Atari 5200 Software Spotlight:
Update: Together with Classic Gaming Expo, AGH has
publicly released the highly sought-after Tempest ROM for
everyone to enjoy. Head over to the
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
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.
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.
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.
Atari 5200 SuperSystem