- Continue playing until you destroy all aliens or until all the aliens reach the rim of your universe. If you have a Blaster, you advance to the next level of play.
- Players should work their way up through the levels to become familiar with game play. Drop down a level if play is too difficult.
- Experienced players should start at highest level possible for maximum points.
- On a new playfield shoot at enemy dots at far rim.
- Try to shoot aliens while they are still in the corridors of the cosmic tube. They pose a greater threat (and are harder to hit) once they reach the rim of your universe.
- Shoot a Flipper as soon as it starts to flip. Anticipate where they are heading and fire your Blaster in that direction.
- Once a Flipper reaches the rim, you can shoot it only by waiting for it to flip into initial contact with your Blaster. But you must fire before it takes the next step and flips on top of your Blaster.
- Tankers carry other aliens. To destroy their cargo, move your Blaster back and forth across adjacent corridors as you fire.
- Fuseballs spend most of their time along the edges of the corridors, out of firing range. To make sure you hit them, move your Blaster from one side of a corridor to the other while you fire. Once they reach the rim, you can only destroy them with your SuperZapper.
- Use long Spikes to reclaim shots and kill enemies approaching you from adjacent lanes.
- Avoid shooting Fuseball Tankers near the top since emerging fuseballs usually zip up to the top and kill you.
- When Pulsars contract into a zigzag bolt of lightning, quickly move your Blaster away from their corridor.
- Fire at Pulsars after they fire, but before they get ready to fire again. Pulsars and Fuseballs are like Flippers in their ability to switch corridors.
- Watch for corridors that are open along the rim. You can still move your Blaster over the gaps, but beware...there is a Pulsar inside.
- Don't fire at missiles. They are dangerous and you don't get points for destroying them.
- Avoid spikes. At the end of a level, position your Blaster over a corridor that is free from spikes. During higher levels of play, blast away at the Spikers and their spikes to keep a safe corridor for your next hyperspace passage. Remember, you can't destroy them with just one shot.
- Use the SuperZapper right before last enemy reaches the top for a few extra points.
898,000 points bonus :
1) You must have the Revision 1 ROMs in your machine.
2) You must have your machine set to coins and not on free-play.
3) Start a game and play until you successfully clear the red V stage. Die.
4) Start a new game on the red V level and complete the stage to get a bonus taking your score to more than 160, 000.
5) As soon as you get the bonus from clearing the red V level get the last two digits of your score to 46 (by shooting spikes). Die.
6) Wait! Wait for one cycle of the machine's attract mode - high score initials, TEMPEST attract, game demonstration, high score table.
7) Start a new game, spin the spinner to the right all the way up to level 1 of the green stages.
8) Complete the stage for a bonus of 898,000.
These are cheats. (They weren't cheats at all. They were intentionally programmed in as a security measure.) They were removed in ROM 217 and 222 software revision 2. First, you must complete level 8 and get a score with the format XXYYZZ : XX must be greater than 16, YY between 29 and 60, ZZ is a code listed below...
00 - freeze screen
01 - access bookkeeping totals
05 - allows playing during attract mode
06 - 40 free credits
11 - 40 free credits
12 - 40 free credits
14 - credit sound without actual credit
15 - credit sound without actual credit
16 - 40 free credits
17 - 40 free credits
18 - 40 free credits
41 - switch last 2 digits of score
42 - increase score quickly
46 - demonstration mode - start at any level, up to level 81
50 - player moves by itself
51 - player moves by itself
60 - objects drift down
66 - objects drift right
67 - objects jump
68 - objects drift up
70 - objects drift up
After code '05' (play during attract mode) is activated, the following cheats become available...
Set the last two digits to 46 : Random-colored level with wrong enemies.
Set the last two digits to 48 : 255 extra lives.
These are tips for anyone new to Tempest :
Note : Level colours mentioned below refer to the level's tunnel colour.
1) Flippers first appear in Level 1 (blue circle), but don't start flipping until Level 2 (blue square). Flippers flip at a constant rate, so play the angles. You can kill Flippers on the outer edge by shooting when they are in the spaces next to you (as they flip). The wider the angle, the more time you have to shoot. You can also move under Flippers as they flip. Good practice is to play level 1 as long as possible without firing. On the open shapes, you will want to hang out on one end of the other (to avoid attacks from both directions). On closed shapes, pick a spot with good angles and good visibility. Often flipping back and forth between two spaces (playing the angles depending on which direction the flippers are attacking from) is all you have to do.
