Tempest 2000

Along with Alien Vs Predator and Cybermorph, Tempest 2000 is one of the games that most people would associate with the Jaguar, and it really is one of the system's finest titles. Back when I had my first Jaguar console, I recall a few people telling me that I should get Tempest but upon seeing screenshots of it, decided that it looked a bit crap and that it wasn't for me. True story, that. It wasn't until earlier this year (yes, in 2013!) that I finally got the chance to play Tempest 2000 for the first time, and now I totally understand what all the fuss was about.

Looking at the shots even here on this very page, you may be thinking "Eh? It looks a bit...crap!" but oh how wrong you'd be my friend. You see, Tempest 2000 may look a bit ropey and surreal by today's HD standards, but to actually play it is a totally different kettle of fish - the graphics are merely a secondary aspect to what is really important here: the way it plays. And, truth be told, I actually think the abstract nature of the visuals hold a certain charm and definitely give Tempest 2000 an air of uniqueness.

The premise is simple - you control the little yellow 'ship' thing at the top of a 'web' that happens to be floating in a psychedelic version of the emptiness of space. From the other end of this web, all kinds of bizarre but deadly alien foes crawl up and you have to rotate around the web firing lasers and electric death (in the form of a Super Zapper) in order to stop them. This invariably leads to some pretty spectacular particle-based explosions, and when you've got an entire hoard of these nasties all being blown to bits at once, the screen can be literally filled with particles and explosions. It looks insane and only adds to the technicolour fun. Alongside this action, a thumping soundtrack belt outs and it really adds to the frantic nature of the gameplay.

Every few stages, the pace slows down a notch and the view switches to a first person perspective. Here, you have to guide the ship through floating rings to collect score bonuses while an ambient music track plays in the background. Miss a ring though (the sequence speeds up as you progress), and you get kicked back out into the main game.

The real beauty of Tempest 2000 is in just how addictive it is, and how easy it is to just pick up and play. Even if you've never held a Jaguar pad in your life, you could start playing Tempest 2000 with about 10 seconds of instruction and then be challenging for high scores. The secret to success is all about dexterity and reaction times because as the game progresses, the enemies become more numerous, the webs become smaller and the speed ramps up. You do have the chance to collect power-ups in the form of an A.I. drone that will circle the web firing indiscriminately, and you also have the ability to 'jump' off the web to shoot any baddies that may have gotten to the top and begin circling around until they get to you (and presumably eat your soul/brain?).

There are several game modes in Tempest 2000 apart from the '2000' version - there's the original (Traditional) game complete with basic wire-frame graphics (without all the particles etc) and also Tempest Plus that allows two players battle the alien scum (again with more retro visuals). To be honest though, I don't really bother with those, but it's a nice addition to the cartridge.

It may not look like much from the screens, but be certain that Tempest 2000 is one of the most frantic, addictive and downright fun games I've yet played on any system. I did have a little go on the soon-to-be-released TxK for the PS Vita when I visited Play Expo a few months ago, and I can honestly say I'm really looking forward to it. If Tempest 2000 is anything to go by, TxK will be more of the same and that can only be a good thing.

Incidentally, I also had a quick blast on the direct sequel, Tempest 3000 on the Nuon console Llamasoft had at Play Expo, and it too was pretty damn good. I probably won't be hunting down or paying through the nose for a Nuon any time soon...but hey, just thought I'd throw that nugget of useless information out there.


















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