Author Topic: Sopwith 1 (or 2) are side-scrolling biplane action DOS games involving two sides  (Read 2267 times)

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Software Santa

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Sopwith 1 (or Sopwith 2) are OLD side-scrolling biplane action DOS games from 1984 involving two sides - use DOSBox to Play them!

Game History

Sopwith and its improved successor, Sopwith 2, is an early 4-color graphics game for PCs designed for both single and multiplayer gameplay. The game was created between 1984-86 by David L. Clark, a programmer for a Canadian software company called BMB Compuscience.

Sopwith is a side-scrolling biplane action game involving two sides, represented by cyan and magenta planes. The object of the game 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 to shoot you down and buildings that shoot anti-aircraft fire at you. Each level ends when all the enemy buildings and vehicles are destroyed, and is followed by a faster and more difficult level with the same map.


Sopwith 1 has only one level which, when completed, unceremoniously returns you to the DOS prompt.

For Sopwith 2, however, it seems the game will go on forever, with up to 255 level speeds before returning to the slow speed it began with. Most of the later levels in Sopwith have been noted as completely unplayable, though stories are told of people successfully playing for hours and hours.

Sopwith enthusiast Andrew Durdin noted: "Sopwith II will not ordinarily go past level 6: It will just continue with level 6 indefinitely. You can play higher levels with the -g command line option, though"

Hidden Features

There are several configurable options in Sopwith 1 and 2 that are accessed via the DOS command line.

Sopwith 1

-h: Play in High resolution (640x200x2) mode - cyan and magenta are dithered. Unfortunately you can't tell them apart.
-p: Position indicator
-k: Control latency
-s: Sound on by default

Sopwith 2

-w: high resolution
-y: control latency
-q: Sound off by default
-e: Print end of game statistics
-g: Start on a particular level
-s -c -m -a: Start in a particular mode instead of prompting
-j -k: Use Joystick/Keyboard
-i: Use IBM keyboard
-h: Record history (ie: Sopwith2 -h test or Sopwith2 -htest)
-v: Playback history (ie: Sopwith2 -v test or Sopwith2 -vtest)

You can also freeze the game's action by hitting control-numlock and quit the game by hitting control-break. It has been noted, however, that Ctrl+Numlock is the XT keyboard equivalent of the Pause key - it is not Sopwith-specific, and does not work with all AT machines.

Sopwith (1984)

Sopwith was likely BMB Compuscience's first foray into the computer gaming realm. The game was written in assembly language and had some multiplayer capabilities coded in, taking advantage of BMB's "Imaginet" that linked with Atari ST's.

Sopwith did not have much of a physics model, but it allowed you to fly a 16x16 pixel plane along a scrolling map, shooting buildings and other planes. You could also drop bombs on your enemy, making Sopwith 1 resemble the classic arcade game "Scramble"

Sopwith included an option to play against the computer, a weak AI plane that couldn't follow your plane very well.

The game is quite unplayable on today's PCs due to its lack of an internal clock that limits framerate. The only way to play on anything faster than an 4 Mhz IBM XT is to use the Open Source program "DosBox", which emulates older PCs.

Sopwith 2 (1986) [DOWNLOAD]

Sopwith (version 2) emerged shortly after its predecessor, Sopwith, and included the following improvements:

    More intelligent AI planes
    Deformable terrain *
    Larger explosions
    Pesky, scattering birds in the sky
    2 Multiplayer options (both which have never been seen to work)
    Internal Timer allowing playability on fast machines
    Real-time radar/mapping feature
    Recording option to playback high scoring games
    State of the art PC-speaker music and sound!

* The terrain in Sopwith II is the same as that in Sopwith I, except that only the top pixel is drawn, to improve speed and reduce flicker.

Sopwith 2 - The Author's Edition (2000) [DOWNLOAD]

Sopwith 2 - The Author's Edition is an update to the classic Sopwith experience by the original Sopwith programmer David Clark.

From David Clark's webpage:

"In the spring of 1984, I joined BMB Compuscience in Milton, Ontario as an R&D programmer. My first task was to development a piece of software to demonstrate the use of BMB's new PC network product, soon to be named Imaginet. What better crowd catcher at the trade shows than a multi-user arcade game being played over the network. Hence, Sopwith was born. Since then, Sopwith has gained a small following on the Net.

If you choose to download Sopwith, please don't be too critical. Keep in mind the what PC's were like in the early '80s: 640K was a dream, megahertz weren't invented yet, 2400 baud modems were the rage if you could find something to connect to, and you had 9 megabytes of hard drive to play with. Sopwith, all 43K of it, hasn't changed much from those heady days. Please note that the multi-user functionality has been removed since it was based on BMB's proprietary Imaginet network. Some day, I will get to work on writing a simple enhancement to communicate over today's network protocols."


Sopwith - The Author's Edition is a greatly modified version of the original Sopwith with the following features:

- Faster framerate
- Novice (with unlimited ammo / no stalls) and Expert mode for Single Player
- Includes new sprites (bullet holes and dead birds)
- Allows your plane to be damaged and still be flyable
- Missiles and Flares(!)
- Enemy planes drop bombs and fire missiles
- Altered status bar
- A few new surprises (try colliding with the oxen!)

Sopwith Game Files (and more)

Note: Most of these files require a PC (or PC emulator) to download.

An Italian version of Sopwith2.
Andrew Jenner's modified Sopwith source files.
A modified version of Sopwith created using a hex-editor by Samor of the Netherlands. Includes a blocky landscape and funky music.
Sopwith programmer David Clark's modified source files.
A side-scrolling Sopwith-esque DOS game by Shawn LeBlanc
The original source code to Sopwith, courtesy of Sopwith creator, David Clark. Downloading this file means you agree to the licensing agreement.
Sopwith 1 with a different name (Download DosBox to play it)
Winsock extensions needed to play multiplayer Sopwith ME. Install with dynamic option.
A challenging modification to the cult classic
Steve Bennett's Sopwith clone - Steve attempted to bring back Sopwith with VGA graphics - and here is the result!
The Sopwith2 Map Editor by Matt Zebrowski (Magitek Chocobo) - Allow's full scrolling viewing of any imported Sopwith map, and full export capabilities!
A modified map I created using the Sopwith2 Map Editor
Andrew Durdin's Sopwith Map Editor. Click here to read the instructions to run it.
A MIDI theme to Sopwith 3 I put together back in college.
A funky music mix of the Sopwith theme, made by myself using Sonic Foundry ACID
The original Sopwith (Download DosBox to play it)
The cult classic! Click here to read the instructions that came with the game in 1984.
A Flash-based Sopwith experiment from 2005.
Sopwith 3.0.0 - Initial release on Sourceforge
Sopwith 3 Alpha - the first phase of the Sopwith 3 project.
Sopwith - The Author's Edition - Personally modified by Sopwith creator David Clark of BMB Compuscience! Includes new graphics, framerate, weapons, and functionality.
Jornand de Buisonjé's new Sopwith version, with Internet Multiplayer capabilities!


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