Developer: MacSoft division of WizardWorks at Infogrames, Inc.
Requirements: G3-based Mac with Mac OS 8.6, 64 MB RAM, 8x CD-ROM.
Recommended: 333 MHz Mac, 8 MB of VRAM, 96 MB of RAM, 16x CD-ROM.
Centipede was an old arcade game popular in the early 1980s. Your shooter had limited mobility at the bottom of the screen. You shot bullets at a segmented centipede, and each segment turned into an immovable mushroom after being shot. The object of the game was to blast the centipedes, spiders, and other enemies while acquiring special weapons or power-ups. Centipede went on to become an Atari 2600 game cartridge. The current incarnation of Centipede has a 3D Arcade version with game play similar to the original. The new game also has an Adventure version that combines the 3D Arcade-style game play with a five worlds “protect and rescue the good guys” action game.
The CD contains a data partition with the Centipede Vise installer. Standard installation places the application and some data files on the hard drive you designate. Custom installation lets you install most (215 MB) or all components (290 MB) except the movies. The CD contains installers for QuickTime 4.1.2, OpenGL 1.2.1, and GameSprockets 1.7.5. A second CD partition contains audio tracks for background music.
Files Installed on Hard Drive
The first time you launch, or anytime you hold down the Command key and launch, you are presented with a settings window. You can choose the screen resolution, refresh rate, rendering mode, detail and texture quality, and video extras such as fog, shadows, dithering, and 32-bit color. The manual provides no information on these settings. The Read Me file has a small amount of information.
Centipede Resolution and Appearance Options
Centipede has single-player and two-player modes. Single-player modes include Arcade (based on the old Atari game), 3D Arcade (new to this game), and Adventure. I could not get Arcade to work at any resolution. The 3D Arcade game resembles the original Centipede game. It is really a 2.5D game with a 3D perspective. Movement felt choppy and suffered from excessive lag time. The mushrooms are rounded tetrahedrons on stalks. The spider enemy is just a spheroid associated with a spray of long triangular legs. I disliked the look and feel of the 3D Arcade game. Also, the repetitive background music quickly became annoying. Fortunately, you can turn it off.
Initial Game Menu
3D Arcade Game Screen Shot
Adventure can be played singly, with two players at one computer (that displays a screen split into left and right halves), or with two players over a network. I tested only the single player version. Adventure is a mixture of 3D Arcade Centipede and the old Defender arcade game. You appear on a playing field with rocks, walls, water barriers, bridges, and the inevitable mushrooms, centipedes, and spiders.
First Level of Adventure Game
There are also Wee creatures and Wee buildings that need to be protected. You maneuver your Shooter through the landscape, blasting mushrooms, spiders, centipedes, and other enemies to protect Wee buildings. You rescue the Wees by touching them with your shooter. You advance through the “worlds” (Weedom, Frostonia, Infurnium, Enigma, and E-Vile) by blasting or pushing back all the enemies. Again, I felt hindered by a perceptible lag when controlling the Shooter. Jumping is hard to control. It is possible to get your shooter stuck against objects. Also, it is sometimes difficult to identify objects against the background.
Mission Description Window
Centipede has an undocumented feature: screen shots. If you type Command-Shift-3, a screen shot (in PictureViewer format) will be placed in a Screenshots folder within your Centipede folder.
Instructions and Help
Centipede comes with a CD jewel case-sized, 28-page manual. The manual adequately describes hardware and software requirements and the installation process. It does not describe the resolution and graphic details setup options at all. It skimps when describing how to set control options for mice, game pads, and joysticks. The manual doesn’t describe the Arcade game (which doesn’t appear on the screen shots of the “Select A Game” screen). The manual uses “Arcade” when referring to the 3D Arcade option. The manual adequately describes game play in 3D Arcade and Adventure modes. Obviously, the manual is a slapdash rewrite of the Windows version.
No online help is available during game setup or game play.
I could not get Centipede to launch when running Mac OS 8.6. Though I have a 3dfx card, the Glide rendering option was never selectable. Centipede intermittently crashed when launching under OS 9, probably due to resolution switching problems. I could not get the Arcade version to work no matter what resolution options I tried.
I did not enjoy Centipede in its 3D Arcade version at all. The Adventure game was somewhat more interesting, but it wasn’t great. If the $5 price at GameStop.com isn’t a mistake, then I would consider it acceptable for the money. However, Ambrosia Software’s Centipede-like game, Apeiron, is more fun. Apeiron was created in 1995, but it still runs under OS 7-9 and doesn’t cause crashes. It sells for $15.
Apeiron Screen Shot