Adventures of Tron

I am Tron crazy lately. Watching the movie, posting about it and always trying to find possible details about TR3N. I thought while I was so involved with the subject I would review a game that I have been playing around with again lately, Adventures of Tron. This M Network title is one of the original games of my youth acquired 2600 collection and I remember many an afternoon trying my hardest to fumble through the game and blaming myself for my lack of skill on the game grid. In retrospect of course this did not calculate. How could I have been so bad after trying so hard. Could their be a fault in the game? I played it again a few weeks ago to find out and the answer was a resounding “yes”.

Here is the summary from the game, straight from the manual:

The object of the game is to keep your man, TRON, alive and scoring points. Keep him moving from side-to-side and floor-to-floor. Send him up the elevators. Jump him down a floor. Or slide him down the center INPUT/ OUTPUT beam. Wave after wave of Master Control Program attackers must be avoided – deadly Recognizers and Grid Bugs, even cannon-firing tanks. At the start, TRON has 4 lives, 1 on the screen, 3 in reserve.

That is accurate enough. You run around in what should be a solid platformer, but while the game renders well and has decent audio, it gets repetitive very quickly (something I can deal with, because of my almost infantile imagination). The big problem I have is that collision detection. When you have a game that is all about avoiding getting hit, it is kind of a big deal.

I found myself nervous every time I needed to jump over an enemy (sort of like when I need to jump a scorpion in Pitfall!), but where in Pitfall! you can expect the game to operate reasonably based on the the physics of the game world, the Adventure of Tron game world does it own thing, so you can never be sure where and what you might hit. While I can accept that Sark and the MCP are actively trying to stop me, the savior of the digital world, from succeeding by messing with the game system as I play it. It does make the game a lot less fun.

While that a double-H HHuge flaw, it does not mean the game doesn’t have its charms. As I mentioned, the game looks good and sounds decent, and TRON is rendered really nicely, although I am unsure why he is not all blue like in the movie, instead they have him in an outfit with a green shirt and purple pants. TRON might be a heroic warrior, but he really should not take his fashion tips from the Incredible Hulk. Fashion aside, the game has one really outstanding feature…

…and of course I save the best for last…are you ready? This is going to blow your mind. So I hope you are wearing your computing helping. Got it strapped on? Okay, now click on this gameplay video and watch the first 10 seconds.

Did you see that! That’s a splash screen people!! with cycling color!!! It is so great that is almost makes me want to give the game an extra star. Almost.

Instead I am going to give Adventures of Tron 2 stars. It has a lot of potential, but the graphics are not compelling enough to overcome the flawed physics and repetitive gameplay. I have been getting to know TRON quite well lately and while this game purports to be about TRON, this purple panted imposter is no TRON. The TRON I know would never allow himself to be trapped in such a mediocre game.

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