REVIEW: Tempest 4000

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Title Tempest 4000
Developer Llamasoft Ltd.
Publisher Atari Inc
Release Date July 17th, 2018
Genre Shoot-em-up
Platform PC, PS4, XBox One
Age Rating E for Everyone – Mild Fantasy Violence
Official Website

Tempest is a name that should be familiar to those of you who enjoy your retro arcade games. Tempest was an old Atari arcade game created by Jeff Minter that had a simple premise. You control a ship in a wireframe tunnel and you just have to blast everything that comes your way. It was a hit and eventually led to a popular remake titled Tempest 2000, which was released on the Atari Jaguar. Tempest 2000 was known for expanding on the simplistic gameplay while also featuring some really psychedelic visuals accompanied by a techno soundtrack. This game would also get ported to other consoles such as the Sega Saturn.

More recently a game known as TxK was released for the PlayStation Vita, made by Minter along with his team over at Liamsoft. This game was meant to be yet another modern update on the original game, however the folks over at Atari who still owned the rights to the name Tempest were not pleased and allegedly made various legal threats, sending cease and desist orders which blocked the game from releasing on the PlayStation 4, PC or mobile devices. Thankfully the story has a somewhat happy ending, as Minter managed to work things out with Atari and partner with them to release what is essentially an updated version of TxK now called Tempest 4000.

Tempest 4000 | gameplay

Tempest 4000, like previous iterations of the game, is very simple and old-school. You start the game up, select a mode and get blasting. You can select between Pure and Survival. Both let you start at level one and the only real difference between the two, from what I noticed, is that Pure starts you with three lives while Survival gives you nine. Classic mode is also available, which allows you to start from any level you have previously visited. It also saves the highest amount of lives you reached at that level, which is very helpful.

Each level has you navigating the perimeter of whatever tube or geometric shape makes up the level and shooting at various enemies as they approach the screen. When they make it all the way to the front of the screen things get a bit more tricky, as they start to move along the perimeter just like you and if they touch you, you lose a life. Of course you can defend against them if you manage to shoot them just before they collide with you, but this can be very tricky to pull off at times in the heat of the moment; there is definitely a learning curve to it. Each level consists of various waves of enemies, most of which can be taken out relatively quickly. However, the game quickly overwhelms you with enemy formations so a lot of multitasking is required. The game becomes quite fast paced as you progress. Occasionally you can gain power-ups such as extra lives, the ability to jump (which is incredibly useful), a laser that can destroy many enemies very quickly, an AI partner that can destroy other enemies, and of course a bomb that can save you should an enemy catch you off guard

Between each level you have the opportunity to earn extra points by flying through a series of warp holes. This is controlled by tilting the DualShock 4 controller. It’s a bit weird at first but with some practice you will get the hang of it. This game makes heavy use of neon colors and bright lights. It creates a game environment to that is really awesome to look at as you are blasting through the levels, but sometimes it might be a bit too much, especially when the game starts throwing obstacles at you that blur your vision or spin the stage around. That said, when you get used to it, it’s easy to find yourself in the zone and really addicted to the game.

Tempest 4000 | warp hole

The music is really catchy and features a lot of techno songs that change about every eight or nine levels. If you press triangle at the main menu you can actually toggle between three versions of the OST, some including music from Tempest 2000. Other than that, there really isn’t much else to say about Tempest 4000. There is a lot of fun to be had with the game, however your mileage will vary on how much you like playing this kind of game. If you are the type to play it through over and over again to achieve that high score or compete in online leaderboards, this game is more than worth it and you can add half a star to the score. For everyone else however, the $30 price tag may seem a bit steep considering the relatively low amount of content.

Review Score

Review copy provided by the publisher

About Justin Guillou

Justin joined Operation Rainfall to share his passion and knowledge for some of the more obscure video games out there.