FAQ by War Doc

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 02/03/04 | Printable Version

                              | T E M P E S T |

              GAME:  TEMPEST
           CREATOR:  ATARI Copyright 1980
AUTHOR OF THIS FAQ:  Kevin Butler AKA War Doc
            E-MAIL:  kevinb(at)technologist(dot)com
       FAQ VERSION:  1.0


                              TABLE OF CONTENTS


1.  Legal Stuff
2.  Version Information
3.  Acknowledgements
4.  Welcome
5.  Overview


6.  The Game

    6.1  The Controls
    6.2  The Playing Field
    6.3  Scoring
    6.4  Enemies
    6.5  The Levels


7.  Playing the Game
8.  Quirks/Cheats


9.  Conclusion


To find a particular chapter or subchapter do the following:

1.  Highlight the chapter or subchapter name you wish to find.
2.  Press CTRL-C
3.  Press CTRL-F
4.  Press CTRL-V
5.  Press CTRL-F
6.  You will arrive at the desired chapter or subchapter.


********************************* U N I T  I **********************************
| 1.  LEGAL STUFF |============================================================

This guide may not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal
private use.  It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed
publicly without advanced permission from the author.  Use of this guide on
any other web site or as part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and
a violation of copyright.  All content in this guide is Copyright 2004 by
Kevin Butler.  Only the sites listed below have permission to publish this
work or to display it:


If you wish to put this guide on your site, e-mail me and ask.  Save yourself
the headache of putting up with lawsuits and whatnot because you failed to ask
a simple "Can I post your guide on <insert site>?".  If you wish to use info
in this guide, please acknowledge that you have done so.  If I don't respond or
I say no, accept it as fact.  This especially goes out to Dave at
www.cheatcc.com since he has a habit of taking guides without permission.  In
addition, do not modify this guide in any way whatsoever to suit your purposes.
The latest version can always be found at www.gamefaqs.com.

If you see this guide on any other site then the one listed above, please
e-mail me.  If you wish to ask questions or give input to this guide, please
e-mail me.  Just have Tempest as the subject so I know it isn't another kooky
vendor trying to sell me hair gel or another XXX site telling me I have new

| 2.  VERSION INFORMATION |====================================================

Version 1.0   2/ 2/04:  A guide is born.

| 3.  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS |=======================================================

The following are a list of people or organizations that have made this FAQ

My wonderful family (who has had to put up with the tapping on the keyboard)
Atari for making a great arcade game
GameFAQ's for putting up this FAQ

| 4.  WELCOME |================================================================

Welcome to my FAQ for Tempest.  Since the game is just a shooter that
goes until all your men are killed, there is no walkthrough per se.  Instead it
will be broken up into the game itself, strategies for survival, and some in-
teresting quirks in the game.  Input is appreciated along with constructive
criticism.  If you wish to e-mail me thoughts on this FAQ, better ways of doing
things, other strategies, etc., feel free.  Make sure you put Tempest as the
subject.  If you don't, I'm liable to discard the e-mail as spam.

| 5.  OVERVIEW |===============================================================

During the late 70's and early 80's, Atari was the biggest player in both the
arcades and home videogame market.  To keep their competitive edge, Atari
brought many new innovations to the arcade world.  Tempest was developed by
Dave Theurer as Atari's response to Space Invaders.  Atari was attempting to
develop a 3-D version of Space Invaders but the technology of the time limited
that approach.  Well know for their vector games such as Lunar Lander,
Asteroids, and Battlezone, Atari used this knowledge to create Tempest.
Tempest is considered one of the first true color vector games.  Before that,
games such as Star Castle, by Cinematronics, used a color overlay to color
white vector lines.  The year 1980 saw many innovative games such as Battle-
zone, Berzerk, and Defender.  The big seller, though, was Pac-Man which over-
shadowed all of these games.  Tempest received a favorable response and it was
one of Atari's bigger sellers.  With its fast pace and colorful graphics,
Tempest proved to be a challenge for even the most skilled arcade players.
This game also resulted in other games with colored vector graphics such as
Black Widow and Major Havoc.  Good luck in keeping the creatures down in their

******************************** U N I T  II **********************************

| 6.  THE GAME |===============================================================

Tempest is a pseudo three three-dimensional shooter.  You control your shooter
to eliminate the endless supply of enemies that are approaching from the
distance to destroy you.  In addition to enemy attacks, you must also deal with
the "gifts" that they leave behind.  Its days like this you wish you had slept

/ 6.1  The Controls /__________________________________________________________

In order to become a master of this game, you must be familiar with the
controls.  The controls are pretty easy and with a little practice, should be
easy to use.

