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Apple II, Atari 8-bit and Commodore 64 Centipede Review

Although they were available at the same time and had similar levels of technology under the hood, the Apple II, Atari 8-bit series and Commodore 64 each were very unique when compared to their competitors. You wouldn't know that from playing Centipede, though. All three versions look and feel almost exactly the same.

Of course it is easiest to spot the Apple II port thanks to its fewer colors and relative lack of sound, but the differences pretty much end there. This wouldn't be a problem, except the game as presented on all three systems is a lacking compared to the arcade original. The centipede never changes speed, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the flea's appearance, and once the centipede is completely split up, it never regroups. All of this causes the game's difficulty to max out pretty quickly, leaving a limited challenge and little incentive to keep playing for higher scores.

The lower quality of these three ports becomes especially apparent when they are compared to the Atari 2600 and Atari 5200 cartridges. Despite weaker hardware in the 2600's case, both console versions do a much better job preserving the challenge and fun of the original. This is most critical to the Atari 8-bit version, since the 5200 is literally an Atari 8-bit computer turned into a gaming console.

Each of these three versions of Centipede is competent and playable, and will offer at least some enjoyment to fans. Sadly, however, the best home versions are elsewhere.

Grade for all three: C.