January 28, 2013
A growing maze of colorful mushrooms combined with pouncing spiders that accompany a menacing Centipede are all obstacles that face the player in this intense Classic game. Those good old sounds together with a relatively fast-paced gameplay hypnotized both kids and adults at the arcade halls in the 80’s. Centipede is quite challenging at times and only the true retro gamer would know how to maneuver the controls in order to claim that high score. These simple, yet important aforementioned features made this great Atari game iconic to this day and so it became one of the absolute best shooters of the 80’s.
A shooter but not the ordinary space shooter
In Centipede you control a Garden Gnome or Elf (if you prefer), who has its garden invaded by a horrific centipede. This creature is a huge fellow and tries to eradicate the threat (that’s you) before rejoicing in a mushroom feast. You, as the garden defender, has to stop it at all cost by firing lasers that transform parts of the centipede’s body into mushrooms. We have established that the centipede is vicious, but it is also quite resourceful as it will split into two units if shot in half. Not even shooting its head will destroy it completely, thus having to shoot every single body part of the centipede is the only way to advance. Once you obliterate the invader, another centipede spawns at the top of the screen and the game continues until the player loses all lives.
There are other menaces as well. These are spiders that patrol the bottom level of the screen and flies that are buzzing around. Spiders are utterly annoying as they move in to cover shots whilst the fly appears when there only are a few mushrooms on the screen. It leaves a wall of mushrooms that can cause great irritation. Scorpions appear on higher levels and since they don’t have anything better to do, they poison the mushrooms. Once the centipede touches a poisoned mushroom it will jump to the player’s area and later moves backwards in its original zigzag movement.
Strategic centipede slaying for the newbie
The best bet is to wait on a series of shots to kill the centipede as you strafe to the right and left. Aim for the head and then the head again in order to avoid a potentially dangerous split. This is easier on early levels as the centipede is much shorter. Always try go to the side where the spider is heading. Do not try to kill it in later levels as its too hard, unless you are 1337 of course. Remember that once a Spider chooses a path it cannot go back and will eventually disappear. Mushrooms can sometimes be helpful as they help to keep the flies away. Shooting the centipede when it is closer is a good tactic to prevent mushrooms from gathering at the top of the screen. This strategy avoids scorpions from poisoning mushrooms and halts the centipede’s rapid movement.