Atari 2600 Friday’s #37 – Centipede
The Fortune Cookie has been doling out classics lately, and I’m okay with that because we need to cover those eventually anyways.
The Story: An elv name oliver found a magic wand and now uses it to save the elves garden from deadly pests.
From the Manual: “Once upon a time in a misty, enchanted forest, there lived a colony of good elves. These elves had a major problem, though. There prized mushroom garden was infested with pests–a giant Centipede, a
poison-spreading scorpion, a mischief-making spider, and a pesky flea. The good elves tried everything they could to rid their garden of these bugs. But nothing worked. One day, an elf named Oliver was hacking away at a poisoned mushroom in the garden. Suddenly, he saw an unusual stick gleaming in the dirt. Just as Oliver picked up the stick, a spider jumped out from behind a mushroom and rushed at him. When Oliver waved his hands wildly to try to scare the spider away, sparks flew from his stick and the spider disappeared! “How did that happen?” Oliver wondered out load. “Could this be a magic wand?” Soon Oliver had another chance to try the wand. When the scorpion
scurried across a row of mushroom, poisoning every mushroom it touched, Oliver pointed the wand at the scorpion and shouted, “Be gone!” Instantly, the scorpion disappeared and the poisoned mushrooms were
transformed back into normal mushrooms. “This is great! This is the tool we need to clean up our mushroom
garden!” Oliver shouted ecstatically. With his new found magic wand, Oliver hid behind a mushroom. “OK, you great big Centipede,” he said. “Come out wherever you are. I’m ready for you now!””
From the Box: “Watch out! Here comes the slithering Centipede, the poisonous scorpion, a mischievous spider, and pesky flea! Aim your magic wand and shoot sparks to stop these pests in their tracks.”
The Game Play: For anyone who has never played a variation of Centipede before, it is basically a shooter. The centipede zig-zags its way down the screen, changing direction every time it runs into the screen edge or a ‘mushroom’. You can move up and down in this one, but only about a quarter of the way up the screen. The centipede in this version has 9 segments, and every time you shoot a segment it gets detached from the centipede and left behind as a mushroom. In the first wave it is a head with 8 body segments, in each wave after it has additional heads until wave 9 where it is all heads. Each head will move on it’s own after being detached. Occasionally a spider will jump around the screen, a flea will drop straight down leaving mushrooms, or a scorpion will rush across poisoning mushrooms. When a mushroom is poisoned, it will make the centipede go crazy and rush you. You start with 3 ‘wands’ and get another every 10,000 points to a maximum of 7 wands, you also lose one every time you are ‘bitten’ by one of the pests reaching you.
The Controls: Up/Down/Left/Right movement. Red button to shoot.
Post Review: My cart may not be clean, but there was no idea while I was playing. Decent version of a classic game. It shows it’sage compared to modern versions, but still very much worth playing.
The High Score: 17590
Let us also note, that Centipede is one of the few Atari 2600 games that was shipped with a small comic. Centipede, Yars Revenge, and the Swordquest Games to my knowledge. You can read Centipede here.