"Q: You want to be buried or cremated?"
A: Surprise me."
JAGUAR SOFTWARE REVIEW - TEMPEST 2000
by Casper Falkenberg (the review, not the game!)
In the beginning...
...there was a lot of expectation. The almighty guru of
software, Jeff Minter, alias Yak the Hairy had written a game for
the best games machine ever. It had to be great. It was based on
an old classic arcade game from Atari, and this particular game
happened to be one of Yak's favourites. It had to be great. The
magazines had had endless previews, showing truly psychidelic
pictures from the game. It had to be great. Imagitec Software had
been assigned especially for the making of the soundtrack. It had
to be great.
One day, a small parcel arrived
"Tempest 2000" had landed. The first impression when looking at
the packing was: This looks like a bad Japanese shoot 'em up. I
quickly opened it and threw the before mentioned ugly packing out
of sight. Oh no, the same picture was on the cartridge. I plugged
it in. I knew that although everything had been ugly until now,
the game itself had to be great.
I was so right
"Tempest 2000" opens with a large logo in many layers, where
every layer except for the top one moves in different directions.
It's sort of like an infinite sprites thing, just bigger than you
would normally expect. The soundtrack is great, a slow techno
piece with some very worrying notes thrown in. Already at this
early point, you sense the greatness of this game.
If you don't push anything, the game proceeds to show the high
score list, complete with Yak himself ranking as number one. In
the background, the vector graphics of one of the levels are
bobbing along merrily, turning on all axes as vector graphics
rather like to do. Then comes a demo of the game, and unlike
normal demos, this one can take place in a number of different
levels. When you eventually decide to press one of the keys on
the joypad, you are presented with the main menu, which is quite
amazing. No, no, I didn't have too much vodka, this main menu
really is an attraction. You have the options, which are great of
course, as they are the main options of a truly great game, but
the really interesting thing is the background. An Atari logo the
size of the screen floats along in multicoloured plasma. This,
ladies and gentlemen is a full screen true colour pixel perfect
(okay, so the logo itself jerks just a little bit) plasma effect
with static graphics in a front layer and a high quality
soundtrack to accompany the whole thing. Ladies and gentlemen, it
certainly is showtime. From here you can choose which incarnation
of "Tempest" you want to play (for there are several) and if you
want to change any of the games' configurations. If you choose
the latter, you can either configure the joypad exactly how you
want to or you can set interlace on/off and slim vectors/fat
vectors which is exactly what it says it is. As a default, the
vectors are fat, and this does look the best.
On to the game(s).
This is a Jag version of the original game. You (a boomerang-
like thing) crawl around on the outer rim of a 3D web. Imagine a
tunnel shaped as the web stretching into the screen. You have the
ability to move in two directions and to shoot with an infinite
number of bullets. On a circular web, pressing left on the joypad
makes you go anti-clockwise, and right clockwise. It's a bit
tricky to master the first couple of goes, but you get the hang
of it before long. Every time you move you enter a new sector of
the web, and it is the sectors that make up the tunnel. When you
fire, your bullet follows the sector you are in to the very end
of the tunnel. And it is from this far end of the tunnel that all
the nasties come. They move towards you through the sectors, and
if they reach the rim of the web, on which you are, they will
almost certainly catch and destroy you. If you're lucky, you
might shoot one or two of them, but you're practically dead if
one of them reaches the rim. So the object of the game is simply
to kill these nasties before before they reach you, by shooting
through the sectors. When the game reckons you have killed
enough, you are taken to the next web, which has a new and
This game uses simple vector graphics and sound effects
(although the soundtrack is still there if you want it to) and
thereby stays faithful to the original game (although I do seem
to recall that the original game had less colours, but maybe I'm
This version of the old "Tempest" game is as addictive as ever,
and it's great for practising before entering the real thing -
This is a sophisticated version of the original "Tempest" game.
In addition to your ordinary old everyday "Tempest" enemy that
just flies towards you and does nothing else, there are a number
of other bad guys 'n' gals (I suppose) around. These do very
heavy things like moving through different sectors on their way
to the rim or firing at you and building spikes. These spikes are
placed in the middle of sectors (actually corridors if you insist
on using real "Tempest 2000" terminology) and can kill you just
when you think all your worries are over. When you complete a
web, you zoom down through the tunnel, ready to warp to the next
web; but if there is a spike at the end of the sector you are
zooming through, you will be cut up, and you'll have to do that
level all over again. As you zoom through the tunnel, you have
the ability to move through the sectors as usual, so you must
watch out for the spikes. It's very tempting to roll around in
joy on your way out, but it sure is dangerous too!
To make things easy when you're but a wee "Tempest" dude with
little or no experience, you can choose to have a droid following
you in the webs. The droid floats above the rim and can take any
position it likes. It shoots at your enemies but never hits you.
