TRON 2.0

By 2003, a 20th anniversary DVD of the TRON movie was released. Apparently, it did well enough for Disney to consider doing a sequel.  For while the movie may not have been considered a blockbuster, it did present us with a look inside the world of the computer that very few have tried to duplicate, surpass or explore.  Also, computer technology had advanced much since the 1980ís and a sequel of TRON seemed like a good vehicle to explore that technology.

So the decision was made to release a TRON 2.0 project.  Originally planned to be a movie, it was decided that it would be released as a PC game with altered versions under the name TRON 2.0 Killer App being released for the X-Box and Nintendoís Game Boy Advance.  TRON 2.0 was produced by Monolith Productions and released by Buena Vista Games.

Returning to do voice-overs for this game, which was totally computer animated, were Bruce Boxleitner as Alan Bradley (and TRON in the Killer App version), Cindy Morgan as Lora and a program named Ma3a, and Syd Mead returned to design a new Light Cycle.  Rebecca Romjin appears as the voice of Mercury, a champion Light Cycle racer.

In terms of storyline we find that after Flynn was promoted to senior exec of ENCOM, and Dillinger disappears, he shared his experiences in the digital world with Alan, Lora and Walter Gibbs.  Worried that the digitizing technology could fall into the wrong hands Alan begins work on the TRON Legacy Code which would allow him to track rogue users using the technology.  While doing this, Alan proposes to Lora, and the two marry.  They have a son named Jet.

But when the MCP was destroyed vital parts of the digitizing technology were lost.  Alan, Lora and Walter (until he retires) begin recreating the technology.  Flynn becomes disenchanted with his senior executive role and leaves the company.  On the way out he tells Alan that maybe he needs to build his own MCP to rebuild the technology.  Alan considers this, and he and Lora work on creating Ma3a.  However, Lora dies in a laser lab accident before Ma3a is completely created.

Alan throws himself in his work and Jet gets into trouble as a hacker.  Alan eventually rediscovers the technology but J.D. Thorne (a rival of Alanís) plots to steal the technology for rival company fCON (Future Control Industries).  After an attempt to digitize Thorne in a demonstration that goes wrong, fCON plans to take over ENCOM.

Alan feigns lack of success with the digitizing technology but then disappears.  His son Jet must enter the computer world, guided by Ma3a and later a program named Mercury, to find Alan and foil fCONís plot.

The game has several nods to the original (considered 1.0) with original designs of programs and Light Cycles that work with 2.0 advances.  Some of these advances, however, are potentially deadly to Jet as he faces foes consisting of Z-Lots, ICPís, Data Wraiths and the corrupted user Thorne, who has set himself up as some kind of cyber god in the computer world.  And Jet and Alan have to find a way to defeat him, and fCON.

Sadly, however, the TRON 2.0 game met the same level of success the original movie had, which was pretty lukewarm.  Reasons for the lack of success ranged from it not being available on game systems like the PS2 and Game Cube, despite the Killer App versions on Game Boy Advance and X-Box (it should be noted that the Killer App version has a slightly different story in which someone hacks into the ENCOM system [voice sounds like Dillinger] and Alan deploys TRON and Mercury to stop the invasion of the system.  Killer App also has the TRON arcade games as part of its programming), to a lack of enthusiasm from Buena Vista Interactive citing insufficient marketing to various demographics. 

88 MPH studios was supposed to do a TRON 2.0 comic book series but the project was cancelled due to a licensing disagreement with Disney.  An expansion pack for TRON 2.0 was also cancelled as well as plans for a TRON 3.0 which was reported to have its story take place in the 1980ís.

But like the movie, TRON 2.0 refuses to die.  It is reported that comic company Slave Labor Graphics plans to release a TRON 2.0 comic with the first issue being released in April 2006.  There is even talk of doing another TRON movie, but itís possible they may go for a remake instead of a sequel.

A visually spectacular movie that opens imaginations yet has a cloudy past and an equally cloudy future.  And with this review coming to a close I guess the only thing that can be said now is..

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Written by JSC1