The Game: As in the original Tempest, you scuttle along the rim of an abstract, hollow geometric tube as a strangely crablike creature, zapping red bow-tie-ish critters and purple diamond-shaped things which carry them. There are also swirly green things (swirly thing alert!!) which spin “spikes” like webs, and by the way, you should still avoid spikes. (Interplay, 1996)
Memories: My first reaction to Tempest X3 was “DUDE!” And that’s not even a “Dude! It sucks!” or “Dude! It rules!” Nope, it’s just a “Dude! What gnarly graphics!” This is kind of like the original Tempest, except psychedelically tie-dyed. To put it mildly, it’s a very…colorful updating of the game. The tube walls now have colorful (if subtle) patterns, and power-ups are hailed by more lens flares than an early episode of Babylon 5.
In some ways, the power-ups and other updates make the game too easy. In the original arcade version of Tempest, one could zip around the entire tube constantly, blasting away like hell at everything that appeared, and one could have survived for about 45 seconds that way before getting nailed. In Tempest X3, you can do that and survive for several screens.
A passable emulation of the original arcade code is available as well, in the ubiquitous “classic mode,” though the emulation featured in Arcade’s Greatest Hits: The Atari Collection 1 is superior.
One other plus: this is the only game I’ve ever seen which invites someone, in no uncertain terms, to eat a heaping helping of hot, juicy electric death.