That's what friends are for. This option is only available in
"Tempest Plus". If you have two joypad controllers, you can play
with a friend (or an enemy, what do I care!) instead.
This is what you have all been waiting for. The real thing. The
right stuff. The 21st century version of "Tempest". "Tempest
Plus" never happened. Well, actually everything from "Tempest
Plus" is there, but so is a lot more. There are more enemies like
electrical charges that can electrify an entire sector and fry
you long before they reach the rim. There are giant Demon Heads
(biggest baddies in town) that whirl towards you and there are
mirrors that send your shots right back in your face. There are
of course other nasty things going on, but you'll have to buy the
game to find out what they are.
To cope with all this, you also have the ability to get more
powerful by collecting power-ups. Visually, these are rays of red
dots that fly through a sector now and then when you have just
blasted an enemy to bits. These power ups can give you bonus
points or extra abilities. Bonus points are okay, because you get
a new life for every 10000 points you score, but they don't
really help much in the heat of the action. For immediate help,
you need hardware. First of all, there is the pulse laser which
is much more efficient than the one you have when you begin a
level. Then there is the ability to jump, and if you're good at
it, it can save your life any day. It enables you to jump from
the rim of the web, while spinning to the position of your
choise. This way you can shoot your enemies straight on, leaving
them no chance to catch you, fry you or shoot you. You have to
watch it though, as you can't stay off the rim. Whenever you
jump, you bounch right back, so you have to make sure you don't
land on top of anything that doesn't like being bounched on.
Nothing you'll ever meet on the web likes to be bounched on.
If you're lucky, a power-up will reward you with a droid like
the one in "Tempest Plus", and then you're almost certain to
complete the level.
If you collect enough power-ups in one level, you get a
Llamasoft logo, which is your ticket to a warp. When leaving the
web on the level where you have received the third ticket, you
warp to a bonus level instead of the next web.
The first bonus level is truly a strange experience. You fly
along under a large plasma surface that has to be seen to be
believed. It always reminds me of the monolith in "2001 - A Space
Odyssey". Your objective is simple - to fly through some coloured
rings. Every now and then there is a "speed up" token in your
way. These are best avoided, but that's almost impossible. If you
try, you are bound to miss the next ring, and then it's adios. At
some point, the speed gets up there when you just can't cope with
it any more. To make things even more frustrating, you sometimes
have to fly through the plasma surface to find the next ring,
which is on the other side. A really great piece of music plays
through this level, and the whole atmosphere created makes you
feel like you're really into it, like your brain is hotwired to
your Jag. You play the first easy levels of the game over and
over again just to gain access to this weird and wonderful bonus
In the second bonus level, you have to follow a green path that
whirls through a tunnel of multicoloured dots. I'm not quite sure
how to do this, so I'm afraid I really can't say much about it,
but I'm sure it's great like everything else in this game.
The third bonus level? How much time do you think I can put
aside to play computer games?
When you f*ck up in one of the bonus levels, it's straight on to
the next "normal" level. The bonus levels act as a sort of "chill
out" between the mayhem of the ordinary levels.
When you play Tempest 2000 for the first time, you can choose to
start at any of the first 10 levels. If you die on levels 11 to
21, you have to start all over again. If, however, you make it to
level 22, then you don't have to fear death, as you will get a
level key to level 21. This key is saved in the cartridge and
gives you the ability to start at levels 1 to 21 every time you
subsequently play Tempest 2000. You don't have to use level codes
in this game. Brilliant! To get the key for level 23, you must
make it to level 24 and to get the key for level 25, you must
make it to level 26 and so on. Using a key you can access all
levels prior to the one the key is actually for.
There are 100 levels in Tempest 2000 and when you have completed
all of them (fat chance!) you get the choise of playing in
"Beasty Mode", where your shots are weaker and the enemies are
faster and more lethal.
"Tempest 2000" has got to be one of the best computer/video
games I have ever played. It looks great, it sounds great, it's
frightfully addictive, the levels are well thought out and as far
as I can see, there are no bugs at all. I have played this game
quite a lot and everything has always worked the way it was
supposed to. Amazing!
Jeff Minter: You have created a masterpiece!!! (sound trumpets)
Name: Tempest 2000
Programmed by: Jeff Minter of Llamasoft (sound by
Distributed by: Atari
Visual effects: 10
Sound fx.: 7
Value for money: 10
Great-o-Meter Rating (tm): 14
Manifest: Cartridge, registration card, 14
Hardware: Atari Jaguar (no other console
could handle it)
Comment: If you have a Jag, stop reading now
and go buy the game. If you don't
have a Jag, stop reading now and go
buy the Jag and the game. The
overall value for money rating will
still be 10.
Address: ATARI CORPORATION UK
The Great-o-Meter Rating (tm) signifies the number of times the
word "great" was used in the review.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.