Let's Compare ( SilkWorm )


1. Arcade 0:40
2. ZX Spectrum 3:40
3. Commodore 64 6:39
4. Amstrad 9:38
5. Nintendo Entertainment System 12:38
6. Atari ST 15:37
7. Amiga 18:34

Description Source:

Silkworm is a classic side scrolling shooter, developed by Tecmo and first released for arcade in 1988. In 1989 it was ported to the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and NES (1990) systems by The Sales Curve and released by Virgin Mastertronic.

Silkworm also spawned what many consider to be a spiritual successor to the game – SWIV. While SWIV was not a direct sequel, it followed the same core gameplay design of a helicopter/jeep team, albeit as a vertically scrolling shooter instead of a horizontally scrolling one. SWIV was described in the game’s manual to mean both “Special Weapons Intercept Vehicles” and “Silkworm IV”.


Silkworm had interesting graphics and relatively fast-paced gameplay. The player can take control of a Jeep mounted with a machine gun or a Helicopter mounted with forward and downward firing guns. Two players can work simultaneously and cooperatively against enemies, with one playing as the Jeep and one as the Helicopter.

In single-player mode, it is generally easier to play with the Helicopter than with the Jeep, but it can be more fun to play as the Jeep. As the Jeep, the player needs to destroy everything directly in front of it or be prepared to jump in order to avoid collisions. In two-player mode, the Helicopter and Jeep must cooperate, and the players depend on each other to succeed. For example, the Helicopter can only fire forward, so occasionally, the Jeep must cover the rear with his swiveling gun. However, when covering the rear, the Jeep is vulnerable from the front, so the Helicopter must cover him.

Silkworm featured a fairly wide variety of enemies, some of which had specific weaknesses, such as the armoured AA guns that could only be harmed when their shields were down to fire. Most famously, there was the “Goose” helicopter – a giant, heavily armoured “mini-boss” helicopter that was composed of several smaller vehicles that connected together.

The players collect shields (which could alternatively be shot by the player in order to destroy all enemies on the screen), power cells which increase firepower and an additional bonus can be added to the score achieved. The game gets harder on the completion of each level. The game employed some destructible environmental elements, such as buildings and ancient ruins.

The speed was one of the defining parts of the gameplay, which the programmers who worked on the home conversions were keen to preserve, using a variety of programming techniques. One element that required work was the control system (the arcade original had three buttons, whereas most home systems had just one), but this was solved without much problem.

Silkworm featured a background music theme composed by Barry Leitch, which went on to be a minor cult hit, being included on a Sinclair User covermounted cassette, along with such classics as Shinobi and Continental Circus.

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  1. I had this back in the day on the Amiga A500, the graphics were same as the atari ST yet without the laughable sound affects.
    I miss my amiga at times.
    Awsome machine.

  2. Please make "Let's Compare ( SWIV )" as a spin-off of Silkworm.

    1. ZX Spectrum
    2. Amstrad
    3. Commodore 64
    4. MSX
    5. Gameboy Color
    6. Acorn Archimedes
    7. Atari ST
    8. Amiga
    9. Genesis / Mega Drive ( Mega SWIV )
    10. Super Nintendo ( Super SWIV )
    11. MS DOS ( SWIV 3D )
    12. Windows ( SWIV 3D )

  3. I've only played the arcade and nes versions of Silkworm.
    I still remember it was a very hard difficult game and a huge learning curve you have to adapt,the memorization of enemy and boss patterns is a chore in which you are in survival mode the whole time with limited lives.

  4. Amiga port is better than the arcade. Was ported in 89 as well.
    SWIV is amazing too, it loaded as you played as well.

  5. For me, the best version is not Arcade, but Amiga !
    Because it's more intense, more fast, and the sound is impressive, the gameplay is dynamic !!!

  6. The Amiga version of this game is great, the graphics aren't as nice as on the Arcade. But I love the sound effects on the Amiga version, I just to crank up the bass and volume when playing this.

    But I have to note that the Amiga port was designed for 50hz, it appears to be running at 60hz here, so it is a little too fast.

  7. Loved the Amiga version, so many hours were poured into it. I loved the extra sound effects in it too (which were later recycled for SWIV). All round a superb conversion.

  8. Great video, as usual.

    I think: Amiga > ST > CPC > Spectrum > C64 here (not counting the 'consolised' NES version). I was also amused that, at the end of the level,  the Jeep scored higher than you on the Amstrad version.

  9. The Amstrad version along with the speccy's is by far the best. THe worst is (as expected) of the Atari S(hi)T….

  10. NES version is my favorite due to having music and SFX. watching the other version were so painful due to just having sfx that I almost fell asleep after a while. Another awesome comparison vid. Love these.

  11. I love the fact the helicopter you play is Blue Thunder in tan and in level 2, you shoot at Airwolf clones in green

  12. How come arcade machines were SO much more powerful than any console or PC at the time? I mean, not a single version of this game comes remotely close to the arcade version.

    Also, thanks to Gaming History Source for these videos. I really appreciate the work that goes into these and enjoy them very much. Thanks again!

  13. Quite interesting to see how the many versions of this game turned out. After all, I've only known it from the NES. So surprised that they seemed to have opted for no music in most cases.

  14. One my all time favs. Back in the day, Amiga ALWAYS had the best ports… I wonder what happened to them? (I'm too lazy to research it :D)

  15. C64 version sucks! it's fairly close to the arcade visually but the tiny sprites, thank god I owned a CPC back then.

  16. One thing always bugged me with the CPC version, because even though it's good, you can't seem to just play as the heli without the jeep. Nice and concise this LC. great.

  17. The Amstrad CPC version is excellent!… except for the slowdown. The Nintendo version is also pretty neat, but it kinda sucks compared to some other NES shooters like Gun-Nac.


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