Of all the "classic" arcade games of the early 1980s, Tempest is my favorite. I've always loved the simple premise (shoot everything), the never-ending parade of increasingly intense levels with just enough time to catch your breath in between, and the odd combination of strategy and mindless shooting required to advance in the game. So needless to say I was excited to hear that Tempest had finally made it to the PC in the form of Tempest 2000, an updated version of the original.
Tempest 2000 adds a slew of new features to the original game, including wavy, fluorescent graphics, a surprisingly good techno soundtrack, multiple power-ups, level warps, an "AI" droid who helps you in battle, and a two-player battle mode in which you try to destroy your opponent. Those who loved the original title just as it was will prefer the "Tempest Plus," mode, which is much closer to the arcade classic. The configuration menu also offers a wide range of gameplay and display options; you'll find the version of Tempest that's right for you.
Although the new graphic flares of Tempest 2000 are wild and colorful, they aren't all that impressive. Explosions tend to be a collection of small square pixels flying across the screen, and power-ups look clunky as they fly towards you. There's also a lot happening on the screen at once; display-hogging printed messages like "Excellent!" and "Zappo" can cloud your view. All these explosions and messages make it hard to see enemy fire coming towards you. If you own a Saturn or a PlayStation, consider buying Tempest for your console system; either version of Tempest available for these systems is graphically superior to the PC version.
Luckily the gameplay of Tempest 2000 retains the feel of the original with great success. A keyboard or joypad is no match for the elegance of the original's paddle control, but after a few minutes of practice you'll feel comfortable controlling your movements. Tempest 2000 offers older gamers a chance to relive the adrenaline rush of the arcade game, and younger gamers the chance to discover the beauty of a classic.