-  A dial to move your shooter left and right

-  A fire button

-  A Supezap button

/ 6.2  The Playing Field /_____________________________________________________

The playing field consists of your shooter, the 3-D grid, and lots of enemies
to keep you busy.  I have included an example of what the playing field looks
like (a little larger then normal):

    |                                                                   |
    | PLAYER #1 SCORE            HIGH SCORE             PLAYER #2 SCORE |
    |                                                                   |
    |                     +------+                                      |
    |                    /|      |\                                     |
    |                   / |      | \    /\ <-PLAYER'S SHOOTER           |
    |                  /  |      |  \  /  \                             |
    |          +------+   |      |   +------+                           |
    |         /       |   |      |     /     \                          |
    |        / \          |      |    /       \                         |
    |       /        |    |      |   /         \                        |
    |      + \   \        |      |  /         /+                        |
    |      |   \   \ |____|______|_/        /  |                        |
    |      |     \  \/              \     /    |<-PLAYING AREA          |
    |      |       \/                 \ /      |                        |
    |      + -- -- -\_________________ /- -- --+                        |
    |       \       / |      |      | \       /                         |
    |        \    /   |      |      |   \    /                          |
    |         \ /     | \/   |      |     \ /                           |
    |          +------+-/\---+------+------+                            |
    |                    ^ FLIPPER                                      |
    |                                                                   |

You control the shooter to blast the enemies coming out of the pit.

/ 6.3  Scoring /_______________________________________________________________

Scoring in this game is relatively simple:

Spike   :    1-3 points
Spiker  :   50 points
Tanker  :  100 points
Flipper :  150 points
Pulsar  :  200 points
Fuseball:  250, 500, or 750 points

In addition to the above points, you also get bonus points for starting at
higher levels then level one.  Listed are the bonus points through the first 49
levels.  There is no real pattern except that the bonus gets higher the more
levels you skip at your starting point.

                     | LVL |  BONUS  || LVL |  BONUS  |
                     |   1 |  NONE   ||  24 | 188,000 |
                     |   3 |   6,000 ||  26 | 208,000 |
                     |   5 |  16,000 ||  28 | 226,000 |
                     |   7 |  32,000 ||  31 | 248,000 |
                     |   9 |  54,000 ||  33 | 266,000 |
                     |  11 |  74,000 ||  36 | 300,000 |
                     |  13 |  94,000 ||  40 | 340,000 |
                     |  15 | 114,000 ||  44 | 382,000 |
                     |  17 | 134,000 ||  47 | 415,000 |
                     |  20 | 152,000 ||  49 | 439,000 |
                     |  22 | 170,000 ||

At the beginning of the game, you can skip to level 7.  Whenever you complete
a game, you have either ten seconds or until you press a key to continue a
game.  You can start a game at the bonus level you were closest to from your
last game.  For example, if your game ended on level 21, then you can go to all
the bonus levels at level 20 and below.  If your game ended at level 42, then
you can go to all bonus levels at level 40 and below.

You start the game with a varying amount of shooters depending on how the
machine is set up.  You can start with 2, 3, 4, or 5 shooters.

You are awarded a free shooter every 10,000, 20,000, 30,000, 40,000, 50,000,
60,000, 70,000 or you don't receive a free shooter.

