Tagged "Tempest 4000"

Dec 11
By Matt Gander In Features No Comments

Of all our yearly features, our look back at games that were overshadowed is easily our favourite to compile. We often champion ‘hidden gems’ on Twitter, particularly when they’re discounted on the digital stores, but here we’re able to discuss them in full.

We’ve opted for six overlooked titles his year, all of which we’ve spent a considerable amount of time with. Honourable mentions meanwhile include the delightfully crass run ‘n gunner Rad Rodgers, frighteningly authentic 8-bit ‘demake’ Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, story-driven detective drama The Council, and the addictive pop culture time capsule The VideoKid.

Also, the very literal Limbo-alike Missing The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories; literal because the protagonist is able to rip off their own limbs to assist in puzzle solving. It’s from Swery65, so you know you’re in for a mind-altering experience.

Strange Brigade

When I was much (much) younger, any action figure playset that housed an ‘action feature’ instantly made it to that year’s Christmas list. Things like Castle Grayskull’s “hidden” trapdoor, or Boulder Hill’s delightful combo of a tumbling plastic boulder and gun turret gas pumps made the toy in question beyond desirable.

As such, Strange Brigade – a third-person shooter set during the riveting 1920s – feels like it was tailormade especially for me, involving trap-filled tombs and ruins.

Like Rebellion’s own Sniper Elite series, it’s a one trick pony that pulls off that trick so spectacularly it’s able to carry the weight of the whole experience from start to finish. To wit: Strange Brigade’s combat focuses on destroying large waves of enemies in one fell swoop. Reanimated skeletons, mummies, and other mythological creatures mostly, thanks to the ancient Egypt setting.

Swarms of enemies can be vanquished in various ways. Firstly, there’s a neat side-line of loud and messy explosives including sticky grenades and packs of dynamite. Temporary heavy weapons are another option, limited in ammo but packing a punch. These vary from a blunderbuss shotgun with a widespread, to a flamethrower with an inescapable reach. Finally, each of the playable characters has an ancient amulet to charge by collecting souls, a la Soul Reaver. One character leaps in the air to perform a ground slam, like a 1920’s Tony Stark, while one of the females has a mighty right hook; an attack amusingly accompanied by the chime of a fairground ‘test your strength’ machine.

Visually, it’s a slick package and Xbox One X enhanced to boot. The overgrown environments are detailed, and the vistas spread far into the distance. It’s not uncommon to want to stop and take in the scenery. In fact, you’re actively encouraged to as optional puzzles and hidden collectables are rife.

While only a few puzzles – which mostly take the form of code-cracking mini-games – put your wits to the test, they still help provide a change of pace, as does a jaunt into an underground pirate cove.

To top it all off, the whole shebang is narrated by a charismatic fellow who makes on-the-spot observations, commenting on your shooting proficiency and general performance. It’s even possible to tick him off by standing around idly.

This is easily the most generous package Rebellion has put together, featuring an online co-op mode and a Gears of War-style Horde Mode with waves that come thick and fast.

Rebellion really gave Strange Brigade their all, which only made it all the more disheartening to see it leave the UK chart in a matter of weeks.

Tempest 4000

We often feel Llamasoft’s games are tailored to suit Jeff and Giles’ own finely-honed arcade skills, throwing new and inexperienced players into the thick of it too soon. Tempest 4000, however, offers an easier ride, regularly throwing a few valuable lifelines your way.

It isn’t until around stage 25, a quarter of the way through, that the difficulty ramps up. By this point, you should be well accustomed to escaping danger at the very last second. The super-zapper smart bomb is recharged between stages, instantly clearing whatever is on the grid, while the jump ability allows enemies congregating on the edge of the grid to be dealt with effortlessly. This score-chaser also has one other rather neat addition – an AI droid. Every time we gained this power-up we breathed a sigh of relief, as their presence almost guarantees a safe passage to the next stage.

It seems that Jeff Minter has dialled down the psychedelics here, too. Previous Llamasoft games are sometimes criticised for becoming too trippy for their own good, with the screen distorting effects obscuring the action. Tempest 4000 remains quite the trip, only now the backdrops and effects no longer distract, allowing you to focus on refining those arcade shooting skills.

We also like the use of vintage Atari slogans on the title screen. Seasoned gamers may notice a few other winks and nods to Atari of yore too, especially within the stage names.

Just to prove how addictive and compelling Tempest is, we booted it up just to grab a couple of screenshots and ended up spending the best part of an hour chasing high scores. It’s a more than welcome addition to the current gaming landscape – Tempest 3K was, lest you forget, released on one of the worst selling consoles of all-time.

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Jul 18
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Last week the price tag for Square-Enix’s pixel art JRPG Octopath Traveler come under scrutiny. It’s the turn of Atari’s Tempest 4000 this week, and for reasons far more justified.

