Format reviewed: VIC-20
Developer: Chris Stamp
Submitted by: Frank Gasking
I remember very well when visiting an old second hand shop as a young child introduced me to a battered old cassette for the Vic 20, which for the paltry sum of 50p I bought and took home. I was a late starter with the Vic 20 due to my parents not having much money, but it introduced me to some real obscure gems, including '3D Silicon Fish' by Thor.
3D Silicon Fish is based within a single screen maze, and although sounds like a Pacman clone, is actually something rather different and refreshing in many ways. You're not quite collecting pills, but you are collecting silicon fish from a large river that runs underneath the maze. Instead of controlling Pacman, you control "Sillo" a mercenary who has been sent to collect the silicon to help Earth (Which has become dependant on it for its technology, and is fast running out). In his craft you must navigate around each level maze and wait for passing silicon to float down the stream. You need to get your craft into position, face the oncoming current and press fire to open up a catching net to catch the passing silicon. Repeating this process several times will eventually move you to the next level.
However, things are not that simple with enemies known as "Kryllon" forming randomly across the level. They start off small and begin to grow, before then suddenly exploding in all directions in a 'Bomberman'-like fashion (Which asks the question – Did Hudson strangely have any inspiration from this game?), covering the complete path in the maze that its situated. You need to be careful that you don't get boxed into a corner, or that you don't get caught up in a chain reaction, where several Kryllon's get bunched together.
As each level passes, the game simply speeds up and more enemies randomly appear. Variety comes in the form of a whacky colour change on each level and a speed up of the music – with no end in sight. We're talking about a 3.5k Vic 20 game here though, and the urge to get through the later and faster levels is very strong. Overall the gameplay is simple clean fun.
Although it has 3D in the title, it isn't really, but the colour schemes used on each level give off a sort of impression. Graphically it is quite simple, but for a Vic 20 game of that era, it doesn't actually look that bad. The sound is simple with a fairly jolly ditty that plays, but this soon begins to grate after 5 seconds. One impressive little feature (almost on par with Yars Revenge's full screen explosion-type thingy), is when you lose all your lives and the screen goes a little whacky and then cycles through some colour schemes with some big chunky synth sounds. Well, it impressed me anyway back in the day… 🙂
If you're a bit bored of the popular classics and fancy trying something a little new/different and very old school, then 3D Silicon Fish is certainly a good catch for a while – and I even managed to squeeze in a fishy pun too! 😉