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Gyruss


With so many arcade shooters populating Xbox Live arcade, one has to wonder how many more classic adaptations we have to see. Gyruss for the Xbox 360 is a tube shooter originally released in the early 1980ís. The basic design of the tube shooter positions the player at the top of the tube and allows movement around the edge. Enemy ships travel up the tube and fire in your general direction.

Gameplay:
The levels are designed around moving from planet to planet, shooting all the ships that you see. Early on, the ships donít fire back, but later stages will put your button mashing skills to the test. The player starts off with 3 ships and can work up to more via the point system. Within each level, there is a chance to increase the firepower of your guns by shooting a planet cluster that pops up towards the end of the mission. Enemy ships always come form the exact same directions each time you replay the level, hence the need for position memorization. Bonus rounds will pop up every few levels to offer point boosts to the player.

The controls are very simple to use. The A button is used to fire and the control stick or d-pad is used for moving in circles around the tube. Sadly, there isnít an auto-fire function included in the game. You have to constantly push the A button to fire the shipís guns. The analog stick is the preferable way to control the ship. With the circular range of motion, moving into shooting positions is much simpler than the classic.

The multiplayer offers up a versus mode and a co-op mode over Xbox Live. Versus pits two players against each other in a side-by-side battle to rack up the most points. The co-op mode has the same design, but two players work together to rack up points. The lag over Xbox Live was minimal, but finding players in the game was a chore. I waited 15 minutes before I could find anyone in a versus match. Online leaderboards track the top players in the single player game and versus mode. Per typically Xbox Live design, you can also compare yourself against friendís only.

The achievements are broken into 12 tasks for a grand total of 200 gamerscore points. While the achievements arenít very tough, they do require quite a bit of practice to rack up all the points. Additionally, Digital Eclipse included a ridiculous achievement for winning 50 Xbox Live versus games. I would be amazed if anyone was playing that long. Overall, the set doesnít offer much creativity, but can be racked up by the casual player.

Graphics
These Konami Xbox Live arcade titles are beginning to blend into each other. Each release from developer Digital Eclipse looks exactly like the last. The menu presentation is terribly bland and almost fuzzy in high definition. The updated look for the actual game is average at best. While Digital Eclipse kept the overall atheistic of the classic, the sparse environments make for painstakingly awful design. The effects are sub-par as well.

Audio
Musically, the score is top notch. The re-mixed soundtrack uses the 5.1 surround sound to produce a thumping techno track to tickle your ears. The sound effects sound similar to the old-school effects, but with a slightly updated feel. Overall, the auditory qualities are actually the best part of playing Gyruss.

Overall
Gyruss is a complete waste of 400 marketplace points. Any feeling of nostalgia is lost in the sluggish shooting control, poor visual design, and average online gameplay. The achievements offer a bit of replay value, but only if you can stand memorizing enemy positions. Gamers are left with a poor excuse of a classic shooter and 5 bucks missing from their wallet. If you want to play an enjoyable arcade shooter on the Xbox 360, stick to Geometry Wars for another few months.