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Silpheed cover.png
Apple IIGS / DOS cover art
Developer(s) Game Arts
Publisher(s) Game Arts, Sierra, Sega
Designer(s) Takeshi Miyaji
Platform(s) PC-8801, FM-7, Apple IIGS, TRS-80 CoCo, MS-DOS, Sega CD
Release PC-8801
  • JP: December 5, 1986
  • JP: March 3, 1988
Apple IIGS, TRS-80 CoCo
  • NA: 1988
  • NA: 1989
Sega CD
  • JP: July 7, 1993
  • NA: 1993
  • EU: 1993
Genre(s) Shoot 'em up
Third-person rail shooter
Mode(s) Single player

Silpheed (Japanese: シルフィード, Hepburn: Shirufīdo) is a video game developed by Game Arts and designed by Takeshi Miyaji.[1] It made its debut on the Japanese PC-8801 in 1986, and was ported to the Fujitsu FM-7 and MS-DOS formats soon after. It was later remade for the Sega CD and has a sequel called Silpheed: The Lost Planet for the PlayStation 2.

Silpheed is the name of the spacecraft that the player controls. Like many shooter games, the story involves using the Silpheed as Earth's last effort to save itself from destruction by a powerful enemy invasion. The original 1986 PC-88 version used 3D polygonal graphics on top of a tilted third-person backdrop.[2] The 1993 Sega CD version later used pre-rendered computer animation as a full motion video background,[3] a technique previously used by the Namco System 21 arcade game Galaxian 3 and later the Sega CD version of Starblade.

Computer versions[edit]

The original Silpheed game was created for the PC-8801, and released on December 5, 1986. Another version for the FM-7 was released on March 3, 1988. In the same year, the game was brought to the United States for the first time by Sierra On-Line who ported the game to PCs and other platforms.

The storyline is that in the future (no date is specified, though 3032 is referred to as the date when an alien ship was discovered that led to rapid technological advancement and allowed humans to colonize outer space) a terrorist named Xacalite has stolen "planetary buster" missiles and a battleship named Gloire and the fleet is not close enough to Earth to get there before Xacalite destroys it, so the supercomputer Yggdrassil orders the experimental SA-08 Silpheed fighter to be used to destroy Gloire.

Sega CD version[edit]

The Sega CD port of Silpheed places polygon ships over a pre-rendered video background; this method is also seen in other video game titles, such as Namco's Galaxian 3 in 1990 and StarBlade in 1991, Sony Imagesoft's Bram Stoker's Dracula in 1992, and Micronet's A/X-101 in 1994 for the Sega CD.

The game's story concerns a space war campaign when terrorists—led by a man named Xacalite—hack into the mother computer of Earth, granting them control over all the space weaponry of the solar system. The Earth's only hope is a small fleet outside the computer's reach, provided with a squadron of SA-77 Silpheed dogfighters (referred to as "prototypes" in the manual for the PC version). In the ending credits sequence of this version there are cinematic animations of scenes depicting the fighters flying through stages in the game.


Review scores
Publication Score
CVG 85% (Sega CD)[4]
Dragon 5/5 stars (PC)[5]
EGM 30 / 40 (Sega CD)[6]
ACE 905 / 1000 (PC)[7]
MegaTech 94% (Sega CD)[8]
Mega 89% (Sega CD)[9]
Publication Award
MegaTech Hyper Game

In 1989, Dragon gave the PC/MS-DOS version of the game 5 out of 5 stars, concluding that "Silpheed is highly addictive, extremely colorful, and requires hours of enjoyable practice to master."[5] Computer Gaming World gave the same version a positive review, praising the original music for the game.[10] The British gaming magazine ACE gave the game a score of 905 out of 1000.[7] Compute! called Silpheed "classic arcade fun with a little more depth than you'll find in many action-oriented games", but criticized the simple sound effects.[11]

The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the Sega CD version scores of 9, 7, 7 and 7 out of 10. They said it is a "rather mundane" and "simple shooter" but the "game play is solid" and the backgrounds are "some of the most stunning visuals in a video game." However, they criticized the unimpressive bosses, mediocre powerups and especially the lack of interaction with the backgrounds as the game's biggest problems.[6]

Mega placed the game at #5 in their Top Mega-CD Games of All Time,[12] MegaTech magazine said the game was "undoubtedly one of the best games yet for the Mega-CD".[citation needed] This version of the game was a bestseller in Japan.[13]


A sequel was released, Silpheed: The Lost Planet, for the PlayStation 2 in 2000. It was developed by Game Arts alongside Treasure.

A space combat simulator game was released by Square Enix in 2006 for the Xbox 360 titled Project Sylpheed. It is not directly tied into the Silpheed storyline, but was instead billed as a spiritual successor.

In 2012, an app for Android, called "Silpheed Alternative: Menace from beyond the stars" was made, also considered as a spiritual successor. Like Project Sylpheed, it is a fully three-dimensional game.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Silpheed designer dies aged 45". Edge. August 1, 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Silpheed – Sega CD (1993)". Hardcore Gaming 101. August 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  4. ^ Computer and Video Games, issue 143, pages 44-46
  5. ^ a b Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (November 1989). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (151): 52–56. 
  6. ^ a b "Review Crew: Silpheed". Electronic Gaming Monthly (51). EGM Media, LLC. October 1993. p. 42. 
  7. ^ a b Minson, John (September 1989). "Silpheed". ACE (24): 59. Retrieved 22 February 2012. 
  8. ^ MegaTech rating, EMAP, issue 21
  9. ^ Review in "Mega" (13). October 1993: 29. 
  10. ^ Carter, Shiela (August 1989). "Samurai Space Pilot". Computer Gaming World. p. 22. 
  11. ^ Aycock, Heidi E. H. (September 1989). "Silpheed". Compute!. p. 60. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  12. ^ Mega magazine issue 26, page 74, Maverick Magazines, November 1994
  13. ^ Official Japanese Mega Drive sales chart, November 1993, published in Mega (magazine) issue 14

External links[edit]