A game for the Apple //GS
published by Sierra Online
and later ported to IBM. Developed by the same team who had created Thexder
a few years earlier.
In Silpheed, the player piloted a small fighter craft against wave upon wave of enemy forces. The game basically followed the paradigm created by Galaga and other games of its ilk, with a few exceptions:
First, while the action took place entirely in two dimensions, the player looked down on the action from an oblique angle, rather than from directly above.
Second, in Galaga enemies would swoop onto the screen, and then, if they survived, congregate in a Space Invaders type of formation. In Silpheed, the enemies flew onto the screen, flew around for a short time, then exited.
Third, as the player moved from level to level, new weapons would become available. The vehicle carried two weapons, one on either side, and these could be independently replaced with another available weapon between levels. The availabe weapons were:
- Cannon: Fired small energy balls in a straight line directly ahead of the vehicle. The basic (and weakest) weapon.
- Phalanx Cannon: Fired a wide spread of energy balls in an arc ahead of the vehicle, on the side to which it was mounted. Would also fire a seperate, smaller spread horizontally from the vehicle. While this weapon fired a wide spread, its rate of fire was low and a poor choice against enemies that could absorb a lot of damage, but a great choice against large swarms of weaker enemies.
- V-Cannon: Similar to the Phalanx cannon, the V-Cannon had a much higher firing rate and a narrower field of fire, making it a good all around weapon.
- Laser Cannon: The laser cannon was similar to the basic cannon, with a slower rate of fire but much higher damage per shot. A great weapon for dealing with enemies that could absorb a lot of damage, the laser cannon was poor against enemy swarms. The laser cannon was also apparently supposed to be very large, as it would appear as a small red line on the side of the fighter where it was mounted (remember, we're dealing with relatively low resolution graphics by today's standards).
- Auto-Aiming Cannon: The game's best all around weapon, but somewhat poor against targets that could absorb a lot of damage. The autoaiming cannon rapidly fired a stream of energy balls in the direction of any enemies in its field of fire - the 180 degrees on the side of the fighter where it was mounted. Mounting two of these guns resulted in a 360 kill zone, freeing the player to simply spray and pray while concentrating on keeping the fighter out of harm's way.
While these weapons worked best when employed in pairs, in the later levels it was often useful to carry one autoaiming cannon to deal with swarms and one laser cannon to deal with larger targets. One would try to keep the side of the ship with the laser cannon mounted on it twoards the edge of the screen, to allow the autoaiming cannon the maximum field of fire.