Synyster Graves


by on Oct.06, 2010, under SEGA Mega Drive

Gynoug was a scrolling shooter on the Sega Mega Drive and was in a similar vein to other scrolling shooters of its day like R-Type. It centred around the protagonist, the Angel Wor, who fights off a demonic attack on the heavens. You have a standard twin trajectory flame attack, of which can be increased in frequency up to a 6 directioned attack by collecting blue orbs, and power and intensity by collecting red orbs. You can also collect feathers which help Wor fly faster and helps dodge enemy projectiles.

You also had a magic attack which you collected scrolls throughout the game and each different scroll gave you a different power. You could only have one power at a time and you had three slots for collecting magic. Grouping them together gave you more of the projectile based magic attacks and made them more powerful, or the defence based ones gave you a longer period of magical immunity. The problem with that is that you couldn’t sort your magic in any kind of order, you had to use it in the order you collected it and once you died, you lost your active magical power. But this would turn into a frustration later on as personally, I always found this game to be incredibly difficult.

The game itself is very unforgiving. Anything you touch will kill you instantly stripping you of all your powers and resetting your main shot intensity and frequency back one whole level. Similar to R-Type, there would be so many projectiles from the enemy at one time on the screen that it was nearly impossible to manouvre out of the way at times. As with most games of this era, gaining enough points to warrant an extra life was a challenge in itself and rarely happened. The game also had various cheap elements in it in the fact that your projectiles were limited to the outline of the level which did vary to make it more difficult, but the enemies projectiles could always traverse solid objects. This made dodging a whole lot harder!

The other point I’d like to make about this game was the bosses. They ranged from very easy to fucking impossible. The structure of the 6 levels always had a mid-level boss and a end of level boss. Usually it seemed to be the case that the mid-level boss was harder which to be honest is the wrong way round! It was the classic format of a giant behemoth of a creature which usually had a sporadic weak point which you had to shoot and cause it to flash like a photography expo. If you look at the image to the right you’ll the final boss from level 5. Is it me or does he have a very large, chitinous boner? How the HELL did that make it through the certification process?! I was about 10 when I first played the game and call it childish naivety but as an adult, I can’t ignore the fact that the boss has a large pulsating cock! Madness!

The imagery in the game is also very good and the concept artwork is excellent. It lends itself to being a very atmospheric game (not quite Silent Hill proportions, but very good for a 16-bit console) and the enemies are well designed and artistically brilliant. They do have a Rodin inspired feel about them and has a good evil aura to them, a bit like Gustave Doré’s sketches for Dante’s Inferno. The soundtrack too was excellent, and fit in perfectly with the game in its sequences, I’m probably going out on a limb here but could have been the foundation for my love of Power Metal as a child!

All in all, Gynoug was an excellent game for the 16-bit generation albeit it was bloody difficult. The game flowed well and the game was entertaining and challenging. To those of you who still have a working Mega Drive, I implore you to check this out. For the rest of us, I’d love to see this come out on Xbox Live Arcade.

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