AtariAge Logo 5200
  Have You Played Atari Today? 2600|5200|7800|Lynx|Jaguar|Forums|Store  



Centipede - Atari - Atari 5200     HTML Manual   



  • To insert your 5200 game cartridge, hold the cartridge so the name on the label faces you and reads right-side-up. Then carefully insert the cartridge into the slot in the center of the console. Be sure the cartridge is firmly seated, but do not force it in. The POWER ON/OFF switch is located on the lower right side of the 5200 console unit. Press this switch to turn the power on AFTER inserting your game cartridge. See your Owner' Manual for further information.


    1. The Enchanted Forest
    2. Game Play
    3. Using the 5200 Controllers
    4. TRAK-BALL Option
    5. Scoring
    6. Game Variations
    7. Helpful Hints
    8. Score Ledger


  • One glorious spring day you hike into a dense forest that you've never before explored. As you push deeper into the woods, the trees close up behind you and the forest grows increasingly dark and ominous. You get a creepy feeling and decide to go back. A chill plays up and down your spine when you turn and realize you're lost. You collapse onto a flat rock beneath an enormous spreading tree and try to regain your sense of direction. A grey squirrel chatters at you.

  • "How do I get out of here?" you sigh out loud. To your amazement, the squirrel speaks!

  • "Help us and we'll show you the way home," promises the squirrel.

  • "What?"

  • "This is an enchanted forest," explains the squirrel. "We peace-loving animals must suffer the hostile attacks of an evil centipede, a deadly spider, a venomous flea, and a poisonous scorpion. We've waited a long time for a heroic human to enter our realm and release us from the centipede's cruel dominion. Will you help?"

  • "I guess so. But how?"

  • The forest rustles as dozens of small animals rally around you. Rabbits, birds, deer, raccoons, muskrats, butterflies--and more creatures than you can name--appear. A bird flies over, releasing three white feathers.

  • "Catch those," the squirrel instructs.

  • As you catch the feathers, they transform into three glowing wands. "Now you can go to battle for us," says the squirrel. "With those magic wands, you can shoot sparks at the centipede. When any section of the centipede is hit, it turns into a powerless mushroom. You can also stun the spider, flea, and scorpion with sparks, and they will disappear for a short time. But, if one of them bites you before you spark it, you lose consciousness and your magic wand is snatched away."

  • Suddenly, you hear a leaf-shaking shriek and the animals scurry about in a frenzy of terror.

  • "Look out!" cries the squirrel, "Here comes the centipede!"

    2. GAME PLAY

  • You start the game with three magic wands. Every time you score 12,000 points, you win a bonus wand and musical fanfare exalts your bravery. You can have a total of six magic wands at one time. When you lose your last magic wand, the game ends.

  • If the centipede, spider, or flea bites you, your wand is snatched away and you become temporarily paralyzed. The game will stop momentarily and all the mushrooms you partially destroyed during the battle are restored. Your points are added to your running score, and the rejuvenated centipede attacks again from the top. You must replay the previous wave until the centipede is totally destroyed. Figure 1 shows a typical CENTIPEDE battlefield and Figure 2 shows a two-player game in progress.


  • Use your magic wands to score as many points as possible. (See Section 5 for information on SCORING.) Use strategy and quick thinking to avoid the paralyzing insect bites. The Enchanted Forest is a challenging, but dangerous region. By learning about the dangers that lurk behind every mushroom, you can become a skilled and heroic wand wielder.

    Figure 1 - CENTIPEDE Attack Wave

    Figure 2 - Two-Player Game



  • Consisting of 12 body segments, the centipede attacks from the top of the screen and winds down toward you. Each time you hit a segment, it becomes a powerless mushroom and the body segment behind that mushroom becomes the head of a new centipede. When you shoot every segment of a centipede, the centipede disappears briefly, then reappears at the top in a new and fiercer attack formation.

  • The centipede attacks in 12 distinct waves. In Wave 1, the centipede is composed of a head attached to 11 body parts. In Wave 2. it has a head attached to 10 body parts plus a detached head. The Wave 3 centipede is composed of 9 body segments with one head attached and 2 detached heads. The centipede continues to transform a body segment into a head until Wave 12 when it has 12 independently moving heads. (See Figure 3.)

    Figure 3 - Centipede Attack Formations, Waves 1-3


  • Dotting the forest floor are magic mushrooms. These act like shields for you and can speed the centipede in its attack. The centipede slides along horizontally in one direction. When it gets to a mushroom or the edge of the screen, it turns down to the next row of mushrooms and continues in the opposite direction. It takes four hits to eliminate an entire mushroom. At the end of each wave, all partially destroyed mushrooms are magically restored to the forest.


  • In its attempt to distract you from shooting the centipede, the spider jumps all over the battlefield, eliminating some of the mushrooms it touches. The closer the spider comes, the more points you score when you zap it. (See Section 5 for more information on SCORING.)


  • The flea starts bugging you after you shoot away most of the mushrooms near you. It drops straight down, creating mushrooms as it falls. You must hit the flea twice to make it disappear.

    Warning: After the first shot, the flea drops more than twice as fast!


  • By the third wave, the scorpion scurries across the middle of the battlefield, poisoning every mushroom it touches. At first it moves slowly, then it moves faster and appears more frequently as the game progresses.


