Centipede / Millipede
Reviewed by Diane Cote
Centipede used to bore me. I really had a hard time with the track ball thing in the
arcades and by the time it came out on the home systems (I'm talking post Atari
2600 here) the whole side-to-side shooting thing was starting to get a little
tiresome (even though it has never completely faded away). I much preferred
Defender or Robotron to the vertical invasion-type games of Galaga, Galaxian,
Space Invaders and Centipede. Well, now those memories of suffering through
afternoons spent in cigarette smoke filled arcades, playing cigarette stained
and burnt arcade machines are back to haunt me, in the form of Nintendo and
Accolade's inspired Arcade Classic carts for the Game Boy.
There are four cartridges in the series; Asteroids / Missile Command, Defender /
Joust, Galaga / Galaxian and the cart at hand, Centipede / Millipede. Now, I know
the first thing that might come to your mind is, "What a rip, those other three carts
all feature two entirely different games but Centipede and Millipede are almost
exactly alike!" Thing is, I thought the same thing until I played the games on the
Game Boy. Centipede is nowhere near as cool as Millipede and anybody that says it is,
will probably end up voting for Dan Quayle as President (whether or not he runs!).
The premise of the two games is identical. You play a lone shooter in an overgrown
enchanted forest filled with evil insectia. Your mission is to rid the mushroom
patch of, well... ...everything, including the mushrooms. So you blast and blast as
various many-legged creatures make their way towards you. As you complete a
level the next becomes increasingly difficult and so on, ad infinitum. There is no
ending to these kinds of games. No satisfactory conclusion to a heart warming
tale of good versus evil. Nope. Centipede and Millipede purely exist as ways to
kill time. For my money (because, time is...), Millipede is the much better
diversion of the two, simply on the strength of the frenzied insanity it provides.
If you're looking to play Millipede for any length of time, my suggestion to you
would be to sprout two additional hands so that you can get on with the rest of
your daily routines. Once you start this thing, you'll not want to stop. Frustration
will set in as you reach a difficult plateau but the ability to continue from
approximately where you last got to is an undeniable hook. I want you to repeat
after me; "There is no end to this game, I can't play forever"...........Good, now I
trust you. Give it a try.
Centipede is slightly more pleasant looking than Millipede at first glance. The
mushrooms and various insects all appear to be larger than their brothers and
sisters in Millipede but the animation of the game is a little bit choppier and
less finessed than it is in the sequel. As well, there's just not as much going on.
Millipede is literally crawling with activity at any given moment, with tons of
different bugs zipping across and down the screen (its just like the scene in
Temple Of Doom), whereas Centipede, the older game in this creaky series, has
a fairly barren forest. Centipede/Millipede offers very limited color (on Super
Game Boy). Mushrooms can become poisonous (you'll know when they do because
their color changes) and at each level change a new 4 shade palette is introduced.
(Wahoooo - 4 colors!!!!) Not exactly the same vibrant, eye catching action of the
arcade but it'll do.
I was really quite amazed by how much I got off on this game pak. Millipede was
never one of my favorite diversions in the eighties but I've found I can't keep my
hands off this port over. If the question you want answered is; "Is it fun and is it
worth the dough?" I'd have to respond with an irrevocable "Yes". The game delivers
a lot more enjoyment than its raggedy old graphical wrappings would have you
believe. I'm not as impressed by Centipede but it doesn't hurt my feelings that
it's included. All in all, I'd say Accolade, The Code Monkeys and Nintendo have
done a great job on reviving the dead. I can't wait to chomp down on the other classics.
Centipede / Millipede 8 out of 10