REVIEWS COURTESY OF ZXSR

SWIV
by Random Access: Ken Murfitt, Tahir Rashid, Steve Snake
Storm Software [2]
1991
Crash Issue 87, April 1991   (1991-03-21)   page(s) 50

It's time to reach for your dictionaries because we can finally tell you what SWIV stands for! Not Silkworm 4 but Special Weapons Interdiction Vehicles (or the destruction by military force of all enemy units!) And take it fram me, the bullets fly when you alone take control of a jeep or helicopter, or join forces with a mate.

There are four levels, each split into a number of zones. The first two levels contain two zones, whilst three and four have four zones each (so that makes... erm, 12 zones in all!). Of course, each zone is different, but the buddies are all intent on trashing your zillion-dollar vehicle and killing you in the process. Attackers include tanks, jet fighters, missile launchers, helicopters and the lethal Goose 'copter (from Silkworm), as well as the end-of-level mechanised guardians.

After sorting out who controls what (everyone wants the 'copter!) you can get down to the action. The screen scrolls vertically, with the main section of enemy forces dropping down from the top of the screen. A few sneaky tricksters zoom out at you from the sides of the screen, so you really have to concentrate, especially when the bullets, sheets of fire from flame throwers and enhanced Silkworm IV homing missiles start flying!

Both vehicles have their own strengths and weaknesses. For example, the jeep's main problem is negotiating the obstacles placed in its path. But at least in two-player mode, both vehicles can cover each other's backs, and to aid them in this task there are bonus icons.

The first icon is a bubble which can be picked up to provide a shield or shot to create a smart bomb-style explosion that destroys all attackers. Each time you destroy a Goose 'copter, an icon appears which can be shot to provide either increased firepower or an extra life.

So, there you have it: destroy the enemy forces before they trash you - although several million to two aren't very good odds.

The first thing that struck me about SWIV is the sheer speed of the action. It's a long time since I've seen sprites zip around the screen as fast as this.

But that's not the only surprise in store, because the graphics are as stunning as the scrolling. Okay, they're mainly monochrome, but the attention to detail on both the mobile and stationary sprites is little short of brilliant (if they stay still long enough to study!). And like Storm's previous CRASH Smash, Saint Dragon, playability is as high as the technical wizardry. Despite what misery-guts Nicko says, SWIV is completely ace!

MARK ... 90%


'What can I say about SWIV that I haven't said in countless other reviews? It's basically just another shoot-'em-up. Unless you're a big fan of shoot-'em-ups, one-player mode can soon head towards Dullsville. SWIV is better than many of the other games around because of its two-player mode. This enhances the gameplay considerably and makes it much more fun to play. As each player can run into and shoot different things, a great team spirit is created. SWIV is one of the best two-player shoot-'em-ups about, but its magic doesn't hold over a one-player blast.'
NICK ... 76%

Presentation88%
Graphics89%
Sound82%
Playability83%
Addictivity80%
Overall83%
Summary: A spectacular two-player blaster (if you've got a chum), not so sizzling as a one-player game.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 65, May 1991   page(s) 14,15

Right then, who's for a quick flutter? I'll bet you 10 candy cigarettes and a packet of Love Hearts you've got a copy of Silkworm lying in your bedroom cupboard somewhere. Go on, have a look. (We are of course talking 'timeless classic' here, and as big a barg as you could every buy for £2.99.) So - was I right? Ha! You're too kind, you really are. (Gobble.)

And judging by the look of Storm's long-awaited second game (their first since St Dragon) I reckon it's odds on they've got a copy too. You see, SWIV is not only a rather corking shoot-'em-up - it's also a simultaneous 2-player thingimeebob which sees you and a mate taking control of a helicopter and jeep and blasting the red silk stockings off loads of unsavoury space spooks. In other words - just like Silkworm! Hurrah! And it's almost (not quite, but almost) just as super spiffingly good! Let's take a gander...

WHAT A LOVELY PAIR!

