Tempest 4000 Review
Llamasoft, Atari, and Jeff Minter brings the past to the present with the release of Tempest 4000. The graphics and music from the 1981 classic have received a noticeable upgrade, but does the timeless gameplay carry over too?
Tempest 4000 Review
Arcade aficionados will know the objective in Tempest 4000. As “The Claw,” it’s your prerogative to survive 100 different levels, blasting everything away and getting a high score in the process. Players travel across sections of a geometric prism, moving between different tracks to blast enemies away. Each stage has a different layout, bending and twisting every which way. With each one lasting around a minute, it’s hard to get bored.
Sounds like the original Tempest, right? Tempest 4000 doesn’t fix what is broken, but it does include a number of tweaks to the formula. Players can net themselves a number of power-ups that let them utilize such things as an AI droid or a jump button, which ease the difficulty curve by a fair margin. The Superzapper, which recharges each level, is a screen-clearing bomb that works in a pinch. There are also sections between each level that have you navigating through a series of gates. Oddly enough, these sections use the DualShock’s motion controls, which makes things far more difficult than they have any right to.
If anything, difficulty is a common theme in this game. This is a one-hit-and-you’re-dead kind of game, and though players can amass a number of powerups and extra lives, there is a metric ton of things going on. It might be easy to learn and hard to master, but the barrier to entry is much, much higher than the original.
This is made that much more difficult with its visual effects. Though it utilizes vector-like graphics, this is one extravagant game. Enemies and projectiles will shake, twist, and flash brightly, making it hard to see exactly what is going on. It’s a sugary dose of eye candy that wows the senses, but it does add an extra layer of difficulty that makes things far harder than they have any right to be. Still, those that fight through the flash can attempt to blast their way to high scores.
Those looking to hit the leaderboards will certainly be busy, as there are three different modes to master in the form of Pure, Classic, and Survival. The gameplay proper is more or less the same, but each leaderboard online is unique – a nice touch for completionists.
Tempest 4000’s time-tested gameplay still rings true, but some of the visual and design elements in this release add some unintended challenge. For what is ultimately an updated quarter-muncher, it has a steep price, but those looking to relive the past in 4K could do far worse than this title.
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