REVIEWS COURTESY OF ZXSR

Tempest
by David Pridmore
Electric Dreams Software
1987
Crash Issue 38, March 1987   (1987-02-26)   page(s) 26

So, this isn't based on the famous play by Will Shakespeare, but it is just as frenetic as that drama. For the sake of a scenario, Hyperspatial Wireways are a series of wire tubes spanning the universe which guide travellers safely to their destinations. A problem has arisen though, in the form of weird aliens infesting the Wireways and making them unsafe for journeying. Down to you Zapper.

Your task is to clear the Wireways as best you can. Each screen is of a different-shaped wireway. The zapper you control is at one end, and hordes of aliens gradually make their way up from the other end towards you. Wireways consist of several lanes across which the zapper moves blasting away along them.

The aliens are multifarious. Flippers are lines which flip from lane to lane as they make their way slowly up the Wireway. Shoot when they briefly pause before flipping again. Flippers can destroy the zapper if they flip on to it.

Fuseballs are cross-shaped and stick to one lane. Should they reach the end of the Wireway, they block the zapper from moving across that lane.

Square-shaped tankers slowly rotate as they make their way up the lanes. When hit, they either split into two flippers, or a spiralling fuseball. If the tankers get to the end of a Wireway, they split as if they had been hit or sometimes Just go phut and disappear. The resulting fuseballs hurtle around the Wireways, gradually moving towards the zapper.

Early game levels only have flippers and fuseballs, tankers turn up later. But after level 12, spikes and pulsars arrive. Spikes look like single lines and grow straight up the lanes, slowly extending themselves. Left alone, they eventually wither and return down the grid. These are only lethal if the zapper passes over them when fully extended. When shot, they remain at their present length until the screen is finished, and then extend to their full length. They cannot be shot at this stage.

Pulsars look like flippers, but don't flip, they just travel straight up a lane. If the pulsar reaches the end of the lane, it short-circuits the grid and destroys that lane.

Ordinary zapping is hard work, but once per level the super-zapper may be used. It simply clears the entire Wireway of everything. If it's used before all the aliens have come onto the Wireway, the remaining aliens travel faster.

Points are scored for all aliens killed (super zapping doesn't count), and there's a bonus for finishing each level. You get three zappers to start with, another every 10,000 points, and you can choose to start on any screen.

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q anti-clockwise, E clockwise, ENTER fire, Z zapper
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Use of colour: monochrome play area
Graphics: understandably slow and rather cluttered
Sound: good explosion effects
Skill levels: 99
Screens: 99


'Yeah Tempest is finally here. The only problem is that it is on the Spectrum, therefore all the computer's limitations come into play. The action is spoiled, surprisingly enough not by the speed, but by the graphics, which simply aren't clear enough for you to be able to play the game property. The sound is fairly good, there are no tunes but the zappy effects during play more than make up for it. I didn't realty expect this to be much good, arcade conversions seldom are, so I'm not too disappointed with it. But the dire front end and attract mode don't appeal much.'
BEN

'I remember how good Tempest, the arcade game was. Unfortunately the addictiveness and playability seem to have been lost in the mists of time. The graphical transformation seems accurate and the depth of play area has not been lost. However, there's a limit to the complexity that can be portrayed on the Spectrum screen; I began to feel I wasn't really looking forward to the next level, or even the next game, as the basic formats of each had little variation. Tempest contains nothing to keep the player interested.'
PAUL

'Tempest has a great deal of fun going for it. There's no denying the fact that it's nothing but totally mindless blasting. Then again, if you're prepared to wear your fire button into non-existence, then this is the game to get. Absolutely no strategy, forward planning, or intelligence is required; if like me, you enjoy an incredibly destructive bout of meanie bashing, then Tempest is worth looking at. Price wise, though, think carefully before buying; it is a bit steep.'
MIKE

Presentation57%
Graphics61%
Playability65%
Addictiveness59%
Value for Money55%
Overall62%
Summary: General Rating: A good try at a game not really suited to the Spectrum.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 64, May 1989   (1989-04-27)   page(s) 32

Based on an ancient arcade coin-op, Tempest first appeared on the Spectrum in Issue 37, thanks to Electric Dreams.

In a future time, a series of galactic highways have been infested by hostile aliens. As 'The Zapper', your job is to tidy up the highways and make them safe for decent citizens to once more set foot into. A variety of aliens (such as Flippers, Fuseballs, Tankers, Spikes, and Pulsars) kill on contact. Of course you aren't exactly defenceless; a rapidfire gun provides protection from the meanies as they move towards you along the wireway. And for those tight situations, you have a limited supply of smart bombs.

Despite its simplistic wireframe graphics, Tempest is an immensely playable game. The coin-op version is one of my all-time favourite games, and still worth a few ten pees if you can find it. Its simple playability has certainly been preserved on the Spectrum. So if you have a couple of quid burning a hole in your pocket, buy Tempest now.

