Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Tempo - The Forgotten Sega Trilogy


Three games on 3 different Sega systems, never had much of a chance. Developed by Red Company, the same company who brought us the Bonk's Adventure series and Sakura Taisen. Tempo is a music loving grasshopper and one of my personal favorite forgotten Sega characters/series so I decided to give a brief history of his 3 games. Click "read more".

Tempo - Sega 32x (1995)

I don't know why the American box art has some humanoid Tempo but whatever. This game was a simple 2D platformer at heart with beautiful graphics and was music themed and used the 32x's scaling effect for bosses. (Similar to mode 7 on SNES.) Only 3 buttons, one to jump, one to kick, and one to shoot music notes that stun enemies. Tempo could hover down slowly and kick himself off walls to reach higher areas. Featured very cartoony but well animated animations and levels had some exploration. 
It did well with critics, but being a 32x game is what killed its chances to find an audience because the 32x was a big commercial failure. Unfortunate, but still one of the better/more original games for the 32x.

Tempo Jr - Game Gear (1995)

The only Tempo game released in Europe. 
A simple plot of Tempo and his friend Katy going to compete in a dance contest when Katy gets captured and Tempo must save her.
Visually, this is one of the most impressive looking Game Gear titles I have seen, especially with the animations. 
Gameplay is similar, and faithful to the 32x game. However, given the Game Gear only has 2 face buttons, the melee attack was changed to automatically happen when moving into a stunned enemy. But, tempo could still kick off walls.
Once again, the game did not have much of a chance to grip an audience because of the system it was on. While the Game Gear was arguably not a failure, it was buried in sales and popularity by Nintendo's Game Boy. However, I do not consider this entry a bust based on how many copies are around today, rather I would call it a hidden gem on the Game Gear.

Super Tempo - Sega Saturn (1998)

The third and final game in the Tempo series, released on the Sega Saturn but only in Japan. This is by far the rarest and most collectible title in the series and the only one I have never been able to get a copy of. (Yet :D)
Another 2D platformer in the same style as the last 2, but with the extra power of the Saturn giving it a vivid and colorful presentation on par with the original Rayman. Tempo also has a bunch of new animations and we finally get CD quality audio for this music themed series.
If you haven't guessed, once again the game reviewed well but did not find a huge audience for not only being on a failed system but also for being a Japanese exclusive. (Ironic because Japan is the only region where the Sega Saturn saw any success.) 
All 3 games have gone up in price on Ebay and retro game stores, but Super Tempo runs from $600-$1000. That just makes this even more tragic, an underrated series that cannot even be picked up reasonably. I hate to recommend emulators but...

Tempo is a series that came and went without many people noticing. But, it is a fun history note in Sega's legacy. I hope someday I can go over these games in greater details. However, there are already a fair amount of YouTubers who have reviewed them so, check them out. This history lesson was short, but I prefer to get to the point of things. Till next time, this is Cendoo the Ghost Ranger, signing off.

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