Gryzor (Ocean) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


By Ocean
Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #38

Gryzor | PG | JR | GH | Verdict


The Durr invasion force from the Planet Suna has established an Atmosphere Processing Plant (APP) in one of Earth's unchartered regions. By bringing about another Ice Age, they plan to overrun the planet and capture its resources. As Lance Gryzor - a member of the Federation for Earth's Defences - the player faces the task of stopping them.

The game is divided into three sections, each subdivided into scenes. Each scene comprises a full-screen playing area, with an information bar at the top, which details both players' scores and the top score, the number of lives remaining (initially three), current weapon held and the level barrier status.

The first two sections comprise three scenes. The first push scrolls horizontally right to left through jungle terrain outside the APP, where aliens armed with rifles constantly patrol. In addition, emplacements launch bullets and mines are laid at strategic points - contact with aliens or their weaponry loses a life.

The second scene switches to first person perspective action as the player follows a map through heavily defended tunnels, attempting to destroy four emplacements within a 40 second time limit. Aliens run out from behind cannisters and launch grenades and sprays of bullets. Shooting these occasionally relinquishes bonus weapon cannisters. A life is lost if the time limit expires before the task is complete, or on contact with bullets and explosions.

The third scene pits Gryzor against the control room itself, which is constantly defended by alien guards and continually releases lethal bullet rounds. Completing any scene rewards the player with an extra life.

The final section contains two parts: in the first, Gryzor battles his way through the APP to reach the enemy mothership; in the second he fights his way to the mothership's heart to destroy it.

Gryzor is initially armed with a rifle: however, extra firepower is collecting by shooting weapons/stores carriers. When shot they release a weapons capsule, which gives extra abilities according to its marked letter: rapid fire, scatter gun (fires in three directions at once), laser gun (a rapid-fire, powerful blaster) and a barrier (rendering the player temporarily invulnerable).


Phew! Playing this conversion is almost as hard as Mr. Gryzor himself! Grown reviewers (well, me anyway) have been on the brink of tears as time after time they are beaten by an unexpected bullet or grenade, but still the urge to continue revenue.

The graphics aren't bad and sound is pretty mediocre, but the gameplay is addictive to the point of obsession. The variety within the three sections is very encouraging, and the different weapons are satisfyingly dangerous to Durrs, but it takes an awful lot of practice to make sure your commando doesn't lose his armament seconds after he's crossed a screenful of aliens to pick it up.

Two bugbears I would gripe about, though, are some slightly suspect collision detection, and the necessity of using the space bar to jump. I know I should have mastered this technique ages ago with Green Beret, but I didn't, and I'm afraid the most ergonomic way around this still eludes me.

If you don't have this problem, have no reservations over buying Gryzor. If you do have this problem, get the game anyway and cure it.


I haven't played Gryzor in the arcades - it never really appealed to me - but on the C64 it makes an excellent game. The difficulty level is set high, which makes for some frustrating play at first, but once you settle down and begin to make progress, the game really grabs you.

The first section is straightforward enough and allows you to collect an extra weapon (the laser is the best) but the action really hots up once you enter the complex and come up against the screen-sized defensive barriers and have to blast their (usually tiny) weak spots.

The frenetic pace hardly ever lets up, which gives a great feeling of exhilaration, and there's eight tough levels to conquer. My only niggle is that the space bar is used to jump, which is awkward when you're trying to destroy a target and dodge bullets!

Other than that, Gryzor is very enjoyable and challenging, and should keep even the most seasoned shoot-'em-up fan glued to his Commodore.


The difficulty level is a slight deterrent: however, once a pattern is established, the game takes an irresistible and compelling hold.

The programmers have managed to capture the spirit of the arcade original, resulting in some brilliantly frenetic action set across equally polished backdrops. The graphics are subtly coloured and detailed - although the animation isn't super smooth - and the sound is decent enough, with suitable laser and gunfire effects.

However, you barely have time to notice them snce much of the time is spent blasting and dodging. The game is full of neat touches - the range of available weapons, time limits, extra lives after completing a scene - and is ony marred by two aspects: using the space bar to jump (which is awkward in tight spots) and the sometimes ungenerous collision detection.

Despite these minor annoyances, Gryzor is worthy to be in anyone's collection.


Presentation 75%
One/two player option, helpful instructions and clear screen display, slightly marred by a sometimes awkward control method.

Graphics 81%
Captures the spirit of the arcade version: detailed and colourful throughout, with reasonable sprite animation.

Sound 71%
Music and sound effects together during play, both of which are polished, if not exceptional. The title track soon grates, however.

Hookability 81%
Difficult at first, but the frenetic blasting action soon takes hold.

Lastability 82%
Eight increasingly difficult scenes spread over three levels prove compulsive to play and tricky to crack.

Overall 86%
A challenging, neatly converted and enjoyable shoot-'em-up.

Gryzor | PG | JR | GH | Verdict