Tron: Evolution is a game set between the events of the original film, Tron, and the sequel, Tron: Legacy. As a result, it will attempt to bridge the gap between the two, giving players more backstory about how the digital world and game grid of 1982 has become a much more dangerous (and graphically superior) world by 2010.
In Tron: Evolution, "Tron" is both the name of a city and a character; Alan Bradley's messianic security program that started it all. The city is getting overrun by a computer virus known as Abraxas, and the player will be fighting a number of programs (read: dudes) who have been infected with the virus. The different factions of the Tron universe continue to battle, and new factions have also risen, denoted by their colors. These will factor into the story, though it's currently unknown where all of the characters' allegiances lie.
The primary gameplay in Evolution is focused on combat and acrobatics, with the former resembling the type of light attack/heavy attack/grab action that has become relatively commonplace in the post-God of War era. The player movement includes wall runs, big jumps, the ability to vault off of specific targets, and so on, giving the moment to moment movement a feel that mirrors the modern Prince of Persia games. As is standard in the world of Tron, the player character wield a disc that is used for combat purposes. It can be thrown like a boomerang, locked onto enemies to nail them from a distance, and can also be used for aimed shots.
The player character's movement takes multiple cues from different games such as Assassin's Creed, Mirror's Edge and God of War. Moving about the environment is done primarily via wall runs and jumps.
The player can jump and sprint. The sprint button opens up multiple opportunities like in Assassin's Creed. There are wall runs, wall jumps and run up wall techniques. Jumping before running up a wall lets the protagonist run higher up it. The character can jump off low surfaces or ramps to propel himself over long gaps. The character can also grab ledges and shimmy on ledges. Jumping up from these ledges allows for a higher jump. At the beginning of the game, the player gets the Navi Bit from Quorr. This object lets the player propel himself from orange grapple points. The player can chain multiple grapple points thanks to the game's targeting system.
The game gives the player a pretty straight forward path that he can follow. Critical paths usually have a colored light source on theme, telling the player where to wall jump or where to aim a jump. The Navi Bit also comes in handy to find a way forward but only in Tron City.
Combat is disc based where the player faces enemies who also have discs (except when facing the infected enemies). The combat is done acrobatically. The player is recommended to jump off the walls and benches to become a harder target and not get hit. The player fights with both melee attacks and ranged attacks with the light disc. He can also block and parry.
The player has both a health and energy bar that he can upgrade at disc stations scattered through the game world. The game ends when the player's health runs out (the game over screen is a blank, dark computer screen that indicates that a backup is being prepared). The energy bar is divided into six bars. Each bar runs out after the player uses a special disc attack and bars can be replenished after defeating enemies. Health and energy are replenished thanks to objects in the environment. Green or white pieces of wall replenish the player's health when he runs over them. Computers and other objects can serve as a power source to gain more power.
During the course of the game, the player gains four different light discs :
The first disc the player gets. It's not very mobile but powerful. It hits specific enemies hard and with rang. It posesses three special attacks. The first attack fires the charged disc at the enemy. The second attack is a ground slam that gets multiple enemies at ones and sends them flying into the air. The third attack is a mobile attack where multiple light discs come out of the player at once.
The bomb disc is very mobile but less precise. It possesses three special attacks and when it is equipped, enemies get shocked each time they inflict damage to the player. The first is a bomb attack that targets one enemy but detonates and destroys enemies around the target. The second attack is a ground slam type explosion that derezzes all enemies around the player. The final attack has the player throwing multiple grenades around him.
The Stasis Disc serves more as a way to a means. It's used to send enemies flying and make them float in the air. This is an ideal way to defeat enemies with other discs. If the player stands still when this disc is equipped, the player becomes invisible. This disc has two special attacks. The first attack targets one enemy, sending him into stasis. The second attack is a ground slam area attack that sends multiple enemies into stasis.
This disc is both harmful to the player as well as to the player. It corrupts other enemies, turning them into a walking time bomb and turning off all their weapons. Like the other discs, one special attack targets a particular enemy while the other is an area attack that can corrupt the player himself.
The first enemy that the player faces. They are very basic, infected programs that just run towards the player, flailing their arms.
Regular enemy who just throws his disc. He is vulnerable to all attacks.
This pesky foe is extremely agile. He dodges most attacks, including the most powerful ones. He has a powerful disc-based attack and when the player gets to close, triggers a stasis attack that throws the player into the air and leaves him temporarily floating in the air. His weakness are counter attacks that destroys half of his health and leaves him vulnerable on the ground.
This soldier has a giant shield that blocks almost every attack. He also has a powerful, disc based attack. His only weakness comes from the very ground he's standing on. A powerful, ground slam from the player's heavy disc is enough to knock him off his feat. Once he's on the ground, he's exposed to all attacks thrown at him.
