Review by elsquanto
The cover art makes it look a lot better
"You are about to embark on a new and exciting journey. One that will fill you with a sense of wonder and discovery. Light and sound will mix like a kaleidoscope to thrill you as never before"
~Tempest 2000, Back of Game box
Some people seem to have an odd view of what the future is like. The people at Interplay seem to believe that in the future, a small C-shaped space craft will be squaring off against hordes of enemies. The battlefield? A plane of course. You are of course controlling this high tech futuristic two dimensional ship, trying your best to survive against Red X's, Giant purple blocks, and of course, Demon Faces.
You'll start out at one end of the plane, which is divided into several lanes. The enemies are going to be flying up towards you in these lanes, shooting pixelated fury as they go. You'll start off with your standard "super blaster", and try your best to not let them reach the end. When that does happen, the X's will decide to slide along the plane. If they catch you, they'll pull you back into the abyss. It's near impossible to dodge them once they reach the edge, so your only hope is to kill them before that. Of course, there are backup plans. Every level, you'll have one supercharge which will clear the entire plane of enemies. You can also gain an upgrade that will allow you to jump away from the plane, and rain death from above.
The jump upgrade isn't the only obtainable accessory. As you lay waste to the oncoming shapes, you'll be able to receive a laser that shoots through anything, an AI drone as a companion, and best of all, more points. Once you gain enough points, you'll be transported to the next level, where you'll start fresh and without anything but the lives you may have gained (or lost) in the process. The last upgrade is a warp boost, and when you receive that, you'll be transported to a small warp minigame, in which you fly through rings in a first person perspective, gaining points as you go. This mode is extremely easy, as your ship flies very, very slow. You can stay in this mode until you miss a ring.
If you haven't noticed yet, Tempest 2000 barely contains any depth. While this is excusable because it's ported from the Atari Jaguar, it's a shame that things like the AI droid couldn't be put to better use, like boss battles for example.
Now I'm forced to assume that at Interplay, "A kaleidoscope of light and sound" really means, "you can't see **** because there are stars behind everything". Indeed, the plane is dotted with a backdrop of stars which more often than not, can fool you into thinking that there is an enemy fast approaching. Instead, you'll be shooting at space while five more enemies are closing in on you. Sometimes it works the opposite way, in that you think that an enemy is a star, but it turns out to be a vicious shape bent on sucking you back into the space beyond.
But if you can get over the poor graphics and very low depth, Tempest 2000 is an addicting game which will keep you at least satisfied with a little bit of fun, if not a headache. Since you die in one hit, and the game is so hard, chances are you'll get frustrated too fast to even finish the first few levels, let alone complete the game.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
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