Tron Evolution: Battle Grids
21st Dec 2010 | 19:30
New movie Tron: Legacy revisits Disney's 1982 cult classic and reinvigorates its bold vision with state-of-the-art special effects technology.
Tron: Evolution borrows some of that visual flair, but gameplay-wise it screams 1982 louder than Boy George on a BMX doing his best ET impression.
There's an irony in there somewhere; after all, the original movie concerned a games designer being sucked into his own creation, but nearly 30 years on that creation sucks so hard we're past caring.
Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh. Subtitled Battle Grids, this is a Wii Sports clone clad in the Bacofoil and Lycra1 of countless imagined futures.
The trouble is that the games gathered within were designed for a fictional future, while those in Wii Sports stand the test of time of a very real past.
First the light cycles, the super-fast bikes that featured in one of the original Tron's most memorable scenes. They're authentically recreated here, complete with right-angle turns2 and those deadly light trails that can 'de-rez' a foe in a microsecond.
Call us philistines, but the whole affair puts us in mind of creaky mobile game Snake, particularly when you perform a tighter-than-tight turn and collide with the trail you've just painted across the track.
THE 70s CALLED
The tank game feels similarly dated. Despite the high-tech finery, it's nearly indistinguishable from Tank, an Atari game released in 1974.
Multiple, unlockable trap-filled environments add variety, but they're smoke and mirrors easily punctured by your opponents' near inescapable barrage of shells.
The disc-based games fare little better. Hyper Ball sees you tossing a disc at the ceiling and watching it ricochet onto your opponent's hexagonal grid. The controls here are tight and responsive, but it's just techno-themed volleyball.
Less successful still is Disc Combat. Bouts take place on a shifting playing field as two fighters toss laser frisbees at one another. But as fluid as each character's movements are, there's no hope of outrunning the discs and every single game descends into a tiresome trading of blows.
Even fancy powerups can't drag a match back from the brink when you're a few points down.
Tron: Evolution isn't totally devoid of fun or excitement but, like the new film, it's more concerned with the 1982 movie's legacy than any kind of evolution.