Review: Adventures of Tron (Atari 2600)

In this review, we teleport our way through the Atari 2600 game Adventures of Tron. We find out if this survival game is worth a play.

This game was released in 1982.

The objective of this game is to teleport as high as you can before you die. Apparently, elements of this game were taken from the movie Tron.

You start by falling down the middle teleportation shaft in the middle of the level. When you land at the bottom, there are a number of things to notice. The first thing are the two elevators on the left and right hand side of the screen. These levels only go up. The thing with the elevators is that you have to alternate between each elevator to keep progressing up floors.

The next thing to notice is the fact that there are flying objects along the top of each level. Most, like the lightening bolt and star, are objects that you need to collect. If you collect every object in the level, then the whole level turns purple. When this happens, your final objective is to run to the center teleporter. If you succeed, you fly upwards to the next level.

Not all high floating objects are items to collect. One floating object is the arrow object. If you jump up to try and collect it, you’ll move to the side of the screen it happens to be going. In that case, your only hope is that you don’t land on an enemy.

Impeding your progress are a number of enemies along the way. There are the standard enemies that simply move from one side of the screen. The direction alternates between floors and the pattern is pretty obvious. In fact, recognizing the pattern and the elevator system is key to your success.

In later levels, there are the introduction of tanks. These tanks are not only large, but can also fire bullets. The only good news about these tanks is that they also follow the same movement patterns of the other enemies.

As you progress through the levels, enemies begin moving faster and more complex enemies begin to appear. Because of this, you’ll need to master the movement capabilities of this game. In addition to the elevators is the ability to jump. this can be executed by tapping the fire button. You can jump over some enemies, however, the move requires precise control or you’ll end up dying. A much more sneaky move is the use of down. If you move the joystick downwards, you’ll drop a level. This can be very useful in evading enemies.

Another thing to be wary of is the fact that if you accidentally move into the teleporter in the middle before collecting the items, you’ll fall all the way down to the first floor. Sometimes, this is useful for evading enemies, but most of the time, this can set you back in terms of progress and even a life if you happen to land on an enemy on the bottom floor.

One final thing of note is that you seem to have five lives to work with. It may be a lot to work with, but as you progress levels, enemies will move faster, making lives harder and harder to retain.

Every level looks identical. With the exception of the enemies changing, it’s hard to tell what level you are on. This does make the game rather repetitive.

Still, what makes this game work so well is the difficulty curve. The game is easy enough for players totally new to the game to figure out what they need to do to progress and do well. The gradual difficulty increase allows players to get that sense of progression. As you get to later levels, this game does become quite challenging, testing the expertise of more experienced players. Thanks to this, it’s easy for players to come back to this game and see if they can get a higher score.

One major complaint I have is the fact that collecting items has a sensitivity issue. It’s more than possible for your character to overlap with the object and the game still counts it as a miss. This can be a little annoying after a while.

Generally speaking, this game is surprisingly good considering the repetitive and simplistic nature. It can be a very enjoyable way of killing an hour of two.

Graphically speaking, this game is decent enough. The thing to remember is the fact that there are Atari 5200 games like Choplifter, and Pac Man that gives this game a run for its money. Still, the objects are fairly easy to make out. So, it’s good for the system, though competition from more powerful systems should also be noted as well.

There is no music to be had here, but the sound effects are pretty good. There is a heavy reliance on white noise based sound effects, but it does manage to work pretty well.

Overall, despite the repetitive nature of this game, there is a fair amount of game play value to be found here. The difficulty curve really works well in favor of this game. The objectives might take a moment to figure out, but the game gives some leeway for that. The introduction of other enemies also helps with the sense of progression. The only real big flaw was the low sensitivity to collecting the items. The graphics are good for the system, though there are other games on more powerful systems that are capable of more. The sound effects are decent enough. Overall, this game gets a thumbs up from me.

Furthest point in game: High score: 18,860

General gameplay: 20/25
Replay value: 8/10
Graphics: 7/10
Audio: 3/5

Overall rating: 76%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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