Centipede: Recharged (Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox X/S, Atari VCS, PC)

Even though Centipede isn’t one of my top favorite classic arcade games, I have a lot of good memories associated with it because it’s a game my dad would play a lot when we’d go to arcades as a family back in the day.  I also have a lot of respect for the game because it was co-designed by a lady programmer and was one of the first games to have a larger female fan base.  And now you can play an updated version of this classic with Centipede: Recharged.  It’s available on pretty much all current game consoles and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

Gameplay is exactly like the arcade classic.  You control a craft on the bottom of the screen that shoots upwards.  Shoot at centipedes that separate when you blast them, and the defeated segments turn into mushrooms.  When a centipede hits a mushroom, it’ll go one notch lower closer to you and march the other way.  You’ll have to avoid and shoot other insects as well, like divebombing fleas and scorpions that can turn mushrooms poisonous and make the centipedes fall straight down when they hit them.

One thing they added to Recharged was power-ups.  When you shoot the spiders that creep around the bottom of the playfield, they’ll give you a temporary power-up.  And there are TONS of different ones.  Spread shots, sideways shots, lasers, shields, bombs, and many more.  The graphics also have been updated to have a neon outline look to them.  Makes me think of vector graphics or the visuals found in Missile Command Recharged, which I reviewed last year.

There are two modes of play.  Arcade mode has you try and get a high score as you can.  And in Mission Mode, you must complete missions in specific stages.  Some of these stages may have special mushroom formations that hinder movement, or you must destroy certain enemies under specific conditions.  You can play both modes in single player or two-player co-op, as well as post your scores to an online leaderboard.

One thing this game made me realize is the importance of the sound effects of the original game.  Each bug made a certain sound when entering the screen, so you knew when to look out for scorpions, spiders, and fleas.  But in this new game they don’t have those sounds.  You can hear bug crawling sounds, but they’re too subtle and not distinct enough.  Another problem I had with this game is that it starts out a bit slow, and kind of threw me off because of that.  And you only get ONE LIFE!  I know these games are supposed to be hard, but even the arcade game let you have more lives than that.  It just means that play sessions are a lot shorter.

I kind of wish they would’ve ported Centipede Chaos to the Switch instead.  This is an arcade game that I played at Dave & Busters recently.  I enjoyed it a bit more than Recharged, as it has better graphics, faster gameplay, more enemies, and even bosses!  The arcade cabinet is neat, too, because the chair stools you sit on are actually mushrooms!

Kid Factor:

Centipede: Recharged is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence.  You shoot at outlines shaped like bugs that explode when defeated, and that’s about as violent as it gets.  I grew up with games like this and turned out OK anyway.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the menu text, but not necessary just to play.  Younger gamers may find it too difficult also.

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