Dimensions: 27″w x 32″d x 71″h
The objective of Tempest is to survive for as long as possible, and score as many points as possible, by clearing the screen of enemies that appear on the playing field. The player’s ship can rapid-fire shots down the tunnel, destroying any enemies within the same segment, and is also equipped with a Superzapper, which destroys all enemies currently on the playing field once per level. (A second use of the Superzapper in a level destroys one random enemy.)
Enemies swirl around at the far end of the playing field, then enter the playing field and move toward the player. When all enemies in a level are destroyed or reach the player’s end of the playing field, the player “warps” to the next level by traveling down the playing field. As the player warps to the next level, he or she must avoid or shoot away any spikes. The player loses a ship when an enemy comes into contact with their ship, shoots it or otherwise destroys it, or if the ship hits a spike while warping. The player earns a new ship at certain point thresholds, and may hold up to six ships at once. The game is over when the enemies destroy all of the player’s ships.
There are multiple types of enemies, each of which has a different behavior pattern. At higher levels, some enemies place a spikes in the middle of the lane. These spikes travel toward the player and destroys it upon contact when the player warps out to the next playing field. Other enemies travel towards the player’s end of the playing field while firing at the player, and then flip from lane to lane, killing the player if they move onto the lane that the player is on. Firing while this type of enemy is changing from an adjacent lane kills it.
There are 8 enemy types:
The game features sixteen unique geometric shapes for the playing fields, some of which are closed tubes that allow the player to loop around, while others are open fields that have distinct left and right endpoints. When all sixteen screens have been played, the sequence repeats with a different color scheme and a higher difficulty level, including the invisible (black) levels (65–80). Each sequence of levels adds additional faster, deadlier enemies. After level 99, the level number stops incrementing, and one of the 16 variations will randomly appear after each player death or the successful completion of subsequent levels.