Centipede – Sequel, Spin-Off, Start Over, or Stay Dead?

Welcome to this week’s, “Sequel, Spin Off, Start Over or Stay Dead?” Each week we’re going to look at a dormant franchise that was once pretty popular, but for some reason has disappeared into the sands of time. Diehard GameFAN staffers will have four options for what they want to have happen to the series and you can see them in the title of this piece. For a little more detailed description see below:

Sequel – A direct sequel to the franchise. This means if it used sprites and was in 2-D, that’s how you want the next game to be as well. This might involve putting the game on a handheld system instead of a console, but it keeps the nostalgia and classic feel alive.

Spin Off – This is where you take the characters or a specific character is a totally different direction from the established franchise. Examples include Luigi’s Mansion, Hey You, Pikachu!, Shadow Hearts (From Koudelka), and so on.

Start Over – This is a reimagining of the series from the ground up. Perhaps it’s time to bring the series into 3-D. Perhaps you want a totally different control scheme or to throw away the old continuity. In a nutshell, this is taking the brand name from the old series and that’s about it. Everything else is new and re-envisioned.

Stay Dead – This is pretty obvious. This is a toxic franchise that you don’t want to see return in any way shape or form. Let the dead rest.

This week we’re looking at the first video game to have a primarily female consumer base. No this arcade game wasn’t gender stereotyped crap like Barbie Horse Adventures or one of the Imagine series. In fact, it was one of the most successful arcade games of all time as well as one of Atari’s first hits. Created in 1980 by Ed Logg and Dona Bailey, this vertical shooter spawned multiple sequels, clones and console ports over the years and was one of the few shooters to use a trackball rather than a joystick or controller. In 1983, the game even received a board game version from Milton Bradley. Whether you were shooting creepy crawlers, spiders, mushrooms or scorpions, Centipede proved to be an addictive success that made Atari millions. Now, thirty years later, five Diehard GameFAN staffers decide if the legacy of the Centipede franchise is one worth preserving.


Chris Bowen – Stay Dead

Um… didn’t we go through this with those 3D remakes they had in the PSX era? In fact, without going to Google, didn’t they remake Millipede in 3D, where it sucked?

The technology’s better, but this is one of those arcade games that is best left either in the closet or its original arcade mode. I don’t see the need to bring this one out of mothballs. They tried. And it wasn’t good.

Mark. B. – Stay Dead

I generally try to be prolific about these sorts of things, but I seriously got nothing here. Centipede is one of those old-school shooters that just doesn’t lend itself well, conceptually, to a revival in any fashion. Re-releasing the original game is fine and all, and if you have some interest in revamping the visuals, you can go nuts I suppose, but there’s nothing else to be done with the game outside of turning it into something that isn’t Centipede, which defeats the purpose. That’s like trying to re-make Adventure! in that it would be completely pointless and no one would want to be bothered with it. No, thanks.

Branden Chowen – Stay Dead

Like Mark said, how can you do anything more to this game and have it remain Centipede? The original is great for what it is/was, but I think trying to expand on this would be beating a dead horse. I appreciate the original for what it is and where it has gotten us, but I have moved on. Centipede doesn’t really lend itself to a sequel or a spinoff, and is too much of a classic for starting over; what’s left but to let it stay dead?

Alex Lucard – Stay Dead

I still enjoy the occasional game of Centipede every now and then. It’s a nice frantic shooter and it still withstands the test of time to this day. I’d love to see a PSN/WiiWare with high definition graphics, but for some reason I can’t see Atari doing that. Instead I’ll have to be content with Breakout / Centipede / Warlords for the GBA, which was a great little find in its day and with it I finally managed to “beat” Centipede, as in maxing out the highest possible score so the game shuts down. Xbox 360 owners can download it from XBLA or play it in Microsoft’s Game Room.

However that being said, I’d hate to see Atari “update” this game in any other way. The PS2/Dreamcast version they made in 1998 was absolutely awful and showed that there was little, if anything to be gained from taking the brand name and applying it to a totally different game. There isn’t much that a sequel can do for the series, as Millipede was fine, but that and the many clones of the game from the 2600 era are nowhere as memorable as the original. That pretty much just leaves “Stay Dead.” Again, I’d love to get a portable version or a DLC version for something other than the 360 or Ipod Touch, but I doubt it is going to happen.

A. J. Hess – Stay Dead

Sometimes classics need to stay in the form that made them classic. Centipede is one such game. It isn’t that I can’t see someone updating it for modern gaming, it’s just that I don’t see the reimagining adding anything.

End Result:

Stay Dead: 5
Spin-Off: 0
Start Over: 0
Sequel: 0

Wow. A complete shut-out for one of Atari’s biggest hits. It’s one of those games that is best left in its original form. Centipede will always be remembered as one of Atari’s biggest hits and one of the most successful games of the early 1980’s, but we all feel it is best to leave this classic alone.

Join us next week as we look at a popular Nintendo game that has only had a single game to the franchise’s name, yet the two starring characters have appeared in titles for the Game Cube and Wii, giving them a resurgence in popularity. Is it enough to give them a new title? Join us next week as we discuss. See you then!



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