Tron 2.0 was originally released on the PC last year, where it served as a sequel of sorts to the sci-fi film from 1982. What distinguished the game most was its highly stylized look. Much like the film, everything in it was bathed in a characteristic colored glow. As the game has transitioned to the Xbox platform, the developer has seen fit to add a number of new multiplayer modes to it. But underneath its flashy exterior, Tron 2.0: Killer App is still a fairly bland shooter whose few memorable moments are overshadowed by unimaginative level design and far too many load screens.
The highly stylized environments give the game an unmistakable look and feel.
The game takes place 20 years after the events of the film. You assume the role of Jet Bradley, who is working at the same company as his father Alan. The elder Bradley, voiced by original Tron star Bruce Boxleitner, mysteriously disappears at the outset of the story, so his advanced artificial intelligence, ma3a (pronounced "muh-three-uh" and voiced by Cindy Morgan, another Tron alum), digitizes Jet into the company mainframe to both investigate what happened to Alan and combat a viral corruption in the system that's been unleashed by a rival corporation called fCon. Along the way, you'll meet a number of other characters who'll help you out, including a female program voiced by actress and model Rebecca Romijn. The voice acting is good, as you'd expect from professional actors, and it helps convey the game's interesting story.
Upon entering the computer, you find yourself in a strange new world where programs can look like humans but can speak in computer terms and in distorted, digitized monotones. The environments are boxy, and they are all bathed in the glow of various primary colors. It all looks pretty good and is faithful to the film and to the societal sentiment toward high technology in the 1980s. Despite this, you'll still find all the standard aspects of first-person shooters here. Your weapons are called primitives, treasure chests are called archive bins, keys are called permission sets, and humans are referred to in godlike terms as "users." You'll quickly discover that the company mainframe's own defense programs, called ICPs, deem you the cause of the viral corruption, so you'll have to battle and evade them...in addition to fCon's menacing "z-lots" and data wraiths.
Like just about all Monolith-designed shooters, Tron 2.0 Killer App includes a number of role-playing elements. As you complete missions, you'll earn upgrade tokens called "build points," which are used to level you up. You'll transition from Jet 1.0.0 to Jet 2.0.0, and so on. With each additional level you can choose to increase stats, such as your health, energy, and weapon efficiency. You'll also encounter power-ups called subroutines. One example is "fuzzy signature," which reduces the amount of noise you make, thus allowing you to sneak up on enemies for stealth kills. Each subroutine offers a specific bonus, but you're only allowed to equip a few of these at a time. This is limited by the amount of space you have in your system memory. As you level up, you'll gain more system memory slots, and you can also reduce the size of each subroutine (in addition to increasing its power) by running it through robots called optimization wares, which you'll find scattered throughout the game's levels.
You'll also encounter a number of levels that include light cycle combat. Basically, light cycle combat is similar to playing a multiplayer game of Snake. You move about a gridlike arena at 90 degree angles while leaving a trail behind you. The object of the game is to use the arena walls and your trail to corner the other light cycle riders into crashing. Power-ups, such as turbo boosts and shield breakers, are scattered around each arena. The light cycle combat is fun for a while, but much like multiplayer Snake, it gets old quickly. Fortunately, the bulk of the campaign isn't focused on this aspect of the Tron universe.