Atari 5200 Software Spotlight:

by Atari

Tempest Pic 1
Update: Together with Classic Gaming Expo, AGH has publicly released the highly sought-after Tempest ROM for everyone to enjoy. Head over to the Tempest ROM Download Page to grab it now!

Up until this point, people considered 5200 Tempest as the UFO of the SuperSystem library -- many claimed to have spotted one, but no proof of its existence had ever been shown. Atari Gaming Headquarters is pleased to reveal the full scoop on a prototype (albeit unfinished) version of Tempest for the first time.

Tempest Pic 2
As you would expect, this port of the arcade classic has raster-scan graphics comprised of pixels and sprites, as opposed to the coin-op Tempest which featured a brilliant vector-scan display. Considering the limitations of using a standard television display and the 5200's hardware itelf, the translation is very well done. This version contains 81 levels, even including the famous invisible-web level! And unlike the coin-op, the player can choose to start on any level that he or she desires.

Tempest Pic 3
The unfinished prototype that we tried has outstanding graphics and (especially) sound effects. In fact, the sound seems to have been directly brought over from the coin-op. The firing noise and the effects from moving your ship around the tube is almost indistinguishable from its arcade cousin. Control is spot-on. The 5200's analog stick really shines with this game. The further left or right that you push the joystick, the faster your ship will spin around the tubes. You'll feel the same sensation of flying around the tunnels as you did in the original, rotary-controller version.

Tempest Pic 4
Sadly, the prototype that we tested (which, incidentally, is the only cartridge of the game known to exist) is incomplete. There is no collision detection, meaning that you cannot be killed nor can you shoot down any of the foes. The superzapper had not yet been implimented, and only one type of enemy exists. It wouldn't have taken the programmer long to impliment the necessary additions to get it finished. Perhaps 5200 Tempest had progressed further before being axed by Atari, and we'd love to hear from anyone who has a version that had progressed beyond what is available in this one. Either way, it's good to know that a game that hitherto had not been confirmed to exist has now surfaced for everyone to see.

Title Tempest
Publisher Atari
System Atari 5200 SuperSystem
Reviewer Keita Iida

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