this port of tyrian to the ds has been getting a lot of my time. not because of tyrian itself. though we all love daniel cook‘s spritework and alexander brandon’s music, the game itself is really only a more-charming-than-average euroshmup. i’ve been playing opentyrian ds because it includes destruct.

destruct is a mini-game hidden inside tyrian. in the original game, you have to type “d-e-s-t-r-u-c-t” on the title screen to reach it. (on the ds, i can simply pick it off a menu.) it’s maybe the best (realtime!) take on scorched earth anyone’s ever took.

there are a bunch of different weapons that appear in the game, and they all play differently: the traditional cannon, which uses fast, weak “tracer” shots to mark a path to the enemy before deploying slow, strong “large” shots; the radar dish, whose electric blue lasers are unaffected by gravity and ricochet off the edges of the screen; the helicopter, the most mobile by far but the weakest and the easiest target; and the repulsor, which doesn’t itself fire but allows me to redirect my enemy’s own weapons back towards its guns.

(one of my little thrills in the game is picking the dish and sitting on the button, watching the sky fill with bouncing blue lasers, having no idea whether they’re going to end up on my side of the screen or my opponent’s.)

also charming on the homebrew ds is lone wolf ds, not just because it uses the “book” orientation of the ds but because its goal is to manage the “game” part of reading a gamebook, so i can focus on the “book” part. that’s what early crpgs were designed to do, after all: act as the gm of a single-player pen & paper game.

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