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Centipede / Millipede

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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

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