Sunday, 13 January 2013

Mind's Eye - Tempest 2000

Again proving that I have more than just a soft spot for generic, predictable dance music, the next track from Jeff Minter's Tempest 2000 hits the spot not only in terms of sparking some furious memories of shoot-em-ups on the beloved Jaguar (back when I wasn't trying to play its cracking port of Doom), but also because it was one of those well crafted games that makes the most of its hardware. Lots of zappy effects, a nice mix of 3D objects and sprites and above all: a simple rule set but hard to master - particularly as the difficulty curve is such that as soon as you have the game under your belt, it throws another enemy at you or ups the number of enemies on screen at once. All this underpinned by a pumping dance beat that keeps things moving along. although the game was famous for dropping everything and favouring more ambient-like drones and breathy sounds during the bonus round. This works well to contrast the frantic shooting action during the levels and for me, is further evidence of Minter's ability to consider sound, gameplay and visuals to construct the appropriate feel of a game.

Of course, following on from Tempest 2000 was the Unity game for the Gamecube; something I would have loved to have seen based on the review Edge magazine gave on a pre-production copy of it, but after all, his career is full of ups and downs and this sort of thing is to be expected. Whilst we have never got to see Unity, at least the Neon engine got added to the Xbox 360 Media player and further games on Steam like Gridrunner+ and Space Giraffe, which are both a trippy experience.