GameOver Game Reviews

Game & Publisher Centipede (c) Hasbro Interactive
Overall Rating 84%
Date Published , , ,

Divider Left By: DToxR Divider Right

While there is no shortage of old arcade remakes these days, most of them are definitely sub-standard. Most recently there was Lode Runner 2 with its awful control. Another forgettable remake was Frogger 3D which had nice graphics but paper thin gameplay. Both games could have been excellent but fell short of the mark and instead ended up "tarnishing" the memories of the original. Well I am happy to say that Hasbro Interactive's Centipede not only measures up to its granddaddy but in some ways surpasses it.

Hasbro has split the game into two completely different modes of gameplay - arcade and adventure. Fans of the old Centipede will immediately feel at home in arcade mode. It is basically the same as the classic but viewed from 3/4 top down angle and in 3D. I would have liked to see a 2D game mode just like the original for nostalgic purposes but unfortunately this option was not included. You won't have much time to cry over the missing 2D mode once you see the adventure mode. Laid out in a beautiful 3D world, you are free to spin, move and jump in any direction as you battle enemies on multiple fronts. You are briefed before each mission with your objective as well as a few tips to keep you in the land of the living. The goal of the game is to protect and rescue the humans and their villages from a diverse variety of baddies including huge bosses that don't go down without a real fight. To help even the score, you will find various weapon and shiwld powerups scattered throughout the levels.

Controls can be summed up in two words - silky smooth. Whoever did the Lode Runner 2 controls take note - THIS IS HOW ITS DONE. All of the maneuvers are easy to execute and work perfectly. You can use either the keyboard or mouse or better yet a trackball. One minor complaint is that the mouse lacked fine tuning options and I could never get it as responsive as I like it. I ended up using the keyboard and it worked great. A word to the wise - take breaks between levels; this game is really intense and I noticed I was getting sore wrists a.k.a. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome after a few hours of play. Fortunately, you are provided with a overhead radar overlay in order to keep track of the action which is a necessity because often you get so immersed in a firefight with a 'pede that you don't notice a spider coming up behind you.

The visuals are a mixed bag. If you have a 3DFX card then you are in for a treat - smooth, clean, beautiful graphics are standard throughout the game in all of their glory. Unfortunately D3D mode isn't nearly as good; yes everything is in the same place, but it's much slower and as you may expect it doesn't look nearly as good. The original Centipede was actually designed by a woman and many have speculated that this accounts for the bright colours used in the game(Are you still allowed to say stuff like this in the 90's? =). Hasbro was wise to let a good thing be and chose a colourful and vivid palette for the remake. One minor glitch that pops up in glide mode was the "seams" of the tiles used to make up the landscape become partially visible from certain angles. I'm not sure what the technical reason is for this but it's not too much of a distraction and gameplay doesn't really suffer as a result. On the subject of landscapes, this is another place where Centipede shines. You will encounter a variety of scenery throughout the game including grassy hills, cobbled city streets, and even the snowy tundra of the ice levels. Moving textures are used to simulate the water flowing in rivers which crisscross the mountains, providing a clever method of limiting the size of the battlefield without feeling "boxed in".

Sound effects in Centipede are classic arcade gold. Even your weakest weapon has some "uNf" and this is a welcome break from the gutless weapons we've been seeing in games lately like Unreal and Trespasser. One term comes to mind when I consider the graphics and sound of Centipede as a whole: candy-coated. It's very high gloss and it works with the theme perfectly. Music is well suited and non-distracting which is really all you can ask for in an arcade title. When you rescue a little human critter they shout "Thanks Buddy!" in their cute little voice reminiscent of Lemmings or Worms - again, this goes well with the cartoony feel of the game. The sound seems to be somewhat directional and even on my old-school Soundblaster 16 I could hear the source of the trickling water sound change as I rotated my ship next to a riverbank. This was really cool in multiplayer where you can hear your buddy taping down the fire button against some 'pede over to your right while you are dodging spiders and scorpions for all you are worth in a totally different section of the map.

