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Centipede is a vertically oriented shooter game originally developed by Atari in June of 1981. It was ported to TI-99/4A by Atarisoft in the 4th quarter of 1983. In Centipede, the player fights off centipedes (as the name implies), spiders, scorpions, and fleas. The winding centipedes are the main enemy of each level, and a level is completed after the centipede is destroyed.

Front of Retail Packaging for Centipede for the TI-99/4A
Centipede Retail Packaging [1] [2]
Publisher(s) Atarisoft
Original Retail Price $44.95 (USD)
Programmer(s) James G. Landowski
Part# RX 8503
Format(s) Solid State SoftwareTM Command Module
Release 1983 (4th quarter)
Genre(s) Action, Shooter

The TI-99/4A port was released during the 4th quarter of 1983 on a gaming cartridge called by Texas Instruments a Solid State SoftwareTM Command Module. The Texas Instruments version was ported by James G. Landowski. The gaming cartridge retailed at $44.95 (USD) originally.


The player controls an insect-like fighter at the bottom of the screen referred to as the Bug Blaster. The player can move left, right, up (to a limited height), and down to the bottom of the screen. While moving to avoid enemies, the player also fires darts in an attempt to hit and destroy foes. The main enemy, the centipede, appears in multiple segments. When the player hits a segment with a dart, that segment becomes a mushroom in the mushroom patch. If the centipede segment was in the middle of the centipede, the centipede splits into two portions with the rear portion sprouting its own head. The player can face multiple centipedes, all of which descend and attempt to destroy the player. It is, therefore, advantageous for the player to focus shots on either the head or tailpiece of the centipede so as to limit the number of enemies to destroy. The head is worth 100 points when shot, whereas all other segments are worth only 10 points.

The original centipede is 10 to 12 segments long and always starts at the top of the playing area, and works its way down toward the Bug Blaster. With each level, the centipede decreases in size by one segment, with the missing segment becoming its own head which moves at a faster speed. This pattern of segments starting out as heads continue until all segments have become individual heads, at which point, the games repeats itself beginning over with a single, full-length centipede.

Centipedes always travel exactly left or right, and change directions and drop one level down each time they reach the edge of the screen or touch a mushroom of the patch. Mushrooms can be destroyed in an effort to prevent the centipede(s) from descending upon as rapidly, but each mushroom requires four shots to eliminate. When a centipede reaches the bottom of the screen, it moves back and forth within the player's area, and a periodic new head will appear. This continues until the original centipede and all additional heads are destroyed.

Besides centipedes, the player will also encounter various other insect enemies, including fleas, spiders, and scorpions.

Fleas descend vertically down the screen and disappear when they reach the bottom of the screen. Fleas occasionally deposit trails of mushrooms in their path making centipedes descend quicker upon the player. When darted by the player, fleas are worth 200 points and require two hits to destroy.

Spiders move across the player area in a zig-zag pattern and east some of the mushrooms. They are worth either 300, 600, or 900 points depending on how close they are to the player when shot.

Scorpions move horizontally across the playing area turning every mushroom they touch into a poisonous mushroom. These poisonous mushrooms then cause any centipede that comes in contact with it to attack the player in a straight down manner. The centipede will return to normal behavior once it reaches the bottom of the screen. Scorpions are worth 1,000 point each.

The player's Bug Blaster is destroyed when it is hit by an enemy of any kind. After the player loses a blaster, any poisonous or partially damaged mushroom is returned to its normal state. Five points are awarded for each of these regenerated mushrooms. The player earns extra lives during gameplay for every 10,000 points earned.

Advertising Blurb

From Back of Retail Packaging

Get out your bug blaster and save that fungus! The thrill of the arcade game.

An insidious invasion of multiplying insects (centipedes, jumping spiders, poisonous scorpions, and frenzied fleas) pose different perils to the mushroom patch. You must repeatedly blast enraged creepers and stubborn obstacles or lose your enchanted fungus. Remember to listen for the distinctive sounds of the attacking bugs, and watch out for blasted centipede segments, each one grows a new head!


An Enchanted Mushroom Patch of Your Own

Imagine that you live in an enchanted mushroom patch filled with Attacking Centipedes, Jumping Spiders, Frenzied Fleas and Scurrying Scorpions-each with magical powers. Luckily, you have a bug blaster to fight them off -- LORD MOTLEY BUGNUT, BUG EXPERT!

To Begin Your Bug Hunt

Insert the Centipede cartridge into your Tl99/4A Home Computer, as explained in your computer owner's guide, and turn on your computer. Plug the joysticks into the Controller Jack.

Press the (2) "two" key on the computer if you want a two-player game. Press (1) one to return to a one-player game. The enter key on the computer begins the game. The (+) plus key resets the game without erasing the high score from any previous game.

Press the space bar on the computer if you want to pause in the middle of a game. Press it again to pick up where you left off.

Dreaded Bug Blaster

The bug blaster destroys bugs and mushrooms. You start each game with three bug blasters (the number remaining is shown at the top of the screen next to the high score). Press the red button once on your Joystick Controller for a single shot, hold the button down for rapid-fire blasting. You'll be awarded an additional bug blaster for each 10,000 points you score, and you can earn up to six bug blasters at any one time.

March of the Centipedes

The Centipedes attack from the top of the TV screen, zig-zagging back and forth each time they bump into a mushroom. The bug blaster destroys the Centipede by blasting each segment separately.

You must destroy each segment of the Centipede before it can reach the bottom of the screen. Otherwise, more Centipede segments will start to appear to attack your bug blaster at the bottom of the screen. When an entire Centipede is destroyed, a new one attacks from the top of the screen.

Jumping Spider

But wait, there are other dangers. The Jumping Spider, which isn't blocked by the mushrooms, can pounce on your bug blaster and destroy it. And when the Spider jumps over a mushroom, that mushroom may magically disappear.

Poinsonous Scorpion

The Poisonous Scurrying Scorpion can dash across your patch and poison any mushroom just by touching it! When a Centipede touches a poisoned mushroom, the Centipede goes insane and heads straight to the bottom of the screen.

Frenzied Flea

The Frenzied Flea may create more mushrooms wherever he lands, making it difficult to shoot a bug until it is dangerously close. The flea's bite can destroy your bug blaster too. It takes several shots to destroy a flea.


  • Mushroom (Whole).png 1 point for each mushroom that's totally eliminated by your bug blaster.
  • Mushroom (Partial).png 5 points for each mushroom that is partially eliminated or has been poisoned by a scorpion when your blaster has been destroyed.
  • Centipede.png 10 points for each body segment of the Centipede that you destroy.
  • Centipede.png 100 points for each head segment of the Centipede that you exterminate. (Remember, every time you blast a Centipede apart, each new segment forms a new head worth 100 points.)
  • Flea.png 200 points for each Frenzied Flea that you destroy with your bug blaster.
  • Scorpion.png 1000 points for destroying a Scurrying Scorpion at any time during the game.
  • Centipede-Spider.png 300 points for exterminating a Jumping Spider at long range.
  • Centipede-Spider.png 600 points for destroying a Jumping Spider at medium range.
  • Centipede-Spider.png 900 points for blasting a Jumping Spider at close range.

Each time you blast a spider, your points earned will appear on the screen where the spider was blasted.

The high score for each round of games is shown at the top center of the screen to the right of the player's score.



External Links