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Millipede - The Atari Times

Millipede


The bugs are back, and they've brought friends
by Darryl Brundage

May 2, 2004
MuhaHAHAHHAAHA! Yes, the title says it all, the invasion's even MUCH worse than the original! You are overrun...outdone...doomed! Prepare to be squashed like the bug that YOU really are!

(switches to decaf) Ok...seriously, I remember playing this (along with my sister, as this was one of the few video games she ever participated in) after celebrating wins of our local swim meets with the team at the local pizza place. Some good memories there, but the swimming pool is now gone, so is the pizza place, and unless you've got the space for this machine, you're probably going to have to settle for the emulated version of Millipede or one of it's compilated ports, like on the Game Boy. Well, all of that really craps on my memories quite nicely, thank you very little...

Anyway, bigger is really better in this sequel, giving you swarms of bugs in between waves, a better arsenal to destroy them with, and the blasted buggers also, unfortunately, can clog the screen the hell up if you let them (which they'll usually get away with).

Now, I'm assuming everyone knows the original, right? A centipede is heading your way, you must destroy it, and along the way fleas can produce mushrooms that will make the centipede come down the screen faster, spiders are quick, annoying, and will probably cost you a lot of lives, and scorpions will poison mushrooms and cause centipedes to charge all the way down to the bottom of the screen, which is where *you* are.

The above really makes the case of "just PLAY it!", rather than trying to explain to a non-video gamer what Centipede is about, or else they'll think you're into some pretty heavy drugs, or taking
some kind of stupid pills, at best.

Well, adding to the above elements for this sequel is this:

Beetles -- they immediately start off by appearing in your playing area -- greeeat -- which, if you don't shoot them, they will move to the bottom of the screen, then rise a couple of inches up to leave an indestructible flower behind (for the 2600 E. T. to find?) if you don't shoot the beetle quick enough. Ok...oh, and also when you shoot one, the entire screen gets bumped up a notch. Um, why, exactly?

Mosquitoes -- these fly in diagonals, and leave behind mushrooms in large clumps; #@*! polluters!

Inchworms -- now, for ONCE, these bugs actually help! If you can nail one, the action slows down on the screen for a few seconds. All hail this magical bug (and then kill them anyway)!

Dragonflies -- these guys zigzag their way down the screen in a drunk driving-type "pattern" (or not).

Bees and Earwigs -- these two replace bugs from the original Centipede: bees are pretty much the same as the original's fleas (fleas and bees, a really bad rhyming combination there), whereas
the earwigs replace the original's scorpions.

As far as debates go, Millipede isn't exactly a true sequel -- especially with the (above) bugs only replacing ones from the original (now you can see why I listed them last) -- rather, it's really just an upgrade, as it's original working title was Centipede Plus, since the gameplay is basically the same, which is a bit like how people argue against director Sam Raimi's claim that Evil Dead 2 is a sequel, rather than a remake (which I don't agree, since I don't see why Ash would go back into a cabin to having the exact same insane things happen all over again, but who cares, it's a helluva hoot!).

But so what? It's all in the gameplay, stupid! After every few screens, there's a swarm of a particular kind of bug, which can either net you a lot of points or cause you a pretty quick death; if you can clear a path of mushrooms and destroy one of the DDT bombs that adorn the screen, you'll get a nice mushroom cloud that will expand a bit and will kill any bugs that are brainless enough (which luckily most bugs ARE) to plow into them. This is even more fun than swatting bugs individually, and more effective.

Unfortunately, the screen's usually too full of walls of mushrooms in order to get a shot at one of these babies, and if you thought one spider was bad enough in the original, in the later levels TWO can appear onscreen, which is definitely double trouble, as the difficulty level in this sequel is a bit high. However, I think it really adds a lot to the original, and I actually prefer it over Centipede, especially with the DDT bombs (me man, me likem to blow stuff up!) and being able to slow the action down for a few seconds. (I still don't understand that bumping up the screen a notch part, though, when you shoot a beetle, but oh well.)

The controls are great, having the same trak-ball control and fire button as the original, and the graphics are bigger and better, there's more sounds to alert you to the dangers of the bug world, plus there's more of the aforementioned enemies to deal with, making this the video game equivalent of the movie A Bug's Life (although this is more like A Bug's ARMY).

So if you liked Centipede, give this a whirl on the ol' emulator, although it's better if you know of a classic arcade with the superior trak-ball control, rather than using your keyboard (although a joystick or Genesis controller on home ports isn't too bad). All I know is that I hate bugs, and I'm ready to blast them back to whatever gnarly place they crawled out from. (Plus I don't like the fact that my old pool was recently turned into a park and the pizza place into an oil-change place, so I'm going to take my revenge out on the bugs. Better than "going postal" in real life, anyway.)

The DDT is a welcome weapon!
The spider is still as annoying as ever.
Inchworms slow down the pace while the earwigs poison the mushrooms.
Millipede
System: Arcade
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Shooter
Graphics Score: 85%
Sound & Music Score: 95%
Gameplay Score: 93%
Control Score: 100%

Final Score: 95%



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