Silpheed was released for the Mega CD in 1993 and is a pseudo 3D space shooter with classic Galaxian style gameplay. It was one of a handful of shooters where players could customise their ships weapons.

The game is regarded as one of the better Mega CD titles on technical merit through the use of polygons in its graphics engine. Though this actually was piece of visual trickery, it nevertheless made for a very impressive looking game.

European Case
Silpheed European Case Silpheed European Case

Case Quote

"Sixty-four light years between the Silpheed and the terrorist stronghold on Earth. Are you just going to sit there?"


Silpheed DOS

Silpheed (DOS) - more detail below.

Game Arts

Silpheed was originally a DOS based game that was released in Japan in 1986 for Japanese PC-8801 format back in 1986.

This new Silpheed was developed in 1993 by a Japanese game company Game Arts. This company is renowned for their programming skills being able to push SEGA's consoles to their limits thus producing some impressive results. Prior to Silpheed, other titles from Game Arts were the acclaimed Lunar series of RPGs and beyond were Grandia for the Saturn and Grandia 2 for the Dreamcast, all of which are part of their renowned library.

At the time of the games release polygon graphics were only just beginning to be used in console games. This had been in the arcades for sometime but the technology was still rather expensive.

The most popular console game known to make effective use of polygons was Starwing a.k.a Starfox on the Super Nintendo and that was with the assistance of a co-processor dubbed the Super FX chip. Silpheed, however, does not use such a device and its graphics were seemingly ahead of Starwing.

This was achieved by playing back pre-rendered graphics in a background layer as each stage progressed. These graphics were of the same colour palette of the other objects as opposed to the murky full motion video (FMV) the system was accustomed to have shoved on it and stretched to consume the playing field with added interactively.

The only real polygons used in the games are the ships and associated objects. Nethertheless, they are real polygons and can be freely manipulated using the games polygon test feature.


In 3076 an unmanned solar space force fleet suddenly begins to attack colony planets. In the Greason System, the central photon computer that integrates and controls the entire galaxy's network on the mother planet Earth, is network jacked. A leader of a terrorist group introduced himself as Zakarte.

Survivors of both the Galaxy Union and the Colony Planets Fleet assembled their remaining forces to strike at Zakarte.

Their last resort, Silpheed - the tactical fighter craft - underwent drastic restructuring and reinforcements and began to counter attack. Their destination - the planet Earth - 64 light years away.

Zkarte - Cheif TerroristYour Silpheed Ship

Zkarte - Cheif Terrorist and the Silpheed Craft


The gameplay is basic shoot 'em up rules. You must shoot down as many of the attacking enemy ships as possible avoiding incoming fire and various hazards along the way.

You are a member of Topaz squadron consisting of these experimental ships. During flight, the squad members are in contact with each other. Listen between the general talk in the voice traffic for important information about dangers.

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Each stage scrolls a predetermined course. This could be through open space, across the surface of a planet or through a fleet of enemy ships. As you progress you will hear the sounds of activity around you. This could be battles between other ships in the distance or close flyby's with asteroids - though we all know in space you can hear nothing.

The D-Pad will move the ship around the screen. In a top-down view, you can move around approximately 80% of the screen in a roughly trapezium shape. Your ship will always move at the same speed unless you take damage.

Buttons A and C will fire your primary weapons. Button B will fire your Optional weapons. Holding these buttons will give you rapid fire which is quite helpful. Your primary weapons have an infinite amount of energy whereas your optional weapon does not.

All weapons are customisable. This is done at the end of each stage and available weapons are dependant on how many points you have. More detail below.

Your onscreen display will show your points, optional weapon energy and your shield status.



Your Silpheed ship

Your Silpheed Ship

Enemies scroll on the screen from all angles (eventually) and generally follow some pattern across the screen. Enemy ships come in various, shapes sizes and strengths. In addition, there are other objects such as missiles and traps which can not be destroyed by you.

Your shields can protect your ship against 6 hits of enemy fire or a collision with another ship or object. Your shield indicator is located at the top right of the screen. When you are hit you ship will flash and a unit of energy will be lost.

