Eurogamer Retro: Tron 2.0

By John Walker on December 6th, 2010 at 7:02 pm.

Mercury's not as good as 13. I'm just saying.

Do you know what I did? You do? Oh. So yeah, I wrote about Tron 2.0 for Eurogamer. With the new movie coming out soon, it seemed a good time to go back to a game that is oddly similar to the plot of the next film. I wrote words. Some of them were:

My lasting memories were of three things: 1) The pink worm monster thing I could never beat. 2) The light cycle races I could never win. 3) The Disc weapon. What I’d forgotten was that it was in many ways as much of an RPG as Deus Ex. Not only is there a good deal of walking through friendly areas, or areas populated with friendly NPCs at least, but there’s a lot of chitchat with them and your companions. Combined with this is the levelling up – something that’s so incredibly rarely featured in an FPS. And then on top of that is the absolutely superb way it lets you add in various abilities, augmentations and weapons.

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55 Comments »

  1. Navagon says:

    Where can you get this game now? Or is it only available on eBay?

  2. PlayOm says:

    The retrospective of the game of the film? You’ve sold out with these shoddy* tie-ins RPS!

    *Disclaimer: I have yet to read the article and odds are that its actually not too shoddy at all

    • Rich says:

      Based on the analysis at the beginning of the article, it looks like the Tron Evolution is a game of a film of a game of a film.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Technically TRON Evolution has little to do with TRON 2.0 plot-wise. The protagonist of TRON Evolution is a program, while the protagonists of both 2.0 and Legacy are digitized humans. 2.0 also doesn’t directly involve Flynn at all (well I not as far as I played. Spoilers? probably not), whereas Evolution and Legacy involve him quite a bit.

      Incidentally there was also a short-lived comic series based on 2.0, but I never bought the whole storyline because I stopped collecting comics in the middle of it.

      I may be a bit off, seeing as I haven’t played Evolution or seen Legacy yet, but that’s how it seems to be.

  3. Shagittarius says:

    At what point does retro start meaning 6 months old?

  4. Jason Moyer says:

    As much as I’ve enjoyed Condemned and both FEAR titles, I miss the Monolith that made NOLF 1/2 and Tron 2.0

    • MrWolf says:

      +1 for NOLF 1 & 2. Great, great games.

    • Navagon says:

      Agreed.

    • DrGonzo says:

      NOLF 1 was actually really pretty pants. NOLF 2 was pretty good. But people should actually go back and play them now, take off those rose tinted specs.

    • Navagon says:

      I did play NOLF1 recently and I still think they should make a third game in the series. Just because the game had flaws doesn’t mean that the concept couldn’t be better executed now.

    • RQH says:

      NOLF1 pants? That’s news to me. I played it very recently and adored it. And I had not played it when it first came out, so I had no rose-tinted specs through which to view it. It was delightfully silly in all the right ways, and had such winning variety in level design, I can hardly believe the endless procession of dreary slums and office buildings that make up both Condemned and F.E.A.R. is from the same company.

    • Xercies says:

      The only way NOLF 1 is pants is that sniper level at the beginning, once it gets pass that stumbling block it is a great stealthy kind of shooter. Probably one of my favourite FPSs of all time. They should make NOLF 3 and make sure it doesn’t get tainted by modern FPS tastes.

    • ORYLY says:

      In NOLF 2, you fight a ninja while the house is flying in a tornado. We need more of this.

    • Matzerath says:

      NOLF is dated but charming – I actually appreciate its total lack of rag doll physics. Also there’s a great joke in the space-station, a posted notice, something about recent deaths and watching out for certain ‘seams in the architecture’ that you could slide to oblivion through.

    • MD says:

      Dr Gonzo, you are utterly insane. The first NOLF was, and is, a brilliant game. I played it for the first time relatively recently, and loved it. Couldn’t get into the sequel when I tried it — it just didn’t quite feel right — but I’m tempted to go back and give it another whirl.

    • sassy says:

      NOLF1 really was brilliant. I am another who played it for the first time recently (about a year ago) and loved it. It managed to hook me in a way most FPS never have.

