Switchblade II is a side-scrolling platformer-action game set in a dystopian sci-fi world with an art style that is partially based on manga and anime. It was released for the Atari ST and Amiga home computers and was later made available on the Atari Lynx handheld.
Unlike its 1989 predecessor Switchblade this game is not the work of Simon Phipps from Core Design who split from Gremlin in 1990. Instead the game has been designed by George Allan and Paul Gregory both of whom previously worked on Gremlin's shoot'em up Venus the Flytrap and took on the sequel to Switchblade. The work on the follow-up started in August 1990 and influences included games like Capcom's Strider or Shinobi. Some of the feel of Simon Phipps original game has been kept but great changes have been made along the way. The main sprites are larger, the levels are bigger and the graphics are richer in variety. So except of having the same graphical style for the first level this game differs from the prequel. There's also a hidden shoot'em up in the code of this game and it's activated by typing CHROME into the title screen.
Centuries ago Hiro, the last of the Blade Knights, defeated Havok and saved the Cyberworld from his evil. Peace was restored and the Blade Knights, acting as the defenders of the people, were a revered and respected part of the community for a long time.
Many years went by and those who were born and raised in peace started to question the right of existence of the Blade Knights. They began to regard the Blade Knights as a bunch of wasters taking valueable food and shelter from the community and giving nothing in return since there were no threats or any villains to be protected from. The scorned Blade Knights decreased in their number until over time they completly disappeared.
But there came a day when a volcano on Cyberworld became active and its eruptions and earthquakes destroyed many villages and killed thousands of people.
Then they found a message from Havok in which he proclaims his return and calls the population to submit to him and accept him as their new leader and master. If they do not obey him then the volcanic eruptions and earthquakes will continue until all are destroyed.
The people noticed that Hiro didn't defeat Havok, who has been waiting the demise of the Black Knights before returning. Be defenseless to Havok they turned in the last hope to the descendants of Hiro who continued to bring up the young of their family in the ways of the Blade Knight. A young man with a cyberarm, also called Hiro, is the only living pearson brought up as a Blade Knight and the last resort for Cyberworld. He has now to cross many landscapes before he reaches the volcano where he can face Havok.
The player must guide Hiro through six levels before the final encounter with Havok. Each level is been made up of 80 to 130 screens(over 600 screens in all) and has an end-of-level boss who drops a piece of the sword Fireblade when defeated . After beating the five bosses and collecting the five fragments of the Fireblade the sword can be reassembled and like in the prequel Havok can be destroyed therewith once again.
The main protagonist can walk in two directions, jump, crouch and climb ladders. By pressing the fire button on the joystick Hiro's cyberarm will fire the current weapon. To reach higher located platforms Hiro can perform a superjump by holding the stick down and then flicking it up. The enemies Hiro will face can be killed in a close combat with a knife or with long-range weapons as soon as ammo is available.
Destroyed enemies will drop a round orb which should be collected, as these will increase the amount of money that Hiro is carrying. This money can be used to buy better weapons, extra lives, energy and other things available in the shops. The shops can be entered through white glowing doorways that appear at some points in the game. Walking into this will take the player to the shop screen where various extras and add ons for the weapons will be offered.
The energy bar displayed in the left bottom of the playing screen can be replenished either by collecting food (Hamburger, Hot Dog, Pizza) or in the shop in exchange for money. The second bar in the right bottom of the screen shows the remaining amount of the current weapon used. Fresh ammo can also be collected in the game or be bought in the shop. If Hiro runs out of ammo for the current weapon he has to combat with his knife which he carries with him at all times. But it can only be used in close combat.
Levels & Bosses
|Level 1: Hiro's adventure starts on the surface of the cyber world Thraxx and goes on in the underground city which is entered through a vertical shaft. The environment is reminiscent of the original Switchblade with self-mapping screens but also new additions like elevators and wall-mounted lasers. After crossing the labyrinth of the underground city it goes back to the surface where Hiro will face the first villain, a forth and back moving missiles-firing robot.|
|Level 2: Out from the underground the quest continues with a rugged climb along the side of a cliff. Heavily guarded, the cliff face is home to mechanical eagles, hoverdroids and several large cannons. At the top of the ciff the endboss, an eye in a peephole surrounded by four cannons, waits for Hiro. The cannons must be destroyed first, only then the eye is vulnerable.|
|Level 3: Having scaled the cliff, Hiro next makes his way along the top, heading towards the waterfall. A new threat on this level comes in the form of the Tomcats, fast jets that drop a cluster of bombs all around the playing character. Having reached the end of the horizontal scrolling level the endboss must be beaten. This time a large robot mounted on a chain vehicle going back and forth and shooting with his large laser gun. The robot is only vulnerable to the eye so Hiro must perform a super jump first to hit the eye.|
|Level 4: Once the waterfall is reached, it's time to head downwards. Jumping from rock to rock, Hiro must avoid or destroy the rotating gun turretes that protrude from behind the cascading sheet of water. Arrived at the bottom of the waterfall a laser firing robot snake appears. Only hits on the head of the snake show effect and little by litte the rearmost parts explode away and the snake gets smaller until only the head remains.|
|Level 5: The final level before Havok's volcanic island is the dockside. As hiro progresses in this horizontal scrolling landscape , the underwater defences come into play. Large missiles launch from gaps in the docks and are almost impossible to destroy. A good choice is here the flamethrower, which is capable of destroying a large number of enemies at one time. The enboss is a flying vehicle that drops bombs and shoots with two side mounted laser cannons.|
Level 6: Here Hiro moves within the volcano and has to avoid bubbling lava and little errupting volcanos and fight old known enemies from previous levels. When jumping from platform to platform, he must try not to fall into the lava filled gaps as this draws energy. Arrived at the end of the level only the arch-enemy Havok must be killed.
Weapons & Items in the Shop
|Icon in the Shop||Item||Cost||Description|
|Plasma Gun||10$||The weapon Hiro starts with. All foes will eventually be destroyed by the repeat fire of this weapon, but it's best for the more easily destroyed enemies.|
|Laser Beam||30$||A straight beam of incredible power spells instant desintegration for anything in its path.|
|Flame Thrower||30$||A powerfull weapon. Shoots a giant wave of flames towards anything in Hiro's path.|
|Spin Blades||30$||Spinning stars of high-tensile metal inflicting high damage on biological foes.|
|Homing Missiles||30$||This missile will zoom araound the screen , destroying everything that it encounters.|
|Dragon Weapon||40$||Will revolver around the player, smashing anything that comes too close to the player.|
|Extra Life||50$||Adds a life.|
|Full Ammo||20$||Restores all bullets.|
|Half Energy||15$||Restores half of Hiro's lost health.|
|Full Energy||20$||Restores all health.|
|Power Up||20$||Increases the strength of weapon.|
|Shield||30$||Impervious to hits.|
|Info||10$||The player can buy information about the upcoming levels.|
Gives 5000 points
Gives 500 points
Gives extra life
Gives 1000 points
Gives 100 points
Dropped by level bosses. Five must be collected.
|Replenishes energy||Replenishes energy||Replenishes energy|
|Increases strength of weapon|
|Amiga Power||03/1992||83,86||Amiga||5 out of 5||100 ||-||English|
|Zero||09/1992||78,79||LYNX||93 out of 100||93 ||-||English|
|Raze||07/1991||46,47||Amiga||91 out of 100||91 ||Les Ellis||English|
|CU Amiga||04/1991||63,64||Amiga||90 out of 100||90 ||Dan Slingsby||English|
|The One||04/1991||63,64||Amiga||90 out of 100||90 ||Brian Nesbitt||English|
|Amiga Action||05/1991||42,43||Amiga||90 out of 100||90 ||-||English|
|ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment||05/1991||50,51,52||Amiga||900 out of 1000||90||Jim Douglas||English|
|Generation 4||05/1991||22,23||Amiga, Atari ST||90 out of 100||90 ||Frank Ladoire||French|
|Atari ST User||09/1991||52||Atari ST||90 out of 100||90 ||-||English|
|Amiga Mania||11/1992||53||Amiga||90 out of 100||90 ||Jeff Davy||English|
|Amiga Power||11/1992||99,100||Amiga||90 out of 100||90 ||Les Ellis||English|
|Amiga Computing||02/1993||139||Amiga||90 out of 100||90 ||Jonathan Maddock||English|
|ST Format||12/1992||100||Atari ST||88 out of 100||88 ||-||English|
|Amiga Power||06/1991||32,33,34||Amiga||87 out of 100||87 ||Stuart Campbell||English|
|Zero||05/1991||64||Amiga||85 out of 100||85 ||Paul Lakin||English|
|Amiga Action||11/1992||73||Amiga||82 out of 100||82||Brian Sharp||English|
|ST Format||09/1991||74,75||Atari ST||81 out of 100||81 ||Ed Ricketts||English|
|Amiga Format||12/1992||88||Amiga||79 out of 100||79 ||Andy Nuttall||English|
|Amiga Games||12/1992||52||Amiga||79 out of 100||79 ||Lutz Mahle||German|
|ASM (Aktueller Software Markt)||07/1991||46,47||Amiga||9.4 out of 12||78||Manfred Kleimann||German|
|Power Play||07/1991||32||Amiga||74 out of 100||74 ||Heinrich Lenhardt, Martin Gaksch||German|
|Amiga Format||07/1991||69||Amiga||70 out of 100||70 ||Maff Evans||English|
|The One||10/1992||105||Amiga||70 out of 100||70 ||-||English|
|Amiga Joker||05/1991||42||Amiga||68 out of 100||68 ||Manuel Semino||German|
|Play Time||08+09/1991||46,47||Atari ST||65 out of 100||65 ||Duncan Evans||German|
|Video Games||09/1992||133||LYNX||64 out of 100||64 ||Andreas Knauf||German|
|Megablast||04/1993||104,105||LYNX||64 out of 100||64 ||Monika||German|
|Power Play||10/1992||157||LYNX||63 out of 100||63||Christian von Duisburg||German|
|Play Time||08+09/1992||61||Atari ST||47 out of 100||47 ||Mathias Ritz||German|
|Amiga Force||03/1993||28||Amiga||-||- ||Phil King, James Price||English|