While Tempest may have been a great game in 1981, this update for the 1990s doesn't really add anything worthwhile. Essentially, there just isn't enough game for your green.
Tempest X3 is, at its roots, a clone of Jaguar's Tempest 2000 with a couple of additional modes. Carried over from the Jag version, players will find traditional Tempest, which clones the original vector graphics arcade game; Tempest Plus, which adds assistance from a computer-controlled droid; and Tempest 2000, which contains weapon power-ups, slightly improved graphics, and a warp zone. The two new additions aren't much help: Trippy 2000 is Tempest 2000 with weird colors, tracers, and generally blurry items, and Tempest X3 simply improves on Tempest 2000 by adding light sourcing and clearer graphics.
The game casts the player as a two-legged yellow craft that's attached to a tube broken up into several channels. Enemies come up the channels and attempt to grab or shoot the player, who simply rotates around the outside of the tube, destroying anything that comes up the path. The game's sound is standard blips, bleeps, and explosions. The soundtrack is typical video game techno, right down to the sample of Chuck D screaming "Bring that beat back!" It fits the game well, and adds a little bit to the experience. Tempest X3 would benefit from a custom dial controller (more like the original arcade set up), because every home version to date - including this one - has suffered from poor control.
Tempest was a fun game during its heyday, but slightly updating the graphics and adding a couple features doesn't make this game ready for the 90s. If you're jonesing for some old-school arcade action, check out something like Namco's Museum series instead - Tempest X3 just isn't worth the money.