Gyron (Firebird) Review | Home Computing Weekly - Everygamegoing

Home Computing Weekly

By Firebird
Spectrum 48K

Published in Home Computing Weekly #109

I know that the people at Firebird, as well as a number of other magazines, have been raving about this, but I'm afraid I just don't quite share their enthusiasm for it. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing cheap or shoddy about Gyron. Technically it's awe-inspiring, and the graphics are nothing short of superb, unfortunately I just didn't find it particularly thrilling to play.

Stripped of the manual's pseudo-mystical waffle about gods and time and space, the plot places you inside either of two mazes - the Atrium and Necropolis - which are displayed using vector graphics. The mazes are patrolled by Celestial Spheres, fatal to the touch, and defended by Towers of Silence which can zap you to bits, but are vulnerable to attack from behind. To navigate the mazes you travel in a ship called a Hedroid, and the main part of the screen display represents the forward view from within the Hedoid.

As I mentioned, the line graphics as you move around the maze are excellent. The line graphics as you move around the maze scroll smoothly and without even a hint of flicker as they are rapidly redrawn. The Spheres that roll gracefully around the maze are also marvellously animated and when two or more cross paths it's astonishing to see how their individual outlines and patterns of movement remain so clear. From a programming point of view, the techniques employed to achieve this must be mind-bogglingly complex. The opening screen (don't blink or you'll miss it) features a sequence so well animated that it gave me a real start when I saw it for the first time.

Yet despite all this, I came to the conclusion that Gyron is really just another maze game, albeit a wonderfully complicated one. There's no real sense of achievement when you zap one of the Towers, and you only get one life with which to try and complete the enormous mazes, which made the whole thing seem a little futile after a few tries. And, after a while, one stretch of corridor looks very much like any other, no matter how well drawn, and it starts to get a bit monotonous.

I tried hard to enjoy Gyron, I honestly did. A vast amount of work has clearly gone into it and I feel a bit guilty dismissing all that effort, but my final view is that as an exercise in programming technique, Gyron is brilliant. But as a game it's rather dull. Sorry. C.J.

Once upon a time apart from Pinball tables the only arcade machines were one-arm bandits. What surprised me most was that programmers have elected to write one-arm bandit simulations for computers. As such, this program is not original and the simple question remains as to how it compares with the rest.

The format is quite standard.

The main segment of the display holds three reels which scroll up giving an impression of rotation. These reels carry the various symbols and fruit. To add to the options available, you have occasional options to hold reels, nudge reels and there is a bonus scale activated by number symbols on the reels. The bonuses offer extra nudges or cash. Each time you win some cash, you have the option to gamble. This either doubles or halves your winnings.

The cassette carries versions for the 64, VIC-20, C16 and Plus/4. This innovation is intended to make life simpler for the retailer. All versions were colourful with decent effect and scrolling.

The main problem with this sort of simulation is that you miss the whole point of one-arm bandits. The excitement of risking your own cash is missing. In an attempt to offset this deficiency, this game counts the number of spins you get for your allocated cash and this goes on a high-score table.

Overall Las Vegas compares very well against the opposition but in spite of this, it's not really that exciting.


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