8.9 / 10
been a long time since I first watched Tron, and to tell you honestly, I
really donít remember too much of the movie save for the main gist of
the plot. As such, I had my
reservations about playing a game that was based on a franchise that I
have very little interest in. If
you have any of those reservations as well, do yourself a favor and
ignore any doubts you may have and at least play the demo and give this
game a chance. Tron 2.0 is
very creative, full of good ideas, and combines elements of different
types of games. The overall
result is a great looking game that is a joy to play and you donít
have to know about the movie to enjoy the storyline. The
Tron movie and game is based in a reality where the technology to
transfer a human being into a computer has just been discovered.
Through a process called digitizing, a human can be converted
into a binary script that is inserted into a computer.
Once inside the computer, that world is represented by glowing
colored floors and walls with raw data streaming overhead like a
floating river of numbers. Programs
look and speak like humans, and physical actions like destroying a
program can cause the system to crash.
story begins by following Alan Bradley, one of the main characters in
the movie. Twenty years
after the events in the movie, Alan Bradley now has a son named Jet who
doesnít want to accept the responsibility of becoming an adult.
Quite quickly, he is forced to confront that reluctance as he is
digitized into the computer in his fatherís lab.
Jet soon discovers that his father has been kidnapped by a
company called fCon that wants to use his fatherís digitizing
technology for military purposes. As
Jet, you will find a way to rescue your father and stop fCon.
Itís been a long time since I first watched Tron, and to tell you honestly, I really donít remember too much of the movie save for the main gist of the plot. As such, I had my reservations about playing a game that was based on a franchise that I have very little interest in. If you have any of those reservations as well, do yourself a favor and ignore any doubts you may have and at least play the demo and give this game a chance. Tron 2.0 is very creative, full of good ideas, and combines elements of different types of games. The overall result is a great looking game that is a joy to play and you donít have to know about the movie to enjoy the storyline.
The Tron movie and game is based in a reality where the technology to transfer a human being into a computer has just been discovered. Through a process called digitizing, a human can be converted into a binary script that is inserted into a computer. Once inside the computer, that world is represented by glowing colored floors and walls with raw data streaming overhead like a floating river of numbers. Programs look and speak like humans, and physical actions like destroying a program can cause the system to crash.
The story begins by following Alan Bradley, one of the main characters in the movie. Twenty years after the events in the movie, Alan Bradley now has a son named Jet who doesnít want to accept the responsibility of becoming an adult. Quite quickly, he is forced to confront that reluctance as he is digitized into the computer in his fatherís lab. Jet soon discovers that his father has been kidnapped by a company called fCon that wants to use his fatherís digitizing technology for military purposes. As Jet, you will find a way to rescue your father and stop fCon.
visuals representing the digitized computer world in Tron the movie were
way ahead of their time when the movie first came out, and now Tron 2.0
continues that tradition with stunning visuals of its own.
In short, the gameís graphics are breathtakingly beautiful.
There is a muted, soft, pleasing coloured glow outlining most
objects in the game, and the simple geometry of the environment is very
convincing in its representation of the internal world of a computer.
soundtrack and the sound effects of the game complement the visuals in
creating a totally immersive experience.
The different sounds of your weapons is even convincing as each
has their own unique electronic sound when fired.
The voices of other programs are digitized and even the
environment has its own unique sounds.
The creative electronica soundtrack is also fitting and is
somehow perfectly suited to the gameplay.
Itís never annoying and I actually found myself grooving to it
during some of the slower adventure portions of the game.
of the things that impressed me most was how creatively the digitized
world was represented. Everyday
programs, and tasks are represented in the digitized world by physical
objects and specific actions that can be seen visually.
The terrain has ďdata blocksĒ scattered throughout that are
shown as actual cubes. Viruses
are represented by humanoids in green glowing light suits, and
corruption is shown in the terrain as massive cracks with a soft sickly
green glowing from the seams. In
one scenario, you find yourself in a PDA having to drain as much power
from the battery as possible. Turning
on power-consuming processes like the LCD backlight, and games, helps
you to accomplish your goal. All
actions and interactions in the digitized world have a real world effect
that we the audience can relate to.
are two resources required for Jet to stay alive and accomplish tasks in
the digitized world. They
are health and energy, and both are downloaded at different stations
scattered the levels. The
number of stations is enough to provide an adequate challenge, but each
station does only hold a finite amount of resources.
purpose of health is straightforward, but the use of energy is more
creative. Not only does
energy serve as the ammunition for Jetís weapons, but it is also used
to download other items from data blocks such as powerups, electronic
keys known as permissions, new weapons and email messages.
The email messages are random email messages that pertain to the
lives of the real world characters.
They reveal details about events in the game and key facts about
Jetís relationship with his father.
Each item requires a certain amount of energy to download so
players will have to balance whether or not to download an unidentified
subroutine, or keep the extra energy for ammunition and come back for
the subroutine later when there are no more enemies and their energy
stores are restocked.
like any other computer or program, Jet has a system memory as well.
This is represented as three rings in a menu screen that is very
reminiscent of an RPG. The
outer ring shows all the powerups, armour, and weapons that Jet has
acquired so far. Powerups,
weapons, and armour are known as subroutines and can be upgraded up to
two times to improve their efficiency via little upgrade stations
scattered throughout the game. These
upgrade stations are quite rare, and can only be used once.
The style of game that you will play out will depend on which
subroutines you choose to upgrade.
The only annoying thing about these upgrade stations is that it
is possible sometimes to download a better version of a subroutine that
you already have from a data block.
This happened to me once where I chose to upgrade my viral shield
at an upgrade station, only to find that subroutine already in its
upgraded state in a data block just ahead.
middle ring shows the spaces that Jet has to place his subroutines in.