  • Poisoned mushrooms are created by the scorpion. These are the same color as the attacking centipede. When the centipede bumps into a poisoned mushroom, it goes crazy and plunges straight through the field of mushrooms toward you. At the end of a wave, all whole and partially destroyed poisoned mushrooms are transformed back into magic mushrooms.


  • Use your 5200 controller (Figure 4) with this ATARI game cartridge. For one-player games, plug the controller into controller jack 1 on your console. For a two-player game, plug a second controller into jack 2. In two-player games, the player using jack 1 controls game selection and starts the game.

    Figure 4 - 5200 Controller


  • For your convenience, two keypad overlays are included with this game (Figure 5). Slip the tabs into the slots above and below the keypad on your controller.
          --------    --------    --------
         |        |  |        |  |        |
         |        |  |        |  |        |
          --------    --------    --------
          --------    --------    --------
         |        |  |        |  |        |
         |        |  |        |  |        |
          --------    --------    --------
          --------    --------    --------
         |        |  |        |  |        |
         |        |  |        |  |        |
          --------    --------    --------
         1-2 PLAYER              GAME SELECT
          --------    --------    --------
         |        |  |        |  |        |
         |        |  |        |  |        |
          --------    --------    --------
              Figure 5 - Keypad Overlay

  • Press the left * key (or, on your overlay, the square marked 1-2 PLAYERS) to choose a one or two-player game. The screen display will alternate between 1 PLAYER and 2 PLAYERS. Stop at your choice. (See Figure 6.)


  • Press the right # key (or, on your overlay, the square marked GAME SELECT) to cycle through EASY PLAY, STANDARD PLAY, and HARD PLAY. Stop at the variation you want to play. (See Figure 6.)

    Figure 6 - Player and Game Select Display (Menu)


  • Press START to begin the battle. The START key is deactivated while a game is in progress and is reactivated after all wands are lost.


  • Press RESET to return to a display of your current game selection (Figure 6). You can then restart that game or select a new variation.


  • To suspend a turn in progress, press the PAUSE key. The action immediately freezes in its present position on the screen. To continue play, press PAUSE again.


  • Move your joystick in the same direction you want to move your magic wand. You can move a short distance up the screen as well as to the left and right edges of the screen.

  • To shoot sparks, press the bottom red buttons on the front right and left sides of the 5200 Controller (see Figure 4). You can fire sparks as long as you depress the fire button. Your supply of sparks is unlimited.

    4. TRAK-BALL OPTION (Future Accessory)

  • CENTIPEDE offers a TRAK-BALL option. A TRAK-BALL may be purchased separately. To play any of the game variations with a TRAK-BALL, plug the TRAK-BALL into jack 1 on the front of your 5200 console. Follow the instructions in Section 3, USING THE 5200 CONTROLLERS, for game, and player selection. You do not need a separate TRAK-BALL for each player. Simply trade off using the TRAK-BALL as each turn comes up. The computer switches between players and keeps score automatically.

    NOTE: You cannot use a TRAK-BALL and a 5200 controller together. If you want to switch from one type of controller to the other, plug in the new controller and press START. You will restart the game option you last played.


  • Move your TRAK-BALL in any direction to move your magic wand in the same direction across the bottom of the screen, or about one-quarter of the way up the screen. To shoot sparks, press the fire button on the TRAK-BALL. (See your TRAK-BALL Owner's Manual for further details.)

    5. SCORING

  • You can score a total of 99,999,999 points before the score rolls back to zero. Point values are listed below.

    Centipede body segment...................10 points
    Centipede head..........................100 points
    Spider (distant range)..................300 points
    Spider (medium range)...................600 points
    Spider (close-range--look out!).........900 points
    Flea....................................200 points
    Scorpion...............................1000 points
    Magic Mushroom (totally eliminated).......1 point
    Magic Mushroom (shot 1 to 3 times)........5 points
    Poison Mushroom (totally eliminated)......1 point
    Poison Mushroom (shot 1 to 3 times).......5 points
    Poison Mushroom (not shot at all).........5 points
    Bonus Wand.....................every 12,000 points


  • CENTIPEDE offers three game variations: EASY PLAY for beginners and children, STANDARD PLAY for intermediate players, and HARD PLAY for advanced players. (See Section 3 for information on how to select the difficulty level of your choice.)


    1. Shoot away mushrooms in a straight line up the screen to create a "corridor." When the centipede reaches this "gap," it will fall straight down the battlefield and can be easily picked off.

    2. Since the flea doesn't appear until you have eliminated most of the mushrooms near you, you can set up a shield to prevent this lightening-fast pest from striking. Simply refrain from shooting away mushrooms near your magic wand.

    3. Shoot centipede heads to create new heads out of the body segment left behind. Since heads are worth 10 times the point value of body segments, you'll score lots of points.

    4. Each creature makes a distinctive sound. By becoming familiar with these sounds, you will know without looking, what is attacking and where it is on the screen.


    Name:             Date:    Score:
    _______________   ______   ________
    _______________   ______   ________
    _______________   ______   ________
    _______________   ______   ________

    Typed by Jay Tilton

    for Atari Gaming Headquarters

    Used with permission from Atari Gaming Headquarters