      Sure the game feels a little dated while playing, the gameplay itself is fantastic but feels a little stiff. It makes up for that in the level design and pure strength of character.

      In fact you have just made me decide to play it through again tomorrow.

  5. nayon says:

    This game is one of the best of all time.

  6. Scharmers says:

    Oddly enough, I got through most of this game on a replay a couple of weekends ago, after reading Wired’s Tron article and rewatching the movie. It definitely does have its difficulty issues as mentioned in yonder retrospective above — and the Light Cycles and the Pink Thingy aren’t the worst of it. It’s not that these mini-boss/boss battles are overly difficult, per se, it’s just that Monolith did an absolutely crappy job in telegraphing the way to beat them. Just wait for you first battle with Thorne in the bar :(

  7. Dominic White says:

    I’ve not read the article yet, but in case it doesn’t mention it, there’s a huge must-have fanpatch for Tron 2.0 called Killer App – check it out here:
    http://www.moddb.com/mods/killer-app

    It basically fixes bugs, adds widescreen support, more multiplayer maps – generally spit and polish without changing anything fundamental. Great stuff, and the game still looks great to this day.

    There’s also a fan-made expansion called User Error, which is due for a re-release apparently ‘before the new movie is out’, including all the enhancements from the Killer App patch.

  8. PleasingFungus says:

    I did enjoy Tron 2.0. It had its rough spots – like the aforementioned lightcycle races (though I didn’t have as much trouble with them as you seemed to?), but it was a good time.

    My strongest memory of it is the falling damage, though. Falling five feet was crippling; falling ten was instant death. What a world, what a world!

  9. Will Morris says:

    Adored Tron 2.0. As was previously mentioned on this site, those Jupiter Lithtech games felt remarkably solid. The playful nature of the game, and its total dedication to keeping everything in keeping with the computer setting (I/O nodes, corruption, etc), made for a tremendous feeling of good-will towards it, even if the actual design sometimes tended toward the tedious. Shame the current incarnation looks like a bleh cash-in.

  10. Urael says:

    This game is AMAZING. If you love Tron, you’ll love this. If only Monolith still showed the same kind of creativity they did when they put this together…instead of those cookie-cutter hooror things they’re doing now….it’s enough to bring a man to tears.

    While this will almost certainly prove to be better than the new game I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this is better then the new film, too.

  11. Nova says:

    You’re right, John.

  12. Brumisator says:

    Damn, I didn’t even know this game existed, it sounds pretty damn cool!

    I have to acquire this somehow, immediately.

  13. Severian says:

    Count me in as another who really enjoyed this when it came out. Bought it sort of on a whim (and also because it was TRON), and was surprised at how fun and tight it was. Enjoyed the mild RPG aspects and the art design. Good times.

  14. Arathain says:

    Yup. One of my favourite FPSs of all time. It’s got some of the best vistas in gaming- anyone remember standing loooking up at the firewall, then up some more, then around…

    I’m glad you mentioned the software based upgrade system, which does work brilliantly. I like that the basic disk weapon has such a great learning curve to it, with mastering blocks and bounces and timing.

  15. Ashen says:

    TRON is, like any Monolith game before their FEAR era, absolutely brilliant.

    • deadsexy says:

      They were one of my favorite developers back in the early 2000s. The sad thing is, they probalby make more money now then they did back then with Tron 2.0 and NOLF. They should really try to pick up where they left off, because if the FPS genre today needs anything, it’s original titles like these.

      I will always adore NOLF and Cate Archer, in a time where fellow male gamers were raving about Lara Croft’s massive juggs, I fell in love with the wit and class of one Ms. Cate Archer.
      And I will always remember those Disc Arena Battles against my brother. It still remains as some of the most fun I’ve had with multiplayer.

      /edit: Their engine has aged well too, especially Tron still looks nice enough due to the great artstyle.

  16. Anonononomous says:

    You know, the program that shows you other characters’ names and health lets you know if you were doing damage to the seeker worm. He isn’t that hard.

