Silpheed Stress Test – Part 1

Silpheed CoverSilpheed
Sega CD, 1993
Developer: Game Arts
Publisher: Sega

In my recent Time Gal writeup, I posted a link to the official throne room of Subspace Briefcase. I expected it would engender a few laughs. What I did not think it would engender, though, was a challenge. Mere moments after my Time Gal post went live, I received the following message from some shadowy ne’er-do-well:

challenge

Apparently this reader (1) really likes looking at pictures of bathrooms, or (2) has some reservations about my game playing acumen. Sir, in case you haven’t noticed, this is a VIDEO GAME site. To challenge my ability to conquer a mere VIDEO GAME is to challenge my ability put food in my lizard’s mouth. Griselda and I will not suffer this lightly, and I DEMAND SATISFACTION – which I will obtain by absolutely demolishing Silpheed in mere minutes.

Silpheed (Sega CD) - Introduction Screenshot 2015-05-27 20-37-43

Silpheed was one of 25 random Sega CD games I purchased on eBay for $30, and subsequently neglected to play for weeks on end. You can read the last post for all the exciting details on that transaction. All that aside, I was not unaware of Silpheed prior to having my shooter skills besmirched. It’s well-known for having the finest “polygonal” graphics on the Sega CD. Just take a look at this intro:

“Good God,” you say, “that could almost pass for a PSX game. How did they do that?” Well, the truth is, they didn’t. While the player’s ship and enemy combatants are nothing but polygonal goodness, the backgrounds are actually video footage. Video footage deceptively rendered to look like polygons rendered in rendered in real-time, but video footage nonetheless.

So, Silpheed is a technical achievement, yeah. I heartily recommend that you read all about it here. But I’m not here to praise it. I’m here to crush it. Probably doesn’t matter that I suck at shooters. Probably doesn’t matter that I don’t have my teenage reflexes anymore. How tough could this possibly be? Bring on Stage 1!

Nailed it on the first try! Sure, took a few hits, but the shields stayed intact. Kill me to death. HA. Barely made a scratch!

My reward for besting the first stage? A brief cutscene wherein I am told that I’m out to stop some fat guy in a dirty trenchcoat and a cut rate Geordi LaForge visor who has “networked jacked” the computer which controls the….

Silpheed (Sega CD) Clip 2 Screenshot 2015-05-28 20-27-07
Max Headroom has really let himself go. Go EVIL, that is.

SNORE. I need no reasons. I AM DEATH INCARNATE. STAGE 2. GO.

Silpheed (Sega CD) Screenshot 2015-05-28 20-36-30

Oh hey, wait, a weapon select. Looks like I’ve got some choices here. Choices which I WILL NOT BE TAKING. I shoot forward and no other way. It’s the code of the space cowboy.

Hey, as far as “asteroid field” levels go, that one was pretty intense – and pretty good looking. Damned if it wasn’t visually confusing, though. It was nigh-impossible to tell which asteroids were in the foreground, and actually capable of damaging my ship. Thankfully, I had all that beautiful digitized speech to direct me in the right way. Also, please note that the boss actually ran away. Some might take my failure to destroy it as a sign of weakness; I choose to take it as the game recognizing my skill. YAWN. STAGE 3.

Well come on. If you aren’t going to refill my shields, how am I supposed to beat the level on the first try? That’s just cheap. Stupid cheap game. And where were those chatterbox buddies of mine this level? In Stage 2, it was “watch out for that giant asteroid on your left.” Now all they have for me is “there’s too many?” If there’s too many, why don’t you get off your radio and help me out, chump? BOGUS.

Silpheed (Sega CD) - Stage 3 Gameplay Screenshot 2015-05-28 21-05-39

Hey, at least I took down 0002 masses over 400001 pounds before I went out. Okay, Silpheed. You may have killed me, but you haven’t killed me to death. I will be back. Probably next Thursday.


Played on original hardware, upscaled to 720p through a Micomsoft Framemeister. All footage and screens captured through an ElGato HD60.

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