Codex Gamicus

Swarm was first released in 1998 by Reflexive Entertainment, in its early days as a video games developer. It is a space-themed shoot 'em up in which the player controls an assault craft, battling against alien creatures in order to obtain certain special minerals. In 2008, Reflexive released a slightly updated version of the game entitled Swarm Gold.[1] The updated version was by no means a sequel, but was simply an improved version of the old classic.

Gameplay and level design[]

The game is set in the Prolac Nebula, which is inhabited by a strange insectoid race called the Clagnor. Negotiations between humans and these creatures have failed, leading to an all-out war between the two races. The story follows a prison convict, by the name of Rawl, who is given the task of fighting the Clagnor for a year. After this, if by any chance he survives, his name will be cleared forever.

Each sector (level) consists of a finite wrap-around space area, in which Clagnor, asteroids, weapon power-ups and EZT (Endron Zymithium Trisistaline) nodules (a fictional substance described as a fuel source) are placed randomly. The player enters and exits each level via a jumpgate, which disappears shortly after the level is started, and reappears once it is completed.

There are three types of level in Swarm: "Get all the EZT" levels, "Kill them all" levels, and bonus levels. The majority of these are "Get all the EZT" levels, in which the player's primary mission is to collect all the EZT found in the level, while fighting against the Clagnor - an insectoid alien race which is after the EZT as well. In the "Kill them all" levels, which are mostly every 10 levels or so, there are no EZT crystals and the player's goal is to destroy all the Clagnor drones in the level. In the bonus levels, which are usually every 5 or 10 levels, there are neither Clagnor nor EZT, and the player can travel around and collect weapons and ammunition freely for a limited time.

Weapons and Bonuses[]

Items Description
Guns The first four weapons are plasma and laser guns.
Default Gun This is the weapon the player starts the game with; a gun that fires two tiny yellow spheres of energy. This gun has unlimited ammo, but is quite weak.
Red Lasers This is the first "collectible" weapon you find in the game. Each one you find gives you 30 double-shots of red laser.
Spread Gun A bit more powerful than the red laser, this is the second "collectible" weapon in the game. Each one consists of 25 shots, and each shot is a burst of blue energy that surrounds you in about 100 degrees. This weapon is relatively weak, but is very useful if enemies are surrounding you.
Quad Lasers A powerful short-range weapon, it shoots four strings of green laser which can pierce through your enemies. Each clip has 25 shots.
Missiles The next three weapons are different types of missile.
Blue Missiles A homing, blue colored rocket that can chase enemies at long range. Each clip gives you 12 missiles.
Red Missiles Like its blue counterpart, it is a homing device, however, it can fly farther and is more powerful than the blue rocket. Each clip gives you 7 missiles.
Swarmer Missiles This is the most powerful long-range homing weapon in the game. Each shot is a "swarm" that consists of five tiny green missiles. These missiles are far more agile than the red missiles, and can travel a greater distance. Each clip consists of 5 shots, which add up to 25 missiles in total.
Small Mines This is a space mine that explodes a few seconds after being released. Each clip consists of 10 mines.
Electro Mines A space mine, that, instead of exploding, electrocutes any Clagnor in range for a few seconds, then detonates. Each clip gives you 5 mines.
EZT Endron Zymithium Trisystaline, 'the stuff you want'. This is a blue, crystalline mineral only available in the distant galaxy which the game is set in, and is the best renewable fuel known in the universe. EZT is the main reason behind the Human-Clagnor conflict, and is secreted by mysterious creatures called EZT grubs. Usually, completing a level consists of finding all of the EZT inside it.
Shield Your spaceship needs defense against the Clagnor, and thus, it has a "shield bar" which is filled when you collect the purple stuff labeled "Shield" that is a common sight around the galaxy. The bar empties when you get shot at, and when it's empty your ship would explode immediately after being shot.
Extra Life Extra lives can be found at random in each level. Also, you get an extra life every time you gather 50 EZT crystals.
Companion Drone Found randomly around space, these little buggers are the only help you receive in the game. These tiny spaceship-like drones are equipped with a plasma weapon similar to what you started with, and they follow you around the level. Companion drones cannot go through portals with you.
Star Clubber The most powerful weapon in the entire game, it is a spiked-ball-with-chain that attaches itself to your spaceship. It can destroy any Clagnor drone or boulder with a single touch. This exotic weapon can be found only in three levels in the entire game, labeled "Scorpion's Tail" (level 28), "Scorpion's Sting" (level 41), and "Morale Booster" (level 89) respectively. The Star Clubber found in "Scorpion's Sting" has a longer chain than the one found in "Scorpion's Tail". The Star Clubber from the cheat is the short version as found in "Scorpion's Tail" (level 28), unless the code is entered in "Scorpion's Sting" (level 41) where it will give the player the long Star Clubber.


Enemy Description
Harvester This drone has the same goal as you; get the EZT. It is a small, tick-like drone that shoots green plasma bursts, and can carry one EZT crystal at a time. Once destroyed, the EZT crystal it carried is open for the take.
Seed Layer This is an immobile, plant like drone that fires its' own seeds at you. These seeds, if not destroyed, grow into adult Seed Layers.
Clag Scout A cone-shaped drone resembling a hermit crab. Clag Scouts travel at random, and will attack you only when you get in their way.
EZT Guard Resembling an enlarged Harvester, these drones will protect EZT crystals and Harvesters, shooting yellow plasma bursts at ships. These are a common sight in the game.
Clag Bot Hedgehog-like drones that are not equipped with firearms of any kind, but will rather try to ram into you in order to lower your shield level. They can pursue an enemy for very long distances.
Defense Drone Squid-like in appearance, they are constantly on the look for invaders and will chase them, shooting powerful plasma bursts at them. The Defense Drones are very fast and cunning and are known to be able to dodge most attacks with ease.
Electro Drone Like the Harvester, the Electro Drone searches for EZT, which it can carry around. It can also send out threads of elctricity in defense, which cause great damage to the player's ship. Once an Electro Drone is destroyed, the EZT crystal it previously carried is free for the taking.
Death Worm The most intelligent of the Clagnor drones, it is fast, agile and deadly. It shoots purple blasts of energy which cause a great damage to shields. Death Worms more often than not travel in groups.

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