When your shields have failed you can take 2 more hits before your ship explodes. A hit with no shields will cause a system failure. This can be either a weapons failure or an engine failure. A weapons failure halves your offensive capability by taking half your primary weapons off-line and an engine failure makes your ship move at about half speed with sluggish/difficult control. The screen also shakes and alarms sound. This will continue until you gain a repair Power-Up or complete the stage.

Sheild Strength

Your ship explodes upon taking another hit. This then results in game over however, you have 2 continues. Upon game over you are displayed a stats of screen detailing what you accomplished in the game.

Game Over Stats Screen

The end of the stage is reached when the word "warning" flashes on the screen and you are alerted and then ordered "attack and destroy!" This will be an encounter with a larger enemy craft. In later levels some of these craft appear as part of each stage for extra difficulty.

Throughout the course of each stage Power-Ups will arrive. These are always in the same place during a game though their actual existence will depend on the difficulty setting of the game.


Power Ups

Power-Up Container

Throughout the course of each stage Power-Ups will arrive. These are always in the same place during a game though their actual existence will depend on the difficulty setting of the game.

All Power-Ups are contained within orange diamond-shaped containers. These must be shot open for you to access them. Beware these containers can also damage your ship should you collide with them.

Their contents could be one of the following:

1 Sheild Repair

1 Repair - Restores 1 unit of shield energy.

2 Sheild Repair

2 Repair - Restores 2 units of shield energy.

3 Sheild Repair

3 Repair - Restores 3 units of shield energy.

All Repair

All Repair - Fully restores shield.


Destroy - Instantly eliminates all enemies currently on screen.

Optional Weapon power up

Option Energy Up - Boosts power of your optional weapon.

Points Bonus

Bonus 1000 - Points.

Points Bonus

Bonus 3000 - Points.

Points Bonus

Bonus 5000 - Points.

Points Bonus

Points Bonus - 10000

Points Bonus

Points Bonus - 50000


Invincibility - Makes your ship temporally invincible.

When your shields are already fully repaired, additional repair Power-Ups will be reward 1000 points instead.

Customising Your Ships Weapons

The opportunity to assign weapons to your ship comes at the beginning of each stage after stage 1.

The more points collected the more weapons become available in your arsenal. For every 40,000 points you obtain an additional primary weapon and for every 50,000 points you acquire an additional optional weapon at random.

Select Your Weapons

Select Your Weapons

Primary Weapons

Assigned to Left Shot and Right Shot.

Primary Weapons - Left Shot /Right Shot
Forward Beam

Forward Beam - Fires a beam directly ahead. Your ship is outfitted with two of these by default on Stage 1.

Wide Beam

Wide Beam - Fires 2 beams over an arc of roughly 120o. These are pretty powerful when used on both left and right shot. The disadvantage is that they are short range and the timing of the spread can make you vulnerable.

Phalanx Beam

Phalanx Beam - Fires a beam in a V shape ahead. Two phalanx beams overall are powerful with a good range.

Auto Aiming

Auto-Aiming - A single beam that locks onto a nearby enemy automatically. Useful for keeping fire trained on bosses but less effective with many smaller enemies on screen.

Secondary Weapons

Your secondary weapons gain more energy as you shoot down more enemy ships. Energy is used when you fire or take damage, pickup optional weapon energy up Power-Ups and upon completion of stages. A good source of optional energy is the smaller asteroids that fly at you in clusters in Stages 2 and 6.

Option Energy
Optional Weapons
Graviton Bomb

Graviton Bomb - A short range plasma burst ahead of your ship that absorbs/blocks incoming enemy fire. Does very little damage as an actual weapon.


Antimatter Bomb - Launches a slow moving projectile in a straight line. This will do major damage to ships it impacts. Best used for bosses and large enemy craft.

Photon Torpedo

Photon Torpedo - Fires 8 tracking projectiles in different directions simultaneously. Useful for taking out clusters of ships.