Then: 62% Now: 89%


Overall89%
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 15, March 1987   page(s) 27

Some arcade machines attain Cult status. Tempest was such a game - a cult which was probably helped by the scarcity of home micro versions. While you could keep a hundred types of invader at bay from the comfort of your Computer, the Hyperspatial Wireways have remained relatively undefended.

It's taken a long time for this official version to surface on the Spectrum, and I can't help wondering whether this particular Tempest is a bit of a storm in a teacup.

Not that the conversion isn't good. It excellent. Naturally the fine line graphics lose out a bit, even on a monitor, when you compare them with the vector originals. But they're fast and detailed - just don't think of attempting a high score on a badly tuned TV.

Still, its true to the original in all its spindly detail. Your Zapper has its two mechlectric legs (two lines to you) patrolling the rims of an infinity of Wireways (sets of lines, receding into the distance). There are the nasty aliens too, advancing from the depths of this path through space.

True, these invaders are just lines as well, but at least they're varied in their attack patterns. Particularly nasty are the fast moving Fuseballs, who shoot out of nowhere, then hang around on the rim, waiting for you to bump into them. Try to clear these quickly or you're finished. The Flippers, which switch from lane to lane are much less of a problem.

Tankers aren't terribly fast but hold a nasty surprise. Will they split into two Flippers or one spiralling Fuseball when you zap them? Shoot them as soon as possible so you've time to react. Finally, don't get spiked on a Spike, that you can easily mistake for a single line, and watch out for Pulsars, which break the rim making continuous movement impossible.

All these aliens fly at you faster than you'd care to believe, and you zoom round clockwise and anti-clockwise, firing as last as your trigger finger can take. And that's all there is to it!

At first I thought Tempest was difficult, but suddenly something clicked and I was notching up high score after high score. I didn't even have to use the Super Zappers. You get these for completing a level and they allow you to clear all aliens on the screen.

If you like a shoot 'em up that's fast and simple and where the main skill is to find a rhythm and just keep on going, then this one should have you going for a blasting bonanza.

Don't get me wrong, because I'm not averse to such games myself. It's just that I'm not sure they should be full price in this day and age. Whether you think Tempest blows up a storm or is just wet and windy will depend on how much shooting you can take.


Graphics8/10
Playability9/10
Value For Money7/10
Addictiveness7/10
Overall7/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 59, February 1987   page(s) 53

Tempest is now a pretty old coin-op game - designed in an age when graphics were lines and shading and 3D hadn't been invented.

So in one sense it's a bit odd that it's now been converted by Electric Dreams.

The reason, though, is that as coin-op it was one hell of an addictive game.

The plot sounds complex but the play couldn't be simpler. The Hyperspatial Wireways - travel tubes which connect one star system to another - have been infiltrated by pesky, odd-shaped, aliens. Their goal: to conquer your star system by shooting out along the tubes' channels.

Your only weapon, the Zapper, spins around the rim of each wireway. Hit the Fire button and it releases an energy pulse which smashes the opposition.

What this means is you get presented with a series of geometrical shapes on-screen, divided into segments (rather like slices of a cake). You zoom around the edge firing inwards - with your fire confined in the 'slice' or channel from which it began. The aliens move out from the centre and mustn't reach the rim. So the gameplay means speeding around the rim firing down the sections where the aliens are nearest to the edge.

If that sound dull, you'd be wrong. Completely. This is one heck of a frenetic game.

There are eight alien-types. Some just move along one channel, some flip from channel to channel and others split into twirling crosses when you hit them with your Zapper. If a tube gets too hot with alien activity you can release an energy net which acts as a smart bomb and destroys everything on the wireway. There's only one net per screen so it's pretty much a last resort tactic.

When you've cleared a screen it disappears and another zips up into its place. It'll be a different shape and. probably, more difficult than the last with more wires, extra twists for the Zapper to make a shorter length from end to end.

The new tube may be a different colour, yellow and blue are favourites of this conversion, but they are nothing compared to the multi- coloured brightness of the original coin-op.

Tempest is a brave conversion but doesn't really measure up to the original Atari coin-op masterpiece. The game was originally designed to use a trackerball and a joystick is an irritatingly inflexible substitute.

The original also features rapid fire which is simultaneous with zapper movement.

The Electric Dreams' Zapper has to be stopped before you fire and you can only make one shot at a time. That's not to say, however, that I won't be playing this Tempest long after you've read this review. The game is just based round such a strong idea.

Label: Electric Dreams
Price: £8.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: John Gilbert

****


Overall4/5
Summary: Not a patch on the coin- op original, but that's to be expected, it's pretty addictive all the same.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB