Centipede

a game by Hasbro Interactive

Platforms: PlaystationPC

Genre: Action

People say:

2.5

There's an unwritten rule a company has to follow when updating a classic game--any changes or additions that you make cannot alter or hurt the game-play of the original (an example of this done well is Tempest 2000). Centipede breaks that rule. A choppy frame-rate, blocky textures, awkward camera angles and drifty control alt make you forget that this was once an enjoyable arcade game. While boss graphics look OK, smaller enemies are too blocky. I would have preferred simpler, rounded polygons to this choppy, blocky mess. One of the important aspects of the original game is that you could only go a third of the way up the screen. In this, you can move in any direction, anywhere on the playing field (except water and pits), making the game more like a bad version of Smash TV. Saving Wee People and worrying about mission objectives slows the game's pace, and doesn't add any additional enjoyment to the game. The music is OK, but using Redbook audio that fades in and out at the start/end of each track makes the game load way too often. Speaking of load times, it's almost intolerable for a PlayStation game to load as much as this does. Its saving grace is that it does include a version of the original arcade game, which does kick-start the memories of spending countless hours in front of the machine in the '80s.

6.0

There's nothing wrong with updating classic formulas with some modern-day twists (Robotron into Smash TV, for example). This 32-Bit Centipede is fun but the developers decided to implement free-roaming 3D gameplay, which kills the mounting anticipation of having to dodge a fragmented centipede if it should ever reach the bottom of the screen. Did this game realty need to be in 3D? Thankfully, included is the original game for old guys like me.

3.5

Here's a textbook example of how to muck up a classic game. For one, why even have 3O when the most comfortable view is top-down anyway? The 3D angle is more of a novelty than a viable play mode. Why so many levels that basically repeat the same scenario in different forms? One more-why not modify and improve the original 2D Centipede while keeping its classic gameplay much the same way Activision did with the new Asteroids?

3.5

How sad. Now that Activision's Asteroids has set the standard on how to properly update a retro game, why are half-rate updates like Centipede still appearing? Its graphics are horribly primitive, especially considering how few polygons there seem to be on screen. The gameplay and overall style is too simple. The level progression is smooth and I like the control .but that's it. The rest is pretty much crap-crap sound, crap graphics, etc. Crap.

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Hasbro Interactive

Centipede Downloads

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Overview

Riding the waves of the recent flood of '80s nostalgia, here is another re-issue of a classic arcade game. Like Hasbro’s recent re-issue of Frogger, however, the game has been completely overhauled and updated. There are two different types of gameplay (which can be played single or multiplayer): a 3D-ish remake of the the arcade game, and a whole new 3D adventure game with a bit of a storyline to it (evil bugs invade a peaceful town) which mostly makes for a good excuse for some groovy pre-game cinematics. Either way you play it, it’s a brand-new game -- these ain’t your parents’ bugs.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

The Arcade game is similar to the original, with the exception of the angle of the playing field and different colored, more 3D-ish graphics. In the Adventure game, you control a small ship via mouse/keyboard or gamepad and roam around various environments, blasting the bugs and saving the little Wee People. There are three camera angles, each of which has its uses: first-person, close-up and overhead view. There are several levels to the game -- which, if you run through them fast, do run out quickly -- but it’s enough to keep you busy for a while.

Graphics

The 3D environments in the Adventure game are pretty good -- having the different camera angles to choose from helps give you a good feel for where you are and what’s around you. The pre-game cinematics aren’t bad, either. The 3D-ish version of the Arcade-style game is a little weird, though. Don’t expect it to feel like the original game, especially if you’re using a mouse as your controller. The response is significantly more sluggish than the trackball/button combination on the arcade machines of old, probably due to the complexity of the 3D.

Audio

They’ve added zippy techno music for your background (it helps keep you going!) and some deliciously cheeseball sound effects, including several taken directly from or built on the sounds from the original game.

System Requirements

Pentium 133 or higher running WIN 9x, 4X CD-ROM drive, 16 MB RAM, 60 MB HD space, 1 MB SVGA card and Direct X 5.0. Recommended: the above plus 32 MB RAM, 120 MB HD space, 200 Mhz Pentium and a 3Dfx card. A good 3D card is really essential for the proper game experience, and you may need to tweak your video settings and the game settings to get it all to work correctly.

Documentation

Not much, but useful. The booklet in the jewel case gives you a good overview of the controls, weapons and point system, but it’s not terribly necessary. Both games are pretty easy and self-explanatory.

Bottom Line

Skip the Arcade game, unless you’re just buying it for the nostalgia, and go straight for the Adventure game. It’s very fast-paced and utterly addictive. The look and feel is very much like some of the newer console games out there (Mario 64, etc) and as a result, you may want to use a gamepad for your controller rather than a mouse. This new version has all the elements that made so many of the original arcade games so popular: simple, mindless, blast-the-bugs, save-the-cute-critters fun. Highly recommended for maturing Gen-Xers looking to recapture their youth, and younger kids raised on Nintendos and overly violent combat games who never had the original arcade experience.

reggie posted a review
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