Tempest 2000

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Tempest 2000
Tempest 2000
Cover art (Atari Jaguar)
Developer(s) Atari Corporation, Llamasoft
Publisher(s) Atari Corporation
Designer(s) Jeff Minter
Platform(s) Jaguar, PC, Macintosh, PlayStation, Saturn
Release date(s) Jaguar
  • NA April 1, 1994
PC
  • NA October 31, 1996
  • EU 1996
Saturn
  • NA October 31, 1996
  • EU 1996
PlayStation
  • NA 1996
  • EU February 1997
Genre(s) Fixed shooter
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

Tempest 2000 is a 1994 remake by Jeff Minter of the Dave Theurer 1981 arcade game classic, Tempest. Originally an exclusive to the Atari Jaguar, the game received critical praise for its 3D graphics, soundtrack, and gameplay.

Gameplay[edit]

Tempest 2000 modifies the gameplay of the original Tempest by adding bonus levels, collectible power-ups, more sophisticated enemy types, and wildly varying web (level) designs.

Screenshot of one of the levels

The game contains a total of 100 webs, with new frame colors and variations every 16 levels. In all versions, the player's progress is saved every couple of levels, and players are allowed to resume by using "keys" to return to the last stage the game saved at.

Power-ups appear as small floating polygons that appear after shooting a number of enemies. Catching the polygon will activate one of a number of progressively more useful capabilities:

  • Particle Laser
    Particle Laser enhances the ship's firepower and allows it to destroy spikes much more quickly.
  • Points
    Between certain power-ups, the player can gain bonuses of 2000 points.
  • Jump
    Allows the player to jump off of the web, useful for avoiding enemies that travel along the edge, and for avoiding the attack of Pulsars.
  • A.I. Droid
    An autonomous polygonal ship appears floating above the web, and shoots at enemies.
  • Warp Token
    Collecting three tokens gives access to a bonus stage following the current web.
  • Outta Here!
    Collecting this power-up will destroy all enemies on the web and warp the player to the next stage. However, spikes are not destroyed, and it is still possible to lose a life by hitting one as the player warps down the web.

If a power-up is caught while warping off of a completed web, the increasingly high-pitched sound of a woman saying "Yes! Yes! Yes!" is played, and the first power-up received in the next stage will be the A.I. Droid.

If the player successfully completes all 100 levels, a special "Beastly mode" is unlocked. This is a harder difficulty setting where the enemies move faster and fire more often.

Ports[edit]

Tempest 2000 was ported to PC's running DOS, Apple Macintosh, Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation game consoles, the latter version with several changes to the design under the name of Tempest X3. Interplay released a Microsoft Windows version later.

Computer Versions[edit]

The DOS version contains optional AdLib and Roland MT-32 versions of the music, but lacks several of the visual effects of the console versions, such as the "Melt-O-Vision" transition effects. The Windows version is rendered in higher resolution, and has some unique glitches, like registering bonus level scores incorrectly.[citation needed]

Saturn[edit]

The Sega Saturn version, programmed by High Voltage Software, is close to the original Jaguar version, except for the removal of the third type of bonus level. It uses most of the audio tracks from the Tempest 2000 soundtrack CD for gameplay.

PlayStation[edit]

Tempest X3, the Sony PlayStation version, was released in 1996, with updated graphics and sound. However, the following gameplay differences from the original version were identified by Jeff Minter in a Usenet post:[citation needed]

  • The "AI Droid" only follows the player, instead of acting autonomously. A new, "Mega Droid" powerup rectifies this somewhat, but it takes a very long time within a level to acquire it.
  • Pulsars now move slowly around the top of the Web if they reach it (rather than electrifying the whole top edge the moment they arrive).
  • The Particle Laser is no more effective than the normal laser against Spikes (in the original, it destroys them very quickly).
  • Some of the harder, "sticking point" webs have been removed from the game entirely.

