The Exterminator is essentially a clone of the arcade game Centipede. A centipede forms from the top of the screen and gradually moves down it, changing direction when striking the many barriers it hits. If it reaches the bottom of the screen, it wins. You control a small droid, which can move up the screen shooting out the centipede , cutting it shorter each time). You can also shoot the barriers, which take multiple hits to remove - the less barriers there are, the longer it will take for the centipede to reach the bottom.
Occasionally a phoenix will appear, either moving horizontally towards the bottom of the screen, or vertically down from the top, to shoot for a points bonus or avoid. You have three lives, but on losing one you gain points for any remaining pieces of centipede. The high score is updated constantly once you pass it, and (unusually for the time) an attract mode demos the game.
The Exterminator is a lackluster clone of Centipede from Windmill Software, the preeminent clone house in early 1980s that basically tried to emulate Atari by cloning all of their coin-op classics.
The idea behind The Exterminator is virtually identical to Centipede. The game takes place on a level playing field full of mushrooms. You are a little shooting thing (I never figured out what it is) that can maneuver along the bottom few rows of the screen. A centipede, consisting of a head and many body segments, comes towards you row by row, and you must kill it. If you shoot any segment, the centipede is split in half like a worm. The segment you shoot turns into a mushroom that you can destroy but obstructs your shots. There are a few other insects hopping around laying mushrooms and getting in your way. If you collide with an insect, you die.
The original Centipede is simple and inexplicably addictive in light of the game's repetitiveness. The Exterminator somehow loses the addictiveness of the original and adds nothing that sets it apart. The result is a competent but uninspired clone that will interest you for a few minutes... before you go back to Atari's timeless classic.
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