This was the first coin-Op I collected. I remember playing this as a teen, pumping in quarters hoping to stay alive long enough to dock the ship. I'd only ever saw it that once before the day I bought it. It was a cocktail, in a little arcade near the pulp mill in Powell River. I was staying with my grandmother for the summer that year and we would sneak out of the house and go to the arcade. Ever since then it had always been on my mind. I'd scan for it in every arcade I went too. I couldn't remember it's name so my search seemed hopeless. Until one day, not too long ago, I stumbled over it in a local toy store. For sale. It's a full sized upright, but that's ok, it looks great in my living room. (See the pictures)
Needless to say, I bought it. It's in great shape. Very little damage or burn in. The coin counter read 37,237 plays when it was delivered. It's shape is excellent for a 17 year old game. There is a little damage to the right side graphic where it looks like another game had rubbed it pretty good. The Marquee is also flaking a little. (actually, it has now graduated into Flaking A LOT, if anyone has a EAGLE Marquee in good to great shape, E-Mail me) The left and right buttons were badly damaged by what looks like cigarette burns and then something sharp stabbing them. They had to be replaced, but I made sure to use the same type buttons to keep that classic feel. No Micro Switches for this machine!
You start the game with your three (3) stage ship blasting half way up the screen. The thrusters stop and the first section (It looks like a full colour asteroids ship) detaches and the other two parts fall off the bottom edge of the screen. Then the first stage falls back to the lower part of the screen where it's thrusters kick in. It plays a quick tune and then your confronted by four (4) creatures called Mantas. Your little ship fires one missile at a time and only one missile can be on the screen at once. (You have to wait for your missile to either hit a ship or exit off the top of the screen.) This adds to having to time your shots very carefully so as to have a shot if they swoop down on you. Their attack patterns (as all the patterns) are very complex and even after playing for some time you still get surprised by their attacks. The Mantas actually have two parts to them. When you hit one it will explode and it's other half will continue the attack in a crazed manor. After enough of them have been hit the remaining ones that haven't been hit will separate and cause no end of mayhem. It's best to kill them fast.
If you die, the two remaining ships will blast back on the screen from the bottom, detach the middle ship and you then fight with the middle ship. The middle ship gives you twin fire power and is the best all around ship. It's small enough to not get hit by everything under the sun and with the twin fire power can make you quickly advance levels.
After the First wave of Mantas you get a second wave. The same as the first, only a different colour. After that you get the Tregors. These are ladybug like ships without the legs. They work in swarms and are deadly if you don't watch them. After killing two rounds of them you get to the part that makes this game unique.
You get to dock your current ship (be it the little one or the middle one) onto either the middle one or the big one. But, if you have lost both your little and middle ships you will not be able to dock. You use the left and right buttons to allow your ship to drift left or right and the fire button becomes retro and allows you to move up the screen. You get about 60 seconds to dock. Bonus is based on your remaining time after you dock. If you fail to dock the ship in the time allotted you will not get a bonus. Nor will you get the added advantages from having docked ships. If you smash your ships together you will LOSE the ship that you were maneuvering.
The bonus docking score is based on what ship(s) you are docking onto what. Here is the breakdown.
Docking little onto middle - 100 points per seconds
Docking little onto big - 100 points per seconds remaining
Docking middle onto big - 200 points per seconds remaining
Docking little & middle onto big - 300 points per seconds remaining
Once docked you get the combined firepower of all your docked ships.. If you have little and middle you get 3 shots at a time. If you have middle and big, you get 4 shots and if you have all three ships you get 5 shots at a time!
An interesting note about docked ships. If you get hit while you are using a docked ship, you only lose the ship that was hit! The other one (or two) remain undamaged but you will no longer be docked if you had all three docked at the time.
After the docking phase is over you then get two waves of Eagles (8 Eagle Shaped ships per wave) and after that you get 16 comets. They can kill very fast if you don't kill the last eagle when you are near the side of the screen. The Comets come in waves of two comets each. 8 waves in all.
After the 16 comets have gone by you get another chance to dock! (This is only if you haven't lost any ships or have lost a ship AFTER the first docking) It's very funny to see you docking little onto big. 8-)
After the second docking stage, you get two rounds of 8 Volars. Little almost round ships that attack straight down. (Sometimes with sharp battering ram type attachments) On level 1, one attacks at a time. On level 2, two attack at a time and so on until level 8 where they all attack at once!
Once both waves have been destroyed you get a message saying "All right !!" and your ship blasts up the screen. Then you start again on level two. (Same as level one but faster and with different patterns) You start again with your first available ship. Once you hit level six the last ship of each wave will speed up to an insane rate of speed!
You keep going until all your ships have been destroyed. If you managed to score 30,000 (or 50,000 depending on the bonus game's dip setting) then when your last ship has been destroyed a message comes up saying "Enjoy another game!!" and it pops you onto the NEXT higher level then the one that you were on and you start with little again. You continue on until all three new ships are gone. Your score is kept and you can rack up more points. (I have no idea if you can get ANOTHER game at 60,000. If I ever get that high I'll tell you all.)
When the game powers up, the 5 high scores reads 5000 Centuri. If you beat 5000 you get to put in your 3 initials. The scores are lost once the game has been shut off. (sigh...)
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