SWIV 3D is a fun follow-up to SWIV, a classic Amiga overhead shoot-em up which was in turn the sequel to Silkworm. Games Domain said it all about the appeal of this vastly underrated gem in their review: |
"Instead of the top-down view of the original, you get a proper 3D view, from behind whichever vehicle you are controlling, which looks damn good. And you're no longer stuck with flying one way, towards a fiery death. You can now roam all around a 3D landscape, in whichever direction you want. Imagine Magic Carpet with missiles, and you have some idea of what SWIV 3D is like. To complicate things, it's no longer a case of mindlessly blasting whatever comes towards you. You now have a number of objectives which must be completed. These are mainly of the 'seek and destroy' variety, which have you nipping around the landscape, taking out an enemy installation, before flying off to your next objective. A compass is provided, automatically pointing to the direction of the next objective, which avoids any embarrassing stopping for directions.
In SWIV, you picked whether you wanted the helicopter or the jeep at the beginning of the game, and were stuck with that one. In SWIV 3D, you change modes of transport throughout the game; you start off in either the helicopter or the jeep, and there's usually a point somewhere in the level where you can change over to the other. This adds a tiny bit of strategy, though not enough to deter shoot-em-up freaks. The helicopter is fast, with a wide turning circle, and can move from side to side, to avoid incoming missiles. This means you can usually get away with flying over a base, letting loose your weapons, and zooming over a hill before the enemy can retaliate.
However, there is one related gripe I have, and this is the only thing I could find wrong with the whole game; the helicopter and the jeep share the same shields. If they had had separate life bars, it would have given you a reason to change crafts till you could find more energy. It's not all that annoying, though. Among the weapons, you have homing missiles, smart bombs, napalm, and a smart bomb. The last one unleashes a nuclear explosion, which sends a shockwave across the ground, taking out most things in its way. You can take weapons from one level to the other, and you'll need them too.
SWIV 3D is fun to play. It has that 'just another go' factor, and the difficulty is pitched just right. While you might get your arse kicked the first time, you'll find better results on every attempt. In conclusion, I'd like to say that SWIV 3D is an excellent game, easily one of the best shoot-em-ups available. Get it, or regret it."
Note: Make sure to get SWIV 3D Assault, the 1997 update that offers 3Dfx graphics and native Windows 95 support.
Reviewed by: Underdogs