Silkworm


by Random Access: Nigel Brown, Ned Langman, Barry Leitch
Virgin Games Ltd
1989
Crash Issue 66, July 1989   (1989-06-29)   page(s) 24,25

Despite the title, I can't find anything very silky (or wormy for that matter) about this game! It's a perfectly normal scrolling shoot-'em-up, in which you have to clear 11 levels of super-'ard pasties to liberate the planet and bring peace and by to the universe etc... etc...

To complete this 'awesome' task, what mighty ship are you given? An interplanetary battle cruiser with multimega laser cannons and hyper warp drive? Not quite. Instead, you get a helicopter and a jeep. Can't you see those alien meanies quaking in their boots? No, nor can I! Still, along the way, there's a multitude of extra armoury to be collected; including rapid fire, bonuses and shields. When the kill counter reaches zero the bits of the 'goose' helicopter fly on screen. Shoot them before they assemble, and you get an extra bonus item (if you're too slow, you only get one item).

As destruction games go, Silkworm is fine. It's definitely a bit easy (I completed it after a dozen goes), but if you find the normal level of blast-'em-ups too difficult, this one should be rewarding. The two-player option is brilliant (one takes control of the jeep and the other the helicopter) and increases the addictivity.

Nice graphics and excellent playability make this a good choice for the non-expert game player!

MIKE


'What can I say about Silkworm that you can't tell from the screenshot? It is another shoot-'em-up in the same style as 11-Type. All the graphics are nicely drawn and animated but there is a distinct lack of colour. Armoury's not that great either, you can only build up your weapons to double lire (wow!). There are some big nasties which help the addictiveness, but there's little variety. The two-player option is the game's best aspect, allowing real cooperation for advancement. Sound effects are of the bang-bang variety, with a military-style lunette on the front end. Silkworm is a decidedly average shoot-'em-up, with a primitive addiction that will only appeal to poor arcade players.'
NICK

Presentation: 73%
Graphics: 73%
Sound: 69%
Playability: 68%
Addictivity: 72%
Overall: 73%

Summary: Simple fun for arcadesters who requires little depth to their gaming.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 87, April 1991   (1991-03-21)   page(s) 50

Entertaining horizontally-scrolling two-player blasting affair. Viewed side on, with one player controlling a helicopter and the other a jeep. Lots of awesome weaponry and the game's quite addictive!


Overall: 72%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 43, July 1989   page(s) 54,55

We seem to be seeing some well spanky shoot 'em ups around at the moment, which is fine by me 'cos I'm pretty partial to a touch of senseless violence every now and again. Just look at this issue - Dominator, Forgotten Worlds and this one, which for my money is the best of the three. Want to know why? Nope! Um, well be like that. Hmm, just you and me left now, is it, Mum? Well, I'll just tell you then.

Silkworm is one of the licences Virgin/Mastertronic has picked up in its deal with the Sales Curve and it's a whole barrel of laughs. Not very colourful, it's true (all the sprites are monochrome, though some of the scrolling background areas are quite bright) but it's so fast and busy and full of all sorts of things going on that you hardly notice.

Basically it benefits from being based on a very playable and non-too ambitious coin-op (quite how I can get away with such rash statements is quite beyond me - I've never played it in my life) and reproduces all the various enemy craft and progressively more difficult attack formations very faithfully. It's a horizontal scroller featuring a helicopter (a nice little sprite which dips and swings very realistically, featuring a moving tail rotor) with two maim points of interest, the first of which is the bizarre assortment of enemy copters. Half of them are very organic, semi-alive looking, the most memorable of which is probably the large goose-shaped craft that forms together from various component parts in front of your eyes. Very hard to kill, this.

However, there are also froggish vehicles that hop along the ground, insect look-alikes that hover threateningly then buzz straight for you, and giant end-of-level monsters that Jackie insists look just like big goldfish. Blow one of these giant choppers fnar) and you get all sorts of bonus points and extra guns and stuff.

The other snazzy thing is that it's a true two player - it you've got a mate who doesn't mind being hunched over the keyboard while you sit back with the joystick, that is. While you fly the chopper he gets his mits on the jeep that cruises along the ground beneath you.

Basically your chum'll have a much rougher ride, because he's limited to tooling along on the ground and blasting things as opposed to having the whole screen area to duck and dive in. He can change the angle of his gun though and jump in the air at the jab of a button to either avoid tanks and ground objects or to get a different angle of attack on incoming aircraft.

