Tempest 2000

a game by Interplay Entertainment Corp.
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 6/10, based on 2 reviews, 3 reviews are shown
User Rating: 6.0/10 - 1 vote
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Were Computer Games Ever this much fun? So little in the way of controls, yet so many hours spent hunched in front of a flickering screen trying desperately to notch that high score just a couple of points past your last.

Pacman, Asteroids and even Space Invaders (the game that started the whole thing), were so simple that we take one look at them today and laugh out loud. These days we think it so clever that we can take a technology that used to need so much computing power it resembled a table in a pub, and stick it at the front end of games as a diversion while the main feature is loading. Oh yes, we may snigger now, but back then big bucks were being slotted into tables in pubs all over the world, and happiness was only achieved when the mothership finally took a flaming dive earthwards.

And then, just to prove that these games aren't half as laudable as we all like to think, along comes Tempest 2000 from Atari. In its first incarnation it was simply called Tempest, and the aim was to defend your tunnel in space. We all have 'em (er, tunnels in space that is), it's just that some of you haven't been made aware of it yet - but don't fret if you missed the original 1981 version because it's included on this CD.

It just gets better...

Fifteen years on and we have Tempest 2000 marking Atari's entrance into the pc games market; it's been revamped, all the polygons have been filled in and a kicking techno track has been added, but the most important aspect - endless hours of playability - remains mercifully intact. The basic features remain exactly the same: you're poised ready for action at one end of a long tunnel with various ships flying at you from the other end.

However, unlike the Channel Tunnel, where trains only arrive on one track and are a hell of a lot easier to pick off with a particle laser, your space tunnel has many tracks, all of which can carry a message of impending doom right into your face. Your job is to pick them off one by one, collect the bonuses that they give up on their death, and make it to the next level. Sounds easy, huh? Yeah, maybe... except that the speed and number of craft you have to destroy add a sense of danger somewhat similar to dodging bullets in South Central LA.

But there's one notable difference between Tempest 2000 and the original: this time round you can earn bonuses. The first one to aim for is a bigger, faster gun (believe me, you'll need it), and after that I'd recommend you try and pick up an artificial intelligence droid as it will be an immense help in your clean-up operation. However, when you advance to the next level you lose all these and have to start all over again - what can I say? Life's a bitch.

Download Tempest 2000

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Still hot from the Jaguar is Tempest 2000. This arcade make of the or graphics brings two new levels with all-new graphics, great music and fast-paced action. There are even bonus levels where you can rack up lots of points.

This game will heat up your PC like no other. Tired of slow-paced adventures? Just install this one and prepare to rock. The arcade has come home, although it's a little late.

Overview

This Windows 95 game is the latest and most elaborate remake of the original Atari video game Tempest, released in 1981. As with any re-release of a classic, there is a difficult choice whether to (1) retain the essential look-and-feel of the original and simply port it to a new gaming platform, or (2) add lots of new features and bells and whistles, and risk contaminating the gameplay that made the original so successful. Unlike the mediocre version of Tempest contained within Microsoft Arcade released a few years ago, which added virtually nothing to the original and could not match its excitement, Interplay's Tempest 2000 strikes an almost perfect balance between faithfulness and fresh innovation.

The storyline is so irrelevant that it is not even fully presented. You simply find out that you are in control of a "blaster ship" that is defending your sector of "the web" against a seemingly endless stream of aliens. These enemies emerge from the core of the web via a number of discrete corridors. The enemies include flippers, spikers, spikes, fuseballs, pulsars, tankers, mirrors, demon heads, and UFOs. You score points by destroying aliens, collecting power-ups, and completing higher levels (the game contains over 90 levels and warp bonus worlds). There are three versions of the game included: Tempest Plus, which is most similar to the original Tempest but adds the assistance of artificially intelligent "droids;" Tempest 2000, which in addition to the droids adds numerous extra enemies and game play options; and Tempest Duel, which allows you to play against a human opponent.

Gameplay

The gameplay in this arcade game is fast, smooth, and highly addictive (as with many Windows 95 games, the use of DirectX drivers greatly facilitates this process). This is one case where the claim that it is a "3D arcade action" game really rings true, and one has to move adeptly from corridor to corridor to kill the aggressors before they close in. I find myself changing when I play it into a mode different from that I experience in most other action games, requiring intensity and concentration that far exceed what the others require. The artificial intelligence of enemies in the game is uniformly excellent. The game is best played with a joystick or game pad, as the keyboard is a bit slow and clumsy for a game like this; the mouse is not supported during gameplay because of the diverse nature of the movement required. The interface could not be more straightforward, as you literally simply point and shoot. Even the method for recording high scores is stylish and fun. You are not required to work your way up linearly from the first web, as you nicely get to choose from a variety of web starting points at the outset.

Graphics

The graphics are very good -- colorful and beautiful in an abstract way -- and are a vast improvement both over the original video version and over earlier versions on the PC. But this is the one area where I feel even a bit more could have been done: while the webs are stunning with their multicolored pastels, the blaster ship and most of the enemies are still mono-color, without an attempt even to do crude texturing or 3D shading. The animations during gameplay are awesome despite their technical simplicity.

Audio

The "techno-rave" soundtrack provides scintillating music that is a perfect background to the game's incredible excitement. The sound effects, as well as the voice clips that are interspersed in the gameplay, serve adroitly to heighten the frenzied atmosphere. There is no real innovation here, but everything is extremely well done, and all of the game's audio elements are well integrated with each other.

Documentation

The included Instruction Manual is quite sketchy, and a minor glitch is that the on-line help does not function properly. The "readme" file simply repeats what is in the manual. These documentation deficiencies are not real drawbacks because of the highly intuitive nature of the gameplay.

System Requirements

Windows 95: 486 DX2-66 CPU, 8 MB RAM, 2 MB hard disk space, CD-ROM drive, SVGA video card with 1 MB RAM, SoundBlaster-compatible audio card (I repeat this last requirement as stated, even though native Windows 95 applications make SoundBlaster compatibility unessential)

DOS: DOS 5.0 or higher operating system, 550 KB conventional memory free, 256 KB EMS memory free, 2 MB hard disk space, CD-ROM drive, VGA video card, SoundBlaster-compatible audio card

Both sets of requirements are relatively modest compared to many recently-released arcade games.

Bottom Line

I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this game most highly both to those who loved the original and to those who want the ultimate challenge in exciting arcade action in an abstract setting. Given that it builds upon an established classic, the game does not possess unsurpassed originality; and given that it relies on simple geometric shapes, the game lacks the realism of some of the more detailed simulations out on the market. But in my considerable gaming experience I have yet to encounter any arcade action software that is more fun to play or harder to quit.