Multiplayer includes a split screen mode for two players locally or a single screen using TCP/IP. Split screen is fully functional although it's just not my cup of tea - I don't have a big enough monitor to be cutting my real estate in half. Internet games are mediocre as far as speed and smoothness goes. This is really unfortunate because it's simply a blast to play side by side with a friend. Watch out though, you have to share the powerups just as you share the enemies so make sure you share up the goodies. =)

In the end, Centipede is just as much a work of art as it is a game. It is well designed and well implemented and it stays true to the feel of the original game. If you've got a 3DFX card, this is a must-get. If you are stuck with D3D, it's still rock solid gameplay wise, so you really can't go wrong. Hasbro, put this team to work on another classic - they've got the touch of Midas.

As a sidenote, I'd like to thank LCX-70M and FitFortDa for helping me test multiplayer and reliving the golden days of arcade games.

Highs: Beautiful graphics with vivid colours, this game is a treat to play

Lows: TCP/IP code could be better, could have used more flexibility for adjusting control sensitivity

Graphics: 17/20
Sound: 13/15
Gameplay: 28/30
Fun Factor: 18/20
Multiplayer: 4/5
Overall Impression: 9/10


Divider Left By: Tigzzz Divider Right

"Centipede(r), the classic arcade game of the '80s, is now revived and brought full speed into the '90s! You're Wally, an ordinary Wee person who must defend the village against the onslaught of Centipedes and other creatures, including spiders, army ants, fleas, scorpions and other creepy-crawlies. Command a custom-built Centipede-fighting vehicle called a Shooter. Battle across many different areas to the Centipede Temple, saving captured and stranded Wee people along the way. Finally, meet up with the mother of all bad creatures - the Queen Centipede. See if you can put an end to this menace once and for all."

The trend of retrofitting arcade hits from the 80's with today's latest technology continues with Centipede. Once one of the best arcade games around Centipede collected many a quarter from anybody old enough to play. So can retrofitting this 80's hit with new graphics and sound from today's technology revive it? Just maybe, but Hasbro has more up their sleeve then just a retrofit. They have included a new addition to Centipede. They have added and adventure element, hoping this new addition would bring new life to an old game.

You need a 3dfx card and the latest drivers to take advantage of the graphics in Centipede. I tried playing it in software mode at first and it is horrible. So bad in fact that it hurt my eyes to try to play it, but in 3dfx mode you're treated to the usual eye candy we are all getting accustom to. The graphics are colorful, but a little bit blocky. The special power ups and weapons each have there own distinct graphics and they are well done. I did get stuck a couple of times in places were the graphics clipped, but overall the graphics are good and they have done a good job bringing the graphics from the classic up to date.

Sound is an important part of any arcade game and the team that created Centipede decided to revamp the sound a bit, but failed to do anything spectacular. One cool sound they left in from the original arcade game is the extra life tune. Leaving that sound in helps keep those of us that are nostalgic happy. There are some cute voices saying "oh no!" and "save me Wally" in the adventure style game and each weapon and enemy has a unique sound. The sound effects from certain enemies can save your life by letting you know there is a danger close by. They have successfully revamped the sound in this game to a level that is suitable for today's games.

I was interested in the idea of turning Centipede into an adventure game, but a little skeptical. The idea is simple blast the bad guys and run around collecting the good guys, weapons and prizes. I think I have played this game before. It is not an original idea, but it works ok for the game and adds a new dimension. Each level has new features (bad guys, weapons, prizes) and of course the boss levels, adding yet another dimension. The arcade style part of the game might have been more fun if it were truly 3d instead of just perspective 3d. I played the adventure for hours and had to quit because my fingers were too sore. I was definitely a bit addicted, but as my fingers got sore I also started to get bored. The levels are all different, but there weren't enough differences to keep me from getting board. There isn't much depth to the adventure game and calling it an adventure game is really stretching it.

If you have never heard of Centipede or played it in the arcade back in the 80's it really wouldn't matter because this is really a completely new game. I think the changes they made in the game are an improvement on the classic in some ways, but such a difference that I am not sure it is fair to compare the two games. The bottom line is Hasbro has done a good job and I would recommend checking out this title.

Graphics: 16 / 20
Sound: 12 / 15
Gameplay: 23 / 30
Fun Factor:15 / 20
Overall Impression:13 / 15


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