Tempest (Electric Dreams) Review | Crash - Everygamegoing


By Electric Dreams
Spectrum 48K

Published in Crash #38


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.


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.'


'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.'


'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.'

Ben StonePaul SumnerMike Dunn

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