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Video Game / Tempo

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Tempo is a platform game series created by Sega in cooperation with Red (the influence of previous Bonk titles is noticeable), starring the eponymous cartoony music-loving grasshopper in a Band Land cutesy world, fighting against ants ruled by the notorious Major Minor. The main goal is to collect musical notes and some treasures to score enough points to become rich. The series features gorgeous hand-drawn levels and sprites, in the same fashion of Rayman games.


However, the first installment, a launch title for the 32X hardware, being essentially a Sega Genesis game with some Mode 7-like BG effects, did not do well. Only the first two titles made it overseas as a consequence.

The series consist of the following titles:

  • Tempo (32X): The very first title. Tempo can Goomba Stomp and attack using kicks and stunning projectiles.
  • Tempo Jr. (Game Gear): A spinoff based on the first game, and the only one of the three to reach Europe.
  • Super Tempo (Sega Saturn): The Japan-only final entry made by Aspect with some original Red Staff members. It introduces Katy (Tempo's girlfriend) as a playable character. Has more advanced level design, and introduces gameplay much more akin to a run and gun platformer, along with an assorment of various in-level minigames.


This game provides examples of:

  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The US box art for the first game tried to make the main character look like a photo-realistic mutant grasshopper man, rippling with muscles and using kung-fu. This may have been poked fun at in the lowest-earned ending image, which in turn is the basis for the third game's "Macho Body" forms. The US box art also tried to pass his big black eyes off as shades , in a clear attempt at making him look like a Mascot with Attitude.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: One stage in the first game starts out in a circus, moves on to its backstage where the staff is sleeping, and then ends on a construction site???
  • Breakable Powerup: In the first game, Katy will flee the scene is Tempo takes too much damage. The glove powerups also fall away if he's hit at all.
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  • Family-Unfriendly Death: In the first game. While most of the death animations are comical in nature, the drowning animation involves Tempo's head simply bobbing above the water, completely motionless.
  • Fanservice: In Super Tempo, one of the ending images involves 13-Kaidan Katy taking a bath with her nipples narrowly covered up by soap bubbles, while a similarly-naked Muscle Tempo covers himself in the background.
  • Final Boss: Zenza/King Dirge in the first two games. Super Tempo, on the other hand...
  • Goomba Stomp: Present in the first game, but not in the Saturn sequel. One annoying aspect of it is that it is disabled while Tempo is kicking in the air, so the player must mind their positioning.
  • Have a Nice Death: In the first game, there are various death animations for being electrocuted, drowning and being lit on fire. Along with these, the last few of the bosses perform (very long) dance sequences upon your demise. Oh, and it's accompanied by the audience laughing at your death.
  • Heart Container: In the first game, Headphones increase Tempo's maximum health.
  • Hub Level: In the first game only.
  • Instant 180-Degree Turn: Averted. Tempo briefly stops and turns around — and that's bad, because that can get the player hit and killed by many of the game's more mobile hazards.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Combined with the sounds of yodelling and cows rising from the ground. Yes, really.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The Bee-Bees fight in the first game features a trio of bee girls flying around, but you can only the leader can be hurt and the other two amount to projectiles that deal damage even if stomped on.
  • The Maze:
    • The final level in all three games consist of a big maze-like elevator. However, in the first game, due to a programming oversight, you must grind a lot of musical notes in order to get the better endings.
    • Combined with a Boss Rush in the third game.
  • Medium Blending: The original game features a mixtures of sprites and CGI, along with some faux-vector graphic backgrounds.
  • Monster Clown: Baffo dâ Clown, the boss of the circus stage in the first game. Beware of his spin attacks.
  • Multiple Endings: Depending on your final score in the first game, Tempo and Katy can win a pair of underwear, a frying pan, a guitar, a trip to an island resort, or a house to raise their family in.
  • Nintendo Hard: Don't let the common mooks just standing around in the first game deceive you, for it is rather easy to take a ton of damage and die to more difficult enemies and hazards. The bosses are also very tough and the controls are unfortunately rather stiff for the precision the game requires.
  • Scoring Points: In the original and Super Tempo, the player is granted a different image at the end depending upon how many points they had accumulated over the course of the game. Unfortunately, due to a programming oversight in the first game, most of the images are nigh-impossible to get.
  • Smart Bomb: In the first game, powerups drop from the top of the screen during boss fights and trigger the dance that summons Katy and damages enemies if collected. Oh, the latter bosses can grab them too!
  • Suddenly Voiced: Tempo and Katy are given voices in Super Tempo. By going into the pause menu and selecting the option on the right, all of the sounds are changed to humorous voice samples of the characters acting out what's going on on-screen. These sounds change depending on which character you are currently playing as.
    • Interestingly, taking damage in the first game via certain methods (spikes and fire, mainly) will cause what is presumably Tempo to emit an "Eeep!" sound.
  • Toilet Humour: In Super Tempo, quite a few of the human characters can be seen urinating onto different things. The waterfall on stage one, which leads to the swimming portion below, is actually one giant piss stream.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • The third level in the Sega Saturn sequel consists of a shoot 'em up sequence with Katy, where you can choose out of ten levels where you'll play. It is surprisingly Nintendo Hard. A similar sequence exist in Level 5, with giant pizzas in space and a music quiz.
    • Three silly rhythm games are to be found in the Game Center.
  • Variable Mix: In the original game, after getting Katy, an extra track is added to the background music.
  • Victory Pose: Tempo does a little dance after beating a boss, which changes if Katy is with him. Bosses also do this to add insult to injury for the player's failure.
  • Widget Series


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