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Tron


Developed over 25 years ago, Tron was created for arcades to go along with the movie of the same name that was released in the same year by Disney. The developer's name was Bally Midway, which is now known as Midway these days. According to IMDB, the arcade release actually grossed more than the theatrical release. Of course, the film went on to gain an almost cult-like following over the years and gained success on VHS / DVD.

Gameplay

The Xbox 360 version of Tron is identical to the original; essentially a collection of four mini-games. The games are split into 4 sections to be chosen specifically or a timer will pick one at random eventually. The mini-games include I/O tower, light cycles, cone and a maze with tanks. I/O Tower basically requires you to shoot spider creatures to access a circle before time runs out. The light cycle section is taken from the popular method of travel from the movie in which you have to ride at high speeds to block your opponent in a box via the wall trail that you leave behind. Cone is basically a replicating wall of light that has to be shot through to access a cone-like transporter. Finally, the battle tank section simply requires you to shoot down an enemy tank inside a small maze.

As the game progresses, the levels increase in difficulty and the tasks become more stringent. For instance, you only have to destroy one light cycle on level 1, but that increases to 3 bikes on the following level. On level two, The I/O Tower doubles the amount of spider like creatures that cluster around the opening of the circle portal. It really takes a veteran of the arcade classic to have any success in the upper levels of difficulty. Casual gamers may find a level of frustration that's not typically found in one of these classic arcade releases.

The controls are hit and miss on the Xbox 360 controller. The light cycle portion of the game offers sluggish controls due to its movement structure. It seems to be pre-aligned to a grid which makes quick decisions useless at times. Also on the default setting, the rotating weapon in the battle tanks section as well as the I/O tower portion is difficult to coordinate when moving around. It seems to be locked to a circular motion rather than direct movement in a specific direction. Thankfully, you can switch up the control scheme for direct aiming, but you still have to coordinate that with the fire button.

The developer also included a multiplayer mode, but the execution of the network code is absolutely terrible. Each of my multiplayer games was a lag-filled nightmare, especially the co-op matches. It's unfortunate as the modes seemed promising. During co-op, you can view your partner's progress via a smaller window off to the right. There's also a couple of versus modes, one of which that progressively speeds up your opponent's game dependent on your progress.

The achievement set is surprisingly creative for a classic title. There are a few achievements that are awarded for simply passing levels, but several of the tasks are specific to mini-game. Lasting 7 seconds in the light cycle mini-game is pretty simple, but entering the Cone in 6 shots or entering the I/O tower without killing any of the spider creatures is certainly challenging to complete. Overall, it's a balanced set of tasks with offerings for casual and hardcore gamers.

Graphics & Audio

The updated high definition graphics are pretty dismal. Like many other classic titles heading to Live Arcade, the developer tossed some cabinet on the left and right side of the main screen to flesh out the widescreen view. The remainder of the screen is decked out in a drab color scheme, most of which is blue. The visuals are vastly outdated and the developer didn't take any risks when it came to updating the classic look. The sound effects are reminiscent of the classic and offer the familiar, futuristic Tron noises in all the mini-games. Also, the sound seemed to drop out at times. I couldn't tell if it was glitchy or purposefully cutting out.

Conclusion

Tron is another case of a classic game that's just a bit overpriced on the Xbox Live Marketplace, but probably can't reduce the price due to Microsoft's pricing format. Still, there's a small amount of enjoyment to be found, but only if you have never experienced the classic. Overall, Tron is a below average title that could have used a complete retooling to utilize the 360 controller correctly and a graphical revision of Tron's world. Unless you are really desperate to relive your arcade glory days, visit the demo from time to time to get your Tron fix. Otherwise, leave this arcade title alone.