  17. ZamFear says:

    The way to beat the light cycle races was to take advantage of the stupid AI, and not try to play it like you see in the movie. Stay far away from them, Eventually, they will trap themselves in their own jetwall.

    Love the disc. Using the other weapons just seemed wrong, though I did resort to the LOL on occasion.

  18. Morgawr says:

    This game was awesome and one of my favourites of all time.When I bought it, I didn’t know anything about Tron. I just thought the box art looked cool. It was completely an unexpected gem. I remember I got this game the same day I got Jedi Academy. Those were good days, when I was completely oblivious to game reviews and bought games on the strength of the blurb and screenshots on the back of the box.

  19. Hensler says:

    Seven years already? Wow. All I remember about Tron 2.0 is liking the game and the light cycle races, but I thought that was just because I had a shoddy memory.

  20. Andrew says:

    Tron 2.0 is one of my favourite games. I have played it several times. Great consistent techy atmosphere and because of the beautiful design it can still hold its own graphics wise.

    I really hope the new Tron game will not be a consolified sell out. So many games with great potential are destroyed these days. It would be terrible if it happend to this unique IP too.
    In a preview they said that Tron Evolution gameplay wise very much resembled the 3d person platform jumper prince of persia. Which sounded very disheartening to me.

  21. Andrew says:

    This doesn’t sound good. This is exactly what I was afraid of:
    “Alas, ambiance is just about the only element of (Tron) Evolution that managed to meet my expectations. I still have a couple of chapters left in the story mode, but I’m not sure I’ll go back and finish—a damning statement, given my love of the Tron universe and aversion to leaving a story only partially completed.

    The Tron franchise began as a film that imagined the life of programs—many of them video games—inside a world of silicon and circuits. It’s been almost three decades and we’re still waiting for a great game to arise from this seemingly ideal birthing ground. What wasted opportunity.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/personal-tech/controller-freak/review-tron-evolution/article1826748/

    • redrain85 says:

      “It’s been almost three decades and we’re still waiting for a great game to arise from this seemingly ideal birthing ground.”

      Somebody doesn’t know about Tron 2.0.

      I got my hands on the PC version a little early. It’s a slightly above average console port, but not by much. I’ve only played a couple of levels, but so far it’s pretty much what I expected. Quite plodding and mediocre. But it sure looks nice.

    • redrain85 says:

      Er, I meant to say PC version of Evolution. Whoops. Managed to leave out the most important detail. Like I said, plodding and mediocre.

  22. dogsolitude_uk says:

    I was lucky enough to bag a copy ages ago when I first got back into gaming. It looked really pretty, but I don’t recall any specific difficulty issues. I’ll have to reinstall it and have another look.

  23. djbriandamage says:

    This was a weird game in that I enjoyed it very much but only with cheats enabled. I liked the disc combat and hated all the other weapons. I loved the art design of levels but hated all the precarious Magaman-esque platforming. I enjoyed the setting and the way the story was told but I don’t remember a lick of it.

    I guess I loved the experience but only tolerated the game, if that makes any sense at all.

  24. Joe says:

    I got past the pink worm (and a couple of the levels with swarms of Infected) via the simple expedient of spamming the Full Health Restored cheat code. The lightcycle races were incredibly frustrating — the only way for me to win was to drive in circles in a corner and wait for the computer opponents to run into walls. But the visuals and the sounds (those slapping footsteps) were excellent; I just played it for the first time a couple of months ago and quite enjoyed it despite the issues I found.

  25. Cael says:

    I just wish they would throw this game up on steam, I’d buy it.

  26. Jason Lefkowitz says:

    The last time RPS wrote about this game, it sounded good enough to be worth tracking down a copy on eBay. So I did (for less than $10! woo hoo!), and it is indeed very good.

