Friday 11 December 2015

Tempest 2000 (Atari Jaguar review)

Developer: Atari Corporation, Llamasoft
Publisher: Atari Corporation
Released: 1994

Tempest 2000 is an updated version of the Arcade classic Tempest that was released in 1981.

You control a Blaster and the objective is to shoot down waves of enemies that approach from the far end of the play area. On top of your laser you can also use a Supercharger once per level which acts as a smart bomb. There's four modes with Traditional being similar to the original in that you blast through waves of enemies to build up a high score. Tempest 2000 mode adds power-ups such as a powerful Particle Laser and the ability to jump over incoming foes. In Tempest Plus you can play alone, with an A.I. Drone or share lives with a friend. Finally, Tempest Duel is a 2-player mode where you have access to a mirror to deflect your opponent's shots! Each is enjoyable and there's tons of replayability by learning their unique rules. Highlights are Tempest 2000 mode due to the items that spice up the gameplay, and Tempest Plus as the A.I. Droid you play with is pretty competent! The action is fast and furious and impressively there's no slowdown despite the carnage that occurs. There's tons of strategy involved too as some enemies move slow but split in two when shot, while others are quick but can be destroyed in one hit. Although the shooting mechanics are brilliant the main thing that keeps things interesting is the gigantic range of play areas; some are completely flat while others have large contours that obscure your view slightly; they're all great and constantly keep you on your toes. The graphics are amazing with cool particle effects and warp transition screens. Similarly, the music is outstanding and the up-tempo tracks sound CD quality...remarkable for a cartridge based game!

Tempest 2000 is a must-own title for the Atari Jaguar as you'll start playing and then suddenly realise that several hours have passed in the blink of an eye! The shooting action is fun and engrossing and despite its simple premise it's highly addictive with deceptively deep gameplay mechanics.

Random trivia: The game was ported to the PC, PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1996.

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