The premise in Centipede is really basic yet it works. In the game it's your goal to help an elf to shoot down an invading Centipede before it has a chance to reach at the bottom of the screen. It may sounds easy but the problem is the Centipede will be guarded by tons of annoying (but shootable) Mushrooms and it will still advance even if you shoot off parts of its body. If you manage to shoot down all the pieces of it another Centipede will quickly take its place. The other big obstacle you have to worry about in the game is the ever aggressive spider and it is actually much tougher to avoid the spider (especially on the 5200) then the game's star attraction.
All the action takes place on a single screen and are little hero can freely move across 1/3 of the bottom area so you have a bit more freedom then other shooters like Space Invaders or Mega Mania where you can only move left or right. The game plays well on the standard 5200 controller (which is good because usually they suck) but it should also be noted the game is compatible with the cool Atari 5200 Track Ball Controller too so it plays even more like the arcade original. Believe me, you're going to need great controls for this tough game!
Not only are the controls very accurate but the game even looks just like the arcade game. Your hero is not a mere block like in the 2600 edition and everything from the Centipede to the Mushrooms have a fair bit of detail. This shooter looks so good that the graphics are even better than the Letterbox 7800 version if you ask me. The game also has the that constant marching beat and various other arcade sounds effects just like in the arcades. The problem is the arcade game was never that great looking or sounding to begin with. For example: the boring black background and lack of any real game music are still very apparent.
Although the game is not too graphically impressive and the action can
get very repetitive as well, if you love the action packed arcade
original this edition is has close as you can get especially with the
Track Ball controller. If you have the 5200 be sure to check out the
simple but fun and challenging Centipede.