Tempest 2000


Review by Keita Iida



Graphics: 9

Sound: 10

Gameplay: 10

Overall: 10

Often times, bringing out a good sequel can be one of the most difficult things to pull of. The task was supposed to be even harder in this case, given that Dave Theurer's original Tempest was a smash hit in the arcades and is as loved by classic fans today as it was during its heyday. Remarkably, however, Jeff Minter has managed to preserve the intensity of the vector graphics-based original (which is no small task) while adding enough fresh elements into this version to consider it a complete upgrade.

For those of you who've never had the pleasure of playing Atari's coin-op classic, I feel sorry for you. The original Tempest was pure gaming bliss, and can be considered the Pac-Man or Tetris of shooters because it's one of those games that is so unique and wonderful that nobody's really tried to emulate it because they know they'd fail. Even twelve years later, it's just as addicting as ever. In both Tempest and T2K, you maneuver a claw-shaped ship on the outer edges of a web-like vortex, trying to shoot down enemies that rise from the core at the other end. After eliminating all the foes in that have been thrown your way, you move onto a more challenging stage.

This cartridge features four different play options. Traditional Tempest is a port - albeit a rather poor one - of the original game. Tempest Plus adds a few new levels and allows for cooperative play via a second player or a computer assistant. Tempest Duel is a deathmatch between two players that utilizes the Tempest 2000 engine. The real star in this compilation, of course, is Tempest 2000.

Tempest 2000 is far more than merely a graphically enhanced version of Tempest. It features one hundred different boards, sweet bonus stages, new enemies, and a slew of new power-ups. The ability to jump is a tremendous add-on, and the particle blaster and the AI droids that destroy anything that gets close to you are also nice additions. But the snazziest new feature is unquestionably the "Melt-O-Vision" effect. It's really psychedelic something that you've got to see for yourself since it's difficult to describe in detail.

Up to a point, you can get by with using the same method of play as one usually does with shooters. That is, by just mindlessly blasting away everything that comes your way. You'll quickly realize, though, that there are lots of subtleties in Tempest 2000 that make you think. Even after you've become good at this game, you MIGHT think all you're doing is getting by on reaction skills alone, but sharp players will realize that it's more a matter of human brain power working its magic as you get "in-the-zone" in an almost zen-like state. Getting into this hypnotic state is one of the best feelings that you'll ever experience while playing a videogame! You really won't know why you're kicking ass in one game and stinking it up in another. But it's such a great adrenaline rush that you'll want to play "just one more level" so that you'll get into the groove yet again.

Part of the reason the game gets you some pumped up is due to the awesome music. Your excitement level will reach a boiling point when your heart starts pumpin' to the excellent techno soundtrack. And it doesn't stop there. The sound of the voice samples, explosions, weapon fire and superzapper are also top notch and draw you into the game like few games have ever managed to do.

I'll just sum up Tempest 2000 by proclaiming it to be one of the wildest, thrilling, adrenaline-inducing shooters to come out in a long time. Only Robotron: 2084 and the original Tempest have managed to serve up the same kind of gaming ecstacy as this masterpiece.


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Friday, December 26, 2003 09:20 PM