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Video Game / Sylphia

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A long time ago, when human beings and gods lived together...

Sylphia is a 1993 medieval-fantasy inspired Vertical Scrolling Shooter developed by Compile (the same guys behind the Aleste series) and published by Tonkin House for the PC Engine CD, in which players assume the role of the titular heroine, now granted the abilities of flight and firing elemental-based projectiles thanks to Zeus, as they control the heroine in blasting through hordes and hordes of monsters.

In a Medieval Fantasy Kitchen Sink inspired by Ancient Grome, Hades, upon being defeated after an attempted revolt, has unleashed his forces into the human world. The Gods led by Zeus are unable to intervene as Hades' legion of monsters lay waste to the land. But in a human village, a young warrior woman named Silphia (yes, her name is spelled different from the title) stood her ground, battling legions and legions of orcs to defend the villagers, until she had slain every one of her attackers, sustaining mortal injuries in the process. Seeing her determination in fighting the forces of evil, Zeus decides to embue his powers in the dying Silphia and have her take on Hades' forces in his stead.

Sylphia contains examples of:

  • Blob Monster: Grey bouncing blob creatures are an enemy in the caverns, who explodes into smaller blob chunks that dissolves instantly once defeated. Keep in mind the flying blob chunks can hurt Silphia in contact, however.
  • The Chosen One: Silphia is chosen by Zeus to save humanity after the Gods watched her sacrifice her life defending a village from the forces of chaos in the opening cinematic, killing loads and loads of monsters in the process before she succumbs.
  • Classical Chimera: The classic depiction of a chimaera, a lion monster with a goat and a snake head growing from it's sides, is a Mini-Boss of the church tower stage, leaping from platform to platform as it ascends to attack Silphia. It loses heads after receiving enough damage, firstly the snake's, and then the goat's, until it's a giant-sized lion that explodes after it's life is spent.
  • Creepy Centipedes: At the end of one stage, rather than facing a boss monster, Silphia instead have to face five gates which dispenses gigantic centipedes (depicted in Segmented Serpent form) en-masse on her, which she have to destroy two at a time.
  • Elemental Powers: How Silphia obtains her abilities to shoot projectiles, by collecting a circle depicting an element, being Fire, Water, Plant and Earth. At the start of most level she's given all four elements at once, which she can choose one to use (or just keep her element from the end of a previous level) and later on the game will generate different elements at random if Silphia wants to switch to a new element.
    • Fire: Allows Silphia to shoot fireballs and streams of flames, and further upgrades can release multiple homing fireballs all at once. It's one of the strongest of the four, but it's range is limited.
    • Water: Silphia shoots blue liquid bubbles that can reach the other side of the screen and can increase in speed after being upgraded.
    • Plant: Release a wave of razor leaves in assorted sizes. Smaller ones can home in on enemies or become a Reverse Shrapnel that remains on the screen for several seconds.
    • Earth: Conjures heavy boulders to be dropped on enemies, with several boulders serving as an Orbiting Particle Shield around Silphia.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Silphia, already a capable warrior on her own, but is later chosen by Zeus to wield elemental powers to purge the land of evil.
  • Everyone Hates Hades: The King of the Underworld is portrayed as a Generic Doomsday Villain.
  • Fish People: The Aegean Sea level is filled with giant-sized fish humanoid enemies. There's also a fish-humanoid giant monster boss.
  • Giant Mook: Oversized Centipedes, Talos statues, huge enemy ships and giant monsters serves this purpose in the game.
  • Giant Spider: The boss of the church tower stage, descending right from the roof to attack Silphia with it's poisoned stings.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: For the bosses. Unfortunately, they know Detachment Combat.
    • The Aegean Sea level ends with Silphia battling Scylla, whose tentacles and entire lower body who is a mass of tentacles explode once she receives enough damage. But then her upper body continues floating around and he gains an extendable neck to chew at Silphia.
    • The Harpy lose the lower half of her body in the later half of her battle, only for her wings to carry her around as her exposed spine lashes out at Silphia in an impromptu Tail Slap.
  • Harping on About Harpies: Harpies are a recurring enemy type. There's also a giant-sized harpy boss late in the game, depicted as a winged bipedal monster who can extend her arms to claw at Silphia.
  • Hell Hound: Cerberus is another boss, whose attack alternates between fireballs to a pillar of flames that covers nearly half the screen.
  • Inconsistent Spelling: Its title is "Sylphia", but the woman's name is spelled "Silphia" in the game over message. It's not clear whether this was intentional.
  • Living Statue: The second stage, the beaches of Crete, is filled with these type of enemies, from man-sized living bronze statues that hurls projectiles to several Talos-like giants and bronze figureheads capable of spitting fire.
  • Medusa: She's the second boss of the game, depicted in the typical Snake People form. Although this Medusa seems to have mechanical limbs, for some reason.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: The Gryphon shows up as another boss, complete with Feather Flechettes abilities, although it's feather projectiles can be destroyed.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Hostile mer-people with fish-like features on their human parts are a recurring enemy in the underwater levels. And then there's a battle against a human-dragon merman and a giant Scylla (depicted as a mer-octopus) boss.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different: The first boss is a giant purple Minotaur who Dual Wield axes and charges forward and back around the screen to attack Silphia. It's a rather easy Warm-Up Boss, though.
  • Power Up Letdown: The Earth power-up can be seen as such, since it fires slow-moving boulder projectiles that couldn't even hit the other side of the screen, instantly drops down moments after being shot and isn't even as strong as the Fire power-up. Although it is good for attacking enemies behind Silphia, and a good defense-based power-up thanks to the Orbiting Particle Shield.
  • Prongs of Poseidon: The Poseidon-esque deity (depicted as a giant fish-humanoid monster) wields a trident in combat.
  • Protagonist Title: One letter off from the title, Silphia is chosen by the Gods to defeat evil.
  • Spread Shot: After upgrading Silphia's powers by collecting the same elemental symbol, over and over again, which allows her to stream waves of flames, energy bubbles, razor leaves or massive boulders, three at a time in rapid speed.
  • Under the Sea: The Atlantis level takes place underwater. Oddly enough, the Fire power-up does work underwater, thanks to Gameplay and Story Segregation.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: One of Silphia's special attacks (which takes up most of her magic bar) where she unleashes a thick, powerful pillar of energy that destroys every low-level enemy in front of her and cause serious damage to bosses. The beam she fired lasts for several seconds too, allowing her to swoop from one side of the screen to another clearing the area of most enemies.
  • Winged Humanoid: Silphia, who gains wings after being empowered by the Gods. But there are also several winged mooks and the human-looking giant harpy boss.