By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Available for the Atari VCS, Nintendo Switch, Steam (PC), Xbox Series X/S, Epic and PS4/5
Adamvision and Sneaky Box Studios are nicely sticking to a style for their re-imagined Atari games. Black Widow Recharged reuses a lot of elements from Centipede Recharged and this consistency is great. I love the fact these two games are designed to be companion pieces to one another. The protagonist the player controls has to deal with various insect threats. Unfortunately, this also means players only have one life to get the pests in control. In this game’s case, once that spider is touched by a wasp, you’re dead.
Thankfully, you have a rather fast machine gun spit to turns these bugs into a dollar sign. They don’t buy anything (it’d be cool if it did like in Missile Command). The power-ups (with most ported over from the Centipede game) don’t appear fast enough, and players have to be very careful with the dual stick controller setup to keep on evading and shooting them down. There’s no movement sensitivity adjustment option in this game, whereas Centipede Recharged did. Hopefully, this can be resolved in an update. It’s only a matter of mental training to avoid moving your avatar to the target like a moth to a flame when it should be the other hand rotating the shooter to its intended target.
Once the basics are mastered, the game is quite good. It replicates the vector graphic look of the classic. The graphics are crisp and the neon glare makes the game terrific to look at when played on a big screen. However, size doesn’t matter as the game field is tight. As some parts of the spider-web become bolder, you can’t cross them or assume they became that way to help catch the various mosquitoes, beetles and hornets coming at you. It gives the game a maze-like feel, and when attempting the challenges aren’t enough.
This spider has a web shooter, much like how Spider-Man uses his to entangle a large group, but to figure out how to use it was a struggle at first. It took a while for me to find the control layout screen for the Nintendo Switch. It’s not easily found. Once I got that figured out, playing the game became slightly easier.
I’m still wishing for that sensitivity option, though. It’d make moving the spider less twitchy when I’m not wanting it to speed its way to death, after realizing I want to shoot at it rather than pounce like some spiders do after their meal gets entwined in web. Even after that, I keep on thinking about how Black Widow in Avengers: Infinity War met her fate. In this game, squashing down bugs isn’t any more easier. Fortunately the endgame is on how long can any player survive, and stay on the global leaderboard.
It takes more than just a few hours to get used to how this arcade game works, and I certainly need to keep practicing!
3½ out of 5 Stars