ZX Spectrum Games

ZX Spectrum Games

18 Jan 2011

Spectrum Games - Silkworm - Classic ZX Spectrum Game

ZX Spectrum Silkworm
The 'prequel' to arcade classic game SWIV (which I looked at last week - check out SWIV ZX Spectrum) was a very good conversion of the popular arcade game by Tecmo in 1988.

Once again I am looking at the ZX Spectrum version (emulated on a +2 machine with AY sound) and the Commodore Amiga version at the same time - see my Amiga Games blog if you want to compare them for yourself.

Anyway, arcade conversions were all the rage on the Speccy, and to be fair this was a good conversion of a game that was way beyond our beloved 8-bit hardware...

Silkworm ZX Spectrum - Loading ScreenAs most of you will know the coolest aspect of the game was being able to play as a helicopter or a jeep (more difficult) and also the two player co-op mode, with one player choosing a vehicle each.

The game featured decent enough scrolling (although we had seen better with the likes of Green Beret, Hysteria, Uridium and Cobra) and to be fair the sprites matched up to the arcade version about as well as could be expected on the Spectrum.

All of the classic arcade game features are in here: large bosses to overcome, weapons powerups, enemies that would 'pop up' and surprise you... the list goes on.

The dual fire was especially great for wiping out hordes of bad guys, the heli and jeep could cut a swathe through the enemy targets with ease.

Silkworm ZX Spectrum The sounds effects (on the AY chip) were decent enough and suited the game nicely.

As you progressed through the game the background scenery did not change a great deal - it was the ground that the jeep rolled over that was altered on each level. I suppose the developers were limited and concentrated on gameplay - I can understand why.

The enemy sprites changed as the game progressed though giving the game some degree of variety. The game did have the 'self assembling' enemy helicopter (that was pretty damn cool in the arcade game) which could be destroyed for weapons powerups.

Playing as the helicopter was generally regarded as being easier than playing as the jeep as the latter would have to destroy or jump over obstacles in it's path.

Also, when playing in two player co-op mode each player had to 'cover' the other which made the gameplay more interesting and imposed a small tactical element to the proceedings.

For instance the helicopter could only fire forwards, so the jeep would have to cover the rear with it's swiveling gun turret. However, when covering the rear the jeep was vulnerable from frontal attacks, so the helicopter would then have to provide covering fire for it.

Saving your best pal was a great laugh and almost made you feel like a combat expert. :-)

All in all Silkworm is a true classic arcade game that was converted very well to the Speccy when you consider the hardware. For me there are better scrolling shooters to play, but it is still a good example of how to develop a horitzontal shooter correctly.

GENRE: Arcade Game (Side Scroller)
RELEASE DATE: 1989
RELEASED BY: Virgin Games
DEVELOPER(S): Random Access
PRICE: £9.99 - UK (£2.99 on re-release)

Classic Arcade Action:
video
Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games

4 Jan 2011

Spectrum Games - SWIV - Classic ZX Spectrum Game

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...

SWIV - ZX Spectrum 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.

Despite the lack of colours SWIV on the ZX Spectrum was very playable

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.


On Release:
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:
video

Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games

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