Amstrad Action


Wriggler

Author: Bob Wade
Publisher: Blaby Computer Games
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #5

Wriggler

No, this isn't a repeat review of last month's exploration game offering from Romantic Robot but a version of the arcade game Centipede starring even more creepy crawlies and garden horrors. It's a grand old shoot-'em-up which offers plenty of fast action and difficulty.

The essence of the game is that a caterpillar appears at the top of the screen while at the bottom is your base which you use to blast away the segments of the caterpillar. That's all you have to do - but there are lots of other pesky little insects about who have some nasty tricks up their antennae.

Wriggler

The screen is dotted with mushrooms which serve several purposes but mostly just get in your way. The caterpillar will bounce off them as it moves down the screen line by line, sometimes charging quickly down a tunnel of them, at others getting temporarily trapped in a small box. Four shots from the gun will destroy a mushroom but there are ways of creating more.

Flies will descend in a vertical line leaving mushrooms behind them and destroying one of the three bases if they hit you. They can be shot on the way down but it is hazardous to hang about underneath them. At the end of a wave partially-destroyed mushrooms will also recreate themselves but you score more points for each section reformed.

With the beginning of each new wave a snail appears and slides relatively slowly across screen. He can be shot for a big bonus but more importantly needs to be shot quickly. This is because when he passes over a mushroom, it takes on magical powers so that if a caterpillar segment hits it, it will dive down the screen towards you - making life very difficult indeed. The magic mushrooms can be shot to neutralise them, but when you've got a whole row to neutralise it can be tough to get them all.

Wriggler

The most dangerous insect is the spider that appears at the bottom of the screen. He bounces up and down like a demented kangaroo trying to land on you. With a fast one it is particularly difficult to take evasive action. They can be shot by nipping underneath them but this is a dangerous pastime and it's best just to try to avoid them.

If caterpillar segments reach the bottom of the screen you still have a chance since the base can move up and down between two lines to avoid the shutting segments. Every time you do succeed in hitting a segment it leaves another mushroom though. If you succeed in getting past 10 caterpillars (extremely difficult) then a bonus screen appears where you can play a game of Snake. Here you control the caterpillar as he picks up fruit that makes his body longer.

The action is terrifically demanding and fast leaving no room for error. The graphics and sound effects are reasonable. But don't expect to get anything more out of this game than a few hours of heavy and satisfying blasting.

Good News

P. Gets extremely tough. P. Novel little features like snails. P. Very fast, demanding action. P. First version of Centipede for the Amstrad. P. Good price.

Bad News

N. Highly unoriginal. N. Spider is very annoying when it arrives at high speed. N. No intellectual challenge.

Second Opinion

OK Wade. So there's no intellectual challenge, eh? Well, so what? You don't pick up the joystick for a game of Centipede when you're in the mood for thinking. You play this game in a spirit of mindless destruction. Frantic zapping is what it's all about, and as such Wriggler gets my vote.

Bob Wade

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