The return of a classic
Tempest X3 brings the old Atari game Tempest into a new light. With new snazzy graphics, a great techno soundtrack, and the good 'ol tempest game play, Tempest X3 is a winner.
What most people will be interested in is the graphics. The wireframe characters and levels are back - but this time they are texture mapped. You'll remember the early appearing baddies from the old Tempest, but in later levels, new enemies will appear - never seen before enemies. By using dynamic lighting, wherever your lasers are, that part of the level lights up - creating a very cool effect. When you use your Super Zapper to kill all the enemies get prepared for a 70's flashback. Psychedelic graphics will appear all over the place - it's great fun.
The gameplay is the same as the original Tempest. In fact, Tempest X3 actually includes the original Tempest as a separate game. For those new to the game, it's basically a game of control. You are on the top of a long grid, called the web. At the bottom of the grid enemies come up shooting with the intent of killing you. You must kill or be killed. Mindlessly spinning around and shooting works in the early levels, but later you must aim your shots and take care which enemies to shoot first. Also included is Tempest Duel, where two people can play competitively. One player is at the top of the grid, the other at the bottom, you must shoot lasers at each other - kill your opponent before they kill you.
The sound is really reminiscent of original Tempest. The new sounds seem to have their origin in the scratchy, cheesy sounds from the old Atari games. Some of the sounds, such as the lasers, have been improved, but many others are really poor. Not really a big deal, though. As for the music, it's a huge improvement. The techno soundtracks are really good and get you pumped up and ready to pulverize some baddies.
Tempest X3 has another new twist, power-ups to increase your smashing ability. There are multiple weapon power-ups that let you fire faster and cause more damage. There are also AI driods that will fly around and shoot the approaching enemies. The most useful of the power-ups is the jump power-up. It allows your 'spider-thing' to jump off of the web, and therefore fire at enemies that are just below you. This is extremely useful when there are too many enemies on the top rung of the web, just jump over 'em and shoot.
There is a new bonus mode in Tempest X3. It's like a first person game reminicent of Descent, and you fly up and down trying to go through rings. It's really out of place in this game. I'm not sure exactly what this is supposed to be, it really doesn't add anything either - the amount of points you get can easily be obtained in a normal level. They could have done a better job with a bonus stage that took place on the web, at least it would have flowed with the rest of the game.
For people looking for depth, look no further. There are a total of 99 levels in Tempest X3. You'll be busy with these for a while, they get increasingly harder extremely quickly after the early levels.
Tempest is one of the original classic video games. It was easy to learn, and fun to play. What I'm saying is: The reason why High Voltage and Interplay have remade it is because it was a good game, and the new version is no exception. Now it's a good game with new and improved graphics. Fans of the original and people looking for some fast action should check Tempest X3 out.