"I started working on Tempest, mainly because people said it couldn’t be done on the 2600." - Carla Meninsky
Ok so this is pretty cool. A few days ago I started messing around with the Tempest proto, basically trying to make it more playable. Isolated and fixed a few of the main problems. And the more I'm playing this new version, the more it impresses me as a remarkably faithful translation from the arcade and a pretty fun game as well.
Here's a new, partially fixed ROM, and a list of what was changed: tempest_fix401.bin 8KB 257 downloads
* Level screen redesigned with 8 vector-style lanes/rails
* Shooter and enemy positions tweaked accordingly
* Player shot speed increased
* Player shot and enemy angles can now be varied independently
* Disappearing shot problem fixed
* Copyright partially restored (this was in the code already, just wasn't visible, then I tried to fix the 6-digit code but botched it up)
It's still rough I know, but even with those few hacks it is much easier to play and much more enjoyable. My high score so far is 37050 and I made it into the red levels.
The problems with the proto seem to have more to do with it being incomplete than it being a bad game. But give it a try, see what you think. This all has left me convinced that Carla Meninsky did a fantastic job on this despite everyone from 1983 right up to 2016 saying you couldn't do Tempest on the VCS.
You can, and she did!