becomes significantly more deadly. I wanted to clear the second loop but I was not successful. I understand that some of the Konami games that loop like this actually have three distinct difficulties, and considering that Gyruss is basically a Konami game it figures that it could follow that pattern. Unfortunately I have not found any evidence of how many difficulty loops are in Gyruss, and I was not able to clear the second loop to find out for myself. I believe that completing all the levels once and getting the ending is sufficient for completion.

Hello, recurring boss of death!

I had recorded my winning run on video, but when I went back to watch it later I found out that the recording had a glitch in it near the beginning. It bothered me enough that I played through the whole game again to get a better capture. This time it worked and I managed to set a personal best in progression on that second loop. I was doing great until I had a complete meltdown on one of the bosses. It’s so bad that it almost looks like I was trying to fail out on purpose! I might end up going back to beat both loops one day just for my own personal benefit, but for now I’m satisfied.

Gyruss has a secret bonus! During the Chance Stage, if you manage to defeat the same number of enemies as the current level, you are awarded with 30,000 points. For instance, the first Change Stage is Level 4, so if you destroy 4/40 enemies then you get the bonus. This is more lucrative than the point bonus for shooting all of the enemies, and in some cases it is easier to pull off too. In my run I tried for the bonus every time as well as trying to hit as many of the powerup-giving enemies as I could. I only missed the bonus one time during the first loop. I abandoned that strategy during the second loop because I was more interested in the powerups.

I think Gyruss is a really fun game to play. I have always enjoyed Galaga so I already like the play style, but with the gameplay perspective, additional enemy types, powerups, and bosses, it makes it a more complete experience with significantly more depth. The graphics are very nice and the music is catchy as well. The game performs well with only the occasional slowdown, and when it does go slow it’s actually welcome. Finally, Gyruss is still a cheap cart to buy if you’re into cart collecting. If anything about the game sounds the least bit appealing to you, I think that Gyruss would be worth your time.

#34 – Gyruss