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Tempest 2000 - Interplay/High Voltage Soft.

by S. Ives (Scorpion1999@worldnet.att.net)

Lowdown:

    The Jaguar game, Tempest 2000, has made it to the Sega Saturn.
Tempest 2000 for the Saturn features 4 modes of play: "Traditional" Tempest, Tempest Plus, Tempest 2000, and Tempest Duel. Traditional Tempest is loosely based on the classic Atari arcade game. I say "loosely" because TT lacks the exact feel of Dave Theurer's design- mainly because the flippers' slow speed truly cripples them in this mode (flippers in the arcade were as fast as T2000's Mutant Flippers). Still, the graphics are styled after the arcade game, and many of the same webs are featured. I really don't use this mode, since it's somewhat boring.

Tempest Plus is like the Traditional mode, except with enhanced graphics and also AI-Droid and 2-player options. If you use the droid, it will venture off on its own after the enemies. The droid cannot die, and has good intelligence. Two players play together to earn a team score, but they share the life counter. This mode falls by the wayside- I'd rather play the 2000 mode. It seems as if it was thrown in as an extra.

And now- the main deal- Tempest 2000 mode. This incredible new version of Tempest blows away the other modes. All the enemies from the original game are back (redrawn for a different look, which is cool), and the web sports a new shaded look. There's also a shifting camera that follows your blaster, and you can use the X, Y, and Z buttons to zoom in or out. Lots of power ups are to be found, such as the Particle Laser, Jump, Excellent, AI Droid, and others. One that can REALLY help is the "Outta Here" which gives you 5,000 points and instant egress from the current level. Now, there are more enemies, some of which I'll talk about here:

  • Demon Heads: Shoot it, and it will retaliate by throwing its horns at you. Takes several hits to die.
  • Mutant Flippers: Shaped like white diamonds, these are much faster than the red bow-tie Flippers.
  • Mirrors: Be careful while shooting these things, because they will send your shots right back at you.
  • Pulsars: Not totally new. All the dread of the original Pulsars, and if they reach the rim, you're burnt toast- they will split in half and then cruise the web very rapidly until they find you. Only the Jump or a SuperZapper can save you from a jam like this.

One enemy which can really put a kink in things is the UFO. These guys are so vile, you'll have to find out for yourself- I can't spoil that surprise. Just be warned. You'll know and hate these guys when you meet them in later stages.

If you get three Warp Tokens (aka Excellents), you will go to a bonus round after exiting the current level. There are at least a couple types: Bonus stage 1 has you flying through the atmosphere of Jupiter, riding through rings suspended in midair. The music in this one is really mesmerizing. Bonus stage 2 is a tunnel of light with a winding green path in it. As reggae music plays, you steer your sparkler to stay on the trail. If you fail the objective in the bonus round, you will be jettisoned into the next web. Winning on a bonus game gets you 20,000 points and will warp you ahead five stages. T2K has a TON of levels (100), and finishing the game gains entry to the Beastly Mode which will be discussed later on.

In Tempest Duel mode, you and a friend go at it in a split-screen viewpoint. On your side of the screen, you see your opponent at the opposite end of the tube shooting at you. Meanwhile, a purple Generator starts sending Flippers after both players. Some Duels will feature a nasty Cube that drifts toward the rim. If that's YOUR rim it's going toward- push it away by shooting it. The Cube will instantly zap anyone unlucky enough to have it reach their rim. Each player starts a duel with five blasters, and you win if your opponent runs out of them.

As for the music, it is mainly some smokin' techno. The perfect accompaniment for unloading on the enraged masses of enemies. The 2000 mode's Bonus rounds feature other tunes for variety. Many of the tunes feature sampled voices in the background at times.

The credits sequence that comes up during the attract mode is well done. A cool graphic such as a spinning image of a yak's head will appear in the background, while the credits roll.

For maximum enjoyment, kill the lights, crank the sound up, and go to it. YES!

Graphics: 8

  • + Really improved over the arcade Tempest, with shaded webs, gorgeous starfield backgrounds, and a cool view of the web rotating into place after you lose a life and then subsequently return to the action.
  • + Zoom buttons let you set the view to your own preferences.
  • + Nice pixel-shattering effects permeate the game. In particular, I love the big "Excellent!" sign. Enemies also bite the dust in style- yes, nice pixel-shatter explosions.
  • + Nice, trippy looking "Game Over" screen. Check it out.
  • + The Jupiter bonus round is cool looking.
  • + I really like the spinning yak head design that's in the background as the credits are rolling.
  • + The pixel-shattering point values in the Jupiter bonus game (250, 500, or 750) really enhance the mood.
  • - In the Jupiter bonus round, you can see some of the starfield through the Jupiter planet surface. That looks a little too funky, but doesn't really ruin it.
Sound/Music: 9
  • + LOTS of nice techno tracks...
  • + Some of which feature sampled voices. A neat effect.
  • + You can configure Sound & Music volumes separately, so you can emphasize sound or music over the other.
  • + You haven't lived until you've heard the music to the Jupiter bonus round. Really dreamy-sounding stuff.
  • + Nice voices, such as the trancey female voice saying "Superzapper Recharge", etc. There's also the "Yes! Yes! Yes!" voice whenever you grab the power-up bearing this name.
Gameplay/Control: 8
  • + All the classic enemies from Tempest are back, with additional enemies for 2000.
  • + Includes additional web designs besides some of the ones from arcade Tempest.
  • + Despite the lack of a rotary controller, your blaster controls well.
  • - No analog control support. Darn!
  • + As in the original Tempest, you can select higher stages and get bonus points. A Save feature lets you save your level keys and high scores (this works like saving to a Neo-Geo memory card, where it asks you whether or not you want to save updated game data.)
Lasting Power: 9
  • + 100 levels is a LOT.
  • + Good level of challenge. Though it can sometimes verge on TOUGH! That 4-pointed star web can really throw you.
  • + If you beat the game you can try Beastly mode- your shots are slower and in smaller bursts. You face more vicious enemies but can rake in huge scores.
  • + You can always roast your friends in the Tempest Duel(Yah,hah,hah!).
Overall: 8.5

-S. Ives




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