Tempest 3000


Review by Keita Iida



Graphics: 8 Sound: 10 Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9

tempestx31ps1.jpg (7147 bytes)When Tempest 2000 first hit the Jaguar, most players were awestruck by the awesome new additions and amazing visuals that finally screamed "Next Generation!" But for some reason, the (basically) same game was released without much fanfare when it arrived on Playstation, probably because the machine was already drowning with tons of choice titles. Atari fans also didn't go gaga over it, probably because they were in a state of denial that their beloved Jag game had lost its exclusivity. But being a fan of the classics and a game player first and foremost, I'm here to give you the scoop on a game that was heralded on the Jag and almost went unnoticed on the Playstation.

The game is basically Tempest 2000 with souped-up graphics effects, plus a few extra enemies. The biggest change is in the visual department, where the webs are rendered with translucent, warping textures in the panels instead of the gourad shading of Jeff Minter's Jaguar creation. This makes X3 even more psychedelic than even Tempest 2000. There's also a mild plasma around the edges of the screen that's subtle yet tastefully done. The explosions and various effects of the original have also been replaced by full polygonal effects which look extra trippy when combined with the overall scene that's rendered in a persistence/blur field. There are just as many different variety of webs in X3, although they're less angular and consequently a bit tamer in my opinion. The other major difference is with the audio as you'd expect, being as the sound is now on CD, allowing for a fantastic redbook audio version of the Tempest 2000 soundtrack disc. Some of the audio effects have changed, and by and large they're improved upon its Jaguar predecessor.

tempestx32ps1.jpg (6276 bytes)Where Tempest X3 stumbles somewhat is in the gameplay department, although I would point out that I'm a T2K "purist".. meaning that I played Tempest 2000 to heck so some of the faults might not be evident if you haven't spent much time with the original. One of the terrific power-ups that was introduced in Tempest 2000 was the AI Droid. It was a wire-framed, cube-shaped object that assisted you in blasting away enemies on the web. In X3, Interplay took the "I" out of AI! It seems to have lost its intelligence because it just follows you around and hovers over your ship without a mind of its own. This takes away from an important strategy element because it's basically useless - you can't take comfort anymore that you have something covering your butt while you mind your own business circling the web... oh well. The hideous looking demonhead has been replaced by a smaller object that takes several shots to destroy, although this doesn't necessarily detract from the game and is probably just a matter of taste. And if you feared the dreaded Pulsars in Tempest 2000 (I KNOW you did), there's no reason to get scared when they reach the top in X3. Here, instead of splitting in two when it reaches the top and literally hurtles its way toward you, they now behave like nothing more than the red flippers. It's a bit easier in dealing with Pulsars, but to an expert player, the feeling of terror and helplessness when confronted by Pulsars is something that will be missed.

Despite these caveats, however, the gameplay is just as fast and furious and fun as it ever was, and in many respects, it's improved. The slight experience of slowdown on Tempest 2000 when a lot of enemies onscreen has thankfully been eliminated, and the textures on the web enhance what was already a trippy visual delight. And best of all, those who have Playstations and not Jaguars, and consequently missed out on the fun the first time around, can now find out what the fuss was all about... and enjoy some extra audiovisual treats to go along with it. And that's perhaps the best thing about Tempest X3's already long line of virtues.


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Last updated: Sunday, October 16, 2005 02:38 PM