Sopwith is a game where the player flies a sopwith biplane, trying to shoot down enemy planes and destroy all enemy buildings. It can be played in single player or in skirmishes against the AI.
Think about classics and tell me what comes to your mind. There should be Tetris, Space Invaders, Pacman, Sokoban, Alley Cat, Bouncing Babies and - YES - Sopwith.
Long before someone even thought about 3D flight simulators, we had one of the coolest flight games that still didn't loose any of its magic. Still today, over 21 years after it was created, there is a huge fan-lobby dedicating all their free time to building new levels and new clones of it. Even the developer, David Clark, still spends some time on improvments. Yes, Sopwith is a classic even though it was never meant to be a commercial game. It was programmed in 1984 to demonstrate the capabilities of BMB's new network product - later known as "Imaginet". Therefore it is today still impossible to play the original version in a multiplayer mode but David is still working on that.
The game itself is quite simple, but not too easy. First of all, I need to explain the not so intuitive controls: , (comma) makes your Sopwith go up . (period) to flip her upside down and / (slash) to go down. These are the controls from pilots view. When flying from right to left you somehow need to manage to think different, but after some time you give up and fly upside down instead. Additional keys are Z for throttle down, X for throttle up, H to return to base to refuel and reload ammunition, Spacebar for the onboard gun, B will throw a bomb and with S you switch the sound on or off. Ctrl + Break ends the game immediately.
When the game starts you can choose between two working game modes - Single Player and Single Player against Computer. To learn how to get around, take the first option. When you manage to finish the game in this mode easily, then try the computer opponent option. While you fly around on your own just bombing and shooting at static targets in the single player mode, in the computer opponent mode there will be an enemy aircraft. Beware! Your PC will shoot at you and try to kill you in kamikaze-style. So, while being chased by the enemy aircraft, you still need to destroy your normal targets to win the game - and that's hard work. To make it even harder, you do not have unlimited fuel, health, bombs or ammunition. So keep the bars next to the radar in mind and check from time to time. When you see that you are running low in any of these, hit the "H" key to return to base.
After you destroyed all enemies (all magenta coloured pixel-piles on screen), you win the game and romantically fly off into the sunset-horizon.
Oh, I almost forgot to tell something about the sounds in the game. Did you like the Space Invaders SFX ? Yes ? Hey, then this is your game - you will be amazed how real the engine, bombs and cannons sound. And prepare yourself for an astonishing effect when you are shot down or collide with something. For all the others (who do not like SI sounds) just use "S" to switch 'em off.
There is not much games that can cope with MY good ol' Sopwith. So be sure this is a 5-Points-from-the-reviewer game!
Two of the best-loved "cult classics" of all time, Sopwith and its much-improved successor, Sopwith 2 are classic CGA games that gave birth to the genre of flying-planes-to-destroy-stuff. Among the now-legendary gameplay, the original Sopwith even had multiplayer network options that took advantage of BMB Compuscience's "Imaginet" network product (As a matter of fact, the game was designed precisely to demonstrate Imaginet, according to the author).
So what is special about Sopwith and its sequel? The best answer is that both games are just incredibly addictive and fun. Sopwith is a side-scrolling biplane action game involving two sides: cyan and magenta planes. Your goal in single-player is to destroy all of the enemy buildings and vehicles, either by shooting, bombing, or colliding with them. To stop you, the enemy has deployed planes to shoot you down and buildings that shoot anti-aircraft fire at you. Each level ends when all the enemy buildings and vehicles are destroyed, and is followed by a faster and more difficult level with the same map. Despite being an arcade game, all the elements of a good flight simulation are included, including limited ammo, ground-based artillery, limited fuel, and a limited number of bombs.
What makes Sopwith legendary is the ability to handle up to 8 players in multiplayer mode (4 human and 4 computer).
The original Sopwith did not have much of a physics model, and the AI was quite weak. Sopwith 2 improves upon the original in various ways, including more intelligent enemy planes, more enemies (inlcuding pesky birds), larger explosions, deformable terrain, and a cool real-time radar and mapping feature. Best of all, Sopwith 2 was coded with an internal timer that allows the game to play at the same speed on modern Pentiums as on IBM XT computers (similar to Alley Cat).
With exceptional playability, simple controls, and many surprises, Sopwith and Sopwith 2 are simply must-haves for every arcade fan. Also be sure to check out Sopwith: The Author's Edition-- the definitive and best version of the game, released as freeware by designer David Clark in 2000.
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