BARCELONA, Spain--One corner of the large demo area at Microsoft's X06 event in Barcelona was dedicated entirely to Xbox Live Arcade games. Among arcade classics like Contra and Defender was another arcade game involving spaceships, aliens, and lots and lots of shooting. Gyruss is a shooter from Konami where you fly an alien spaceship that moves left and right along an invisible circular track as you battle your way across the galaxy from Neptune all the way to Earth.
Enemy space ships enter from the top or the bottom screen in various formations, and you simply have to shoot them all while avoiding their attacks. If you take even a single hit, you die, and as the game goes on, the ships move faster and become more aggressive, making it difficult to stay alive. You start out with a single-shot, rapid-fire blaster, but you can collect power-ups by destroying satellites that give you a double blaster, which makes short work of large groups of ships.
The game looks like a typical 1980s-era arcade title. There's not much detail beyond the small, nondescript ships that flitter about the screen like insects and the obligatory star-field background so you don't forget that you're supposed to be in space. The volume was turned off and the demo area was too loud to hear the music anyway, which is a shame because for its time, the soundtrack was one of the standout features of Gyruss.
As with all Xbox 360 titles, you can expect to unlock achievements and earn gamer points in Gyruss. The achievements require you to accomplish tasks like earning 12,000 points in the first stage, make it to Neptune without dying, make it to level seven without using any bonus items, and make it all the way to Earth.
So far, Microsoft hasn't announced a release date for Gyruss on Xbox Live Arcade. Judging by the number of playable Xbox Live Arcade games at the event, there's a lengthy queue of games to be released, so there's no telling when you'll be able to download Gyruss or how many points it will cost. We'll bring you more details and a full review when the game becomes available.