Platforms: Apple IIgs, Fujitsu FM-7, IBM PC/Compatibles, PC-8800 Series, TRS-80 Color Computer

Also Known As


Main Genre:
Gameplay Style:
Sci-Fi / Futuristic


IBM PS/2 (MCGA) version of Silpheed
IBM PS/2 (MCGA) version of Silpheed
Silpheed is an action game developed by Game Arts and originally released in 1986. It was initially available in Japan for the PC-8801 computer and later was ported to other systems including releases in the US by Sierra On-Line in 1988. The game is an arcade style shooter featuring 20 levels of gameplay.


The the year 3032, and abandoned alien spacecraft is discovered beyond Pluto. By analyzing the craft, Earth's scientists are able to recreate its technology allowing for the colonization of numerous worlds; this gave rise to the Milky Way Union. An outlaw known as Xacalite has been raiding Union planets; additionally, Xacalite has seized GLOIRE, a large battleship, with plans to take over the Union. It has been determined by the supercomputer Yggdrassil that the best plan for defeating Xacalite is to fly a new prototype ship, the SA-08 Silpheed, into battle to get past Xacalite's fighters and finally destroy GLOIRE.


Silpheed uses 3-D polygons to render the graphics and is viewed from behind the ship with a tilted perspective that gives a sense of depth. Players can move Silpheed around the bottom two thirds of the screen while it flies continually forward. During each of 20 areas in the game, various types of enemies continually attack. Enemy ships can be shot with the Silpheed's weapons, while some additional obstacles need to be dodged.

The Silpheed is equipped with shields to protect against attacks and collisions; each time the player is hit, the shields deplete a little. Once the shield is gone, the Silpheed will sustain damage from additional collisions; if hit three times without shields, the ship explodes and the game is over.

Silpheed's Weapons

At the beginning of each battle area (except for Area 1), the player can select two weapons, one for the left side of the ship and one for the right. Initially, only the forward beam weapon is available; After every 50,000 points earned, a new weapon will be available for either the left or right side.
  • Forward Beam: A basic, forward firing weapon that is available at all times.
  • Phalanx Beam: Simultaneously fires five shots forward and two to the side. The rate of fire is slower than other weapons.
  • V-Beam: Fires two shots forward in a V pattern.
  • Laser Cannon: Fires a narrow laser forward. It is more difficult to hit targets with the laser, but it is more destructive. Some enemies encountered in the game have shields that reflect the laser back.
  • Auto Aiming: Finds and targets enemy ships and other obstacles automatically. Auto Aiming isn't as useful when too many targets are on the screen, such as in an asteroid belt.

Power Ups

The capabilities of the Silpheed can be improved by collecting power ups. In any type of battle area except for Above Planets, red, asteroid like Golans will appear from time to time; if shot several times, they release a power up which can be collected. The following power ups appear in the game:
  • (W) Weapon Power Up: Increases the power of the ship's weapons.
  • (S) Speed Up: Increases the Ships speed.
  • (F) Automatic Fire: Allows weapons to be fired at a rapid rate by holding down the fire button.
  • (B) Set Barrier: Creates a barrier around the ship to protect it from enemy fire. The barrier is not effective against collisions and is destroyed when the ship collides with either an enemy, asteroids, and other obstacles.
  • (A) Asteroid Belt: Puts three protective asteroids in orbit around the ship. The asteroids are effective against both enemy fire and collisions and will disappear after they take too much damage.
  • (D) Destroy: Destroys all enemies and other objects that are on the screen.
  • (H) Shield Advance: Restores the ships shield by one level.
  • (I) Invincible: Makes the ship invincible for a set period of time. Bonus points are earned for destroying enemies by colliding with them.
  • (N) Point Bonus: Earns bonus points.
  • (R) All Repair: Fully repairs the ship, including replenishing the shield fully and fixing malfunctioning parts. The exception is Speed Up, Automatic Fire, and Set Barrier which are not restored.

Battle Areas

The game consists of 20 battle areas plus a final battle at the end with GLOIRE. Each area has different types of enemies, with each enemy having different attack characteristics. At the end of each battle area, the player needs to destroy a large enemy ship before continuing to the next area. There are four different types of battle areas, each with different theme and type of challenge. The types of battle areas are:
  • Space: The most common type of battle area is open space. Many mid-sized battleships are encountered here. Numerous power-ups can be obtained.
  • Above Planets: Above planet areas have no power-ups available making them more difficult. The surface of an alien planet is shown as a backdrop for these battle areas.
  • In a Fortress: Many Robayan class enemy fighters are stored here and need to be destroyed. The fortresses each feature narrow passages to fly through; if the Silpheed is caught between a fortress wall and the bottom of the screen it will be destroyed regardless of shield level.
  • Asteroid Belts: Numerous, fast moving asteroids appear here along with heavily armored enemy satellites. With a high weapon power level, an asteroid can be destroyed with 4-5 shots however it will often be better to dodge them.

Music and Sound Effects

Silpheed is often noted for its extensive, high quality soundtrack. In the PC version, various sound cards are supported for the soundtrack. The specific cards that are supported vary depending on the version of the game — see the technical specs page for a listing of sound hardware supported. Sounds effects, however, are always played through the PC's internal speaker making them somewhat limited. The exception to this is in Version 3.2; this updated version of the game was bundled with the IBM PS/1 Audio Card and added digitized sound effects support specifically for this card.
Silpheed illustration.


Platform: IBM PC/Compatibles
Executive Producer: Ken Williams
Produced by: Yoichi Miyaji
Directed by: Takeshi Miyaji
Designed by: Takeshi Miyaji, Hiromi Ohba, Osamu Harada
Original Score Composed by: Mecano Associates, Fumihito Kasatani, Nobuyuki Aoshima, Hiromi Ohba, Hibiki Godai
Programmed by: Gary Butts, Jim Heintz
Music Development System by: Stuart Goldstein
Music Editing by: Mark Seibert
Art by: Satoshi Uesaki, Nobuyuki Ogawa, Akira Eye
Documentation Translated from the Japanese by: Mickie Lee
Additional Documentation by: Bridget McKenna


Click on a picture below to view a larger version.
Tandy 1000 Silpheed
Silpheed running on a Tandy 1000 HX


Instruction Manual


Product catalogs, magazines, flyers, or other documentation Silpheed has appeared in.
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