Occasionally, you can work together quite effectively to clear the screen, at which point everything gets incredibly busy with bullets, missiles, tanks. choppers, jeeps and even Duncan's granny's garage thrown in for good measure. Brill fun.

My one real complaint was to have been that every successive level has pretty much the same sequence of enemy craft - just a few more of them each time - until I realised that this was total cobblers and a few levels into the game they throw a whole new assortment at you. Yikes! Don't let the fact that you can quite easily blast your way through the first few levels fool you - there's some tough, nicely designed and well thought out stuff in here. Sound on the 128K is spanky too, with some good bullet and metallic hitting noises.

One last thing - this game isn't to be recommended for anyone suffering from epilepsy. When you are near to killing one of the big end-of-level monsters the screen very quickly flashes black and white which made my eyes go all funny. Just thought I'd mention it.


Life Expectancy: 76%
Instant Appeal: 92%
Graphics: 85%
Addictiveness: 87%
Overall: 90%

Summary: Phew! What a spanky little shoot 'em up. Buy it!

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 62, February 1991   page(s) 50

Although Silkworm, sideways scrolling shoot-'em-up number 92150430702, is hardly the most original game on the planet, it certainly is one of the corkiest. The world is about to blow up and only you, dear reader, can stop it - by flying along in a helicopter and shooting things. And should a friend be coming round for tea then he or she can help by driving along in a little jeep at the bottom of the screen at the same time.

Everything is beautifully clear and moves around pretty convincingly (including your sprite). There are plenty of different baddies along the line, including other choppers, blobby things, funky little jobbies which join up in mid-air into a sort of goose, missile launchers, strange spikey things on the floor and a unfeasibly large chopper at the end of each level.

And it's blimmin' addictive, I can tell you, matey - I've just spent all evening playing the thing when I should've been writing this pesky review instead (ahem). Well worth three quid out of anyone's pocket (except for mine, of course).


Overall: 93%

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 88, July 1989   page(s) 26,27

Woooooow! Reactionary or what! Silkworm involves so much killing that I'm almost ashamed to tell you how great it is.

Look at the ingredients; Two players (one in a jeep and one in helicopter) a million enemy soldiers in tanks, helicopters, planes and gunships, power-up options and continual blasting action.

While Silkworm is a largely frills-free affair; not much colour, no complex bonus stages, its pitch of difficulty and sheer scale and escalation of violence make it stand out from the crowd of sideways scrolling shoot-outs.

The feeling of teamwork is really strong. You can make it on your own (fnar) but it's not easy. Half of the fun of the game is working out a strategy and setting up the chopper and the jeep in the most effective positions. I found it most useful to fly the chopper about half way up the screen, slightly ahead of the jeep. This way mines on the floor can be shot out. While the jeep can jump them, it becomes vulnerable to shots from enemy helicopters all the time it's airborne.

Each vehicle behaves in a slightly different way. Obviously the helicopter is in the air (yes, really) so its prime function is taking out squadrons appearing in the top right hand corner of the screen and providing cover for the jeep. Since its downward fire is quite limited, the jeep's task is to shoot out ground-to-air missile launchers. So far as I could tell, the helicopter gets a slightly better deal, since it can fend for itself to better effect than the jeep. Especially gung-ho and ruthless players will be able to exploit the defence offered by the jeep while hardly returning any support, thus scoring more points by concentrating on high-point-values enemies.

After a specific point, you'll be awarded a double-up token which will enhance your firepower, making the next attack more plausible.

After each wave of escalating carnage you'll encounter two end-of-level bad guys.

The first is a strange metal metamorphose affair which assembles itself before you eyes and then drifts around the screen blasting away like a demon. This guy is so heavily armoured only strategic shots from underneath will affect him. If you've lost the jeep by this point, you're in trouble.

The second is simply huge. No, sorry, HUGE! He takes up about half of the screen and fires bouncing bombs at the jeep and a continual stream of rockets at the chopper. If you beat this boy, you can be proud of yourself.

While it's easy to level lots of criticisms at Silkworm. Lots of the graphics are similar and it's true that, for the most part, the gameplay is pretty samey. However, it's easy to get going. Nothing complex or convoluted to get to grips with and the difficulty level is pitched perfectly.