This powerful soldier has a powerful ground slam and has almost no weaknesses. He resists to almost all special attacks including stasis which only slows his slam. He's only at a disadvantage while he's doing his ground slam. He also dislikes the effects of the Corruption Disc.
These type of infected have the same attacks as the regular ones but are no push overs. They are very tough and must be destroyed in two steps. First, they must be stunned by a stasis attack that keeps them floating in the air for several seconds, this is the ideal time to strike. Here, he is vulnerable to all types of attacks.
The Black Guard
The most powerful enemies in the game, they have no weakness. They are Clu's personal guard and they come in two forms: Staff Guards and Grenade Guards. The Staff Guards block literally all basic attacks. They have one deadly attack routine that ends with them slamming their staff. The Grenade Guards throw multiple grenades at once while jumping off the walls. They can be hit by any type of attack but this does little to no damage.
The iconic light cycles from the first film return in Tron: Evolution in a new, decidedly more analog form. No longer are the bikes limited to 90-degree turns they can be steered around like in a normal racing game. The first gameplay sequence shown involving the bikes has the player racing along a constantly exploding roadway that is being attacked by Recognizers. Discs can be thrown while riding the bike, offering a chance to take out enemy light cycles along the way.
Set between the events of the Tron and Tron: Legacy films (though closer to the latter than the former), the game begins with a young Kevin Flynn creating a video diary. He explains that the closed computer system he created has begun to evolve on its own. Self-aware programs known as "ISOs" (Isomorphic Algorithms) have been mysteriously appearing in the system, having no user or programmed function. They exhibit free will and, despite being a peaceful race, are generally disliked and distrusted among the traditionally created sentient programs, now known as "Basics". It is explained that Jalen, one of the leaders of the ISOs, was de-rezzed on the Game Grid, which was re-purposed for entertainment purposes instead of the bloodsport that the Master Control Program used them for. Flynn suspects that Jalen was murdered. Flynn’s system administrator, Clu-2, also behaves suspiciously around the ISOs, so Flynn has created a new system monitor, a mute program named Anon (short for "anonymous", a joke on his inability to speak), to get things under control.
Inside the computer world, Radia, leader of the ISOs is being installed as system co-administrator alongside Clu-2. The player takes control of the new, and completely silent, system monitor. Anon quickly meets with Tron in Tron City, and Tron instructs Anon to prevent any unauthorized entry into the ceremony. Quorra, a female Basic, attempts unsuccessfully to gain access to Radia. Suspicious, Tron instructs Anon to follow her. Quorra leads him directly to the installation ceremony, already underway.
At the ceremony, Clu-2 expresses hope for a bright future, where Basics and ISOs will live together in peace. Radia takes the podium and explains her sadness at the loss of Jalen, but looks forward to a brighter tomorrow. Suddenly, the ceremony is interrupted by Abraxas, a shadowy yellow virus seemingly bent on de-rezzing Clu-2, and who dispatches the ceremonial guards with little effort. Anon saves Clu-2 and fights off Abraxas, who escapes to continue spreading corruption throughout the system.
Flynn and Tron arrive. Clu-2 comments that a virus shouldn’t be possible in the sealed system, but it exists nonetheless; his theory is that Abraxas was once an ISO, whose self-evolving programing took a dark turn somewhere along its development. Clu-2 calls the ISOs “flaws,” which Flynn is quick to correct, and laments Clu’s inability to understand the miracle of the ISOs' existence, which he attributes to his own poor programming skills. This visibly angers Clu, though he remains silent. Tron encourages Flynn to leave the system, advising him that it’s no longer safe for him. Anon is instructed to find and eradicate the source of the corruption.
Anon explores the city, destroying corrupted programs wherever he finds them. On his way past the virtual version of Flynn’s Arcade, Anon witnesses Flynn and Tron being ambushed by Clu-2 and his guards. Flynn and Tron are presumed killed and de-rezzed (respectively) in the skirmish, but the Monitor fights off Clu’s soldiers and escapes.
Fighting his way through the Quarantine Zone, Anon meets Quorra. She confesses that she witnessed the ambush and wants to get the truth out about what happened. She suggests visiting Zuse, the popular owner of an ISO-friendly nightclub, for advice.
At the nightclub, Quorra explains the situation to Zuse. Zuse gives Quorra’s identity disc the control codes to the Solar Sailor, and encourages them to travel to Arjia City, birthplace of the ISOs, to find Radia and warn her about Clu, and to have her spread the word among the ISOs. Just then, the nightclub and the skyscraper it sits atop of are attacked by Recognizers. Quorra gives Anon her identity disc and they flee down the side of the crumbling building on Light Cycles.
