Millipede



Read the review here.

“Essentially, Millipede is a fast-paced, high-score challenge shooter that challenges the player to find a harmonious balance between shooting ‘shrooms and bugs while also dodging incoming creatures and plant life. This deceivingly simple two-way play forms the foundation for an addictive, frenetic experience.”
– from the full review, which you can read here.

Among all the differing genres and myriad divisions one can make between NES video games, one of the most difficult to review is the arcade port. After all, in order to have been chosen to be a cartridge for the Nintendo Entertainment System, wouldn’t they have chosen only the elite, legendary arcade titles? So, in a way, they already have some inherently powerful legacy behind them. However, people have tastes, and this factors into ratings, especially including “arcade-style” gameplay, which some love and some hate. Complicating matters further is the comparison to the original; in a completely objective review, you would have to just play, experience, and review the console version, but is it more fair or less fair to take the cabinet model into consideration? Writing these reviews can get tricky, but I stick to a basic philosophy of playing the game and being honest with my thoughts, which I hope I have shown thus far.

What helps me, though, is having access to a network of gamers out there with knowledge and experience beyond mine. One of those is Mason Cramer, a classy guy, one of the top video gamers in the world (especially on the NES), world-record holder, and an all-around great person to be in touch with. I thought of him for the Millipede review because, to put it simply, he’s real dang good at Millipede on the NES — in fact, he has a three-part YouTube video where he recorded a run where he broke one million points. Here’s the final entry:

NES Millipede – 1 million point run by Mason Cramer

Awesome. Just awesome. So, please, check out his YouTube channel sometime, and enjoy his insights on the NES port of the arcade classic Millipede:

Have you ever seen a bug and wished you could zap it out of existence? Ever wanted to chop down mushrooms with tiny little arrows? Millipede is definitely the game for you. The NES port of the Atari classic retains all the arcade style mayhem, at the cost of a few nuances.

The biggest change is in the controls – no trackball! Millipede and Centipede machines in the arcades were controlled this way, never with a joystick or D-pad. The trackball allowed such fluidity of movement that world class players could snake their way out of almost any bad situation. Using a D-pad on the NES restricts the player’s movement to the standard 8 directions; and makes it much more difficult to avoid bugs using circular or s-shaped paths.

The gameplay is identical except for minor differences in scoring and the speed of the enemies.In a nutshell, the arcade Millipede is faster, and contains more creative point-pressing oppertunities (shooting an inchworm, for example, slows the game down and creates a point multiplier.) The NES version is slower and easier but sometimes more chaotic. Spiders still attack from the corners and cross the screen in a jaunty line. Beatles still turn mushrooms into unbreakable flowers. The attack waves, (where dozens of bugs fly down the screen at once) are much slower on the NES. The NES compensates for these deficiencies by causing random bugs to fall down the screen very frequently, and by boosting the speed of the spiders and beatles on later boards.

Overall, the NES conversion of Millipede is one of the better Arcade to console ports that I’ve played. The fundementals are all still there, the graphics and sound are replicated well, and it doesn’t take any quarters! In my opinion, the arcade machine is the true way to experience the game, however. After watching video game legend, Ben Gold play during the Kong Off at Richie Knucklez, I realized that my 2 million point record on the NES version didn’t hold a candle to the real thing.

Thanks for your Second Opinion, Mason!

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