Review by BrakZero

Reviewed: 08/08/01 | Updated: 08/08/01

A fun, classic arcade game.

Centipede. Here’s a good example of classic arcade gaming. Although it’s an old classic on some old Atari machine, I was never a fan of this game until recently... because I had never played it. It’s been at my local arcade for years, and it was playable for only a quarter, but I simply never wanted to use that quarter on it, and I never did until now. Of course, I could’ve compared it to all the recent arcade titles that are popular right now, but instead I forgot all about them, and thought about how the game would be when it first game out... before all the 3D fighters and racers premiered. And I thought the game was quite good, especially for its time, and it was pretty darn addicting as well.

Okay, here you are. Insert your quarter or token, press the button for one player, and you could start playing anytime you wish. You are a... thing... that can shoot some little shots of energy that has the power to destroy mushrooms and insects. Your main goal is to avoid anything on the screen, and to use your shots to destroy them. In every level, the screen is completely covered with green mushrooms, which can be destroyed in a couple of shots, and destroying as much of these as possible is good because they earn you some points, and they also clear the way for the centipede. In every level, a long centipede comes from the top of the screen, and it goes left and right while slowly coming down very gradually. When it bumps into a mushroom, it goes down another space as well, so clearing out the mushrooms as fast as possible would be a great idea. Of course, touching the centipede would cause you to die, so you also have to focus on getting rid of it as well. You can shoot it and take out one of its many segments, and destroying any segment besides the end ones causes it to break into two smaller centipedes. You have to keep destroying the broken up parts to earn points and keep yourself from dying.

Besides the loads of mushrooms the centipede, many things also fly out from nowhere and start to pollute the screen. These are often a kind of insects that take one shot to kill, and destroying them also earns you some points. Sometimes, although it is rare, a very large scorpion can appear on the screen and those give you a jackpot of points when it is destroyed, but the appearance of the scorpion is also a bad thing on another hand, because it poisons any mushrooms that it touches. What’s very bad about this is the fact that the centipedes, which always respawn after being completely annihilated, can touch these poisoned mushrooms, and if they do they drop right down to the bottom of the screen and start to regenerate! While it may sound simple to simple go to the top of the screen, you can only shoot upwards and thus it is quite hard to rid the screen of all the centipedes. Just don’t let this get in the way of your fun with the game, it’s just something added to the game to make it slightly more complex and much more challenging.

The graphics were great for their time, and I really like them even with the fact that they’re nothing compared to the current 3D machines. The lines were nice with no blurriness whatsoever. Each of the insects looked unique and identical to their corresponding pictures seen with the instructions, so it’s easy to tell everything apart from all of the other things that pollute the screen.

The only things I heard was a soft beat in the background, which fits in surprisingly well with the game’s concept, and a little sound of an insect when they appear on the screen. The sounds were unique for each different insect, and they sounded nice and clear. No problems to report here.

The control was a bit different than most arcade games. Instead of having a joystick like normally seen in most arcade games, you have to use a track ball. I personally hate using a track ball... I find it a bit hard to control, and I’m just simply not used to them. I’ve played other arcade games that used a track ball, and I sucked at them. But if you can get used to using a track ball, or if you already are used to using one, the game controls are nice and responsive. You can move in absolutely any direction, but the disappointment was the fact that you couldn’t turn the body of the... thing... that you control, and because of that you could only shoot your little beams upwards.

Final Word
Centipede is a great, old arcade classic. If your local arcade still has one of these, you really ought to try Centipede out, since it should only cost a quarter. It’s a fun and very challenging game, but it just doesn't have enough to it. If it had some kind of new feature and a different way of controlling the game, I'd probably give this game a 9. In any case, try this game out if you get the chance, and I hope you like it.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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