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E3 2011: Centipede: Infestation First Impressions

Feature; Jun. 8, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Jenner David Cauton
Subtypes: Opinion, Preview
The classic is back
Los Angeles, CA, USA

If there was ever sound effects from a classic arcade game that would get stuck in my head, it's the ones from Centipede. Atari has resurrected the arcade classic with Centiped: Infestation.

Instead of an archer, players take on the role of an action hero with a space blaster. The demo level involved a grassy field consisting of a significantly smaller space than before. This worried me at first until I saw just exactly how the game was played. Instead of having only a limited space to maneuver on the bottom of the screen, the player is now in the center with the freedom to go wherever he pleases, but it's not long before swarms of little 'pedes coming storming in from all directions.

Although this was the only level demoed, more layouts, including ones that are like the original Centipede, will be included. Whether or not this will include the many randomly placed mushrooms in the original arcade remains to be seen. (There was only one in the demo.) The game plays very much like a twin shooter, using the nun-chuck to move around and the Wii remote to aim. The game is played from an isometric view, and aiming is akin to moving a mouse on the screen.

Different enemies can also drop different items that can be used to upgrade your character and weapons. Aside from the standard blaster, other guns shown were a machine gun, flamethrower, and a force gun. In addition, all guns also have a time limit. Enemies can also drop power ups that can upgrade the character himself. Some bugs will even help out the player by killing other enemies.

Of course, it's not Centipede without the giant ones, and they come back bigger than ever. The centipedes now come in pairs, still split up when you shoot them, but now have vulnerable spots. However, without the mushrooms present, you can no longer plan a trap ahead of time to kill them.

Multiplayer features include two player so far (most likely co-op) and is looking at a release in the fall.

Overall, I think the use of the Wii remote is a refreshing change to the game. However, I'm really hoping there will be more levels that bring back the mushrooms from the original, which effectively change the layout of the levels each time you play.

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