Two of the best-loved cult classics of all time, Sopwith and its much-improved successor, Sopwith 2 gave birth to the genre of flying-planes-to-destroy-stuff. Aside from the now-legendary gameplay, the original Sopwith even had multiplayer network options that took advantage of BMB Compuscience's "Imaginet" network (As a matter of fact, the game was designed precisely to demonstrate Imaginet, according to the author). |
So what is special about Sopwith and its sequel? The best answer is that both games are just incredibly addictive and fun. Sopwith is a side-scrolling biplane action game with two feuding sides: cyan and magenta planes. Your goal in single-player is to destroy all of the enemy buildings and vehicles, either by shooting, bombing, or colliding with them. To stop you, the enemy has deployed planes and AA installations to shoot you down. Each level ends when all the enemy buildings and vehicles have been destroyed, and is followed by a faster and more difficult level using the same map. Despite being an arcade game, all the elements of a good flight simulation are included, including limited ammo, ground-based artillery, limited fuel, and a limited number of bombs.
What makes Sopwith legendary is the ability to handle up to eight players in multiplayer mode (four human and four computer).
The original Sopwith did not have much of a physics model, and the AI was quite weak. Sopwith 2 improves upon the original in various ways, including more intelligent enemy planes, more enemies (inlcuding pesky birds), larger explosions, deformable terrain, and a cool real-time radar and mapping feature. Best of all, Sopwith 2 was coded with an internal timer that allows the game to play at the same speed on modern Pentiums as on IBM XT computers (similar to Alley Cat).
With exceptional playability, simple controls, and many surprises, Sopwith and Sopwith 2 are simply must-haves for every arcade fan. Also be sure to check out Sopwith: The Author's Edition – the definitive and best version of the game, released as freeware by designer David Clark in 2000. Two thumbs up, way up!
Note: There have since been more games in the series, namely Sopwith 3 and Sopwith Baron. Check them out on Sopwith.org linked below.
Reviewed by: Underdogs