Reviewed by Chuck Cochems

Tempest was a brilliant and unique non-scrolling shooter in the arcades. It used color vector graphics, giving a brilliant and vibrant look that put other games to shame, and had a brilliant and simple concept. You could move around the edge of the Web, and blasted the enemies. You used a spinner to move. Anyway, to get a taste of the real ting, get MAME.

But if you want to play an all-new, modernised one, get Tempest 2000.

It is quite a package. You fire it up, and a barrage of brilliant techno music assaults your senses. It really helps to pull you into the game. This is NOT Euro-beat, this is pure rave instrumental (with vocal samples in the CD versions).

You can play "traditional" which is a sort of faithful reproduction of the original arcade. The author, Jeff Minter, admits that it was pretty badly done, and he hadn't seen Tempest enough recently to make a good one. Play it on MAME if you want the real thing...

There's Tempest Plus, which is like traditional, but it has enhanced GFX, and can be played with a buddy by your side, or a robotic AI droid. The AI droid moves slowly, but homes in on the nearest enemy, and is invincible. It's a good ally, and is the best way to get the hang of the basic game.

There's Duel, which has one player at each end of the web trying to blast each other. Fun.

Add there's Tempest 2000, the game proper, with powerups, warps, etc. :)

Controls are bullshit simple. You can move right, move left, fire, jump (after you get jump enabled) or superzapper. You get two superzapper shots per level. the first one kills all enemies on the web, and the second kills ONE random enemy on the web. THe game will say 'EAT ELECTRIC DEATH!" upon the first use in each level.

Flipper. These flip from lane to lane on the web, moving towards you. when they get to the edge, they keep flipping towards you. don't let them catch you. They also shoot, but your shots kill their shots. You CAN kill them just before they take you away if you press shoot just before one gets to you.

Spiker. These stay at the top of the web, far away from you. they move out, and draw a spike, them move back and go to another lane. The spikes are a hazard when you are zooming from level to level, but you can shot them away.

Fuseball. These move towards you when they are on the lines between panels. because they do that, they slip between your shits! when they move from line to line, you can blast them. they don't shoot, but kill you on contact. fortunately, they are slow.

Pulsar. These are MEAN! THey rhythmically "pulse" by growing from a flat line to a /\/\ formation. when they stretch all the way out, if you are in front of them (in the same lane) you will be FRIED. ALso, when they reach the edge, they split into two lighting bolts that zip around the edge and kill you! (tempest 2000 only. otherwise, they behave like flippers)

Tanker. These move straight towards the edge, and then split up into two of what they are a tanker of. they also split when you shoot them. There are Flipper, Fuseball, and Pulsar tankers.

Demon Flipper. These flippers are faster and more aggressive. 2000 only

Demon Head. These look like demon heads (duh). They move straight towards the edge. When you shoot at them, they throw their horns off, which you cannot shoot. You MUST dodge the horns. If they reach the edge, they spin around and move towards you slowly. Quite the pain. Kill ASAP.

Mirror. THese reflect your shots, an can shot at you. they cannot do both. I've never actually seen one yet though! (t2k only)

UFO. These fly on the outside of the web, ABOVE you! you can only get them if you have the jump powerup. (t2k only) I've never seen one of these either.

Particle Laser. This has a faster fire rate than your normal cannon, and shoots more bullets at once, making mincemeat of Spikes and other critters. Your first powerup (usually) on the level.

Zappo 2000. 2000 points. Whee. all EVEN powerups are usually Zappo 2000.

Jump Enabled. You can now Jump with the Jump button.

AI Droid. The invincible AI droid from tempest Plus comes in to help. you. He is a really big help as he can take out fuseballs, demon heads, ad Pulsar easily.

Warp Token. Collect 3 to warp! Also clears the screen of enemies, like using your super-zapper.

Outta Here! Ends the level instantly. :)

Yes! Yes! Yes! (yes, the game actually says "yes! yes! yes!" in a female voice rising in pitch!) This powerup is special. It happens when you get a powerup crystal while zooming. It makes the first powerup the ai droid on the next level, and the second one the particle laser. VERY handy.

The usual order of powerups is

  • particle laser
  • zappo 2000
  • jump enabled
  • zappo 2000
  • AI droid.
  • zappo 2000
  • warp token
  • zappo 2000
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???
Sometimes, in place of ANY of them, it will give you "outta Here!" it usually does this if you've died a few times on a level.

Tempest 2000 has 100 levels. It starts of easy, but sooner or later you will run into one "web' and find your self saying "I *HATE* THIS FUCKING WEB!!!" Congratulations, you've just found a "hate web". :) The first REALLY difficult one is the infamous 4-pointed star web, which looks like this on the perimeter.

The four points consist of Two OVERLAPPING sections, such that you can't tell which side of it you are on! This is what we players call EVIL! Every so often, Jeff Minter (Yak) gets e-mail saying "How could you ever make level XX!!! YOU BASTARD!! :) " and he smiles when that happens... That meant he did his job well.

This is a real Hard Core game. If you've beaten all 100 levels, you can say "I'm good. :)" After you do that, you can play in 'Beastly Mode" where your shots move slower, and the enemies are faster and meaner!

You can play it on Jaguar (original version) Saturn, DOs, or WIn95. Jaguar version and Saturn version are best. The jaguar one is the original, and the saturn version has better music (plays off CD) The DOS one has low resolution compared to the two, but is otherwise an accurate conversion. It can play music either off the CD, or thru a sound blaster's FM chip. The FM chip tunes are actually not too bad, and the first level tune still kicks, even through FM! The win95 one has higher resolution, but has a few gameplay niglets that make it the worst (the biggest one is that in the warp rounds passing thru a ring ALWAYS gets you 750 when it should get you less if you are far from it's center)

You should be able to pick up the PC version in bargain bins now. If you have a Jaguar, GET THIS GAME! If you have a Saturn GET THIS GAME! There's a playstation one called Tempest X, but it's not quite the same game. This is shoot-em-up gameplay at it's best. pure, unadulterated, adrenalin-pumping ACTION. Although it doesn't scroll, this is what a shooter is all about. :)

And you could always visit Yak's Zoo, for some blether from Jeff Minter himself. I remember winning the entire Llamasoft catalogue AND a mug in a Zzap!64 Mag ages ago. Where's that N64 update of Sheep in Space Jeff? :) - Malc


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie