Centipede (1998 video game)
|Developer(s)||Atari and Leaping Lizard
Handheld Games Corp. (Game.com)
|Designer(s)||Richard Rouse III (Lead Designer)
Mark Bullock (Lead Level Designer)
|Release date(s)||October 31, 1998 (PC), May 1999 (PS1),
|Genre(s)||Shoot 'em up|
|Mode(s)||Single player and multiplayer over IPX, TCP/IP, Modem or two-player split screen.|
Centipede is a remake of the 1980 arcade game of the same name, produced by Atari and designed by Ed Logg and Dona Bailey. This version has multiple in-game innovations, with improved gameplay and graphics. It retains the original idea of shooting the entire centipede repeatedly. The player assumes the role of a futuristic vehicle named "The Shooter", rather than the original garden gnome.
Gameplay consists of a series of "rounds" which are completed once the player eliminates the centipede that winds down the playing field. Obstacles such as spiders, fleas, and scorpions complicate the game. At the same time, a population of mushrooms grows between the player and the centipede.
The game can be played in two game modes, "arcade" and "adventure", the latter marking a departure from the original version. Only in the arcade mode does one play what would be considered a Centipede remake, as movement around the map is restricted and only the classic enemies make an appearance. In the campaign, one completes a series of levels linked by a storyline. Here the player encounters both the original enemies (centipede, spider, flea, scorpion, poisonous mushroom) and a new array as well (dragonfly, butterfly, firebug, icebug, killer mushroom, etc.), of whom some are capable of throwing projectiles to destroy the shooter and others of altering mushrooms. If an enemy or projectile contacts the shooter, the player loses a life.
The player gains one point for each mushroom they kill (except for poisonous and killer mushrooms, which count as more) and a set of points for each insect, the amount depending on the type of insect they shoot, and, if playing the campaign, by saving people and gathering talismans, as well as protecting buildings, "star crystals", and other structures from swarms of insects. Whenever the player gains 20,000 additional points, an additional "shooter" (life) is obtained.
The story tells of a group of villages, Weedom, all living in harmony with one another and nature. However, according to The Legend, every hundred years a group of "armored beasts" emerge from "the dark core of the earth" to serve their master, the Queen Pede, and aid her in the destruction of the Wee people. Every time this happens a magic stick is employed to find a hero to defend them. Every time the insects are defeated, the villagers believe that the threat has permanently ended; but they always return, as the legend indicates.
The player plays as Wally, the chosen hero to fight the insects that century, who is to take control of the shooter, a vehicle made for, as its name indicates, rendering shots against the insect menace. Thus, the player embarks a journey across five worlds: Weedom, Frostonia, Inferium, Enigma, and Evile (each consisting of 6 levels each, with the final level of each including a boss that must be defeated), in order to end the curse forever.
Apart from the appearance of additional foes and bonus points awarded at the end of each level if certain tasks are accomplished (rescuing villagers, extracting star crystals, etc.), the adventure mode also differentiates from the arcade mode by the presence of power-ups, triggered by shooting down flashing mushrooms, which enhance the shooter's shooting abilities (equipping it with double shots, triple shots, rockets, explosives, etc.).
One of the most notable innovations of this remake, relative to previous versions, is that of the greatly improved 3D graphics. The game's campaign also includes first-person and third-person view, apart from the default "over-the-shoulder" perspective. Nevertheless, bugs with the new views have been cited by critics, such as when the player enables the first-person view, the shooter is destroyed easily by insects attacking from behind, out of the player's sight.
The game received mostly negative criticism, since many promised improvements and feature additions went unimplemented or were implemented poorly. Many reviewers suggested that gamers go back to playing the original version.
One review stated that even though this remake for personal computers wasn't successful, its adaptation to home consoles were quite impressive.
It received recognition for its graphics, which were described as "immensely more sophisticated" than the original version; but this led to the question: "Do the improved graphics actually make the game any better?"