Switchblade is a platform shooter game initially released by Gremlin in 1989 for the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST and in 1990 for the 8bit ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC. The game was later ported in 1991 to the Amstrad CPC+ and Amstrad GX4000.
STORY / GAMEPLAY The cyber world of Thraxx is about to enter a new era of darkness and despair. Havok, a dark lord of nightmares, having slept for 10.000 years has finally awoken. The Fireblade has been broken and it's sixteen pieces were scattered through the underworld where Havok now reigns. The slaughter has begun and all of the Blade Knights (hi-tech warriors of Traxx) are dead, except of one. The game is a combination between an action shooter and a platform game (typically a platform-shooter) in which the level areas become visible as you progress and scroll in flip-screen mode. You control Hiro (the only Blade Knight that survived) through six levels and must re-assemble the 16 fragments of the shattered Fireblade. Only then Hiro will be able to take on Havok and avenge his friends' death. There are several enemies on your way who must be taken out by using your fists or kicks but also with firearms, found later. As you progress, you will find bonus weapons and secret rooms.
GRAPHICS / SOUND The Amstrad CPC port has good graphics with detailed backgrounds and nice sprite animations, although the sprites are really small. It is obviously a direct port from the ZX Spectrum but features more colors (up to 16 on screen.) The game's sound is good, featuring an introductory theme and an interesting in-game tune, but no sound effects during gameplay.
CPU: ZiLOG Z80 4MHZ MEMORY: 64 KB or 128 KB of RAM depending on the model (capable of being expanded to 512k using memory extension boards) GRAPHICS: Motorola 6845 address generator, Mode 0: 160x200 / 16 colors, Mode 1: 320x200 / 4 colors, Mode 2: 640x200 / 2 colors, A colour palette of 27 colors was supported SOUND: The CPC used the General Instrument AY-3-8912 sound chip, providing 3 channels Mono Sound (via internal speaker) but capable to offer Stereo Sound provided through a 3.5 mm headphones jack (with pretty impressive outcome!). Also, it is possible to play back digital sound samples at a resolution of approximately 5bit. This technique is very processor-intensive though.