There is many a game I can play casually
– fancy a blast, boot up the console, have a quick go, then
the kettle boils or the telephone rings and I switch it off.
But Tempest 3000 is a completely different beast.
I don’t know if it’s because of the time and effort
spent trying to get a Nuon DVD player and T3K-friendly controller,
or just because of what it is and how it plays, but I always have
to plan sessions on this game. It’s a ritualistic –
almost religious – thing.
On an evening when I know the wife is out late,
I draw the curtains, get the projector out, hook up all the connections,
turn off the lights, insert the disk… And this is only the
final part of a much bigger plan…
Been to the toilet – check.
Drink in easy reach – check.
Surround sound on – check.
Anticipation starts to build. Then, it happens
– the six-foot projected image kicks in, the speakers blare
out a massive rumble of bass… The game has loaded. Pixellated
madness swirls before my eyes. I stand up in front of the projected
image – for some reason I only ever play Tempest 3000 standing
Goodness me. That crazy cow is
after your soul.
My hands start sweating, pulse raises…
I tell myself repeatedly to calm down. It’s only a game.
First level – easy. Reflexes start to
retune themselves to the gameplay, eyes slowly begin to de-focus…
The world around me consists of nothing but this glorious, projected
web of destruction. The webs pass by, one after the other, almost
unnoticed… hands moving automatically, collecting the power-ups,
dealing destruction and dodging the spikes.
The pace changes… the rhythmic heart beat
of the bonus level – initially a soothing thing, but slowly
building to an orgasmic crescendo, perfectly pitching my heart
rate for the next onslaught.
Time and webs pass.
Then suddenly, I am dead – that horrible
sound when I know I’ve made a mistake. I don’t really
know why or what hit me but I do know I’m dead. Don’t
worry. Glance down – ten lives stacked up. Easy.
Then, I hit that point where I realise I’m
doing quite well (for me, anyway), but then the fucking zappers
start to appear. Fear kicks in… The little voice in the
back of my head saying: “These buggers always kill you.
You’re not going to get through this…”. Shut
up! Concentrate. No – don’t concentrate, just play.
I feel myself slipping out of the zone.
Ickle llama. Good.
Dead again. Calm… eight lives left. Seven…
Six… Just get past this web, its OK… Slipping further
and further. For the first time, I become aware of the room.
Turn the sound up higher. The beat is thumping
through the room. Before too long, the neighbours are going to
complain, the speakers are gonna die or my ears will start bleeding.
Whatever. Just get past this fucking web…
Is it Heaven or Psych-ed-Hell?
Three lives left. Now the fear is palpable.
Two… One… Bastard! Drained, I slump into a chair.
I’ve no idea how much time has passed. The reggae kicks
in. Maybe next time
RODENT CASH RATING
like when yah pass-out after a fight."
here to comment on this review
To play Tempest 3000 – and you really
ought to – you will need…
1. A Nuon DVD player.
Your best bet is an N501 model from
the US (European folk should make sure their telly is NTSC-friendly).
I am Nuon, hear me roar.
There was a limited European version of
the N501 – the N504. Lots of luck finding them. Your best
bet is to rummage around the various European versions of Ebay.
Be wary of someone
trying to flog you a Nuon N505. They don’t play Tempest
3000. In fact, they don’t have any joypad ports at all,
which is just sick and wrong. Although if you find yourself stuck
with one, you can try a little port replication here
2. A Nuon game controller.
Here’s a good one
Joy. In pad form.
3. A copy of Tempest 3000.
Hard to get in Europe, easier in the
USA. Either way, you’ll probably have to get ‘em used
from Amazon.com or Ebay.
for doing the legwork on all this part.