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Spiders

Spiders

Developers Sigma Ent. Inc. (original)
Entex (handheld)
Emerson Radio Corp.
(Arcadia 2001)
Publishers Sigma Ent. Inc. (original)
Entex (handheld)
Emerson Radio Corp.
(Arcadia 2001)
Systems Arcade
Handheld
Arcadia 2001
Release Dates 1981 (original)
1982 (handheld)
? (Arcadia 2001)
Modes Single player
Two players alternating
Media ROM file
Standalone handheld
Cartridge

Original arcade versionEdit

GameplayEdit

Players used their gun to fend off enemy spiders and various other targets as they constantly made their way towards the bottom of the screen, endangering players.

There were various different targets that posed a threat to players, as onscreen webs were constantly growing, which give birth to Cocoons, Spider Eggs, etc. Denizens of the game also had various mannerisms, as regular spiders floated down to the player’s[s’] area at a moderate pace, whereas the White Spider at the end of a wave quickly moved up and down the screen vertically, the Super Web was the fastest of all projectiles, shooting towards players’ guns at a very fast rate, etc.

If a player’s gun came into contact with anything (an enemy or any of its projectiles), the gun would be lost, the level would start over and the game would end when all guns were lost, along with if 16 spiders were to get past a player’s gun during a game (which is marked by a green meter bar at the bottom of the screen).

ControlsEdit

  • Move gun–joystick (left/right)
  • Fire–button

ScoringEdit

  • Growable Cocoon–20 points
  • Seed–50 points
  • Cocoon Level 1–40 points
  • Cocoon Level 2–30 points
  • Spider Egg–40 points
  • Attacking Spider–30 points
  • Super Web–50 points
  • White Spider–1000 points

Note: these are the base scores for the first level, which some point values change in between levels.

  • Extra gun–15,000 points

Handheld versionEdit

GameplayEdit

This was released by Entex in 1982. The gameplay was changed a bit, making the White Spider a bit more prominent, as they started off from the very beginning of a game, and players had to shoot several of them before getting to the main part of the game where Cocoons and such were added later. The game also had two selectable skill levels.

ControlsEdit

  • Move gun–joystick
  • Fire–button
  • Choose skill level–(skill level) joystick
  • Choose number of players–(players) joystick
  • On/off/mute–(on/off/mute) joystick

ScoringEdit

?

Arcadia 2001 versionEdit

The gameplay follows the original pretty closely, although the web growth speed was increased, and the White Spider was turned yellow.

ControlsEdit

  • Move gun–joystick
  • Fire–button
  • Others?

ScoringEdit

?

LegacyEdit

Hybrismuscularhills

Muscular Hills screenshot from Hybris. Note the target at the right side of the screen (which behaves like a Super Web) and similar graphics in general to Spiders.

Although Spiders was not a big hit in the arcades, it still received a handheld port by Entex, along with a version for the Arcadia 2001 console.

Also, decades later, in 2011, the Vectrex homebrew of Zantis was released, which was "loosely" based on Spiders. The reasons for this was that Zantis programmer George Pelonis, at the time, was looking to "moving toward the idea of doing arcade games and remakes" and he felt that Spiders had "so much potential"[1] in regards to being a good game (as it was not well-received). The two games were not very similar due to many changes, such as the player being able to move their gun around the bottom portion of the screen (similar to Centipede), rather than just left and right, the game was simplified, with not as many entities onscreen at any given time (such as no Spider Eggs, web segments or Seeds), the game mainly consisted of Zantis creatures rapidly emerging from cells in a faster manner than with Spiders emerging from Cocoons, etc.

Hybris was another homebrew game (available on the various PICO-8 platforms) that was influenced by Spiders as well, which is noted in the similar design with the constantly growing web segments that have to be shot through, the player's gun stays in the bottom area of the screen and a fast-moving target in the Muscular Hills area of the game that behaves very similar to the Super Web on Spiders. When asked about it on the PICO-8 BBS if the game was influenced by Spiders, the programmer stated that "You are 100% right. When I started it at the LudumDare (a game creation competition) I only had a misty memory of this game: I only saw it once as a child in a mexican old arcade room and hadn't the chance to play it. So I tried to find some youtube video to remind me [of] the gameplay." This time however, the game took place inside a human body.

TriviaEdit

Occasionally the "Space Mona Lisa"[2] would appear after a wave and wink at the player on the arcade game. The current scoring table was also briefly shown before the beginning of every new wave.

LinksEdit

  • Arcade Museum page
  • Electronic Handheld Museum page (Entex version)
  • Zantis official site
  • Click on the tabber below for a review of the arcade original.

ReviewEdit

Spiders was fairly different arcade fare at the time, since there wasn't a whole lot going on with the arachnid theme back then.

Although there was a lot going on at pretty much any given time, two things sunk Spiders pretty decently. One was that the game was confusing, as there wasn't a real clear indication as to when a current wave would end. What was the deal with the "web power" bar that appeared? When you got it down to zero, nothing seemed to happen, and there was no mention of it in the manual either (maybe even the programmers forgot what it was supposed to do?). The other was that the game just wasn't very fun, as games such as fellow bottom of the screen shooters such as Space Invaders, the later Spider Fighter (heh, yes, I had to include that one :P ), Communist Mutants from Space, Commando Raid, Demon Attack, River Raid, etc., etc. on the Atari 2600 were all better than this, in my opinion. Heck, even Spacechase had a bit going for it, due to the scrolling moon below and being able to move vertically and horizontally (somewhat of a big deal then)! And that's sad, due to any arcade machine being way more powerful than a puny home console back then.

Oh well, Sigma Ent. Inc., congrats on being a severe footnote in the arcade history, due to a blah game earning two ports and an influence on a homebrew decades later (which, even though simplified, is better than this). 5/10

(review by Darrylb500)

ReferencesEdit

  1. E-mails from Pelonis.
  2. Spiders manual.


Stub

Needs more info/scoring/variations, etc. on ports

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