Antimatter Bomb

E.M. Defence System - This creates a barrier around your ship blocking incoming enemy fire. This can sustain 3 hits from low power shots, 1 huge laser or collision before dissipating.

Options Screen

The very few game options screen can be accessed from the title screen. They are:

Options Screen

Options Screen

Game Level - You can set the games difficulty to either Normal or Hard. Hard mode reduces the amount of Power-Ups and continue credits to 3.

Music Test - Listen to each of the audio tracks of the game. Most of PCM and there are some CD audio. Press Buttons A, B or C to start or stop the music.

Sound Test - Listen to the sound effects of the game. Buttons A, B or C starts and stops the sounds.

Ship Control - You can adjust the controls for the game.

Polygon Test - You can view, zoom and rotate the objects in the game - that are polygons anyway.


There are 12 stages in total, 11 normal stages and a final boss stage. Below is a brief description of each.

Silpheed Screenshots Stages 1-12
Stage 01
Stage 01: Launch Stage 01: Carrier craft destroyed
Stage 01: Invicibility near by Stage 01: Boss

You and your squadron launch from your base in the Greason System and begin your 64 Light-Year journey back home to Earth.

Enemy ships have already reached the edge of the system. Soon after take off you are alerted to missiles incoming. They impact on the planet below devastating the surface.

Enemy forces have already reached the edge of the system. A carrier ship is ripped apart by huge laser beams. The graphics on this section are pretty cool and very impressive for the time.

Stage 02
Stage 02: Asteroid field ahead Stage 02: Enemies amongst the rocks
Stage 02: Bigger asteriods Stage 02: Boss

The squad must navigate through an asteroid field to reach the first wave of the enemy fleet. There are sudden course changes to evade oncoming objects. Some of them are huge and almost fill the entire screen.

In addition to the usual enemy ships, smaller asteroids storm onto the screen in clusters. These are a good source of energy for your optional weapons if a little risky to shoot down because of their speed.

Stage 03
Stage 03: Field of battleships Stage 03: Battles with huge lasers
Stage 03: More enemies lurk Stage 03: Boss

This is an assault on the first wave of enemy carrier craft. You fly at close range to huge carriers and battleships. Some will be engaged in combat with other ships so crossfire needs to be avoided.

Stage 04
Stage 04: On approach Stage 04: Crusier intercept
Stage 04: The laser turrets Stage 04: Boss

A huge fortress in space made up of hexagons. The surface is littered of towers with huge lasers mounted that fire as you approach.

The landscape splits slides away and reattaches as you fly through openings, tight corridors and turn sharp turns.

Stage 05
Stage 05: Normal space Stage 05: Warp speed. Crusier 1
Stage 05: Warp speed. Crusier 2 Stage 05: Boss

After defeating a few enemies you will accelerate to warp speed. Whilst travelling you will still be intercepted by waves of enemy craft including 2 larger ships. The photon torpedo is best used on this stage and there are no power-ups.

The smaller enemies on this stage can be tricky as clusters of them will de-cloak on the screen and try to collide with you. In addition the graphics of the warp field can be a little distracting when trying to evade incoming fire.

Towards the end of the stage you will emerge in the solar system near Jupiter.

Stage 06
Stage 06: More asteriods Stage 06: More ships, more lasers
Stage 06: An asteriod base Stage 06: Boss

To reach Earth you must pass through the Jupiter/Mars Asteroid belt. As before you will evade huge asteroids and clusters of smaller ones, however, several huge enemy battleships are located in this belt along with a heavily armed asteroid base. Other ships and bases send huge laser beams across your flight path and out into space.

Stage 07
Stage 07: Crusier intercept Stage 07: Traps in the memory core
Stage 07: Battle tank Stage 07: Boss

You descend into a computer core, fly through power cells and memory centres. Twisting and turning a plenty in this stage before causing the system to self destruct.

Stage 08
Stage 08: The battle rages Stage 08: A near miss
Stage 08: Evasion Stage 08: Boss

Both your fleet and the enemy fleet are engaged in an intense battle. Huge laser fire is exchanged between the battleships which you must avoid. Ships of all shapes and sizes explode in the distance.