The psychedelic arcade shooter has launched at an eye-watering £24.99, double the price of Polybius, and almost five times the price of TxK – a game it’s reportedly very similar to. All signs point to Atari trying to rinse as much money from the pockets of Minter/Tempest fans as possible.

While reviews are mostly positive, critics did claim that it feels rather familiar to TxK, borrowing a few too many level layouts and power-ups. Still, the general consensus is that it’s great to have a shiny new Tempest on the current crop of consoles.

Incidentally, it appears budget publisher Funbox Media will be releasing a physical version a month from now. It’s currently £30 on Amazon; a price that’s likely to drop before launch.

From expensive to purse pleasing. The PS4 has reached the age in its life where it’s able to offer a budget range of older titles. The PlayStation Hits line-up will set you back £15.99 a piece, with some retailers already offering ‘2 for £25’ deals.

Both first-party and third-party titles feature, with highlights including The Last of Us Remastered, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Yakuza 0, Bloodborne and Rayman Legends. Cult bug blasting shooter Earth Defense 4:1 is part of the range too, but the fact that it can be easily found for £10 new makes its inclusion slightly negligible.

Sonic Mania Plus also gets a budget price (£25) retail release, including an artbook and reversible cover. Those who own the original digitally can purchase the new DLC for a mere £3.99, which throws Ray and Mighty back into the fray. We gave the base game a well-deserved 9/10 upon release.

As for brand new games, Mothergunship is one you may want to take note of – it’s a bullet hell first-person shooter with warped humour and rogue-like elements. The recent firing range demo left us rather impressed, showing off the nifty gun crafting abilities. We’ve rounded-up scores below.

Then hot on the heels of last week’s LEGO The Incredibles and Hotel Transylvania comes another family title – Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion. Zelda: The Wind Waker appears to be its biggest influence, boasting sea-faring and an open-world structure. Indeed, it’s far more ambitious than past Adventure Time games.

Ubisoft’s Hungry Shark World makes the jump from mobile, meanwhile, and Team 17 is back once again with Mugsters – a heavily stylised top-down action puzzler with sandbox design and plenty of screen-filling explosions. It reminds us of Blast Corps on N64. A tiny bit, at least.

New release showcase:


9/10 – PSU: “A furious and value stuffed effort, Mothergunship is one of the most exhilarating and satisfying shooters you can get on PS4 right now”

8/10 – GameSpot: “When Mothergunship is firing on all cylinders, it’s a satisfying and thrilling shooter where it really counts. With an incredibly fun and never uninteresting gun-crafting mechanic, it certainly goes a long way with its clever hook and an endless flow of enemies to gun down”

7/10 – Push Square: “In conclusion, Mothergunship is more than the sum of its disparate parts, and definitely deserves your time. It’s a big silly mix of destruction, synths, and sci-fi and a lot of fun to play through”

Tempest 4000

84/100 – GamesBeat: “If you can look past the roughest levels, you’ll find this to be a fun and highly memorable game. Here’s hoping Llamasoft gives it a little post-release polish so it can become a modern classic, just like Tempest 2000”

7/10 – TheSixthAxis: “This is worth a look if you are bored of cut scenes, collectables, and other frippery that clog up video games and want some serious old school arcade action”

6/10 – Push Square: “Minter’s schtick, for as much as we love it, feels like it’s outstayed its welcome for the first real time. Maybe Atari’s lawyers would have been better off keeping this particular project locked down?”

Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion

3/5 – Trusted Reviews: “The exploration is ideal for kids who just want to stomp about as their favourite characters, but they could find the fighting too hard. RPG fans will find a lack of depth throughout, and unless they love Adventure Time, will quickly abandon it for something else”

6/10 – Push Square: “The battle system and story are an enjoyable experience, but absurdly long load times, frame rate stuttering, a clunky menu system, and a poorly developed upgrade system hamper the experience”

6/10 – GameInformer: “This is a genuine attempt to create the type of experience the Adventure Time license deserves. It comes up short in many ways, but I still did get to have an adventure in Ooo, even if it was flooded with both water and technical issues”

Sonic Mania Plus

9.5 – PlayStation Lifestyle: “Somehow, Christian Whitehead and team have made the definitive version of Sonic even more definitive. The genuinely challenging stages are chock-full of secrets, and will require multiple playthroughs to find everything they have to offer”

8/10 – The Metro: “The ‘Plus’ additions are minor but this is still a touching, and highly playable, labour of love by fans that understand Sonic The Hedgehog better than Sega themselves”

8/10 – Destructoid: “For five bucks as a digital upgrade all of these Sonic Mania Plus additions are a no-brainer. Sure, encore and maybe the multiplayer updates would have been added as free DLC in some circles, but the new characters and the package as a whole props up one of the best platformers of 2017 for a more than reasonable price”

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