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Tempest 2000



1994 Atari

Atari Jaguar

I've always thought it was funny that the number "2000" was automatically supposed to make something futuristic. I wonder if in past centuries the coming century was used in the same way, like in 1867 they had the "Automatic steam-powered Cotton Gin 1900" for sale or whatever.

Anyway, Tempest 2000 is an update to the early 1980 arcade game of the same name, and probably the best reason to own an Atari Jaguar. Gameplay is essentially the same, you are a strange crescent shaped spaceship (represented in smooth, Gouraud shaded polygons.) You're on a fixed tube-like plane that comes in any number of geometrical shapes, and your job is to stay alive as long as possible as any number of different enemy ships attempt to do you in. Enemy types are basically the same thing as in the original, strange bow-tie type things being the most common. You get a few different power ups, including enhanced lazers, an A.I. droid that flies around and kills things for you, and the ability to "jump," which comes in handy a lot.

Besides the powerups there really isn't much new going on here. There are these strange bonus levels that have you flying through these polygon rings under this wavy Jupiter-like texture. I'm not really sure what these are supposed to be about. I suppose that when this game was released this was supposed to be graphically impressive but nowadays it looks like a bad Amiga demo. These segments are pretty boring and should have been left out.

Thankfully the rest of the game makes up for these bizarre bonus rounds. Good graphics, a great fast-paced techno soundtrack, and gameplay sweet like chocolate makes this a must have for Jaguar owners.

Good stuff: Good graphics with a retro feel, awesome music, gameplay is top notch.

Bad stuff: A lot of the graphical tricks that were supposed to wow people look pretty ghetto nowadays, for instance the "multiplying" effect on the Atari logo from the startup screen. Boring bonus rounds that should just be skipped.

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