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Tempest is a classic into-the-screen shoot-em-up in which the player controls a claw-shaped "Blaster" ship that moves around the outer rim of a three-dimensional, wireframe tunnel. Enemies move down the tunnel towards the player's ship and must be destroyed. Any contact with either incoming enemy fire or the enemies themselves will cost the player a life. Completion of a tunnel will see the player warp through "hyperspace" to the next tunnel to tackle a new wave of enemies.

The tunnels are each rendered in one of sixteen different geometric shapes. Enemies increase in number as the game progresses and if an enemy reaches the outer rim occupied by the player's Blaster ship, it will chase and attempt to kill the player. Rim enemies can be killed, but this is difficult to achieve.

Some enemies also drag "spikes" - in the form of lines in the middle of the corridor - behind them as they travel up the tunnel towards the player. These spikes must be avoided during the "hyperspace" warp sequence at the end of the level, as contact results in the loss of a life.

Two "SuperZappers" are available per level. The first SuperZapper kills all enemies on the playfield at the time of firing, while the second randomly kills only one enemy on the playfield. The SuperZapper does not affect enemy shots, spikes or enemies that have not yet landed on the playfield.

One new feature Tempest introduces is "Skill-Step". This allows players to start a new game on the same level as was previously reached (although the new game must be restarted within thirty seconds) without having to replay previous levels. This allows skillful players to continue being challenged, while less experienced players can try to master higher levels. The 99 skill levels of play includes sixteen different playfields and seven different enemy targets.

* The tubes are divided into cosmic corridors through which the aliens travel, although some aliens such as Pulsars and Flippers can move from one corridor to the next. Regardless of the tube shapes, aliens always begin their invasion from the small, distant end of the tube. The sixteen unique tube shapes are as follows :

1. Circle
2. Square
3. Plus symbol
4. Bow-tie
5. Stylized Cross
6. Triangle
7. Clover
8. V
9. Steps
10. U
11. Completely Flat
12. Heart
13. Star
14. W
15. Fan
16. Infinity Symbol (figure 8 on its side)

The playfield's colour scheme changes every sixteen levels. In addition, other events also cause playfield colour variation. The SuperZapper causes the playfield to flash as enemies are zapped. Playfield rails flash rainbow colours when a player earns a bonus life and Pulsar enemies cause sections of the nearest rim to disappear and - during the pulse phase - adjacent rails to flash.

Tempest level colour schemes:

*Levels 1-16:

Tunnel - blue
Player ship - yellow
SuperZapper - yellow
Flippers - red
Tankers - purple
Spikers/Spikes - green
Pulsars - N/A (these do not appear until the next colour scheme)

*Levels 17-32:

Tunnel - red
Player ship - green
SuperZapper - cyan
Flippers - purple
Tankers - blue
Spikers/Spikes - cyan
Pulsars - yellow

*Levels 33-48:

Tunnel - yellow
Player ship - blue
SuperZapper - blue
Flippers - green
Tankers - cyan
Spikers/Spikes - red
Pulsars - blue

*Levels 49-64:

Tunnel - cyan
Player ship - blue
SuperZapper - red
Flippers - green
Tankers - purple
Spikers/Spikes - red
Pulsars - yellow

*Levels 65-80:

Tunnel - black (invisible)
Player ship - yellow
SuperZapper - white
Flippers - red
Tankers - purple
Spikers/Spikes - green
Pulsars - cyan

*Levels 81-96:

Tunnel - green
Player ship - red
SuperZapper - purple
Flippers - yellow
Tankers - purple
Spikers/Spikes - blue
Pulsars - yellow

Levels 97 and up - Keeps colour scheme from Levels 81-96, with random shapes from Level 99 onward.
1-2 Players
Produer Atari
Year 1980
Genre Shoot-'Em-Up
Rating 1980
Players 3.3


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