With TRON: Legacy on the horizon, it is safe to say that, TRON is in the air. So to that I submit, besides watching the original TRON, what better way is their to get into a TRON state of mind then by playing the classic Tron Deadly Discs on your Atari 2600? Now, it has been at least a decade since I last played the game and I remembered enjoying it in my youth as well as when I last played it. The question is, did it hold up over the years?
I am happy to announce that my memories of the game are correct. Tron Deadly Discs is a fast paced game in the style of Stern’s megahit Berzerk, but with Tron theming. Well maybe theming is a too strong a word. The colors of the game are sort of Troni-ish, sorta. Oh and the game does take place in a video game world, well at least according to the manual.
On screen it is hard to tell where it is, some room I guess. Okay, so this game has almost nothing to do with TRON the movie except you throw a disc at your enemies instead of shooting a gun at them. That is it. Oh and the disc is more like a bouncing one shot gun, then a deadly disc. You throw it and as it moves away from you it has killing potential and on the way back to you, it is harmless. Using the bouncing disc as a weapon that can hit multiple targets on the rebound seems like a missed opportunity on the part of the programmers. Maybe it would have made the game too easy?
But if they are were making the game harder, why is it that you can touch and run into your enemies and that doesn’t kill you. It was a gameplay aspect I did not expect and happened by mistake when I wasn’t paying attention. A joystick slip and my guy (TRON?) touched the enemy by accident. I even flinched, I thought I would die, but I passed right through him.
This is really confusing. You know when I sat down to write this after playing I fully intended to give this game 5 stars and I am not sure what happened. So let me take a minute to talk about the positives.
* Moderately fast faced
* Has word Tron on cartridge
* Cool portals that you can move through to the other side of the screen
* Enemies change color – grow more challenging
Wow, even just those 4 feels like I am stretching thing. Maybe this game doesn’t hold up, but I am too easily influenced by its TRONness to look at it fairly. The geeky part of me wants to give this game 87 stars and put on my TRON outfit and dance in cold dewy Autumn grass under a blue moon, the other part of me is saying “you been bamboozled! 1 star!” As with all of my internal conflicts, I will listen to neither sides and instead just give it a middling 3 stars. A safe ranking if ever I saw one.
Tron Deadly Discs Gameplay Video