    Mr. Walker’s Eurogamer retro review is good too, except for one glaring omission — no mention of the absolute worst thing about the game, which is the atrocious jumping mechanics. If you’re going to make a game that’s 33% about platform jumping, the jumping needs to be really good, and jumping in Tron 2.0 just isn’t; it’s clunky and awkward, and you miss way too many jumps because of it. Combine that with Monolith’s inexplicable decision to have falling from a height greater than three inches mean Instant Death, and you get a lot of frustration. The terrible jumping takes the game from “unappreciated classic” territory down to “good but not great” territory, at least for me.

    • redrain85 says:

      As part of the Killer App Mod, I adjusted the lethal falling height to a more reasonable amount. I’d say it’s probably about double what it used to be. You can still die if you fall too far, but at least it isn’t like falling off one or two blocks and then insta-death like it used to be.

  27. DevilSShadoW says:

    Just wanted to toss in my 2cents.
    I read this on EG when it came up and it was a great read. I am not a die hard fan of the TRON series. I did see the first film and I did enjoy it too some degree but I can’t seem to get as hyped up as the rest of the people these days for anything TRON. I have yet to play the game for which the article was written but let’s say it did spark my interest in it enough to make me want to try it out.

  28. Baf says:

    The chief thing I remember about Tron 2.0 is the way that the upgrades brought things full circle. The basic disc is your weakest weapon, but also the one with the greatest number of upgrade slots, which means that as you keep picking up more and better upgrade modules, you eventually cross a line where the disc is your most powerful weapon.

    It strikes me as a brilliant way of dealing with a character with a particular iconic weapon. The disc is the proper thing for the setting, so it gives it to you at the beginning, and makes it the best weapon for the final boss fight. But it still makes it practical to experiment with the Tron-world equivalents of the shotgun and rocket launcher and so forth in the midgame.

    • Kirre says:

      Corrosion! Primitive Charge! Triangulate! Power Block! Megahertz! And whatever the other one was! Fcheeee… BSHwawawa. (Or however you can possibly onomatopoeia the derez sound.)

  29. gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

    People have already touched on this somewhat, but my main problem with Tron 2.0 is that it exacerbates the jumping physics problems in the NOLF games. Your character jumps about a foot off the ground, and falls to the ground almost straight down, nearly instantly. This was a problem in Half Life as well, but that game allowed for a longer (in the horizontal, that is) jump.

    It was rarely a big problem in NOLF 1 and 2, but the towers of cubes and mile-deep empty chasms of Tron 2.0 made it more obvious.

    Now, I realize that the floaty jump physics of most videogames are unrealistic, but I expect to be able to run, jump, and have a graceful, if unrealistic, parabola.

    I replayed Tron 2.0 about 4 months ago. I still don’t like that the final boss isn’t what one would expect from a Tron game. I don’t like the non-ending, either. It’s pretty, though. But so many of the weapons are dull and useless, that the occasional level like the reformatting or the ‘club’ don’t save the overall game for me.

  30. Jonathan says:

    I loved Tron 2.0 when it came out, and I loved it again when I replayed it about a year and a half ago. Its setting is very well realised, its graphics haven’t aged badly because of how stylised everything is, and the gameplay (both the shootybangs and the leveling) is if anything superior to the majority of modern FPS games.

    Particular standout elements for me were the design of the corrupted levels, and the mad scrambles to disinfect your systems while engaging the corrupted enemies. I also really appreciated the moments of calm in city areas, where you could just wander round and admire the architecture. The only things I disliked were that the camera made the light bikes impossible to control and the final boss was extremely annoying.

    Steam (or similar) needs to get this and the NOLF games pronto.

  31. drewski says:

    Never had a problem with the light cycle races. Think I checked a FAQ to beat the pink worm, though.

    I second the GRAH about the inept jumping, and the overall feeling of fondness for the game, also. Lots of fun. I remember the final boss as being especially difficult.

  32. Chizu says:

    “it seemed a good time to go back to a game that is oddly similar to the plot of the next film”

    As I understand it, Tron 2.0 was based on a script that had originally been written as a sequel movie.
    Maybe thats why it seems similar.

    Also, god I loved Tron 2.0.
    I should reinstall it, as it’s case never sits out of reach.