In 1982 I watched a movie that really set the stage for some of the modern day special effects. The original Tron, while not a superb movie, had exceptional special effects for the time, and really bought the idea of computer graphics in movies to the fore-front. 28 years later and Tron: legacy is being released, with better acting, better special effects and what promises to be a much better plot.
The Video Game Tron: Evolution is not an adaptation of the movie – this came as a shock as it certainly marketed as one – essentially it is a standalone story that bridges the gap between the original Tron movie and Tron:Legacy.
The Tron world has changed vastly since the first Tron movie, with ‘programs’ now living in communities that are strangely parallel to our own, with government, laws and all kinds of social activities available. However, strange entities, or algorithms, have appeared in the world and have ‘free will’ which is a very strange idea to programs.
You take control of Anon who has been caught up in a power struggle between programs and ‘viruses’ that threatens the ‘world’ – you get to interact with characters from both movies, and I’d suggest that if you haven’t seen the original Tron then you may want to get it to give the game far more context.
The game itself is a pretty bog standard third person action game, which seems to be heavily reliant on elements of platforming, as well as elements you would find in a Tomb Raider game such as leaping, running along walls etc. Combat is efficient, but really doesn’t have the same feel as a light saber battle or an axe wielding maniacal battle! You get to use a, wait for it, Frisbee – OK so it’s a glowing disc – for long range combat and also for some of the close-range combat – there are plenty of combinations and special attacks, but for me it just didn’t feel right – effective, but not right.
Visually the game holds true to the Tron feel, and the starkness is pretty effective, while the touches that you’d expect from a HD game are all effectively used – the visuals are well accompanied by a decent techno sounding music track which are pretty atmospheric and are perhaps the best element of the game, bringing dark undertones in just the right places. The animations of the characters and enemies is good, as you would expect – but something just feels a little static with the graphics.
What disappoints most is that the game doesn’t bring anything new to the table; it’s a mish-mash of different games, with pretty decent graphics and a vaguely interesting plot. The tie-in to the movies does add some value, but really fails to deliver on the promise it holds. After watching some of the movie clips I was excited by the potential of the game, but really didn’t feel the same excitement level as I played.
The game is a pretty short game, and most competent players will finish the seven chapters in about 12 hours or less. There is a lot of action and the cut scenes are fairly minimal, so most of the 12 hours is game play, but you’ll find that each chapter is essentially the same, and really blends the same elements over and over again.
There are a couple of mini games where you get to drive the Light Cycle or a tank, and while graphically very good, these really aren’t any different than the games that came out with the original Tron movie – it’s the lack of originality that really brings this game down.
Don’t get me wrong, Tron: Evolution isn’t a bad game; it has all the elements you would expect from this type of game, and is pretty tough at times. I would suggest that you wait until it is discounted to below $15 before buying it though, it simply isn’t worth $40. There are some multiplayer modes with several game types allowing up to ten players to play online, these add some value to the game, but you’ll soon back to your original favorites after a couple of hours of multiplayer gaming.