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Centipede: Origins

For:   Also on: AndroidiPhoneiPad
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Gnome alone

Product: Centipede: Origins | Publisher: Atari Inc. | Format: Android | Genre: Arcade | Players: 1 | File size: 113MB | Version: Europe
Centipede: Origins Android, thumbnail 1
Back when the interactive entertainment industry was young and Atari effectively ruled the roost, putting together a concept for a video game was pretty straightforward.

Titles like Space Invaders and Pac-Man can hardly be described as complex narrative epics, and the same can be said for Centipede: as the title suggests, it features many-legged insects who must be shot before they reach the bottom of the screen.

Centipede: Origins takes this starting concept and attempts to bolt-on a storyline of sorts. This time around, the titular bugs are attacking the village of a group of cute, peace-loving gnomes who have finally had enough of ceaseless oppression and have taken up arms.

Stop bugging me

Just like in the original game, the centipedes cascade from the top of the screen, dashing around a field packed with destructible mushrooms.

The centipedes change direction whenever they hit one of these fungi. This can work in your favour when you're trying to aim your shots, but on the flip-side the mushrooms obstruct your fire, making it hard to get a clean shot on the marauding menace.

Thankfully, you have a few secret weapons at your disposal. Gadgets take the form of bombs and lethal pincers, which help eradicate large groups of monsters. You can also use special powers like rapid fire or explosive shots, which help to even the odds a little.

You'll need them, too - in addition to the appendage-rich title insect, you'll also be facing fleas, spiders, and flies, each of which presents a unique challenge.

Not mushroom in here

To begin with, Centipede: Origins is rather tricky, and you'll find yourself repeatedly overwhelmed after the first few waves of bugs.

However, you build experience points as you play, and this unlocks new special items and gadgets. By the time you've acquired the most potent weapons in the game you'll find it easier to push past those opening levels and aim for a high score.

Centipede: Origins does a commendable job of respectfully updating the original concept for a new audience without losing sight of what made the game so much fun in the first place.

Ant another thing

The only slightly questionable contemporary element is the inclusion of in-app purchases for packs of gold, which are used to restock your armory. Thankfully, you acquire such a large number of coins during normal play that it's rarely necessary to resort to purchasing more with real cash.

Another minor issue is that the spider enemy - which sweeps in from the bottom of the screen - is sometimes almost impossible to avoid, leading to some frustratingly unfair deaths.

While these issues do take some of the shine off the game, Centipede: Origins still packs in enough entertainment to please both those who remember the original and those who weren't even born when the Atari classic was first released.

iOS version reviewed.
Centipede: Origins
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 25 June 2012
A commendable refresh of a classic from gaming's prehistory, Centipede: Origins expands on the core gameplay of the original to deliver a fun and addictive experience
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