Once on ground, Quorra realizes that by attacking one of their only safe havens, Clu-2 has declared open war on the ISOs. The pair is suddenly attacked by one of the guards that de-rezzed Tron, and Anon gives chase. Bombarded by attacks from Clu’s guards and Abraxas alike, Anon eventually commandeers a Light Tank, and blasts his way to the Solar Sailor docks, where he reunites with Quorra.
Arriving in Arjia City, they find screens broadcasting Anon's wanted status, and Quorra suggests that he travel in the city’s cavernous subsystem, rather than on city streets, to the main Hub. Once at the Arjia Communal Assembly, Anon finds Clu’s soldiers invading the city and terrorizing the population. He fights his way to the Hub, where he and Quorra witness Clu-2 meeting with Radia. Clu tells Radia he needs her help to stop the spread of the Abraxas virus, and that Anon killed Flynn. He asks Radia to gather all the ISOs together in an effort to root out the virus.
Once Clu leaves, Quorra and Anon tell Radia the truth, and Radia tells Quorra to warn the other ISO factions. Radia then informs Anon that Flynn was not killed, but was rescued and smuggled from Tron City by an ISO survivalist named Gibson, who was subsequently arrested and taken to the Game Grid, which Clu-2 has changed back to their original function as brutal execution arenas for enemies of the state.
The Monitor escapes Arjia City, infiltrates the Game Grid, and rescues Gibson. In the meantime, Clu-2 publically rallies the Basics against the ISOs, inexplicably determined to eradicate the ISOs from the system entirely. Gibson takes Anon to his home at Bostrom Colony, where Flynn is in hiding. They discover that the corruption has spread there and infected Gibson’s friends. Flynn, in the meantime, has fled and cannot be found.
The primary body of Abraxas arrives, and Anon and Gibson are forced to flee. They discover Flynn’s Light Cycle, abandoned. Gibson recommends that they return to Arjia, hoping Radia will know what to do. Giving chase, Abraxas catches Gibson and infects him. Anon is forced to de-rez Gibson before escaping via Light Cycle to Arjia City, which has come under attack from Clu’s forces. He commandeers another Light Tank and blasts through armies of Recognizers, Light Tanks, and ground forces to Arjia’s Hub.
Arriving at the Hub, the Monitor finds Quorra. She explains that Clu-2 has attacked every ISO enclave in the system before she could get word to them, and that a near-complete genocide has already taken place. Inside the Hub, they discover Clu-2 speaking with a captured Radia. He taunts her with the de-rezzing of every other ISO on the Grid, asking her how it felt. Abraxas then arrives, and asks Radia not to be frightened. Radia realizes that Abraxas is, in fact, Jalen, and that Clu-2 reprogrammed him into the virus to create a pretence for the eradication of the ISO race. Abraxas infects Radia, destroying the last pure ISO in the system. Quorra departs to follow Clu, while Anon stays and defeats Abraxas in single combat. But immediately thereafter, Arjia City is completely destroyed and the Monitor loses consciousness.
Anon wakes up to the sound of Flynn’s voice and discovers that he has been rescued. Flynn expresses deep sadness and dismay over the loss of the ISOs. He then tells Anon that Quorra has snuck aboard Clu’s warship, the Regulator, and that he should rescue her, as she is “more special than [he] know[s]” and is vital to the future of the system. The Monitor leaves and stows away aboard a Recognizer bound for the warship.
After fighting his way through the Regulator, Anon interrupts Clu-2 as about he is about to de-rez Quorra. Clu sends his toughest guards to de-rez the Monitor, but Anon prevails. Just then, a Recognizer carrying Abraxas arrives and crashes into the side of the ship. He explains to Anon that he wants to "die" and end his suffering, but now cannot, and blames Clu. Clu throws Quorra into the fight below and flees. Anon defeats Abraxas once again, destroys the power core, and escapes with Quorra on a passing Recognizer as the Regulator explodes behind them. The shockwave causes them to lose control, and the Recognizer plummets to the surface. Unfortunately, although Quorra survives, Anon is de-rezzed in the crash.
After witnessing Anon’s demise, Quorra wanders through the Outlands, barely alive herself. She almost de-rezzes, but is rescued by Flynn, and the two of them walk off into the darkness together, now fugitives in Clu-2’s "perfect system".
A US only collector's edition was released the same day as the regular edition of the game. For 130 $, players get a plastic collectible light cycle (modeled by Sideshow Collectibles) and a plastic display case to display a light cycle. The display case also has a hidden drawer in which the game can be kept.
PC System Requirements
- OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7
- CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.0 GHz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+
- RAM Memory: 1.5 GB
- Video Card: 256 MB (GeForce 8800 GT / ATI Radeon HD 3850 or better)
- Hard Disk Space: 10 GB
- CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.8 GHz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ (or better)
- RAM Memory: 2 GB
- Video Card: 512MB (nVidia GeForce 8800 GT / ATI Radeon HD 3870 or better)