Blessed by the power of Game Arts, Silpheed is a classic in my mind featuring graphics that are still impressive well into the '90s, a challenge worthy of any shooter fan, and a unique soundtrack.
Graphically, Silpheed is a marvel, featuring mostly flat shaded objects with some textured levels thrown in as well. These aren't bland four sided objects either. These are superbly designed and colored models.
All of the background stuff you'll see (asteroids, large ships, etc.) is done through full motion video, meaning it won't ever change. Fortunately, all of the backgrounds are ingeniously designed, artistically oozing with quality, and make the game a million times more enjoyable.
Witness a huge intergalactic battle with giant cruisers and destroyers firing back and forth, smaller ships whizzing in between as the larger craft explode into a million fragments. Then you'll find yourself skimming across the moon, created realistically through maps from NASA themselves! The shear depth of the video backdrops is enough to buy this game.
Unlike most other full motion video games, Silpheed's enemies, as well as your ship, were placed on top of the video, allowing you to interact with them and move around on top of the video backdrops. This is what really sold Silpheed as a 3D shooter.
The gameplay offers you four different weapons that can be equipped on either side of your ship. For example, you could equip the spread shot on the left wing and the lock-on laser on the right wing. You also get your pick of four sub weapons that are all basically bomb attacks, one of which you'll need hundreds of to defeat the final boss.
While there may not be much to come back to in the way of secrets, Silpheed is definitely one of the classic games on the Sega CD. It's ingenious and artistic design combined with the action of a traditional shooter will forever have this game etched in my mind.
Graphics: Gorgeously designed models and locales
Sound: A unique but not always enjoyable soundtrack mixed with decent, but repetitive sound effects
Enjoyment: Zooming across the beautiful backgrounds and blasting enemies is a thrill a minute
Replay Value: Despite being a thrill to play there really isn't much to come back to
Silpheed for SEGA CD is a cosmetic update of the 1988 game of the same name, also developed by Game Arts and published to great acclaim by Sierra outside Asia. Although this SEGA CD version adds nothing to the gameplay, it's hardly cause for complaint since the original Silpheed is a Hall of Fame inductee on this site. It's still a vertical shooter, except that now the polygon graphics now look much better than the original, as Game Arts really took advantage of the SEGA CD's 16-bit and CD architecture. Although it's more of an isometric 2D game rather than a "true" 3D game, the polygon graphics are so extremely detailed that nobody should complain. The soundtrack leaves a little to be desired, but excellent cut-scenes more than make up for this.
The bottom line is simple: if you like the original Silpheed, you will love this high-quality remake from the same company. The excellent interface and gameplay remain intact in this incarnation. Be warned that it's still the same game, though - meaning a challenging shooter that is quite frustrating due to the high difficulty level. If you are up to the challenge, Silpheed for SEGA CD is a blast.
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