Amstrad Computer User1st October 1986
Published in Amstrad Computer User #23
Arcade games are not all alien zapping and beating the hell out of Ninja warriors. Quite a while back Atari produced an arcade game called Centipede. Now the authors, Players, wouldn't approve of my saying that Killapede is a version of this classic for fear of legal beagles trying their luck at the intellectual copyright game. But they need not worry they have changed and improved the game enough to be safe.
However the scenario is basically the same. You play the part of a little something at the bottom of the screen. You can move left and right over the full width of the screen and up and down about a fifth of the way. You are armed with an infinite quantity of knives which you throw at your assailants.
The action takes place in an insect-infested garden. Your main opponent is a centipede which zig-zags down the screen, descending a line every time it hits a mushroom (Ugh, they have rooms for stuff like that - Ed) or the side of the screen.
To kill the centipede you have to hit all the segments. Each segment thus destroyed then turns into a mushroom, which will assist the descent of the remains of the insect. Other sources of clutter include mushroom-laying fleas - who said it had to be biologically accurate? - spiders, very vicious ants and high speed snails.
You can remove all the clutter by shooting at the denizens of the garden, although it seems a bit odd that. a butterfly which moves very slowly and is an easy target should be worth 2,500 points. The snail poisons the mushrooms it meets, When the centipede touches an affl icted mushroom it gives up and rushes straight for your domain at. the bottom of the garden.
Mushrooms, toxic or othewise, can be destroyed with several well-aimed knife throws. When you lose a life each partially damaged mushroom magically restores itself and you are awarded five points, so when there are not too many aliens around it is a good idea to spray a few knives about and pick up the points postumously. A bit like insurance really.
Once a segment of centipede reaches the bottom row a ghost appears cannot be shot and will destroy you when he catches you. This acts to speed up slower players. You get a bonus life at every 10,000 points which makes the high score of 150,000 seem attainable. The Amstrad Computer User high score currently stands at around 70,000.
The computer announces the bonus life with some excellent digitised speech. This is so good that it can be understood without the usual screen prompt and hour of creative thought.
Sampled speech is used at the start of a game and when the high score is displayed. This is just one of many touches which makes Killapede a classic game.
Fast, colourful, noisy - in all the right ways - and soooo addictive it should be banned. The only thing to fault is the joystick handling - you have to define the game keys as the joystick before you play, and it's not immediately obvious how to do it. But that's a very minor niggle on a game that's terrific fun. A hit!
Players have started off on the right footing. As Interceptor Software they were known for their adventures and if Killapede is anything to go by then this budget label will dwarf that fame.
The old centipede trick of getting the foe to run the gauntlet down a tunnel of mushrooms did not seem to work as easily as it does in the arcade. I disliked the ants which run along the bottom of the screen making the game much harder, but I was impressed by the game as a whole.
The entymologist's nightmare returns! Flea for your life, or you'll get slugged. There's not mushroom in the forest an' t'snaily all taken up with the creepy crawlies you can spy, dere in de undergrowth.
There are a couple of bugs in the feat of programming, but that won't louse up your enjoyment.
Can you beat all the high scores? This wonderful game motht deserve a place in anybody's collection, so you'd butter fly down to the shop and get it.