Silk Worm

-Tecmo (1988)

-Also on: NES


The Story:

The Greeks have been secretly building a massive military force to invade their neighboring countries as the Gods have commanded. It is the Gods will that the Greeks shall inherit the Earth… with helicopters. It was well known in Greek mythology that Zeus would one day tell his children to "get to da choppa," and that day has come. The Greeks have constructed a grand force of helicopters that Ares himself would be proud of.

It is time to take the battle to the Greeks' doorstep. This battle will be fought on two fronts in the air and on the ground. An advanced attack helicopter will take to the skies, flying like silk through the enemy forces. On the ground a lone jeep will worm its way through their defenses and catch the Greeks by surprise.

My Thoughts:

Silk Worm does something a little different with the side-scrolling shooter. The game gives the player a choice between using a helicopter and a jeep. The helicopter makes the game play almost like any other shooter, but it has an added diagonal shot that can take out ground based gun emplacements and tanks. The jeep makes the game more challenging and play quite differently. The jeep must worry about positioning its gun to shoot, attacks from airborne enemies and ground only attacks, and jumping land mines. The helicopter doesn’t have to worry about ground attacks, land mines, or positioning its weapon to take out enemies. The latter stages, seven and up, show that the game was made for two players because it is extremely difficult to get through them with only one player.

When I was a young lad and first played the game in 1988, I thought that being able to play as a helicopter or a jeep was so cool. However, when I played as the jeep and discovered how crappy it was and how much harder it made the game, I stuck to the 'copter any other time I played it.

The only weapon power-up in the game is a twin gun that turns your pitiful single shot into two pitiful shots. There is also a floating energy particle ball that can either be used as a shield or can be destroyed for a huge burst that annihilates all enemies on the screen.

The game designers seemed to have a penchant for helicopters as nearly every enemy is some sort of chopper. There are regular attack copters, upside-down copters, sideways rotor copters, cute mini micro copters, copters with oversized feet, copters that combine into a pterodactyl copter, and the big fatty boss copter. There are other enemies, like tanks, missile outposts and jets. Stage eight has an aircraft carrier in the background that hundreds of jets fly off and attack you. How can this many jets fit on a carrier? It must be some trick done by the ancient Gods.

When you approach a boss battle Zeus throws a mighty lightning bolt that blackens the sky. If you’re on an odd number stage you will face the fat helicopter while even number stages allow you to square off against a mega missile launching tank. It’s sad that the two bosses get repeated over and over. They become more powerful as you progress, though, and taking out the bosses in the latter stages is quite a task. They shoot an unlimited stream of heat seeking missiles which, on the big tank, block the only vulnerable point.

Silk Worm was also on the NES, but was not nearly as good as the arcade version, that is if you can really consider this that good.

Score: 6.0