/ 6.4  Enemies /_______________________________________________________________

There are six basic enemies in this game.  Each enemy has a certain way it
attacks.  In addition, you won't see all the enemies until you progress through
the different levels.  The enemies are:


Resembles a flattened "X".  It rides the rails up the tube and "walks" along
the perimeter.  It can only be killed when it is "standing up".  First appears
in level 1.


Resembles a star with squiggly lines.  It originates from the pit or from a
Tanker.  It rides on the rails and jumps from rail to rail to reach the top
homing in on the player's shooter.  Must be killed before it reaches the
perimeter.  First appears in level 11.


Resembles a wavy line.  It originates from the pit or from a Tanker.  It rides
on two rails up the tube.  If it pulses and the player is on that particular
section, their shooter is destroyed.  It must be killed before it reaches the
perimeter.  First appears in level 20.


Resembles a line from the bottom of the pit.  It originates at the bottom of
the pit and it is what is left behind by a Spiker.  Must be shot before
advancing to the next level or your shooter will be destroyed.  Can only be
destroyed by a player's shots.  First appears in level 4.


Resembles a spiral in the shape of a circle.  Starts off at the bottom of the
pit on either a rail or in between rails.  It builds up Spikes to hamper a
player's movements.  First appears in level 4.


Resembles a diamond.  Starts off at the bottom of the pit or is attached to a
Spiker.  Carries Flippers, Fuseballs, or Pulsars which it releases when shot
or on the perimeter.  Must be killed before reaching the perimeter.

NOTE:  All enemies, except the Spike, can be killed with the Superzap.

/ 6.5  The Levels /____________________________________________________________

There are 99 levels in Tempest.  After a player passes level 99, then the
levels will randomly appear until the player loses all their shooters.  In
addition, each group of 16 levels has a different color to it.  The colors

Levels  1 - 16 Blue
Levels 17 - 32 Red
Levels 33 - 48 Yellow
Levels 49 - 64 Cyan
Levels 65 - 80 Invisible
Levels 81 - 95 Green

Each level will have a playing area which has 16 "rails" which connect the
perimeter to the pit.  Also, the player's shooter will "light" up the section
it is on to assist in the hunting of enemies.  There are three types of con-
figurations for the playing area.  They are:


These playing areas don't allow the player to go around the perimeter.  They
usually take the shapes of a flat plane (bowling alley look), "V" shape, or a
"U" shape with a few things added in.  The big thing on these kinds of areas is
the fact that you must be able to rapidly turn the knob to the left and right
to avoid getting cornered by the enemies.


These playing areas allow the player to go around the perimeter without a
break.  Although it says circle, these areas take other forms such as squares,
six-pointed stars, and triangles to name a few.  These are a bit easier to play
on because the enemies can't corner your shooter.  The downside to these areas
is the fact there is more area for your enemies to come up from the pit to


Just as the name states, it looks like an "8".  Your shooter moves along the
perimeter and through the middle.  Like the circle, you can go around the
perimeter without a break so getting cornered is pretty hard.  On the downside,
there are two pits, instead of one, for your enemies to attack from so you will
be kept very busy on this configuration just trying to keep the enemies at bay.

******************************** U N I T  III *********************************

| 7.  PLAYING THE GAME |=======================================================

When you start the game, your shooter will be on the perimeter of the playing
area.  The game will start when the first enemies start to appear from the pit.
Depending if you decided to skip levels will determine what enemies you will
be facing.

-  Although it cannot be stressed enough, make sure that you are totally
   familiar with how the knob turns and the fire button operates.  You will be
   required to do some split-second moves and the time to find out there is a
   lag is not when you are involved in a crisis.

-  When you fire, you can have a total of eight shots on the screen at any one
   moment in time.  Holding down the fire button will discharge these eight
   shots at once.  Tap on the fire button to have better control of your fire
   since you don't want to be out of shots when an enemy is on top of you.

-  The Superzap button has a great many uses in this game:

   -  The first time you use Superzap, all enemies in the playing area (with
      the exception of Spikes) will be blasted out of existence.

   -  The second use will only take out one enemy since it is now a weak

   -  You get your Superzap recharged between levels.

