Millipede: Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview


Millipede is the popular sequel to arcade classic Centipede. Both games were designed and programmed by Ed Logg, with the assistance of Dave Snyder. Coming out in the arcade in 1982, Millipede follows the same basic principles of its predecessor, but with a notable changes and improvements. Millipede is a one or two player game categorized as a fixed shooter.

Atari both developed and published Millipede, worldwide. While it took approximately two years before the first home port versions of Millipede came onto the market, developers continued to create new ports over the years. The most recently produced version of Millipede is a download-only title, exclusively available for the Xbox 360 via Microsoft Corp. Game Room, which is a subscription based service supported by Games for Windows Live is compatible with the Xbox 360.

Centipede became a smash hit almost as soon as it was released. While Millipede was considered to be a success, especially when compared to other sequels, it never became as well known as the original outside of the arcade. Millipede remained the only sequel to Centipede until 2011, when Centipede – Infestation was released by developed WayForward Technologies and published by Atari. All versions of Millipede have been slightly modified for home video game consoles. The first ports were for the Atari ST, Atari 2600 and the Atari 8-bit. It was almost another 10 years before Millipede was ported again, when it was featured on the Gameboy portable gaming system.


Game Play Overview

The story behind Millipede is a little more complex and dramatic than the original. The game is still set in a magical mushroom garden where a charging multi-legged bug makes his way down the screen in a sweeping motion, but advertisements for Millipede also tell the story of a disgraced king and his rebellious son. After the death of the king, his son, an archer, refuses to follow family traditions and sit at the throne.

The king's spirit is believed to be the source of panic and chaos as hundreds marauding insects descend upon the kingdom and wreak havoc. The King's son must now put his kingdom back in order by destroying the insects before they ruin life as they know it.

The main character is represented by an arrow, which is actually believed to be the archer. This is the figure that remains close to the bottom of the screen. While players can move their characters up and down or left and right, you can only advance about 1/3 way up the screen. Facing an aggressive army of insects led by an indestructible millipede, your main defense consists of a bow and arrow.

There are no definable stages in Millipede. Instead, players progress by surviving 12 repetitive waves that come in a set pattern. In the first wave, there will be one single millipede that has 12 discernible segments. Each time that the millipede is completely destroyed, a new wave will begin. By the time that you reach the 12th and final wave, there will be 12 separate millipede heads moving around the board.

In addition to the wiggling millipedes, there are also seven different types of opponents. You can use a high powered weapon called DDT a few times each wave to take out a big chunk of your enemies. During the 1980s, DDT was commonly used as an insecticide, so it makes sense that Atari referenced it in this game.

When millipedes are shot, they break apart into individual and grouped sections. The idea is to shoot the millipedes before they reach you. While you can move and maneuver, it will be much more difficult for you to destroy them without losing a life.

Every destroyed millipede segment generates a mushroom cap. Mushroom caps stand in the way of millipedes and other insects, forcing them to change their course of direction. This makes them somewhat of a hindrance to players, but they can also be used to strategically manipulate enemies.

Mushroom caps can be shot and destroyed by players, but they take four hits each. After a round is complete, all mushrooms will remain on the screen until a wave 'shift' occurs. Every four levels, the mushroom cap field will be altered, with some disappearing and others sprouting in new places. This means that any mushroom cap barriers that you have created will no longer be effective.

Poisonous mushroom caps only sprout up around DDT packs. Poisonous mushroom caps are also created when regular mushrooms come in contact with earwigs. Flowers are created when beetles make contact with regular mushroom caps. Flowers take four arrows to be destroyed, but they can also be killed by spiders.

Spiders are a standard group of foes that can spawn at virtually anytime, during all 12 waves. Other enemies, such as mosquitoes, are exclusive to certain waves. The only exception to this rule is when millipedes with an odd number of segments, except for nine-segment millipedes, are destroyed. A rush of insects of all kinds will enter the screen, forcing the archer to work overtime.

Each enemy has a unique point value. Flowers and mushroom caps are only worth one point, and DDT packs are worth 800. Shooting the body segments of a millipede will give you 10 points, but the head has a value of 100 points.

Spiders range in point value, based on how close in proximity they are to you when they get killed. You will get a minimum of 300 points for shooting or bombing a spider, but you can get as much as 1,200 points. Bees are worth 200 points a kill, but be aware that it takes two arrows to destroy them. Inchworms are only worth 100 points.

