Silpheed (Sega CD, 1993) Video Game Music Review

Silpheed (Sega CD, 1993) Video Recreation Music Assessment

Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s every day hangout for folk who love video video games and the cool-ass sounds they make. I hoped to jot down a quickie at this time, however Silpheed is so fascinating that wouldn’t have executed it justice. Able to blast off? (Spaceship metaphor.)


After I was a child my shit-filters weren’t but calibrated, so when a well-liked gaming magazine mentioned that Sega had a Sega CD-based Star Fox killer within the works that pushed “500,000 polygons” and used “advanced fractal geometry” to “calculate and draw the lights and shadows” my creativeness ran wild. It gave the impression of my fancy however underserved Sega CD was about to host the next-gen, 3D, go-anywhere flying sport of my desires. Signal me up!

In actuality we bought Recreation Arts’ 1993 Silpheed (playlist / longplay / VGMdb), a relatively fundamental vertical shooter that pulled the intelligent trick of layering a small variety of real-time polygons (your ship, plus enemies) over pre-rendered CG backdrops. With Silpheed presentation actually was every little thing, and you already know what? It principally labored. As bland because the capturing was, feeling like my lone fighter was swooping via superbly minimalistic, flat-shaded polygonal house scenes felt uniquely thrilling. The sport had legit cinematic aptitude.

Silpheed’s heroic, pressing soundtrack loved numerous excessive factors, too, and like the remainder of the sport, was really fairly uncommon from a technical standpoint. Right here’s a pattern, pun barely supposed:

Recreation Arts / VintaGamers Paradise (YouTube)

You could be considering, “That doesn’t sound like CD audio!” And it positive isn’t. Whereas redbook music was seen as an enormous draw of early CD-based video video games, it took up a ton of disc house and launched different technical challenges, so a good quantity of CD-based video games really used their consoles’ built-in sound chips to generate some and even all of their music. Generally that’s a bummer, since you’ll be taking part in a TurboGrafx CD Ys journey, digging its hovering Falcom rock rating, solely to enter a city and discover some thin-sounding chiptune tinkling away.

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Silpheed struck a greater stability. One of many hardly ever touted developments of the Sega CD was a complete further sound chip, the Ricoh RF5C68, which augmented the Genesis’ customary 6-channel YM2612 FM and 4-channel PSG with eight extra PCM voices. That’s a lotta channels, and Silpheed employed these PCM samples extra freely than most video games, utilizing them as the first devices in lots of songs. (The opposite sport that famously made intensive use of Sega CD’s PCM was Sonic CD, in its “past” phases.)

The ensuing sound is definitely not CD-like, however an fascinating combine of modest-quality samples—the Ricoh solely had 64KB to work with—and lo-fi FM (plus presumably PSG?) grit. This chip-based method was most likely essential in Silpheed’s case as a result of the Sega CD’s extremely gradual 1x pace disc drive (solely 150KB/s!) was doubtless maxed out simply streaming the sport’s FMV backgrounds. These movies most likely didn’t depart a lot disc house for large redbook tracks, both.

Anyway, that’s a lotta phrases to convey that Silpheed was a technical outlier in some methods. Fortunately, its designers and composers had been as much as the duty. Try the intro sequence:

I dig nearly every little thing about it: the flat-shaded however substantial 3D fashions, the earnest, critical voiceover, and most of all the way it pays off with that extremely heroic, nearly romantic theme. Nice strategy to begin an Earth-saving mission.

Soundtrack highlights embrace the primary stage’s intention-setting, gallant “Scramble,” stage 3’s tense “The Huge Battle Mother Ship,” Stage 4’s frantic, unrelenting “Fortress Under Construction” (very cool stage to see in movement!), and Stage 5’s “Subspace” (I really like that digital “hiss” it harnesses at a number of factors). Stage 7’s “Mobile Fortress(frantic once more) definitely leaves an impression, Stage 8’s oppressive “The Great Armada” may very well be an R-Sort monitor, Stage 9’s “Surface of the Moon” is a magnificence throughout, and Stage 12’s “Giant Battleship” is one heck of a ultimate boss lead-in and struggle theme. Lastly, the cinematic scene earlier than stage 2 has an actual cool vibe (extra stable voice appearing!), and the ending, plus credit…that’s what I’m speaking about. Couldn’t ask for a extra triumphant, stirring payoff for the heroic leitmotif established approach again within the intro.

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All informed, it’s an actual good soundtrack that completely syncs with and performs off of every stage’s remarkably cinematic visuals. Most video games credit score “directors,” however maybe you could possibly argue that Silpheed’s filmic qualities required its creators to suppose extra like filmmakers than most sport designers had needed to up ‘til that point. It’s not a very nice shooter to play, but it surely’s an actual cool shooter to expertise, when you comply with my distinction.

It’s difficult to truly get a full soundtrack for this sport. The uncommon official launch (embedded above) is kind of an organized album, plus is lacking some tracks (and contains one brand-new one). Gamerips (reminiscent of the primary embed) fill that hole considerably, however maybe because of the sport’s audio complexities, are likely to screw up some side or different. The Silpheed disc additionally contained six mildly enhanced redbook tracks that you could possibly play in a CD participant. They weren’t used within the sport…only a bonus I assume! All informed, Silpheed’s music is scattered in all places in various qualities, and it’s all a bit of complicated.

The sport’s not, although. It couldn’t be extra fundamental. However the journey’s in some way wild sufficient—and the music so pleasing—that you simply may not thoughts.


That’s a wrap for at this time’s Morning Music! Within the immortal phrases of Darth Vader, “I’ll try spinning. That’s a good trick!” (Little non-sequitur for you there.) Say hello within the feedback, and we’ll see ya tomorrow!

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