Parents' Guide to

Tempest 4000

By Paul Semel, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Updated arcade classic has bad controls, isn't fun.

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While this is a mostly faithful remake of a classic arcade game, it fails to capture what was fun about the original. Like the 1981 arcade game that inspired it, Tempest 4000 is a shooter in which you move along the edge of multi-segmented geometric planes and tubes. Along the way, you shoot at enemies advancing their way down these shapes toward you, often leaving spikes in their wake. You'll need to shoot and destroy these spikes, because once you eliminate every enemy, you fly down the plane or tube on your way to the next level, and hitting one of those spikes is, naturally, bad for your health.

While fans of the original can see glimpses of the game they blew so many quarters on nearly 30 years ago, it falls short. First off, this game has a terrible techno soundtrack; thankfully, you can turn it down or off. More problematic is that the thumbsticks or directional pad on a modern controller don't work as well as they should. There's also no option to use the triggers to move left or right, when it seems like they'd work better. That said, the mini-game you play as you fly to the next level is far more interesting than just sitting there between stages, and the unlockable ability to jump (moving off a stage for a moment while still being able to fire) is as helpful and clever as it was in the previous remake, 1994's Tempest 2000. But without better controls, Tempest 4000 is still a flawed attempt to recapture one of gaming's great arcade classics.

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