Mosquitoes are valued at 400 points apiece, while dragonflies are worth 500. The earwig, a rarer enemy group, has a 1,000 point value. Beetles are worth 300 points a hit.

Millipede doesn't have a definitive end, so the longer that you are able to play and the more points that you are able to score, the better.

Special Features

The archer may have an endless supply of arrows, but the DDT pack special feature gives you an added point bonus for every opponent killed. All enemies that get blown up in a DDT pack explosion are worth three times their normal value. There are exactly four DDT packs available during each wave, so you should shoot them only when it counts.

You will also have to fend off the occasional swarm of insects, which also yields an extra point bonus. Some swarms will primarily consist of a specific insect group. However, there will be other random bugs scattered throughout. These enemies will be worth 100 more points than they are normally valued at.

During mushroom cap field shifts, all partially hit mushroom caps are converted into bonus points. It doesn't matter whether you have hit the mushroom caps, one, two or three times; they will be converted into a five point per item bonus. These partially hit mushroom caps will be completely healed at the start of the next incoming wave.

When you first reach a score of 20K, you get an extra life. After that, extra men are awarded at 30K point intervals.


Flowers – Flower and mushrooms pretty much serve the same purpose, but flowers can only grow in spaces already occupied by mushrooms. Flowers bloom whenever a beetle walks into a mushroom.

Millipedes – This is your main opponent in Millipede. As few as one millipede or as many as 12, can be on the screen at any given time. Shoot each millipede section in order to advance.

DDT – These are powerful chemical insecticide bombs that can be hit with an arrow to kill off a number of enemies at once. DDT packs appear at random at the beginning of each wave.

Earwigs – Earwigs move quickly, poisoning every mushroom cap that they come in contact with. Sense these enemies can quickly stall your progress; it is in your best interest to take out all earwigs on sight.

Inchworms – The inchworm isn't particularly dangerous. In fact, inchworms can become a valuable asset if you time your hits. This is because inchworms cause all other enemies to momentarily move in slow motion immediately after being killed.

Spiders – Spiders are the only characters in Millipede that can destroy flowers and mushroom caps. They also have a habit of attacking the archer aggressively, so shoot all spiders when they get too close.

Dragonflies – As dragonflies loop around the screen, they cause a large amount of mushroom caps to sprout up. It won't be easy for you to hit a dragonfly with one of your arrows, but doing so will prevent you from being bombarded by millipedes.

Archer – Being the protagonist and main character in Millipede, the archer is the only one capable of taking out the invasion of angry insects. He has his bow and arrows as well as a small number of DDT packs at his disposal to get the job done.

Mosquitoes – Mosquitoes are a part of another enemy group that gives the archer just as many advantages as disadvantages. When a mosquito makes an appearance, the top 'line' of mushrooms and flowers will disappear. However, mosquitoes can also cause bees to come in droves.

Bees – These are the only enemies that require multiple arrows to be destroyed. In total, you will need to hit each bee two times to kill it. Additionally, bees are another variety of bugs that are capable of growing new mushroom caps. If there is five or less mushroom caps in the archer's 'perimeter,' a variable number of bees will show up.

Mushroom caps – Both regular and poisonous mushroom caps require four arrow hits apiece. If a millipede encounters a 'normal' mushroom cap, it will either go left or right. However, millipedes that come in contact with poisoned mushroom caps automatically descend to the bottom of the screen. Poisonous mushroom caps also make millipedes move with alarming speed.

Beetles – Beetles can be destroyed by arrows and DDT packs, just like any other bug. However, beetles are also the source of the ultra-resilient flowers that plague the archer. If flowers grow in the wrong area, you won't be able to hit certain DDT packs, mushrooms or enemies. Take note that killing one or more beetles will cause the entire mushroom cap field to slide down one notch, which is the same thing that occurs after a millipede has been defeated.

How to Play Millipede

At the start of a new game, the screen will have quite a few mushroom caps scattered about along with four DDT packs. A single millipede with 12 sections will start crawling at the top of the screen. After you kill one millipede two more will enter. After destroying those two millipedes, three more will appear. This cycle repeats until you face 12 millipedes at once.

In between waves, there will also be enemies that appear sporadically. Some attacks will be predictable, but others will catch you completely off guard. After the first 12 waves have been completed, the game will change based on score and other mitigating factors. At 100,000 points, more spiders will start to appear at the same time. When you make it past the second wave, insect swarms will start to attack during nearly every odd numbered wave.