   -  The best time to use Superzap, unless you really need it beforehand, is
      to use it near the end of the level to get the points before you leave
      the level.

   -  Plan accordingly if you do want to use it.  Make sure the maximum amount
      of enemies are on the screen before Superzapping them.

-  Learn each enemy's behavior.  All them do distinct things which you must
   know in order to take advantage of their weaknesses.  Remember, you move
   much quicker then they do so with practice, you should be able to get to any
   part of the playing area without hesitation.

-  Know the playing area configurations.  This is especially true for the End-
   to-End configuration.  You want to ensure that you have enough room to move
   around and don't get yourself trapped on one of the sides.  Frustration
   comes from the fact that you could have taken out that Flipper if you only
   had another lane you could have traveled.

-  Shoot at the enemies right when they are emerging from the pit.  This will
   make your job easier for clean up and it will also cause things like Tankers
   to release their cargo early making it easier to deal with any problems that
   may arise.

-  When Tankers are carrying Fuseballs, don't hit them when they are close to
   you.  When the Tanker dies, the Fuseball will quickly home in and destroy
   your shooter.

-  Watch the Flippers when they make it to the perimeter.  If they are not
   "standing up", they will capture your shooter and drag it down into the pit.

-  As the levels progress, the action gets faster paced.  After level 99, the
   game doesn't get any faster but the levels will randomly come up.

-  After you have mastered the game, make sure you start out at the highest
   level possible so you can get the bonus that goes along with it.

| 8.  QUIRKS/CHEATS |==========================================================

Tempest only has a couple of interesting aspects about it.  One thing is
definitely a trick while the other is more a bug due to some erroneous coding
on the original PROM's.  This second problem was corrected with the second
release (Rev 2) of Tempest.

-  On the end-to-end configuration, sit at one of the edges.  When an enemy
   approaches, rapidly fire.  Usually, you will pick off that enemy without
   even having to move.

-  This next trick involves scoring things just right.  The score will be in
   the form of XXYYZZ at the top of the screen:

   -  The XX portion must be greater then 16.

   -  The YY portion must be greater then 29 but less then 60.

   -  The ZZ portions number corresponds to a specific code listed below:

      00:  Freeze screen

      01:  Access bookkeeping totals

      05:  Allows playing during attract mode (after this code is activated,
           you can set the last two digits to 46 which gives a random colored
           level or the two digits 48 which gives you 255 extra lives)       

      06, 11,
      12, 16,
      17, and 18:  40 Free credits

      14 and 15:  Credit sound without actual credit

      41:  Switch last 2 digits of score

      42:  Increase score quickly

      46:  Demonstration mode (Start at any level up to 81)

      50 and 51:  Player moves by itself

      60:  Objects drift down

      66:  Objects drift right

      67:  Objects jump

      68 and 69:  Objects drift up

The reason for these codes is because the original programmer needed ways into
his game.  Unfortunately, when he tweaked a couple parts of his game, it caused
some of the code to yield the above results.

********************************  U N I T  IV *********************************

| 9.  CONCLUSION |=============================================================

When Tempest arrived on the scene, we were all pretty much saturated with all
the space-type games out there.  Pac-Man was just starting to make its
appearance and the other games were getting boring.  Tempest demonstrated that
even if you were good on other games, this game would require one to basically
relearn how to play videogames again.  Practice we did and it seemed like for-
ever before we could advance into the more advanced levels.  Even then, one had
to keep sharp or they would quickly lose their shooter and rhythm for the game.
It took a lot of time and quarters, but they were well worth the expense.  Un-
fortunately, it is very rare to find this machine anywhere.  However, through
the miracle of emulation, a whole new generation is realizing what we "old"
folks enjoyed those many years ago.  I hope this guide helps you in being able
to get the most amount of gameplay for this game.  If you do have other ideas
or thoughts, please e-mail me and share them.  Who knows, maybe I'll start a
Q&A Chapter in this guide if enough people ask the same questions.  Anyway,
thank you again for reading this guide.

To see other FAQ's I have written please go to:


           ~~~  No trees were harmed in the making of this FAQ ~~~