The only problem is that if you are going to be successful, you really do need two players.

Aside from this, it's perfect. Tight, crisp and polished combat, a real feeling of teamwork and high-speed action. A Classic!

Label: Mastertronic
Author: Sales Curve
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jim Douglas


Graphics: 80%
Sound: 60%
Playability: 88%
Lastability: 86%
Overall: 86%

Summary: Fantastic team blast! Superb.

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 107, January 1991   page(s) 55

If you like fast-moving, mega-destructive shoot-'em-ups, you will be scorned and humiliated behind the bikesheds if you don't have Silkworm in your collection.

This is one of the few SEU's which go to the trouble of explaining the amount of sub-nuclear destruction involved; it's set in a future where nukes hove been banned, but you can go wild with any other weapon you fancy! The choice boils down to a mega-equipped helicopter or a super jeep, or in two-player mode you can control one of each. The chopper has two weapons systems - one fires forwards and the other diagonally downwards - and the jeep the opposite, so you can zap land-based or aerial targets. Hit a landmine and it releases a cloud of plasma gas; fly into it, and it will act as a shield for a time, protecting you from enemy missiles (very imaginative use of previously unknown laws of physics by the programmers). Even more unlikely, if two plasma clouds are on screen at the same time, you can collect the first then shoot or run into the second to create a smart-bomb style explosion. Uncanny! The backgrounds are minimal, the moving objects monochrome, but the graphic design is good and the animation smooth (though it does slow down jot when there's lot on screen). As you would expect, apart from the waves of helicopters, missile launchers, tanks and rockets, there are excellent end-of-level nasties. You might think that the goose-neck helicopters, which fly onto the screen in sections, assemble themselves them blast the hell out of you, are the nastiest nasties; in fact there are bigger and more vicious command vehicles lurking at the end, such as a super helicopter and a giant tank. It's greet, mon, as Gazza would no doubt say if anyone bothered to ask him.

Label: Virgin
Price: £2.99 Cass 48K
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins


Graphics: 78%
Sound: 66%
Playability: 89%
Lastability: 90%
Overall: 88%

Summary: Top hole spiffing blast-'em-up which all the chaps should bally well buy if they can.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 110, April 1991   page(s) 34,35

It's a stonkler, there's no doubt - you should be grateful to alive in a world where games like Silkworm cost only £2.99 (if you have the patience to wait for them to turn up on budget).

A horizontally-scrolling shoot-'em-up par excellence, Silkworm takes place in a world where nuclear weapons have been banned - which means that the conventional ones have become bigger, better and nastier. But this is not enough to make the commanders of the One Continent Alliance happy - they want an excuse to try out their toys (whoops, bit of politics there!)

Piloting an advanced helicopter (or ground attack vehicle, or both on two-player mode) your task is to smash the warmongers once and for all.

There's a time limit to complete each level, and time remaining at the end of a level is converted into Hero Points. Your chopper (fnar!) fires downwards and forwards: landmines, when shot, release a cloud of plasma. Fly into it, and it acts as a shield for a short period. If there are two clouds on screen, collect the first and shoot the second to create a smartbomb effect - very logical and realistic. I'm sure.

You'll enjoy shooting bits off the gooseneck helicopters, which fly onto the screen in sections and assemble themselves: and even more laughs are to be had with the giant helicopters and tanks which are the true end-of-level nasties.

It has to be said that Silkworm's graphics are more exciting than its gameplay, but if you like the things you're blasting to look pretty, at budget price this is one you really shouldn't miss.

Label: Mastertronic Plus
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £2.99
Program By: Random Access
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins


Graphics: 89%
Sound: 82%
Playability: 89%
Lastability: 92%
Overall: 90%

Summary: Wipe down your giant chopper (oo-er) and prepare for a blast which will really take it out of you. A classic of its time!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 119, January 1992   page(s) 40

Take one helicopter and a jeep, mix in a truckload of fast and furious enemies and what do you get?

(A rather strange car fun of Arsenal and Tottenham supporters and one huge fan on the roof -Ed)

No, actually it's Silkworm.

A stonking good shoot 'em up that stands the test of time well, Silkworm takes place in a futuristic nuclear free zone where XR3is and SRis are longer in vogue and jeep mounted blasters and helicopter mounted blazers are all the rage. The Jeep can shoot in two directions, forward and above. The helicopter has a similar spec except it's angled cannon shoots downwards.

