May 14, 2012
In the interest of making money, some companies resort to rebooting their classic franchises and the results are usually less than stellar. This is a common practice for Atari and its stable of classics from the 70s and 80s. Since the era of the Atari 2600 and the golden age of arcades, Atari has struggled and been in the hands of many. In the late 90s when Hasbro owned Atari, Pong, Missile Command, and Centipede were rebooted. They’ve once again fallen back on their classic lineup and last year’s Centipede: Infestation from respected developer WayForward Technologies is one of their newest reboots.
With a strong Saturday morning cartoon vibe, Centipede: Infestation is definitely skewed towards a younger audience. In between stages, stills of animation and goofy voice-acting propel the budding relationship of Max and Maisy. The young gun-for-hire and gardener live in a post-apocalyptic world devastated by giant, radiated bugs and surviving is their day-to-day goal.
Centipede: Infestation cribs from another early 80s classic: Robotron: 2084. In that game, stages were very quick and players were tasked with destroying enemies, rescuing innocents, and surviving. The common element between them is the control scheme and arena-style stages. Robotron: 2084 spawned the dual-joystick shooter that has been oh-so popular in the past handful of years.
The analog moves Max while the face buttons shoot. Shooting in four directions isn’t very fluid and it caused me to try and shoot in one direction the entire time and “walk” my weapon fire into enemies. To be fair, you can shoot diagonally as well, but it didn’t make me change my strategy.
Stages in Centipede: Infestation take place in small arenas and players help Max survive by killing enemy bugs with his gun, powerful stomp, and power-ups. Capping off stages are fateful battles with a centipede whose movements call to mind the original Centipede. Stages are short and sweet and although the shooting isn’t perfect, the dual-joystick genre is still easy enough to get into and most importantly, fun.
Reboots of classics usually aren’t successful but there are always exceptions – Pac Man Championship Edition (DX too!) comes to mind and I’ll include Galaga Legions because I like it. Centipede: Infestation isn’t the Centipede game people will remember and, while enjoyable, it’s not for me.
By the way, a dozen or so classic Atari 2600 games are available to play for free on Atari’s website.
August 3, 2011
Galaga Legions DX is a downloadable video game that was recently released for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. It is a reimagining of the 2008 downloadable game Galaga Legions. The game is still about racking up a high score and competing for leaderboard positions, but the format is slightly different. Each stage is now more noticeably broken up as waves of enemies constantly appear. And control of the player’s ship and satellites is handled differently.
In Galaga LegionsI controlled my ship and the two satellites attached to it. However I could place these two satellites anywhere on the screen and they’d shoot whenever I’d press the fire button. When I was in a position I wanted one of the satellites to be in, I moved the right analog stick in a cardinal direction and the first satellite would stay put. I could also place my second satellite wherever and recall them at any point. This added strategy to the game as I was shown the flight patterns of my enemies a second or two before they appeared on the screen.
In Galaga Legions DX I wasn’t able to place my satellites wherever. Instead I was able to directly control the direction they fired by aiming the right analog stick, therefore playing like a dual stick shooter. The satellites were able to shoot in two different modes too. The first mode had them shooting in the direction I pointed while the second mode had them shooting in separate directions. I initially stuck with the first mode, but found it useful to switch between the two during some enemy waves.
Compared to Galaga Legions, Galaga Legions DX seemed very easy. Galaga Legions was a very tough game requiring heavy memorization and I still haven’t beaten it. But instead of making a brutal shoot ‘em up, the developers of Galaga Legions DX have shifted the focus to defeating waves as quickly as possible. I love the look of the game, all the neon is great, but the heads-up display blends a little too well and is a bit hard to read. I’m not all that interested in the game however because it is too similar to Galaga Legions, a game I played a lot. If shoot ‘em up’s are your thing, and competing for leaderboard positions sounds like fun, check out Galaga Legions DX.