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Platform

Xbox


Genre

Shooter


Publisher

Buena Vista


Developer

Climax


ESRB

T (Teen)


Released

Q4 2004

 

 

- Successfully updates a plot from a 20-year-old source to bring the game into a modern setting
- Glowing neon color visuals are well done
- Has solid FPS controls

 

 

- No one is playing this game on Xbox Live!
- Game is unforgiving in its difficulty and backtracking save system doesnít make it any better
- Hard to differentiate enemies from environment visuals
- Computer-oriented menus take a while to acclimate to

 

 

Review: Halo 2 (XB)

Review: GoldenEye - Rogue Agent (XB)

Review: Serious Sam (XB)

Review: TRON 2.0 (PC)

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TRON 2.0: Killer App

Score: 7.0 / 10

Creating a game by resuscitating the story from a 20-year-old movie certainly is a daunting task. But the movie in question, TRON, was ahead of its time with its computer technology and virtual world ideas and themes, so the Xbox game it has become, TRON 2.0 Killer App, (based on last yearís PC title) doesnít seem as dated as it could have been. But while the gameís story is successfully implemented into the gameplay and there is much to like about the game, an unforgiving difficulty and a broken promise of good online gaming help to infect TRON 2.0 Killer App with a no-fun virus that sometimes cripples the gameís better elements.

 

tron 2 killer app review          tron 2 killer app review

 

TRON 2.0 Killer App follows sort of the same story that the movie did: you become digitized and downloaded into a virtual computer world and must hack your way through the horde of corrupt ďprogramsĒ (actually enemy soldiers of the computer CPU) to cleanse the system of the corrupted forces. The in-game user interface actually is set up using computer-like text and menus. Coupled with the cut-scenes that progress the gameís action and story along at a movie-style pace and the first-person perspective with exceptional FPS controls, TRON 2.0 Killer App really does a great and job of engulfing you into its surreal realm.

It even has the famous light cycles that were in the movie and the popular old-school arcade game. They are a bit trickier to control than the more typical FPS action that comprises the bulk of TRON 2.0 Killer App, but tricky controls or not, itís certainly a nice authenticating touch to include these light cycles in the game.

The stunning visuals also lend a big hand to contributing to the believability of you actually being part of the game instead of merely playing a game. The game uses a heavy influence of neon and hot, glowing colors to bring TRON 2.0 Killer App to a vibrantly fluorescent beauty. While at first glance the environment of the virtual self-contained micro-universe may seem plain, a closer look will reveal an intricately detailed computer-related world. This is a big living technological cosmos, having plenty of seemingly endless areas that eventually lead to one central source.

Remember pong, the granddaddy of all video games, and the sound that the ball would make when it hit the paddle? Thatís the old-school, back-in-the-day sound youíll hear with every footstep you take. The digitized ďpong-pong-pong-pongĒ resonance is irritating, and a similar sound will be heard when you fire off your disc weapon. Once you learn to phase out the sound, your TRON 2.0 Killer App gaming sessions will be much easier on the ears.

There are a few major spam-like annoyances that really deflate the whole TRON 2.0 Killer App fun experience. The game-user interface that uses a computer-oriented template takes much too long to figure out. Itíll take a few hours of gameplay before you will feel comfortable using the interface. Using the interface is a crucial part of the gameplay too, and youíll need to understand it to implement your weaponry and subroutines (that serve as power-ups) to defeat the corrupt programs.

 

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These arenít easy-to-beat programs, either. So having to acclimate a few hours to the user interface can get frustrating because youíll be doing a lot of backtracking due to the constant ďdeletionsĒ youíll be suffering from the corrupt programs and a unfair save system that doesnít account for forward progress as much as it should as well as a hellacious difficulty level. TRON 2.0 Killer App presents a hard challenge that comes from a tough A.I. and one false move and you're dead, vertigo-inducing platform jumping. This can be an extremely exasperating 

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game due to the oppressive nature of the A.I. throughout. Some people will enjoy the daunting A.I. battling them, but many others will definitely not.

 

Making matters worse, you will have a hard time figuring out where the enemy programs attacking you are located in relation to yourself, because they blend in with the background way too much. On red-neon levels, the enemy programs are red-neon. Blue-neon levels have blue-neon enemy programs. By the time you finally see your enemy, itís too late.

TRON 2.0 Killer Appís fatal flaw however, is its multiplayer Xbox Live gameplay. Or rather, lack of gameplay. Maybe itís a case of Halo 2 being the center of the Xbox Live universe at the present time, but only once and once only did I actually find someone online playing TRON 2.0 Killer App. That was my final attempt out of eight separate tries on eight separate days. There were only two other Xbox Live gamers playing TRON 2.0 Killer App. Only two! I canít totally blame the Halo 2 phenomenon either, because during the same time of both Halo 2ís launch and TRON 2.0 Killer Appís release Iíve also played the new GoldenEye: Rogue Agent and plenty of Xbox Live players were playing that game (although probably nowhere near Halo 2ís mass of gamers during the same time).

 

tron2 killer app review          tron 2 killer app review

 

Itís a crying shame too, because the multiplayer maps on Tron 2.0 Killer App have much potential for some really exciting online play. Making matters worse, the one session I actually found adversaries to play, there was heavy lagging. That was within 15 minutes of playing Halo 2 without any lag whatsoever. Tron 2.0 Killer Appís multiplayer is nothing less than a major disappointment. Those that only look at this game for its single-player mode wonít feel that same level of letdown, though.

Too bad that TRON 2.0 Killer App isnít able to fully realize its potential, because when a gameís so hard that playing becomes more of a chore than enjoyment and the online gameplay that could have made up for the extremely taxing single-player mode doesnít even work the way it should, not too many gamers are going to give it a fair chance unless theyíre a uber geek that thrives on the computer-related features of TRON 2.0 Killer App. Some of the gameís promising potential goes unrealized, but if online gaming wasnít a priority and a steep single-player challenge is what you seek, log into TRON 2.0 Killer App for a good first-person adventure.

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(December 30, 2004)

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