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European arcade flyer of Gyruss.
European arcade flyer of Gyruss.
Developer(s) Konami
  • NA: Centuri (Original Arcade Version)
Designer(s) Yoshiki Okamoto
Programmer(s) Toshio Arima
Artist(s) Hideki Ooyama
Composer(s) Masahiro Inoue
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Shoot 'em up
Mode(s) Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Cabinet Upright or cocktail
Arcade system CPU
2x Zilog Z80, Motorola 6809, Intel 8039
5x AY-3-8910, DAC
Sound Two channels amplified stereo
Display Raster, 224 x 256 resolution

Gyruss (ジャイラス Jairasu?) is a shoot 'em up arcade game designed by Yoshiki Okamoto and released by Konami in 1983. Gyruss was licensed to Centuri in the United States, and was ported to contemporary home systems.

The gameplay is similar to that of Galaga but presented in a forced 3D perspective, with the player's ship facing 'into' the screen and able to move around the perimeter of an implicit circle. The scrolling starfield of earlier space shooter games is arranged to fit the 3D perspective, with the stars coming into view at the centre of the screen and flying outward, giving the impression of the player's ship moving through space.

Gyruss is the second and last game Yoshiki Okamoto designed for Konami, after Time Pilot. Due to pay disputes, he was fired after the release of this game, and soon joined Capcom, where he would write 1942 and the first Street Fighter game.

The game's background music is an electronic, uptempo arrangement of J. S. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565; this particular track is similar to "Toccata", a rock arrangement by the UK-based instrumentalist group Sky. Gyruss is notable for using stereo sound, which according to the bonus material for Konami Arcade Classics, was achieved by utilizing discrete audio circuits.

Gyruss was released in both upright and cocktail cabinets.[2]


The majority of enemies are spaceships, which must be destroyed to complete a level. They appear either from the centre of the screen or from one of the edges, and move in swirling patterns. They can shoot the player's ship or destroy it by contact. They hover near the centre of the screen after completing their deployment pattern, and occasionally fly outwards and shoot at the player. If not destroyed by the player, the enemy ships gradually fly away one by one.

There are also several other types of enemies: satellites, asteroids, and laser beam generators. These appear intermittently and soon disappear of their own accord if not destroyed by the player.

Satellites materialise in a group of three just in front of the player after the ordinary enemy ships have finished deployment. They gyrate in small circles and shoot at the player. If the player has the basic weapon when the satellites appear the middle one will be a sun-like object. If destroyed, the player's ship gets a better weapon. If the better weapon has already been gained then all satellites are identical.

Asteroids fly straight outwards from the centre of the screen at regular intervals. They always fly just to the left or right of the player's ship, so unless the ship moves it will never be hit by an asteroid.[citation needed] They cannot be destroyed but a small points bonus is given for shooting at them.

Laser beam generators occasionally fly straight outwards from the centre of the screen. They consist of two generator segments with a laser beam between them; destroying either generator deactivates the beam. The player's ship is destroyed by contact with either the generators or the beam.

The player begins the game "2 WARPS TO NEPTUNE". After completing each level, the player is one warp closer to a planet. Each time a planet is reached, the player's ship is seen flying towards it and then a short bonus round is played, where the player can shoot enemy ships for bonus points without worrying about being destroyed by them. After reaching Neptune, the player is then three warps from Uranus, and progresses through Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and finally Earth, taking three warps to reach each planet. Stage one and every 10th stage thereafter the enemies do not fire on the player when entering the screen.

After completing Earth's bonus stage, the player must travel through the very fast "3 WARPS TO NEPTUNE" level before returning to the start of the game.


Screenshot from the Commodore 64 version.

Parker Brothers ported Gyruss to the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit family, Commodore 64, and ColecoVision.

Gyruss has a nearly perfect port (minus the attract mode) in the compilation game Konami 80's Arcade Gallery, released for both the arcade and PlayStation (also known as Konami 80's AC Special in western arcades and Konami Arcade Classics in the North American PlayStation version).

There is a faithful implementation in Konami Collector's Series: Arcade Advanced for the Game Boy Advance.

The Konami Live! Plug and Play PC controller includes an emulated Gyruss with an online scoreboard, as well as five other Konami titles.

On April 18, 2007, the game was released on Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade service with optional enhanced graphics and online high-score leaderboards. Gyruss was also made available on Microsoft's Game Room service for its Xbox 360 console and for Windows-based PCs in July 2010.

NES/FDS remake[edit]

NES Title Screen (Left) and FDS Title Screen (Right)

Gyruss was also remade for the Family Computer Disk System in Japan, and later the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America, released by Konami's subsidiary Ultra Games. In these versions of the game, the core gameplay is still largely the same, but there are several major revisions. The game was well received in North America. Revisions include:

  • Altered graphics
  • Additional control options
  • The music from the arcade version of the game was slightly remixed, and several additional tracks composed by Atsushi Fujio, Yūichi Sakakura, and Harumi Uekō were added.
  • The player starts off at "Three Warps To Neptune" instead of "Two Warps"
  • The player can use a super phaser attack in addition to the normal guns, which cost energy
  • There are additional enemies, including boss fights when the player reaches each planet
  • Bonus stages after each planet's boss is defeated, for a chance to gain additional powerups
  • There is a definite ending to the game. In the NES version, it's a brief text about the Universe being at peace. In the FDS version, there is a full ending sequence with credits.
  • In addition to the satellites providing the usual double guns and bonus points, they can also provide extra phasers, a smart bomb, and even an extra life
  • Instead of the arcade's looping 24 stages, there are 39 looping. In the arcade, the player starts from Neptune and proceeds to Earth. On the NES version, the player travels through the entire Solar System, including Neptune, Pluto, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Earth, Venus, Mercury, and the Sun.
  • The player can enter the Konami code at the title screen for extra lives, but with a twist: the code must be entered in reverse (A-B-A-B-right-left-right-left-down-down-up-up) instead of in the original sequence.


This version of the game was included in the Majesco TV Game Konami Collector's Series: Arcade Advanced. This is not to be confused with the Game Boy Advance game of the same name, which featured an actual programming of the arcade Gyruss. This was the also the version released for Japanese mobile phones in 2004.


A clone of the game also exists as one of the minigames found in various convenience stores featured in the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and another clone as a minigame in Contra: Legacy of War.

Appearances in other games[edit]


  1. ^ Gyruss for mobile phones in Konami Japan
  2. ^ "Gyruss". Killer List of Video Games. 

External links[edit]