Centipede


  • Description
    • This is clone of the vintage Atari game Centipede. Although the playable area is only about 250 by 300 pixels, the game captures the look feel and spirit of the original arcade game quite well.

      The player defends against centipedes, spiders, scorpions and fleas, completing a round after eliminating the centipede that winds down the playing field.
  • Instructions
    • The player is represented by a small, "Garden Gnome" at the bottom of the screen, later depicted as a caped, elf-like character on the Atari 2600, Atari 5200 and Atari 7800 cartridge graphics. The player moves the character about the bottom area of the screen with a mouse (in place of the trackball) and fires laser shots at a centipede advancing from the top of the screen down through a field of mushrooms. Shooting any section of the centipede creates a mushroom; shooting one of the middle segments splits the centipede into two pieces at that point. Each piece then continues independently on its way down the board, with the first section of the rear piece becoming a new head. If the head is destroyed, the section behind it becomes the next head.

      The centipede starts at the top of the screen, traveling either left or right. When it hits a mushroom or the edge of the screen, it drops one level and switches direction. Thus, more mushrooms on the screen cause the centipede to descend more rapidly. The player can destroy mushrooms by shooting them, but each takes four hits to destroy.






      Centipede-Arcade
      If the centipede reaches the bottom of the screen, it moves back and forth within the player area and one-segment "head" centipedes are periodically added. This continues until the player has eliminated both the original centipede and all heads. When all the centipede's segments are destroyed, a new centipede forms at the top of the screen. Every time a centipede is eliminated, however, the next one is one segment shorter and is accompanied by one additional, fast-moving "head" centipede. A player loses a life when hit by a centipede or another enemy, such as a spider or a flea, causing the game to turn any poisoned or partially damaged mushrooms back to normal whole mushrooms. Points are awarded for each one of those mushrooms after the player loses a life. The flea leaves mushrooms behind when fewer than five are in the player area, though the number required increases with level of difficulty. Spiders move across the player area in a zig-zag fashion and occasionally eat some of the mushrooms.

      Scorpions poison every mushroom they touch, but these never appear in the player's movement region. A centipede touching a poisoned mushroom hurtles straight toward the player's area. Upon reaching the player's area, the centipede returns to normal behavior.
  • Trivia and Fun Facts
    • One of the first games to use trackball control and vertical monitor orientation.
  • Game History
    • Centipede was followed by Millipede in 1982, a somewhat less successful arcade game. In 1992, Atari Games developed a prototype of an arcade game called Arcade Classics for their 20th anniversary. It included Missile Command 2 and Super Centipede.

      In 1998, Hasbro-owned Atari released a new version of the game for the PC, PlayStation, and Dreamcast. This version looks and plays very differently to the original game, with free movement around the map, 3D graphics, and a campaign which can be played in single-player or multiplayer mode. The original version of Centipede is available in this version, albeit with slightly updated graphics.