Tron 2.0 Killer App

Not only a really good pun, Tron 2.0 Killer App for the Gameboy Advance is also an excellent game. I spent this last weekend playing Tron whenever I could. It's a fairly short game - I was able to finish it in two days, but it was a good trip, and it's full of extras that will keep me coming back for quite a while.

The main game is an isometric platform/shooter game. You guide your choice of Tron or Mercury through several levels. Each program (that's what the "people" in Tron are called) has their own mission and areas to explore - occasionally their stories intersect, but essentially you have two seperate adventures in the same game universe. These levels generally involve exploration to find keys to pass through to different areas. Sometimes you encounter other programs that give you help, or want to make a trade with you. Upgrade chips are found which enhance your abilities, or unlock other parts of the included mini-games.

From time to time the game shifts to a remake of the classic overhead light-cycles game, and also to two different 3d games - one where you drive a Tank around, and the other where you fly a Recognizer around. At first I didn't like the 3D parts much, but I really got into them after a while. Flying the Recognizer is excellent once you've mastered the controls.

The mini-games are super-great. There are three puzzle/action games that you need to master as Tron and/or Mercury go through their adventure. One is a puzzle game, sort of like Pipemania except the pieces are hex shapes - this game is used to hack terminals scattered throughout the game areas. Another game involves defragmenting a program - if you're attracted to watching the Windows disk-defragmenter work (I am, strange as it may be) you'll probably love this game. Finally, the last game involves shooting through a firewall to get at this crazy program that looks like a disco-dancing robotic crab. I think this is the weakest of the games, but it's reasonably fun, kind of a bit like Yar's Revenge or the last level of Phoenix, but with power-ups and a couple extra complexities.

All 3 of these games are available to be played directly from the mini-game menu, in addition to their appearance in the main game. Also included in the mini-game menu are both of the original Tron arcade games from 1982 and 1983, which are recreated perfectly, at least, as far as I can tell. The Tron game from 1982 is a long-time favourite of mine - a very difficult but addictive game involving 4 different sub-games. Each time you complete all 4 parts, you repeat with the difficulty ramped up substantially. Very cool getting portable versions of these great games.

Anyway, that's a whole lot of value packed into one game. And all that playing makes me want to watch my Tron DVD again!

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