Right then, depending on which vehicle you choose you can do different things. It you fancy zooming everywhere at the flick of a fingernail (it's a vertically scroller by the way, as opposed to Silkworm's horizontal stuff) then you're best off with the chopper. He's a whooshy kind of chap, but sadly only ever fires in one direction (ie up).

The jeep on the other hand is much more your John Travolta showy-offy type. Although he's got to get round buildings and things (which makes him rather harder to control, and easy pickings for walls which squash him to pulp at the bottom of the screen) he can swing and twirl and blast away in any direction he bally well wants to. This means that you can nip him behind enemy gun posts, dashly flip 90 to one side, smile sweetly at the poor little prat whose life your about to terminate, and blammo! Fried sucker sunny side up!

So just imagine the double-trouble firepower you're going to inflict when you get a mate round to team up with you and join in the fun! Caramba!! Not that they opposition's going to be a pushover of course. In fact here comes an onslaught of them right now. Eek!

There's swooping fighters, tanks, boats, gun turrets, bullet-spitting metal balls and even some seek-out-and-destroy Silkworm IV homing missiles (which spin round on the screen for absolute yonks and suddenly poke you up the botty when you've forgotten all about them). It's a nighty! And that's just the small fry - about two-thirds through each level you get faced by this creepy wasp-looking fighter plane (which lunges at you every so often, and leaves behind a handy ammo-boosting icon - very Silworm-ish) and then at the end there's a different humongous gun thingy to cope with! (Well, they jolly well scared the boxer shorts off me anyway!)

FUNKY FABAROONS!

So what's the gen? Well, basically, as I said above, it's terribly, terribly good. The smoothness of the action and the graphics are first class - everything whizzes and scrolls without the slightest jerky hiccup, and the design of the baddies and some of those backgrounds (ghost towns, desserts, airstrips, grassland, bits of the sea etc etc) are really state-of-the-art. The explosions are nice and 'crunchy' too and really look the something's being blown to poop. (In fact, I'd even say that it's better than the Amiga version in some bits. Praise indeed, eh?)

But the real funky dread is the 2-player option. I don't know about you but if these simultaneous player things are ever any good I always end up experiencing an almost spiritual sense of kinship with the partner I'm playing with - no matter how much I usually hate his guts. Such was the relationship I had with James until he got shot to ribbons and I realised what a talentless wimp he was. Yep, Spec-chums, it's that good. (And better!)

Or is it?

AHEM

You see, despite all this fawning praise I must confess to having a small handful or less-than-vague reservatios about SWIV.

First off, I'm worried about the size. It's only 4 levels deep, and I'd jumped up onto the second one within about 20 minutes of starting the first. (Not that I got back to it for ages, but I'd managed it all the same.) That really took me by surprise.

Second, when you do eventually get onto the later levels you find that the enemies are very similar to the ones before, only harder to kill.

And, thirdly, although I've mentioned that the graphics backdrops are truly scrumptious, they do tend to gobble up the action sometimes and leave you squinting you at the screen to see what's happening. (I had to turn the colour down on the telly at one point because the red was so fierce and distorting.)

Cripes, eh? Can this mean that SWIV ends up shortchanging itself and tilting just the wrong side of 90'? Or that it runs the mile only to falter before the finishing post? Well, luckily, no it doesn't. Usually a set of grumbles like that would do some serious damage to a game (and it certainly does knock its score down), but this is one of those mischievous little blighters that screams and squawks and shouts for you to give it a Megagame even before you've picked it up out of its box, and keeps up the volume regardless of the niggles and moans.

With 2-player mode action and graphics like these you're not going to be wasting your money. It's got serious style and it's as addictive as hell. And for a company that's only on its second game that's some pretty mean achievement. So go out and buy it.


Life Expectancy83%
Instant Appeal92%
Graphics95%
Addictiveness90%
Overall90%
Summary: Addictive and very good-looking shoot-'em-up. It's not perfect, but it's still the biz.