Entering the name "YIFF!" on the highscore table will activate a secret mode, allowing the user to choose to play the original Tempest 2000 game; however, any high scores made in this mode are not saved, the music (wave-captured from the original modules) is muffled and the effectiveness of the Particle Laser against Spikes is not restored even in this original mode.

The PlayStation version of Tempest X3 includes support for the PS1 Mouse, Nyco Trackball and Namco's rotary neGcon analog controller.[citation needed]

Sequels[edit]

Jeff Minter returned to the genre with Tempest 3000, Space Giraffe and most recently TxK on the Sony PlayStation Vita[1]

Music[edit]

Tempest 2000 The Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Ian Howe, Alastair Lindsey, Kevin Saville, and Julian Hodgson
Released 1994 (1994)
Recorded 1994
Genre Techno
Language English
Label Atari
Producer Imagitec Design Inc.

The original Jaguar version's music was created by Ian Howe, Alastair Lindsay and Kevin Saville[2] of Imagitec Design Inc. (AKA Dream Weavers),[3] who also created the music for Jeff Minter's Defender 2000 on the Atari Jaguar.

The music was composed in the Commodore Amiga MOD music file format, although non-Jaguar releases of the game played music off of CD,[4] with the exception of the PC port. At the time of its release the music soundtrack could also be purchased on CD directly from Atari. The CD was also bundled with the short lived Atari Jaguar CD unit to demonstrate the system's music playing abilities.[5] It became the basis for the audio for all conversions of the game to come, including the Saturn, PC, and PlayStation versions.


Soundtrack album track listing[edit]

  1. "Thermal Resolution"
  2. "Mind's Eye"
  3. "T2K"
  4. "Ease Yourself"
  5. "Tracking Depth"
  6. "Constructive Demolition"
  7. "Future Tense"
  8. "Digital Terror"
  9. "Hyper Prism"
  10. "Glide Control"
  11. "Ultra Yak"
  12. "2000 Dub"

Jaguar rotary controller[edit]

The game was programed with an option to use a rotary controller (similar to the controller on the Tempest arcade machine) with Tempest 2000 on the Jaguar despite the fact that Atari never released such a controller. Such a controller was planned for development and release by Atari, but no prototypes exist.[citation needed] However, several homebrew options exist by using parts from a Jaguar controller and either an Atari 2600 Driving Controller or new, higher-precision rotary encoders.

To unlock the Controller Type option easter egg, the player must press the Option button in the Main Game Menu to access the Option Menu. Then hold Pause on Controller 1 and Controller 2 at the same time in the Options menu. You will then hear the word "Excellent", and the Controller Type option will appear below the Display Setup and Controller Setup options. You can then choose between Rotary or Joypad for either player 1, player 2, or both. When using a rotary controller in one player modes the second controller port and a standard joypad are used for some bonus levels and entering the players initials.

The one used by Jeff Minter during testing was made from a hacked-up 2600 driving controller, and until about 2004, he had never actually played with a more suitable controller.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Tempest 2000, though initially dismissed by the creator of the Atari Jaguar,[6] received critical acclaim from such video game magazines as GamePro, Electronic Gaming Monthly (which awarded it Game of the Month), and GameFan.[7] Of particular critical acclaim was the game's intense techno music soundtrack.

Tempest 2000 was awarded Best Jaguar Game of 1994 by Electronic Gaming Monthly.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ TxK, Jeff Minter's remake of Tempest 2000, on PS Vita this year | Joystiq
  2. ^ MobyGames entry for Tempest 2000
  3. ^ Sleeve for Tempest 2000 Soundtrack' music CD
  4. ^ Answers.com article on Tempest 2000
  5. ^ Atari Jaguar CD box
  6. ^ 'Llamasoft And The Space Giraffe' Google Tech Talk (22min 47sec)
  7. ^ Halverson, Dave (1994). Diehard GameFan Magazine 2 (4). 
  8. ^ Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide. 1995. 

External links[edit]