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Tempest 2000

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Released: 1994

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Atari Jaguar

Publisher: Atari

Developer: Jeff Minter

Submitted by: Mat Allen

"Television is the retina of the mind's eye…"

As soon as you press the button to start, you know this is going to be something special, the greatest and most addictive update of Dave Theurer's classic original ever made. Sure there are three other modes to choose from but everyone would surely have spent almost all their time in the main game… and forget the other clones out there, they just don't compare.

Not that Jeff had to tinker too much with the main design, and thankfully he avoided falling into that trap. What the player really needed was a little bit of help against the overwhelming hoard. Enter the earned power-up. At intervals during the frenzied slaughter, power-up tokens shoot up the web and when collected, endow the player with some odds-evening capabilities. The first is usually the particle laser which fires faster and does more damage to spikes. After that, there may be bonus points to accrue, a nifty jump function to avoid those rim-walking foes and an AI droid that targets anything you've happened to miss. And maybe the chance to warp…

If all this sounds like it makes life easier, you're sorely mistaken. To compensate the action is just as frenzied as before but with the addition of new enemies, especially the demon heads that must be destroyed in parts, with each part flying down the web and able to kill you. The webs are more fiendish in design, ranging from big to small, and occasionally all over the place. All these power-ups are just enough to keep your head above water.

On top of that your eyes are assaulted by particle explosions up the wazoo and colours flying all over the place. Your ears don't miss out either with a superb techno soundtrack thumping away in the background; the first track "Mind's Eye" is one of those pieces that has probably spread further than the game itself.

People say that Tempest 2000 is one of the few reasons to buy a Jaguar. Trust me, it IS worth buying a Jaguar just for this game…