Another important component of Millipede is in the way that playing field is structured. As the archer defeats each new wave, the playing field moves down by one level. This shift essentially eliminates the lowest level of the play field. This means that any flowers, mushroom caps and DDT packs on the bottom level will disappear, and you will not be able to get any points for them.

Millipedes move across the board, snaking left to right, or right to left, then down a notch. You can easily identify the playing field 'grid' by taking a look at the way that flowers and mushroom caps grow. Some enemies can also cause the playing field to move up or down a single level.

Anytime that you lose a life, all partially destroyed mushroom caps become whole again. Although you will technically be starting off from scratch again, you will get a point bonus for all partially destroyed mushroom caps.

Wave 1
During the first wave, you will only have one millipede to defeat, but there will also be lots and lots of mushroom caps. You will need to shoot a great deal of these mushroom caps in order to get a clear shot at the millipede. After the first few seconds, one or two spiders will enter the playing field from the side.

As the millipede gets closer to you, it will start to be segmented into separate parts as it is shot. You will need to shoot your arrows quickly in order to prevent getting killed by the millipede. After the last segment of the single millipede is shot, there will be a brief pause, and then the second wave will commence.

Wave 2
Wave number two starts with one single millipede head and another complete millipede coming down from the top. You should approach this stage in the same manner that you did the first one. During this wave, you will battle both spiders and beetles. If you can, shoot the beetles fast so that your path is not blocked with flowers.

At the end of the second wave, a swarm of bees will come from the top of the screen, all the way to the bottom. They will move quickly, dropping mushroom caps behind. As players can round up as many as 30,000 points during a single swarm, it is imperative that you stay alive.

Wave 3
After the swarm of bees has been dispatched, and the playing field shifts down by another level, you will have two millipede heads and one complete millipede to contend with. By now, there will also be spiders, beetles, bees and earwigs entering and exiting the screen at will. Go after the beetles and earwigs first as they cause mushroom caps to be mutated, then take care of everything else standing between you and the millipedes.

Wave 4
This wave consists of three millipede heads and one complete millipede that is nine sections long. The playing field will probably be covered by quite a few mushroom caps, so shoot the DDT packs whenever you are able to. When you have destroyed the last millipede segment during this wave, the play field will shift around. There is a way to determine which mushrooms will disappear, and where new mushroom caps will emerge, but this knowledge will not help you to defeat your enemies any easier.

Wave 5
The archer faces one long millipede and four millipede head sections on this board. Nearly all of the enemies will have made an appearance by now, so use your DDT packs wisely and keep shooting arrows.

Wave 6
Beating the sixth wave will require you to shoot five separate millipede heads and one longer millipede body. When completed, a dragonfly swarm will make an entrance. If this is your first encounter with dragonflies, it is suggested that you stay out of their way for the time being. Otherwise, move so that you shoot them while they swoop down.

Wave 7
During wave seven, there will be one six segmented millipede and six smaller millipede heads.

Wave 8
Wave eight will progress normally until you finish shooting all of the millipedes. This is when a horde of mosquitoes will attack. Take as many of them as you can out, and let the rest pass you by as you prepare for the ninth wave.

Wave 9
Not only will you have a total of nine millipedes on your heels, but you will also have to deal with a shifted playing field. Most of the mushroom caps will end up in a new location, so try to familiarize yourself with this new setting quickly.

Wave 10
At the end of wave 10, there will be another bug swarm. This time, both dragonflies and bees will be on the attack.

Wave 11
With the playing field shifted around and endless number of enemies coming onto and exiting the screen, you will have a fairly hard time staying alive. Battle the 11 millipedes that crawl across the board and get ready to proceed to the final wave.

Wave 12
Once you get to the 12th wave, where there will be 12 millipede heads running around. Your opponents will be coming at you non-stop, and even after you have killed the last millipede, there will be more work to do.

A final swarm of mosquitoes, bees and dragonflies will suddenly make an appearance. Score all of the points that you can, then wait for the play field to shift back to the first wave. This process will repeat over and over again until you have run out of lives.

Hints and Tips
- Stay away from the sides. Bugs cab make an entrance at any point on the board, so make sure that you keep a close eye on the perimeter of the screen.

- Use the few seconds in between waves to shoot as many mushroom caps as you are able to. This will not be possible during levels where a swarm appears, but you will have plenty of other opportunities to clean up the playing field.


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