2) Tankers first appear in Level 3 (blue plus). Regular Tankers contain two Flippers. Feel free to shoot them and their cargo with impunity. Fuseball tankers are VERY dangerous. Shoot them and get out of the way. Pulsar tankers are also very dangerous. Shoot them and stay where you are (the Pulsars will appear to either side). You can differentiate between the types of tankers by looking closely at their centers. Fuseball and Pulsar Tankers have tiny pictures of their cargos in their centers. The ability to instantly differentiate between tanker types is probably the most important ability separating good Tempest players from great Tempest players.
3) Spikers first appear in Level 4 (blue bowtie). Spikers are generally harmless (although they do shoot at you), and the spikes they lay down are very handy some times. You can hold the fire button down for continuous fire, but you only get a maximum of eight shots at a time. This is enough to fill half the tube, but not enough for a true continuous stream of shots. If you have lots of flippers coming after you, find a long spike to sit on top of. You can then hold down the fire button for a machine gun effect. As the spike gets eaten away, look for another one to switch to. Be careful of pulsars and fuseballs when you do this however. When you get to level 65 (black/invisible circle) try riding a full spike all the way down at the end of the round. Your descent rate and rate of fire are perfectly matched so that you can actually blast it away without being impaled all the way to the bottom.
4) Fuseballs first appear in Level 11 (blue flat/bowling alley). Fuseballs ride the lines. The safest place to be is in the space NEXT to one. It looks like it will kill you, but the hit logic only tests the center of the fuseball. Fuseballs will only cross one space at a time before dropping back down (until the end of the round when they start chasing you). If you get stuck with one coming after you at the end of a round (usually on one of the open shapes), try the 'Hail Mary' move of spinning very quickly. You can actually jump over one or more spaces (and a fuseball!) if you spin fast enough. Watch out for fuseball tankers at higher levels that split into two fuseballs that will immediately try and jump on you.
5) Pulsars first appear in Level 17 (red circle). Pulsars are only dangerous when they are pulsing. Listen to the low, periodic buzz sound. As you get used to it, you will find yourself adapting to this built-in rhythm. You can shoot them when they aren't pulsing or spin out of the way. Watch out for pulsar tankers at higher levels that split into 2 pulsars on either side of the tanker lane.
6) Dip Switch #2 (2nd from the back of the game) on the upper bank (at N13) controls demo mode. Demo mode lets you start (and practice) anywhere you like. It does not record scores, however. In normal play, the game will let you start close to where you left off. If you want to 'cheat', put the game into demo mode, spin up to where you want to start, start the game and hit the player one start button causing you to zoom down the tube and gain the bonus. Then die and flip the dip switch back to normal mode. Now you can start a real game at the same level and record your score at the end. If you do this often, wiring a front-mounted bypass to that dip switch will come in very handy. There is also a freeze game dip switch that is also handy in case the phone rings while you are playing.
7) Level 81 (green circle) is the highest starting level. Most expert Tempest players agree that green is actually easier than the black/invisible levels that precede it. It is a bit faster, but it restores one of the most valuable visual clues in the game - the tell tale break in the outer edge caused by a pulsar (which is missing in the black/invisible levels). After level 96 (green figure eight/infinity), you are back to the green circle (97) and green square (98). Level 99 is the highest recorded by the game and consists of a never ending supply of random green shapes. Every time you finish the round or loose a life, you will end up with a different shape. To achieve a world record score, you will spend MOST of your time playing level 99 over and over again. If you can keep your rate of loss to roughly one life per two rounds (at 20K bonus), you can theoretically play forever. Tempest isn't a very good marathon game, however, as it only lets you build up 5 lives max at any one time. A 30-second bladder break while playing level 99 will pretty much wipe you out.
8) The highest score recordable by the game is 999,999 (a horrible error on the part of the designers). Starting at Level 81, you get there pretty fast (mid way through the greens). With a bit of practice, you can end the game at exactly 999,999. Do that 3 times and no one will ever be able to beat your score on a single machine (w/o clearing the high score table).