SWIV ZX Spectrum
Now this is a classic arcade shoot em up across a variety of retro computers.
I am looking at the ZX Spectrum version and the Commodore Amiga version at the same time here - have a look at my Amiga Games blog to make the comparison yourself - the article is at SWIV Amiga.
The Spectrum was treated to this in 1991 - the twilight years of the machine. This classic game proved that there was a little life left in the old dog as it tried it's best to keep up with the 16-bit powerhouses that were now the gaming hardware of choice...
This game was the follow up to the reasonable popular arcade game Silkworm, which was again regarded a classic title for the Amiga, and a 'good' game for the Speccy. I reckon that this beats the arcade conversion of Silkworm in terms of graphics and playability.
Once the game was loaded up you were treated to a nice piece of menu music (especially if you had a Spectrum 128)
The nice AY music on the games menu:
So, this game was of the tried and tested top down vertical scrolling variety and one that played along quite nicely.
In case you are or were wondering back in the day, SWIV stood for Special Weapons Interdiction Vehicle and allowed you to play as a helicopter gunship or as a fully armoured battle tank. Most players tended to go for the heli option.
Each vehicle had it's own advantages and disadvantages.
For example the copter did not have to avoid any ground based obstacles but could only fire in the direction it was flying (forwards).
The tank could crash into pot-holes and buildings, but you could rotate it's field of fire. Super duper!
It could also jump over some of the ground based obstacles - but you had to watch for jumping into enemy air units.
The graphics in this game could in no way match those of the Amiga. The developers rightly went for a monochromatic look allowing decent sized sprites to scrolled smoothly across the game zone and gun emplacements to pop up sneakily from the ground.
Tall buildings cast shadows on the ground giving the game a nice sense of depth but unfortunately enemy air units did not come complete with shadows.
All in all the graphics and sound effects were functional and allowed the game to move along smoothly and most important be playable.
The game was further enhanced by the two player option. With one as the heli and the other as the tank it was great fun blasting away at the bad guys, plotting your route as you went.
The usual arcade game power ups were there to be had such as triple fire, shields, multi-cannons and so on.
This game was highly anticipated prior to release. It was nearly up there with the 16-bit versions but just fell short. Just. Still, it was a very playable and worthwile shmup. Arcade gamers loved it and rightly so. It was a big hit for the ZX Spectrum in it's later years.
The Test Of Time:
I have to say playing this one again was a lot of fun. It's still playable and challenging and is up there with the better shoot em ups on my beloved Speccy. Simple to pick up and play, SWIV is classic gaming from the early 90's.
We recommend getting hold of the real hardware but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download SWIV for the ZX Spectrum. You may even be able to play it online.
GENRE: Arcade Game
RELEASE DATE: 1991
RELEASED BY: Storm Software
DEVELOPER(S): Ken Murfitt, Tahir Rashid, Steve Snake
PRICE: £10.99 - UK
Classic Arcade Action:
Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games