You must get your squad through the fighting at all costs.

Again the graphics on this stage are quite impressive as your fly over the hulls of ships and they disintegrate before you.

Stage 09
Stage 09: Destinantion in sight Stage 09: Crusier intercept
Stage 09: Waves of ships Stage 09: Boss at Earth's Moon

Your encounter at The Moon is a twisting and turning affair. You dive over the cratered surface destroying enemy forces spewing lots of projectiles only to come back out and destroy more.

When the enemy stronghold is destroyed you proceed to Earth.

The rendering of the surface is quite detailed and impressive for the time.

Stage 10
Stage 10: Earth Stage 10: Crusier intercept 1 of 3
Stage 10: Crusier intercept 3 of 3 Stage 10: Boss outside Earth's Orbit

There are several large enemy ships flying around in Earth's atmosphere. You engage them over the sea's and mountain ranges.

Stage 11
Stage 11: The descent into... Stage 11: Laser defences
Stage 11: Moving power nodes Stage 11: Giant laser canon

The battle is almost over. This is the last complete stage of the game. You plunge into the station in Earth orbit holding the primary computer core of the galaxy's network.

It's a tough battle to the centre. Laser barriers, ships, tanks, trap and mines all await inside.

Stage 12
Stage 12: The terrorist battleship Stage 12: Targeting the weak point
Stage 12: Defensive satelites are deployed Stage 12: Satelites activated

Whilst the terrorist forces may have been destroyed and the system that they network jacked no longer be functioning, Zakarte's battleship (the terrorist leader) is still functioning and still destroying your ships.

This ship is heavily armed and various weapons have had no effect. As Zakarte prepares for a final stand the remaining members of your squadron engage the battleship for a final battle...


Stage Select

During the opening demo, just after the Game Arts logo, enter Down, Down, Up, Up, Right, Left, Right, Left, A,B then START. There will now be Stage Select on the title screen. Stage 01-12 are the stages of the game. 13-22 are the in game cinemas.

Hard Game

For an extra hard game, using controller two during the demo just after the Game Arts logo press B,B,A,C, Up, Left, Right, Down, C, Up and A. The game will start with 1 point on the score and will be much harder with no Power-Ups at all and 3 continues.

Extra Points

On the first round you can destroy the third missile that is launched at the planet. This will give you a handy 10000 points.

Optional Energy

A good source of optional energy is the smaller asteroids that fly at you in clusters in Stages 2 and 6.

Assignment of Optional Weapons

These are the options I have found effective for completing the game.

On all stages use x2 Phalanx Beams where possible.

For secondary weapons I choose the following:

Stage 01: N/A
Stage 02: Photon Torpedo
Stage 03: EMDS or Graviton Bomb
Stage 04: Antimatter Bomb
Stage 05: Photon Torpedo
Stage 06: Graviton Bomb or EMDS
Stage 07: Photon Torpedo
Stage 08: Graviton Bomb
Stage 09: Photon Torpedo
Stage 10: Graviton Bomb or EMDS
Stage 11: Antimatter Bomb (Use sparingly, save for next stage)
Stage 12: The game does not offer a choice but Antimatter bomb is most effective on the final boss.

Read Errors

Not really a tip but sometimes the game crashes with a read error and hands you an extra credit. This usually means your Silpheed disc needs a clean.


Silpheed (DOS 1986)


The original Silpheed also created a pseudo 3D world to play in. The mission in this game is similar - you must overthrow an evil warlord. Reviews suggest the game is quite challenging.

It can be downloaded for free at and at some other some of the DOS game preservation sites. In order to play, you will need a DOS emulator such as DOSBox.

Silpheed (PC DOS)
Silpheed (PC DOS)
Silpheed (PC DOS)

Silpheed: The Lost Planet (PS2)

Another Silpheed title was produced in 2001 for the Playstation 2 in a collaborative effort from Game Arts and Treasure whom are renowned for their efforts in the shoot'em up genre.