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 133, March 1993   page(s) 19

There is a choice between a jeep and a helicopter, the jeep being the more difficult of the two since there are obstacles on the ground to avoid which the helicopter just flies over. In two player mode, with one player on the ground and the other in the air the game is just amazing. It is fast and furious with classic shoot em up action. The graphics are clear and well defined and with very smooth vertical scrolling. To begin with you are armed with a single cannon and there are power ups along the way giving you extra lives and more firepower. Good graphics and great action, Swiv is probably one of the best two player shoot outs available for the Speccy.

Label: Kixx
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Mark Patterson


Overall85%
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 112, June 1991   page(s) 26,27

SU GOLD

When SWIV a into the office it's reputation had preceded it. As soon as you take the clear plastic tape out of the box you know you're in for something special. "A masterpiece" and "the most beautiful graphics in the Universe" were just two quotes on the back of the box, and YES it is the Spectrum version!

SWIV is a two player vertically scrolling shoot 'em up. You can choose to wage war from the air (in the guise of a helicopter) or from land (in a spritely jeep). The choice you make is vital as it gives you two distinctive styles of play. The helicopter is able to fly over ground and therefore is unhindered by surface objects whist the jeep must drive around trees (or jump over them!), avoiding walls and other structures. The price you pay for the chopper's flight advantage is that your field of fire is restricted to straight ahead. The jeep, however, can shoot in all directions.

Graphics are truly mouth watering with large detailed sprites and sound to match. I can't recommend this enough. If only a third of Spectrum software was up to this quality the Amiga would not have been invented! I kid you not. Sheer genius produced this for the Speccy. Do it justice and get out your wad!

Label: Storm
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £11.23, £NA Disk
Reviewer: Steve Keen


GARTH SEZ: It's joystick wrenching, all American heroes with their hearts and minds cookin' full tilt boogie in this all-action, no compromise blast 'em up!

Graphics95%
Sound85%
Playability95%
Lastability75%
Overall94%
Summary: Utter gaming excellence, with the simultaneous player option the thrill is complete. Play with a friend and use the helicopter and the jeep at the same time to produce some wicked cross fire.

Award: Sinclair User Gold

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 131, January 1993   page(s) 36, 37

Modern combat is a complicated affair. You must be able to compete on both land and in the air if you are to triumph. So it's just as well that SWIV allows you to dominate both with a pair of smooth operating fighting machines!

Basically you take the part of either an 'Apache' pilot or an armoured jeep commander and wade through fields of enemy fire destroying other helicopters, gun emplacements, tanks, airplanes and gigantic insect like installations. All the time trying to avoid gunfire, guided missiles and powerful lasers. Sounds like a lot? it is! Sounds like fun? It is.

Your heli or jeep starts off with a relatively simple single shot cannon but power ups are available which provide either extra life or extra fire-power and if you collect enough of these you can end up with a completely formidable fighting machine.

The jeep is much more difficult to be successful with because it has to constantly avoid obstacles and enemies on the ground while the helicopter simply flies over them. However the game is at its best in two player mode where you and a friend can control both fighting machines at the same time. The result is usually devastating.

SWIV is a fast paced shoot 'em up, very competently put together and with neat, easily definable graphics and very smooth vertical scrolling. If you want some real joystick wrenching fun you won't beat this game at the price, or at any price for that matter.

Label: Kixx
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Steve Keen


ALAN: This game is definitely an all time classic shoot 'em up on the Spectrum. If you haven't already got it I would suggest you put on your boots, oil your bike, rev up your car, or whatever you usually do when you're about to break open your piggy bank and nip off to your local software emporium. Simply go and get it right now.

Graphics95%
Sound86%
Playability94%
Lastability81%
OverallNot Rated
Summary: I'll be darned if this isn't the spankiest two player shoot 'em up I've played on the Spectrum. The graphics are crystal clear, the gameplay is fast and furious and the difficulty is set just about right. Super game.

Award: Sinclair User Best Budget

Transcript by Chris Bourne

All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB