Sunday, January 30, 2011

Game of the Week: Tron Deadly Discs for Intellivision

In the early 1980s, Disney put out a movie called Tron. It was about being trapped inside a video game world. Considering how popular video games were at the time, you would think this movie would have been a huge hit at the box office.

It wasn't.

In fact, it pretty much tanked. Though, to be fair, Tron the movie does have a loyal following to this day, though it's not yet had major mainstream success. Maybe that will change when the sequel movie, Tron: Legacy, hits the theaters next month.

Tron Deadly DiscsAnyway, before the original movie came out, the folks at Mattel worked out a deal with the Disney folks to make a bunch of games for the Intellivision, Mattel's home video game system, and to release those games about the time the movie was released.

Well, unfortunately the games were about as much success as the Tron movie, though some of them were darn good games.

One of those darn good games is Tron Deadly Discs.

It's kind of difficult to explain the gameplay, but I'll try. You play the Tron character from the movie, and you are being hunted onscreen by evil computer-generated warriors. Your only weapon is a throwing disc which can take out enemy warriors but can also be used to block, and thus temporarily destroy, the throwing discs of your opponents. You face three enemies at a time, and after you take one of them out, a new one will be added to the group so that you're pretty much facing three enemies most of the time but not all of the time. Also, you can open doorways at the top, bottom and sides of the screen which will allow you to jump around to the opposite side of the screen. Every once in a while those doorways are closed up by a Recognizer, a giant flying robot-looking thing, but with some skill and luck you can take out the tough Recognizer before it completes its job.

The game keeps going and going until all your lives are gone. If you are good, a game can last quite a while, which is impressive because the more enemy warriors you kill, the tougher they get.

The graphics here are quite plain by modern standards, but they hold up nicely when compared to the graphics of the time. The colors were bright, but a bit simplistic. The sound is sparse, as it was with many home video games of the time, but what sound there is is appropriate for play. The gameplay itself is where this game really shines, because it's awesome to toss around your disc and watch enemy warriors be disintegrated.

All in all, I think this Intellivision game stands up well to time. I still play it today, and still find it tons of fun.

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