Typhoon 2001

Its October. Just the right month for some underground game necromancy.

Typhoon 2001 is a game that draws heavy inspiration from Tempest and its successors, the series that probably invented the tube shooter.

When you see footage of Tempest, it looks much like the ideal arcade game – using the simple means available not only to it’s fullest, but also in style. The gameplay looks not only action packed and a bit over the top, but also totally cool – effects that have to be considered as astonishing for their time (we are talking about 1980: three years after Space Invaders, one year after Pac Man, and one year earlier then Donkey Kong, if you need something to compare) were cleverly placed and done, and thus didn’t lose any of their power even when viewed through an contemporary lens.

You control a small ship within a tube (often shaped as a multi-sided figure), always attached to the wall. On your way forward you need to evade to get hit by your enemies or their projectiles and shoot them down at the same time. The shape differs from level to level, stronger enemies appear, later version also featured upgrades.

Typhoon 2001 is a faithful remake of Tempest 2000 (the 1994 sequel) with updated graphics and slightly altered gameplay, using the Allegro framework and made in 2007. The rather reduced means for a no-budget production of the time are fully utilized, and the result is a game that is as essential mid 2000 in its whole look and feel as the original was quintessential 80s; an effect rather unique. Back then, some might have regarded it as ugly – nowadays, there are people who try to imitate this style, and thus it might be that this game works better today than it did back when it was recent: From the blur-effects, over the Hip-Hop infused OST, to the font, and up to the UT-style announcers voice („DUDE!“) this thing totally nails it in a way that could hardly be recreated. And since the gameplay is nearly fully overtaken from the model (seemingly a little bit harder – which is actually a good thing!) and realized fluent enough it also totally rocks.

The graphics can be tuned to be a bit less pushy, but I recommend to use the default settings. Be sure to check the readme, as some functions require additional keys (the jump and the Superzapper are essential, use them!). The difficulty is balanced well enough to enable addicting score-hunts, and the game comes with nearly 300 levels. No reason to play anything else anymore.

You can get a version for Linux here, but it probably would need some expanded black magic to make it work (couldn’t get sound running); firing up the Windows one via Wine was much simpler and worked fine, but you will need to get the game either from some shabby site or from this totally not dubious site, I do believe both are clean (but give no guarantee!). For those who shy from making their hands dirty can try to build the game from source.

The author of the game took the site of the game down; it can be still viewed on the archive. The page of another game by them (that I remember playing back in the days – probably around 20 years ago) is still online.

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