In this adventure you battle against an invasion from parasitic monsters sweeping across the known universe, devouring all the resources in it's path.

Silpheed The Lost Planet (PS2)Silpheed: The Lost PlanetSilpheed: The Lost Planet (PAL)
Silpheed The Lost Planet (PS2)
Silpheed Lost Planet (PS2)
Silpheed Lost Planet (PS2)
Silpheed Lost Planet (PS2)
Silpheed Lost Planet (PS2)
Silpheed Lost Planet (PS2)
Silpheed Lost Planet (PS2)
Silpheed Lost Planet (PS2)
Silpheed Lost Planet (PS2)

It retains the same gameplay of a scrolling shooter adding several new weapons and a bonus points system depending on proximity to enemy craft.

It is a reasonable challenge, though offering nothing remarkable in the genre and whilst not a sequel or a remake, it has many references to the Mega CD game including some of the chatter between the pilots of the squad.

It can be found fairly easily on Ebay for less than £10.

Project Sylpheed: Arc of Deception

Project Sylpheed: Arc of Deception

Released in 2006/7 for the Xbox 360, the next game in the franchise was developed as another joint effort of SETA (whom went out of existence in 2008) and Square Enix though Game Arts had more of a supervisory role. It was a spiritual successor to the previous games and was tipped to revive the shooting genre but failed to do so.

It is a space combat simulator breaking from the traditional scrolling shooter gameplay instead allowing players can take the ship in any direction in a vast open area. The campaign mode has 16 and extra downloadable content available from Xbox Live.

Project Sylpheed: Arc of Deception (Xbox 360)
Project Sylpheed: Arc of Deception (Xbox 360)
Project Sylpheed: Arc of Deception (Xbox 360)

It also has a focus on character development within the games story. The FMV cut scenes provide a weaving story with the action.

Unfortunately reviews of the game were not favourable. Most found the gameplay had very little depth whereas others had difficulty with the control system. Slowdown with onscreen action was also cited as a particular problem.

It can also be found for around £10. There is a playable demo on Xbox Live Arcade.

Silpheed Alternative: Menace From Beyond The Stars

It is another space shooter specifically designed for the Android Operating System and was released in 2011 created by Gung Ho Online Entertainment.

It has a refined version of the gameplay seen in the Xbox 360 game. Though the viewpoint is similar, the gameplay is more alike to an on-rails shooter similar to Rez with its lock-on firing system.

Reviews were favourable. The gameplay is good with impressive graphics and sound. The main issue cited is the game being short and can be completed quickly with little incentive to replay.

For more information, the official website is


Below is a list of the CD audio tracks on the disc. These are not actually used in the game because the in-game music is done by the Mega CD's sound chip.

#02 CD Audio of Opening Movie
#03 Stage 1 - Greason System
#04 Stage 4 - Asteroid Base
#05 Stage 5 - Warp Speed
#06 Stage 9 - Moon
#07 Boss
#08 Ending / Credits


This game can be played with KEGA Fusion, Gens and Gens32 Emulators. These can be downloaded from the Mega CD/SEGA CD Emulators page.

As with the many of Mega CD/SEGA CD games, the perfect synch option must be enabled.


The following cheats I have collected from SEGA Magazine and one or two websites over the years, however I can not get them to work on the PAL version of the game. Can anybody help/clarify?

Extra Continues

During the opening demo press Right, Up, A, B, C, Left, Left, Down, C, A and START. The title screen should afford you 10 credits upon Game Over.

Extra Shields

During the opening Demo, using controller one, press Right, Left, A, Right, Up, C, B, Down, Left, B, A, Up then Start. During the game should you find yourself with no shields but pressing A controller 2 will restore your shields.

Voice Test

On controller two press and hold A,B and C and then on controller one move the cursor to OPTIONS and then press start. The options screen will have sound test replaced with Voice Test. Allowing?


Download of the Original DOS Game

You can download the original DOS version of the game. You will probably need to have a DOS emulator such as DOSBox installed in order to run it.

PS2 Version Review


SEGA Mega CD/SEGA CD Feature

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