Typhoon 2001 is the definitive PC remake of Jeff Minter's Atari Jaguar classic Tempest 2000. For those of you unfamiliar with the game on which Typhoon 2K1 was based, Tempest 2000 was the Atari's highest selling 64-bit title (often referred to as 'the only reason to buy a Jaguar') and was itself a remake of the Atari arcade game of the same name, minus the 2K suffix.
As with the original game, Typhoon 2K1 is an instantly accessible and highly playable arcade shoot 'em up. The player controls a claw-shaped craft on the outer rim of a three-dimensional vector web and must shoot all the enemy 'flippers' that appear on the base of the web and advance towards the player. If a flipper succeeds in reaching the top it will continue to chase the claw around the rim, contact resulting in death and the player having to start the level again.
Tempest is very simple to learn but challenging to master, and even now (some 25+ years after the original release) you'll be hard pushed to find a more intense arcade experience. Jeff Minter succeeded in giving the coin-up original a 1990's face-lift for the Atari Jaguar without detrimentally affecting the vital game-play, and thanks to Thorsten Kuphaldt you can now play a further enhanced version of the game in superior high resolution graphics on your desktop PC.
The progress that Thorsten has made in Typhoon 2K1's relatively short development period (about three months) is outstanding. Although (at the time of writing) work is still underway on the game, Typhoon 2K1 is already essentially complete, with 100 levels, an editor and a plethora of in-game options. The retro audio effects and music sound as though they have been plucked straight from the golden age of computer gaming, and Thorsten has succeeded in taking Minter's eye-popping visuals and giving them a 21st century boost.
As stated above, playing the game is an intense experience. To progress from one web to the next the player has to survive a one-minute relentless onslaught of the various enemy types that advance towards the player at break-neck speed. The hectic game-play combined with psychedelic layers of explosions and particle effects, sampled speech and thumping techno backing results in a game quite unlike any other. (Needless to say, Typhoon 2K1 is not recommended for people who suffer from epilepsy).
Control is via either mouse, keyboard or joypad, and each method plays equally well (which is something of an achievement in itself). The game is incredibly polished, with commercial quality presentation, attract mode and even the addition of planned features that were left out of the original (such as the rotating webs). Typhoon 2K1 really proves to be a more than worthy homage to Jeff Minter's opus, and as a veteran PC gamer I have to add that it is also one of the best freeware releases that I have ever played. Keep an eye on http://typhoon.kuto.de/ for updates.
Second Opinion (SirClive)
OK, first things first - confession time. My name is SirClive and I have never played Tempest! There, I've said it out loud. Seeing as the retro gaming police haven't come to arrest me, I think I am safe to continue.
When I was asked to play this game, I didn't expect a remake of Jeff Minters apparent masterpiece. For some reason I was expecting a helicopter sim. Thank god I was wrong.
On loading T2K1 I was immediately taken with the quality of the attract mode and the mesmeric title music that draws you in until you are leaning forward with your head almost touching the screen. I was a little disappointed to find that the in-game music was a trippy dance tune, but this is a Jeff Minter remake, so what did I expect! Playing the game is as simple as it stunning. The use of colour is fantastic and whilst not my genre of choice, I found the game-play very addictive and wanted to keep playing to see the next web and the fantastic warp effect that rewards you for completing a level.
The best testament I can give to this game is that it has rekindled my desire to buy an Atari Jaguar, just to play Minter's original - surely that is job done for Mr Kuphaldt.