Centipede is Atari’s most successful video game since Asteroids. The game was introduced in July of 1981, and has set proudly on the top 10 money-making list ever since. At present, the average machine rakes in approximately $225.00 a week.Centipede plays on our futuristic fears: in the end, the insects will prevail. In fact, the insects in Centipede are so huge (radiation, perhaps?) that we can no longer squish them flat or swat them dead: We must blast them senseless with a giant Bug Blaster.
The game is not for the meek. Centipede is a fast-paced game with incredible distraction devices. Your main task is to destroy every segment of a Centipede in order to clear the screen and make room for a new Centipede. The obstacles are numerous. The Spider tries like mad to kill you. The Flea clutters up the screen with Mushrooms. The Scorpion poisons those Mushrooms, driving the Centipede mad. New Centipedes bring new colors to the game and, of course, faster action. Every 12,000 points yields a new Bug Blaster.
If high scores aren’t enough, consider this: If you achieve a score of 800,000 points, the machine will “freak out.” Reports vary from odd letters at odd places to elongated Spiders and other unexpected video images. This seems to be an Atari trademark. Missile Command, as many of you know, also “freaks out’ at around 810,000 points. So this is our challenge to you: Get 800,000 points and tell us what you see.
CENTIPEDE ELEMENTS ) A. The Centipede (10 points per segment 100 points per head). The Centipede is the King of the video Kingdom. Your first priority is to kill the King, after which a new King — a new Centipede — appears: ail decked out in new colors. The King isn't King for nothing. This is one crafty insect that can divide and multiply as necessary. Don't let it divide: Always attack from the head or the tail and move progressively toward the other end. Don't let it multiply: Destroy every Centipede segment before it hits the bottom and reproduces. The worst position to be in is with segments attacking from both over and under your Bug Blaster. B. The Spider (300, 600, or 900 points, depending on distance from Bug Blaster). The Spider is the King's soldier. His immediate goal is to attack and kill you. He also eats a few Mushrooms now and then, which may provoke the Flea. Don't allow the Spider to interfere with your game. Only one Spider can appear at a time, and that Spider can never retreat. He can only move up, down, or forward. Kill the Spider if ifs convenient. If you can't easily kill him, don't fret. Some top scorers can kill the Spider consistently at 900 points. Don't attempt to do this when you're learning the game. Only attack the Spider after all other elements are mastered. The best initial advice is to be aware of the Spider at all times. If he's dangling up and down heading left, stay to the right and concentrate on the Fleas, Mushrooms, Scorpion, or Centipede. Once the Spider exits, however, be careful. Move to the center. A new Spider can enter from either side and from any angle.
ENTIPEDE ELEMENTS ) C. The Flea (200 points). The Flea is the King's worker. His primary function is to replenish the Mushrooms you've destroyed at the bottom of the screen. It takes two shots to kill a Flea. We like to kill lots of Fleas, although some players simply scratch away at the Mushrooms they leave behind. Fleas only appear when less than five Mushrooms sit in your working area.
This working area is the distance from the bottom of the screen to the height your Bug Blaster can reach. Fleas will keep coming until at least five Mushrooms remain in that working area. It's easy to get out of a Flea's path. Don't let them distract you.
The Scorpion (1000 points). The Scorpion is indeed the Queen. She's the prize. Her main function is to poison Mushrooms. If a Centipede hits one of these poisoned Mushrooms, it will dive quickly to the bottom. By all means, kill the Queen. She's your key to top scores. And the real trick is to kill the Scorpion fast, before she poisons the Mushrooms. E. The Mushrooms (5 points). There are three types of Mushrooms: those that are (1) supplied at the beginning of the game or by the Fleas; those that (2) appear when a Centipede segment is destroyed; and those that (3) are poisoned by the Scorpion. The Type 1 and Type 2 Mushrooms determine the path that the Centipede will take toward the bottom of the screen. You will learn, under Centipede Strategy, how to take control of that path. The only real difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Mushrooms is that you score five extra points for Type 2's after your Bug Blaster is destroyed. You can get 5 points for destroying Type 1 Mushrooms. The poisoned Mushrooms are dangerous. If a Centipede contacts a poisoned Mushroom, it dives quickly to the bottom of the screen. The only way to stop its plunge is to kill it by the head! F. The Bug Blaster. This, my friend, is you. And you'd better keep yourself moving if you want to stay alive. Don't let yourself idle. Stay active. Be the athlete. Like Muhammad Ali, dazzle them with your footwork — and time your punches for the greatest impact.