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Friday, February 17, 2006

Game Review: Apeiron

Apeiron is a Macintosh game that ranks as one of my absolute favorites. If you enjoyed the old Atari arcade games Centipede and Millipede, you're likely to find Apeiron downright addictive.

In this updated version of those old classics, you control a crystal shooter you use to blow away sneaker-wearing pentipedes, goggle-eyed fleas, grouchy scobsters, and flatulent geckos that zip down the mushroom patch, determined to do you in. The patch's landscape is altered by the occasional visit of a flying saucer. Game play is livened up by "yummies" such as psychedelic shrooms and bouncing gold coins that give you special powers such as machine-gun fire, guided shooting, an invulnerability shield, and additional lives (you get a maximum of eight shooters at any time).

The graphics and animation on this game are excellent and the sound effects are gleefully obnoxious. Game play is simple; use your mouse or trackball to move your shooter and press the button to fire (you can also use a keyboard or other input device). Everything you see on screen is worth shooting. There's nothing to get in between you and the pure arcade adrenaline that kicks in around Level 5 and doesn't let up until your last shooter shatters.

The first version of this game was developed in 1995 by Ambrosia Software's founder Andrew Welch and rapidly became a big hit for the fledgling company. Newer releases have addressed OS and hardware upgrades (the introduction of USB rendered the older version of the game unplayable due to system conflicts). The game's name comes from the Greek word for "countless", which refers to the number of enemies you'll face.

A very-playable shareware version of this game is available for tryout at www.ambrosiasoftware.com.

Game Cheats

The game can get tough, particularly after Level 12. But please note that if you use any of the cheats listed below (except pause) your score won't count towards the high score tally.

To abort the game because your boss is coming: Escape
To pause the game: Caps Lock

The game must be paused in order to apply the following cheat codes
  • SNAPPLE - locks in whatever "yummies" you've accumulated
  • PERNTS - adds points to your score.
  • NALA - give you the "sprinkly shield" of invulnerability
  • SQUISH - machine gun fire
  • USMC - adds 5000 to your bonus score
  • DJARUM - lets you pass through mushrooms
  • HECTOR - maxes out your lives to a total of eight
  • NICE BOX - give you guided shots
  • MORRISON - moves you ahead 12 levels

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