Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

Atari's Tempest 4000 -Sony PS4
Retro Gaming Review

 Sony PS4 console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewAtari's Tempest 4000 for Sony PS4 Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: Tempest 4000
Manufacturer: Atari
Platform: Sony PlayStation 4
Release Date: 2018
Part #: 2103224
Rating: 4.0 out of 5
ESRB Rating: Everyone

Rating: Atari's Tempest 4000 Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating ESRB Classic Video Game Rating
Atari's Tempest 4000 Screenshot:
Atari's Tempest 4000 for Sony PS4 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Tempest has long been a vector arcade favorite from 1981. Jeff Minter revitalized the game on Atari's Jaguar home game console. Dubbed Tempest 2000, it added a flair never seen in the arcades of the 80s. Full of visuals and sounds, it quickly became the darling of the Jaguar - and one of the few games you could call a system-seller.

Speaking of which, I was delighted by my PS3 and wasn't interested in the PS4 until "the right game" came along. When AtGames decided to shake up their typical Flashback hardware release with a software version for the PS4 and Xbox, I was sold. Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 1 contained 50 Atari 2600 and arcade games - Tempest came in both formats. I bought both of AtGames' releases and then picked up a PS4 as a family Christmas gift. 1981's Tempest sold me on a PlayStation 4!

Tempest 4000 was long awaited as we saw TxK come and go on the Sony Vita amidst legal issues from Atari. Their suit against Minter and Llamasoft was ridiculous since Atari was stumbling to release a game the public would buy. Tempest was the one, but they couldn't see it. Minter planned to release TxK for PS4, but Atari ended those dreams. A few years later, Tempest 4000 was announced for PS4. It too a long time, but it finally came out... as a digital release. Ugh!

Holy shit! Check this out...
In 2015, Llamasoft released TxK, a Tempest-inspired game for the Vita. Atari felt it was too close to their beloved IP and blocked it's release on Vita and any other platforms.
Minter was displeased with Atari's intrusion, however he partnered with them to bring Tempest 4000 to multiple platforms.

I wasn't into Sony's decision to make the Vita primarily a digital game device with fewer physical releases. I never bought one and I was on the brink as Txk came about, but ended up sticking to my decision. I skipped it.

As news of Tempest 400 became solid, I was stoked to get it. This was my chance! Then I learned it was a download. Still I wanted it. After a bit of searching, I discovered Target was offering a physical copy for PS4 - I ordered it and had it by the end of the week. Others said they saw it at GameStop, but I snatched it via Target and never heard of the physical copy again. It may be more pervasive later on.

Tempest 4000 is for fans of prior versions. Despite many modern features, it feels like a new take on an older game - and that's not a bad thing! Those who like photorealistic games may not like it's style. For the rest of us, it's a love letter from a game we have loved for decades. While quite similar to TxK, theres a lot to love with this game.

Atari Tempest 4000 Game Play

You may recall that Minter's Tempest 200 for the Jaguar included code for a rotary controller. No one ever released such hardware, but hacks came along that enabled a rotary dial for the Jag controller. The PS4 has no such rotary dial - which is the best way to play Tempest - so, one wonders if Minter inserted any code for alternate control options.

Atari's Tempest 4000 for Sony PS4 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Despite this lack of traditional dial controller, Tempest 4000 plays like a dream and will bring back a lot of memories. Of course Minter is not one to hold back visually. The horsepower of the PS4 affords room for a lot of visual activity outside the primary focus of the game. It features insane electronica soundtracks from both Tempest 2000 and TxK. If you can separate the trippy aspects from the game, you'll love this game all the more.

There are two game modes, Pure and Classic. Pure will take you back to your arcade days when games started at the beginning and you play as long as your skills allow. Classic mode lets you choose any level you have already cleared, but does not restart your extra lives. This is helpful to those who like to complete games without starting from scratch each time.

As a fan of the arcade Tempest and Tempest 2000, I'm not sure how objective I've been. I adore this series and the quirks Minter injects. However, I do feel it's not going to lure Fortnight or COD players to this type of game. Although modernized, it's clearly a retro game - a great one, but its for those who love this game or the style. If you played arcade games in the 80s, you'll love Tempest 4000's adherence to origins as well as the wild visuals made possible by modern hardware. Give it a try!

 Sony PS4 console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Final Judgement:

Atari's Tempest 4000

carries on Jeff Minter's legacy of innovative exciting game titles.

While similar to TxK, anyone who loves Tempest will have a blast with Minter's over-the-top ability to tame visual chaos within video games.

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