Arcade Mode is one of the gameplay modes of Tyrian. Unlike the Full Story Mode, it plays more like a regular Arcade shoot 'em up. You are not able to upgrade your ship in between levels, instead, you must grab powerups throughout the game. The arcade game has roughly the same number of weapons to choose from as in the normal game. (Hint: Even more firepower is obtainable from a "Special Weapon" option.)

Front weapon power-ups are characterized by a blue ball with the weapon superimposed over the ball. Power-up the front weapons by getting numerous purple power up balls. Rear weapon power-ups look like red balls with a weapon icon superimposed over the ball. Power-up the rear weapon by grabbing the metal power-ups that flash green and red!

A Special Weapon can be acquired when either one of your weapons is charged near FULL capacity. The small ship indicating your level of power at the top left hand corner of the screen reads the number "8" when a weapon is near full capacity. Beware, when you are hit you lose power. While some of the Special Weapons can be fired continuously, others can only be used after they have had enough time to recharge. There are actually a huge number of additional special weapons which you can receive either during the game or through special codes.