Atari’s Tempest is among the most memorable games of the ’80s, and its unique approach to arcade shooting has influenced countless other titles and spawned imitators. The franchise has been on ice for quite some time, but it returns next month as Tempest 4000, and it looks to be even more frenetic than the original.
Much like the first game, players control the “Claw” in Tempest 4000 and move it along a fixed tube as they blast away enemies closing in on their position. There are 100 total levels to try out, and its three modes are suited for different types of players. “Classic” gives players three lives and the chance to continue from their last completed stage if they run out, while “Pure” sends you back to the very beginning if you die three times. Lastly, “Survival” gives you eight lives to “survive as long as possible,” which should be the mode of choice for leaderboard chasers — all three modes will have separate global leaderboards.
Tempest 4000 is being executive produced by Jeff Minter at Llamasoft, who previously worked on Tempest 2000 and Tempest 3000. He and his company were also responsible for the Tempest-like TxK. The game released for Vita and was planned for other platforms, but Minter ran into legal trouble with Atari and canceled further ports. At the time, Atari accused Minter of using source code from Tempest 2000 for the game, which sounds remarkably similar to a legal battle currently in progress between two other game companies.
Atari isn’t just in the business of making games — the company is also developing the Atari VCS game console, a plug-and-play machine that comes pre-loaded with games and can support additional downloaded titles. The system is expected to release in 2019 but it remains unclear how many components have actually been set in stone yet. Just this week, Atari welcomed original Xbox system architect Rob Wyatt to its VCS team. He and his company Tin Giant will work to maximize performance on the console, which runs on a Linux-based operating system and uses a custom AMD Radeon processor.
Tempest 4000 is out for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on July 17. Though a Steam logo is on the game’s official website, no PC release date was given in the announcement, and the page gives a vague “spring 2018” release window.