Silpheed: Super Dogfighter

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US MS-DOS box art.

Silpheed: Super Dogfighter is a scrolling shooter developed and published by Game Arts and first released in Japan on 1986-12-05 for the PC-88. It was published in the US by Sierra On-Line for Apple IIgs, CoCo, and MS-DOS. In the game, you pilot the SA-08 Silpheed prototype space fighter in an attempt to stop Xacalite from taking over the Milky Way. The game uses a pseudo 3-D perspective with dithered graphics which looks really impressive for the time.

My cousin had this game for his Tandy 1000 around 1990. I remember being very impressed with the game because it looked much more advance than the scrolling shooters I had seen before it. I especially liked the music. We weren't very good at it at first, but, as we honed our action game skills, we got better at it, and made it pretty far into the game. Later, as an adult, I tried to play the game again and got even further, about halfway through the game. I also finally got to hear the game with MT-32 music, which is fantastic.

Status

I do not own this game, and I have not beaten it.

Review

  • Overall: 5/10
  • Best Version: MS-DOS

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • The pseudo 3D look is very effective; the ships rotate and zoom neatly.
  • The red-gray palette was a good choice, and the use of dithering on the graphics is well-done and it really helps the illusion of 3D.
  • The game has really nice music. It's even more impressive on Sierra's port using the MT-32.
  • I really like the HUD which shows your shields, power-ups, and ship damage.
  • I love how, as you become damaged more, you lose functionality in your ship.
  • For a home computer game released in 1986, this was technologically ahead of its time.
  • I like how you slowly build up a collection of more powerful weaponry.
  • The game has some nice media. The intro and cut-scenes are attractive, the scrolling planet effect is really cool, and base stages are interesting.
  • I like how the very powerful laser weapon can reflect back at you on certain enemies, forcing you to reconsider its use on certain stages.
  • I like how the game lets you skip the stages you've already beaten on subsequent play-throughs.

Bad

  • The game is too hard. I'm a decent action game player, but I still can't get much further than half-way through the game.
  • The weapon upgrades aren't as big of a deal as they could be. The phalanx beam is too weak in later levels, the V beam's lack of forward power is difficult to get used to, the laser can't safely be used on certain stages, and the lack of control with auto-aiming makes it a burden when there are a lot of enemies or fast enemies.
  • You will see your last weapon upgrade around stage 10. After that, you're stuck with the same weapon options for the rest of the game.
  • Despite a fair amount of variety, the game is still pretty monotonous. You will exhaust the bulk of the game's media about a third of the way in. After that, you're just playing more difficult versions of the previous levels.

Ugly

  • Nothing.

Media

Box Art

Documentation

Videos

Titles

Language Native Transliteration Translation
English Silpheed: Super Dogfighter
Japanese シルフィード Super Dogfighter Shirufido: Super Dogfighter Silpheed: Super Dogfighter

Links

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