By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Officially, there aren’t a lot of Atari “Recharged” titles. To my knowledge, there’s Battlezone VR, Tempest 4K, Missile Command and now Centipede. There’s a few unofficial updates and they don’t hold a candle to the classics unless the company is involved. There is Asteroids, and I’m still searching for a modern remake of Frogger, Pong, Pole Position and Breakout.
Centipede Recharged is available for the Atari VCS, Nintendo Switch, Steam (PC), Xbox Series X/S, Epic and PS4/5. Aside from blasting apart bugs and ranking up the global leaderboard, this highly addictive game will keep players shooting, bug wranglers cackling and game players shaking a fist at those scorpions. The fleas rain down the screen like they are part of The Matrix far more often when players last longer than ten minutes.
This game is massively updated and locally produced. Vancouver, BC based Adamvision Studios is the brains behind this product. There’s no levels. The spiders provide power-ups instead of points, and your digital avatar is a lone elf creature (in the art by Marija Velykytė of SneakyBox Studios) defending a forest from these centipede invaders.
The scorpions’ poisoning of the mushrooms can help or hinder. I prefer to clear them as soon as I can, but there’s something to be said about keeping one on the playfield. The game has its random elements, as the power-ups aren’t predetermined. There’s also a few triggered moments if you’re not careful in clearing too much of a specific thing. Mind you, a line of bombs or a cluster of them can help destroy vast swaths of mushrooms and nearby bugs. Having a rail gun as my blaster is my best friend, and is definitely any other player’s too.
The best strategy is to clear a path through the mushrooms and to keep the lower third of the screen 90% clear. It’s tough to stay alive since you only have one life.
The challenge mode is a nice diversion from the regular arcade mode. They range from avoiding killing specific bugs to destroying as many as you can in a premade field. There’s also simply surviving in a fixed amount of time. Another addition is a 2-player co-op where you and a friend share double duty in how to deal with the bugs; the best part of this deal is you can heal your pal.
The graphics have a vector-like style to them, but they’re still sprites in the end. Mushrooms wither per shot, and the scorpions look like they can be an Egyptian hieroglyph. It’s gorgeous on the big screen! If there’s a way to use the classic trackball in any version of this game to emulate the feel of the original cabinet game, I definitely will make the switch.
4½ Stars out of 5