B a s i c I n f o
Title: Silpheed: Super Dogfighter
Developed by: Game Arts
Published by: Sierra
8801 MK / DOS
FM7 / Apple II
C o v e r A r t
P l o t
Taken from the game's printed manual:
year 3032, an abandoned space shuttle built by an unknown alien race
was discovered orbiting Pluto. By careful analysis, Earth's scientists
and engineers were able to duplicate it, making the colonization of
other worlds from overcrowded Earth possible for the first time. This
colonization gave rise to the Milky Way Union.
the brutal outlaw leader of a gang of interplanetary terrorists which
is already equipped with a large and powerful fleet of former Union
ships, has seized a newly-built battleship, GLOIRE, as the first step
in a plan to take over the Union. In a series of closely spaced
guerilla attacks, Xacalite's gang has raided several Union planets.
Now an emergency call has been received from the main defense base:
they are under attack by Xacalite, who needs the planet destroyer
missiles stored there to complete his plan. Taken by surprise, there
is no time for the Union to form a defense fleet. The supercomputer
YGGDRASSIL has decided the best chance for defeating Xacalite is for
YOU to attack GLOIRE alone in a Super Air Fighter SA-08 Silpheed
prototype, which has just passed its initial function tests. Itís up
to you to acquire weapons, get past the enemyís fighters, battle the
GLOIRE and save the Union."
O v e r v i e w
Silpheed: Super Dogfighter was launched in Japan in 1986 to the NEC PC 8801, a very popular
personal computer at that time. Developed by Takeshi Miyaji and Hibiki Godai (both of them also responsible for Thexder, an very known game for
those who had and MSX and that made a great success worldwide), Silpheed
became known because of its innovative graphics, fun-factor and
specially its soundtrack.
that time most of the shooters utilized layers and sprites to "render" the
enemies and scenario (Konami's awesome Nemesis / Gradius being the biggest
example that comes to my mind). Silpheed ventured itself on polygons, that combined
with the "tilted" game plain gave the player sensation of depth -
objects closer to the bottom of the screen are bigger, while objects far
ahead (and closer to the horizon) becomes smaller. In truth, you could only move your ship to the same directions as a top-view
Some stages even featured backgrounds that slowly moved towards the
player, enhancing the 3D sensation.
The game also supported different
configurations of video (Tandy, CGA, EGA, MCGA and VGA - that's 640x400
pixels!) and could even achieve 16 colors on the screen. Pretty
impressive, believe-me! To spice things up, the game rewarded the player with different types of
weapons according to his score, and offered the possibility to equip
different weapons on each wing, adding some kind of strategy and replay
value. Some weapons were better for some stages and its own waves of enemies.
This, and the shield system (where when you get hit, you lose part of
your shield until it's gone - if this happens, your ship will get
weapons or engines failure - get hit again you're gone) would became the
norm for the series mechanics.
Above: and you believed
Star Fox was original...
Silpheed, alongside few other titles at that time, had a great soundtrack -
a feature that was also used to sell the first commercialized computer
soundcards (AdLib/SoundBlaster and Roland MT-32). At that time, most games
had its sound effects and music "beeped" through the computer cabinet
speaker. Those who had an dedicated soundcard could listen to the soundtrack
- which greatly contributed to experience. Don't believe me? Well, just
listen to the samples:
sound effects were fairly simple and an awful digitalized voice (it's 1986) complemented the audio department.
stages you had brief cutscenes (sometimes longer) showing your ship
docking to refuel or just passing by some planets. It's a nice detail
that tries to keep the player's attention, since the experience is
somewhat repetitive (the game is 20 levels long, but have only four
different background scenarios that repeats itself).
didn't originally played Silpheed on the computer (at that time my dad had a
MSX, which received Thexder but not Silpheed), but from what I could see it
was a great game to its time that have found a place into people's tender
Overview originally written in 2010. Updated in 2012.
T r i v i a
The plot says that Xacalite "stole missiles capable of destroying entire
planets", but you never get to see those in-game. However, I believe
that they're shown on
the first stage of Silpheed on the Sega CD (which doesn't mention them on
its plot, but the pilot refer to them as "L-type" missiles ), and also get a bigger screentime on Silpheed: The Lost Planet.
The Silpheed PC-88 release had two hidden minigames on the disk. One is a
text-based game, and the other is an ASCII-based vertical shmup. You can see
While the SA-08 was redesigned for the Sega CD title (launched 7 years
later), mostly enemies were reused.
S c r e e n s h o t s
Since I didn't managed to install/play this
game on my computer, I borrowed some screens from