The number of spaces and the placement of the slots changes with
each level. Subroutines
when in their initial alpha state take up three slots, two when upgraded
once to their beta state, and finally one slot when upgraded to their
gold state. As the game
progresses you will be able to use more of your subroutines at one time
as you upgrade them to their gold state.
fighting viruses, their weapons not only do their regular damage but can
also cause your subroutines to become infected, reducing their
efficiency. If not
disinfected, the infection can spread to other subroutines in adjacent
slots. Disinfection is
accomplished in Jetís
system memory interface screen and takes time (real time) in the game to
complete. This provides an
extra challenge to fighting viruses as infection can greatly reduce
Jetís abilities while his subroutines are waiting to become
disinfected. This serves as
a slow moment in the game, but forces the gamer to either wait for their
subroutines to become disinfected before continuing or continuing with
much greater challenge ahead.
can also upgrade his inherent abilities.
These include how much health, and energy over the normal 100
points he can carry, how much energy his weapons use up, how long it
takes to download items from data blocks, and how long it takes to
disinfect his subroutines. Version
build points are scattered throughout the game, and are also awarded for
completing critical tasks. Jet
begins at version 1.0.0. When
he reaches version 2.0.0, you have the opportunity to increase any and
all of his inherent abilities in any combination with the ten build
points you have acquired.
only ability that is somewhat wasted is processor power which dictates
how long it takes Jet to download items from data blocks.
Youíre never under fire when having to download items from data
blocks, so upgrading this stat seems to be really only for the gamerís
sanity as she or he waits for Jet to finish getting that critical
permission or a new subroutine. It
would have been much more interesting if this ability was more important
with situations where Jet would have to download a required permission
key while under heavy fire.
All of these upgrade options were delightful in creating a truly unique and immersive gaming experience above the normal run and gun game. While not being so vital to the game as to be a detriment to the playing experience should you upgrade the wrong subroutine, the sweet spot is found in combining these basic RPG elements into the game.
if that werenít enough for originality, the game is also broken up by
light cycle races. For
those of you unfamiliar with the movie, lightcycles are a form of
gladiatorial racing entertainment.
Programs ride on futuristic motorcycles glowing with light called
lightcycles on ďgame grids.Ē Lightcycles
leave a long trail of solid light (much like a wall) behind them and the
objective of the game is to cause your opponent to crash by cutting them
off or boxing them in with your light cycle trail.
Itís kind of like that worm game on cel phones except way
cooler and against somebody else. Jet
will need to win light cycle races at key points in the game.
While not super impressive on its own, the light cycle portion of
the game is functionally simple, seamlessly blended into the rest of the
game and is quite fun.
majority of the game though is much like a regular first person shooter
with some basic puzzles and some jumping obstacles thrown in.
These do serve the game very well though and really does add to
the immersive experience by breaking up the monotony that some games
fall into. At times, with
very few enemies around, and an interesting puzzle to solve, the game is
still just as involving as when you are battling a host of viruses.
game does have its tense moments though and the action can become quite
frantic. Depending on which
weapons and powerups you use, you can choose to fight run and gun, snipe
from a distance or have a plain stand-up fight behind cover.
Most gamers will find themselves using all of these tactics as
the game has a variety of combat situations that can be surmounted in
more than one way.
of the weapons in Tron 2.0 are based on four basic shapes.
These are the disc, the rod, the ball and the mesh.
The rod gives you your requisite sniper rifle, as well as a low
power melee weapon, the ball your grenade type weapon, and the mesh a
high level melee weapon as well as your high damage weapon.
weapons are all fairly interesting but I think that most gamers, Tron
and non-Tron fans alike will find themselves returning to the disc.
The disc is like the light saber of the Tron world.
It can be used to block and redirect other attacks, thrown and
somewhat guided in mid-path like a sort of spinning razor blade disc
rail gun. Blocking with the
disc can be a bit tricky and takes some time and skill to master.
There other forms of the disc weapon, including multiple discs,
and exploding discs.
enemies in the game are all represented by real computer scripts in the
digitized world. Among them
there are ICPís which defend the system against unauthorized access
(they report to the Kernel), infected programs or viruses called Z-lots,
and resource hogs. The
biggest letdown of the game has to be the bosses that you will have to
face. Two of the bosses
faced are the same, and the main bosses, are basically the same enemy
three times. The rest of
the enemies do provide enough variety in their fighting style, and the
enemy AI is decent. For
the most part, they provide just enough of a challenge so that your
quickload key doesnít become worn down.
online component game of the game consists primarily of the disc arena
and light cycles. The
online cycles can be quite entertaining as can the disc arena especially
when there are quite a few people letting their discs fly.
In the online light cycle portion of the game an increase in the
number and variety of powerups really adds to the strategy and can make
for some fairly hectic and tense races.
The Tron world was the ultimate cool back in the day, but today, without any running updates until now, the substance of the old movie feels decidedly dated. Tron 2.0 reinvigorates the material and delivers an excellent gaming experience. The story is okay, definitely not classic material, but the ending of the game is so anticlimactic that I had to downgrade the score from 9.0 down to a still very respectable 8.9. Aside from a few very minor complaints, the game is very balanced in its delivery and variety. Unfortunately, Tron 2.0 will probably suffer given the season that it is being released in as well as the age of the target audience that remembers the movie, but for those lucky enough to be able to fit in Tron 2.0 along with Max Payne 2, Half Life 2, Deus Ex 2, Chrome, Painkiller, and Freedom Fighters, they will be rewarded with a totally immersive and fun gaming experience.
- Mark Leung
(September 28, 2003)
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