Black Widow: Recharged • A Short History & Review

Tomorrow Atari launches its second entry into the “Recharged” game series, Black Widow: Recharged. The first Atari classic to get the “Recharged” treatment was Centipede: Recharged last month. Later this year, we’ll see both Asteroids and Breakout join the Atari Recharged series.

myVGBC was given a review code for Black Widow: Recharged (PlayStation 4). The game was reviewed on a PlayStation 5.

Shoot Bugs, Get Money!

Black Widow is the original twin-stick shooter from Atari where you control a spider (the Black Widow). The point of the game is to kill enemy bugs as they invade your web, and collect the money left behind for bonus points — and to charge up your powerful web blast. Like any classic arcade game, the main objective is to score big and get that high score.

Although I’m not as familiar with the original 1982 Black Widow for the Atari, the gameplay still feels familiar. Most likely the familiarity comes from games influenced by Black Widow. The basic mechanics of Black Widow (dual-stick shooting) are used in one of my most played and favorite games of all time, The Binding of Isaac.

Atari Recharged!

When I first booted up Black Widow: Recharged on my PlayStation 5, I was immediately greeted by the same neon art style and menu layout from Centipede: Recharged. I like that Atari is sticking to a consistent art style for this series of games. It’s also great that each game is receiving it’s own release rather than being part of one big collection. This gives the developers more time to focus on “recharging” one title at a time.

Atari has found a great new way to bring back their existing titles. Classic games that we all grew up playing. It doesn’t matter if you were born in 1986 or 2000, all gamers know about these classic Atari games. The main thing with this “Recharged” series is to update the old style of game with smooth controls and stunning visuals for modern gamers.

Black Widow: Recharged • 5 min of Gameplay

The Game Recharged!

Each of the Atari Recharged games are going to feature many similar upgrades. Things like couch co-op, so you can play with a partner. I still haven’t used this feature in Black Widow: Recharged but I plan to (as well as in all other Atari Recharged releases). Playing in Co-op mode gives you the chance to revive your teammate and not have your run end on one hit.

Each entry will also bring new power ups to these games. Power ups like spread shots, slow motion, side shots, rapid blast, exploding bullets and many more. While many of the new upgrades were similar to Centipede: Recharged, there were also some which I hadn’t seen before. I really enjoy the layout of these “Recharged” trophy lists. I’m not a platinum trophy hunter, but it’s nice when a game shows it’s trophies with descriptions of how to achieve them.

The “Recharged” series will remain consistent in its music and sound effects. Megan McDuffee, the same composer, returns for Black Widow: Recharged and a few more in the series. As you blast enemies, grab items and move around your web the game features new and exciting sounds that flow with the music.

The game has two modes, Arcade and Challenge. Each run in Arcade mode starts off slow with one or a few enemies coming at you at a time. Once your score increases past a certain point your web becomes full of bugs trying to kill you. Although none of these bugs actually shoot back at you, all they have to do to ruin your run is touch you. It’s especially tough to stay out of their way when they are coming from all directions.

Challenge mode features 30 different challenges, some not so hard and others extremely difficult. Challenge mode gives players a different way to enjoy Black Widow: Recharged.

Black Widow: Recharged • 5 min of Challenge mode

There are some unique enemy bugs in this game. Grenade bugs blow up at a certain point, Thunderbugs travel in packs, mosquitos buzz around in all directions. Hornets leave exploding eggs behind, but if you dunk them in the middle of your web pre-explosion there’s nothing to worry about.

The web also features lockups where certain lines on your web may become impassable for some time. In some of the challenge levels they may stay blocked for the entire run as you attempt to complete a particular objective. While some of the new features are completely brand new to the game, some are small iterations to the original.

Impressions

What I really enjoy about Black Widow: Recharged is how tight the controls feel. Any time you go back and play a classic arcade game most of them feel slow, outdated and wonky due to the advancements in games technology today. I know that the game has two development studios working on it, Adamvision Studios and SneakyBox, but whoever worked on the shooting and movement mechanics for both Black Widow: Recharged and Centipede: Recharged has truly done something special. Both games have taken me back to playing those classic arcade games, without the problems and pitfalls of actually going back to those old games.

As someone who never really played the original Black Widow (1982) on Atari, I find this game to be a new and refreshing arcade adventure. These Recharged games also don’t take up much space on my console so I enjoy keeping them around for as long as I feel. These are the perfect games for when you don’t have that much time to play. They are also great for when you want to waste a bunch of time playing a mindless game. And now because of co-op you can do both of those things with a friend, roommate, sibling or partner.


Black Widow: Recharged releases on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, Atari VCS and PC (Steam and Epic Games Store) tomorrow, October 28th.

*myVGBC.com was provided a review code by the publisher.

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