Good graphics and sound combined with shocking gameplay
In 1980, Atari
released the successful Centipede
, the aim being to use your ship's built-in laser to wipe out a centipede and any segments that became separated from it. Eighteen years later, Hasbro Interactive made a less-than-successful update to the original game. Not only did it contain the basic objective, but more gameplay elements were added.
After watching an excellent introduction about the Dreaded Eclipse that occurs every 100 years, you can go straight to the game where you are presented with a brief summary about what technology that the inhabitants created to overcome the Eclipse, be it Wee People or Druids, and what you must defend. During the game, you need to shoot more than one centipede that slides down a hill and makes it way toward you, and once you have done that, you can proceed to the next area. Once you have conquered enough areas, a portal opens up and, when you go through it, will take you to the next level.
I was quite amazed at how good the environments are. During the game, I felt like stopping what I was doing and moving across the edges of the playfields, just looking how beautiful they are. In Enigma, when it's time to go onto the next area, you have to travel a long way to your next destination, and while I was doing that, I admired the scenery and how green everything is, as well as how clear the water is. The music in the game ranges from techno to grunge, and each piece really goes well with what you are doing.
What really lets the game down is the gameplay. I don't have a problem with shooting centipedes four or five times, but the laser, the default weapon you can shoot the centipede, is useless. You have to shoot the centipede more than once just to separate one of its segments, and this is why you have to find aws many weapons as you can, which can either found floating in mid-air or by shooting a flashing mushroom.
As I mentioned earlier, you must also defend everything belonging to the inhabitants of each world, including villages and the technology used to study the Eclipse. This is very difficult since you are too busy trying to kill the centipede before it goes down and destroy buildings and such, and there is a chance that you keep missing the segments until you realize that it's too late, and even if there are no centipedes where you want to go, your way is blocked by five or ten mushrooms, which take about four hits to kill.
Some of the levels require you to kill an insect that pose a danger to the inhabitants, but even with better weapons, you can hardly kill these insects. For instance, you have to protect some Star Crystals from a yellow insect who drains the energy from them. Even if I jump, it is virtually impossible to kill it, whether you are using your laser or not. To remedy the situation, your only option is to restart the level and try again.
You can travel anywhere within the playfield instead of being restricted to moving left and right all the time, but as I said, it is likely that you will bump into some mushrooms, and there are times that you really wish that the mushrooms weren't there at all because a creature other than a centipede is about to crash into a monument and destroy it.
Sometimes to get to different areas, you have to jump from one platform to another. Unfortunately, your ship is very sensitive meaning that you are likely to jump onto the platform but then slide off, because you didn't release the jump key immediately, or miss it entirely and fall down into whatever danger lurks below you. You could have the choice of three ships to choose from, one of them being not so sensitive, but Hasbro decided not to implement that.
Finally, there is also an “Arcade” mode, which has the same basic gameplay as the original. The back of the jewel box states that it is a “classic top-down shooter view”, yet the game is actually viewed from an isometric perspective. Also, nearly half the screen is wasted on the bonus points that you are awarded by shooting each creature. The only nice thing that I can say about the “Arcade” mode is that you can play it if you are sick of killing centipedes and saving the villages.
The Bottom Line
This 3D update to the original game may have excellent graphics. You can stop shooting the centipedes for once and go exploring the environment instead. The music ranges from techno to grunge, and has that beat to it. Unfortunately, the gameplay is disgraceful. Instead of just shooting centipedes, you have other things to worry about including villages and stuff. It is sometimes hard to control your ship, especially when you have to jump from platform to platform. The “Arcade” mode is actually not that classic, since it is viewed from an isometric perspective, rather than top-down. If it wasn't for the poor gameplay, I would recommend this update to anyone. But instead, I am going to go with other reviews and suggest that you stick with the 1980 version instead.