Saturday 19 December 2015

Tempo (32X review)

Developer: Sega, Red Company
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1995

Tempo is a platformer that was developed by the same team that made Bonk's Adventure (1990, TurboGrafx-16).

It consists of seven levels and your mission is to defeat King Dirge and win the yearly dance competition. Your attacks consist of a projectile that stuns enemies (which can be powered up to a four-way shot) and a kick that kills them. Along the way you'll find 'Dance' icons that grant you access to a buddy called Katy who attacks enemies you've stunned. The aesthetics are gorgeous with rich colours and layers of parallax scrolling; unfortunately the gameplay doesn't live up the visuals. Tempo moves at a snails pace and trying to control him is sluggish. The collision detection is also dodgy and sometimes you'll jump on a platform but fall straight through. As a whole the level design is boring with a mish-mash of ideas rather than a thought-out approach. There are some cool moments though like in the Hi-Fi Performance level where you jump up moving platforms that look like red and green monitor levels! In the Indigestion Performance you end up running through a giant, gnashing mouth while hiding around the missing teeth! The final level ditches the platforming in favour of slowly navigating a maze-like mansion; entering the wrong door can send you back to the start which is ill-advised and slows down the pace too much. The bosses are unique as you battle against giant boots and headphones! There's also three rhythm based mini-games where you need to press buttons at the right time to match the beat; they're mildly entertaining but don't have a great deal of depth. The music consists of excellent hip hop and funk tracks that wouldn't sound out of place in Toejam and Earl (1991, Mega Drive).
Tempo is a middle-of-the-road platformer and while it has a few good ideas it does very little you haven't already seen before. Sure, it has some amazing visuals and a cool art style but there's little substance here and the actual gameplay is disappointingly dull.

Random trivia: Two sequels were released which were Tempo Jr. (1995, Game Gear) and Super Tempo (1998, Sega Saturn). The latter was Japanese only.

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