The action is fast and furious. In two player mode one person controls the chopper and the other the Jeep. In single player mode it plays like lightning. The graphics are well drawn and although the sound isn't Jean Micheal Jarre, the sheer blast 'em up quality of Silkworm makes it well worth a look at.

Label: Tronix
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99
Reviewer: Big Al Dykes


GARTH: Silkworm is a fabulous shoot 'em up - even without the Tottenham supporters.

Overall: 83%

Summary: Pure shoot 'em up action in land or airborne form. A very fast shoot 'em up with lots of action and lastability. You won't put it down 'till you've finished.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 93, July 1989   page(s) 36

Amiga, ST, Spectrum
Spectrum £9.99, ST/Amiga £19.99

Wa-hey! It's wartime again, and as usual, you're in the thick of things, piloting your supercharged helicopter over land and scrolling sea towards the enemy's favorite nuclear reactor which you have to blow up. Luckily, you can bring a friend along, and while you tear through the sky, he chugs along the ground in a jumping jeep.

Both vehicles are armed with an unlimited supply of missiles (Silkworms?) which fire two at a time. As well as the usual forward fire, the helicopter simultaneously launches a rocket diagonally downward, and the jeep has a directable launcher in the back.

This being one of those "you against unassailable odds" sort of games, you and your jeepster chum are joined by the entire enemy air force as well as much of their armored ground forces. All sorts of weird and wonderful whirlybirds swoop about the airways launching heat-seekers at you, and on later levels jet fighters zoom at you out of a clear sky. Providing extra grief are goosecopters, which fly onto the screen piece by piece and can only be shot by dodging under the "head" and firing at the "neck". Pretty tricky when the sky is full of missiles which are locked onto your bum! If you manage to shoot the goosecopter it leaves behind an extra weapon - double firepower, speed ups, rapid fire the usual stuff.

Meanwhile, on the ground there are tanks, missile carriers which fire eight shots simultaneously, rocket launching robots, SAM sites and underground missile silos which fires ICBMs at you. The jeep is caused particular problems by land mines, but if the helicopter shoots them, they turn into sparkly clouds providing an energy shield for whoever picks them up. Shoot the cloud or pick it up when you already have a shield and KABOOMA! - it becomes a smart bomb.

Actually, it's loud noises like this that make the Amiga version really worth playing. Shooting anything produces the kind of sound effects that induce shell shock in the dog and give flashbacks to TV Vietnam veterans. Turn up the volume and the neighbours will think you're re-filming Apocalypse Now in your bedroom.

Graphics are equally slick - super smooth parallax scrolling and loads of neatly detailed sprites. I mean, the jeep even leaves a cloud of dust when it jumps for goodness sake! Even when the screen is packed out with pursuing rockets there's no loss of speed or smoothness.

Surprisingly enough, gameplay lives up to the presentation. A three-credits system should let any experienced blaster should through the first few levels without too much trouble, but after that things get very fast and furious. You can be dodging several homing missiles at once, blasting helicopters and watching squadrons of jets taking off from the deck of an aircraft carrier in the distance. "Action-packed" is a very applicable term and if Silkworm doesn't quicken your pulse, you must be in a coma.


Overall: 80%

Summary: Obviously lacks some of the visual and audio wonderments of the 16 bit versions, but the Spectrum version is a nonetheless a very playable and addictive blast.

Award: C+VG Hit

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 113, April 1991   page(s) 72

Mastertronic
Spectrum £2.99

A 'copter and an armoured jeep against the rest of the world is the setting for this brill conversion of the Tecmo coin-op. Neat graphics and a highly addictive nature ensure this is a definite must-buy for the magic budget price.


Overall: 88%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 20, July 1989   page(s) 43

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99

This 11-level shoot-'em-up in which an evil dictator is terrifying a peaceful country was well received a couple of issues back. The C64 Silkworm is certainly tough, even seasoned blasters will find the going difficult, but this is a good blast that whilst it suffers slightly from the Commodore's blocky graphics, is very playable. The Spectrum's largely monochrome works well with huge sprites and satisfying explosions, perhaps a touch easier to get through. It's still one of those games to go back to.


Overall: 77%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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