I love discs in games. Seriously, if a game puts a disc in that I can then re-catch, that's an extra score point right there. It just feels so bloody excellent. And while Tron 2.0's disc doesn't quite match my all-time favourite - Klingon Honor Guard's Ding-Pach Spin Claw - it's still a real treat. And all the other weapons don't interest me at all. Combined with the Triangulation subroutine, which lets you zoom in sniper-style, it's perfect for both long-range headshots and close-combat bombardments.
Monolith tells a good, solid tale, both through your experiences in the levels, the conversations you have with NPCs, the cut-scenes, and the emails you'll find when hacking datacubes. Each element combines to form the larger plot, as you realise that the takeover of ENCOM by Future Control Industries is extremely sinister, and no good for you or your family. While it's essentially a serious story, they couldn't have packed more puns and geek references in. Just spotting all of those is reason to play.
Its presentation is remarkably brilliant. Honest to the film on which it's based, it keeps those strange geometric structures, the odd slopes and shelves, and introduces one heck of a lot of crates. But it also keeps the environments deceptively simple. True to Disney's primitive design, it doesn't try to over-modernise. Instead it just looks smooth, neat, and vibrant.
There's a huge amount of thought and care that goes in to keeping that retro/future vibe. And when it gets elaborate, such as the City Hub containing drinking establishment the Progress Bar (I told you there were puns), it looks completely beautiful while sticking to its principles of simple shapes and technical patterns.
Of course, my other two memories weren't wrong. The game gets the difficulty clangingly wrong. Those light cycle sections, in which you take your high-speed bike through 90-degree turns at a ludicrous pace, fighting against AI with reflexes beyond any human, are idiotic. A patch was later released that allowed you to skip the sequences without penalty.
And this difficulty was in no small part thanks to a camera designed by a deranged lunatic who somehow broke into the Monolith offices and wreaked his revenge on the awkward camera angles that killed his parents. It's so awful.
And that pink work thing? Yup, still couldn't kill it. Well, no, that's not strictly true. It's more: still couldn't tell if I was doing anything I was supposed to be doing, as I got stuck in an endless loop of shooting at it and the viruses that incessantly appeared. I'm afraid I put on god mode (mpgod) just to get it to be gone.
This is still a tremendous pleasure, however. Use a level skip to get past the light cycles (mpmaphole) and wow, it's enormous, very well written, and just packed with smart ideas. And thanks to its using such a clean, smart design, it's not aged a day.
I've not even mentioned how your equipment gets viruses, that Bruce Boxleitner reprises his role as Alan One (although sadly there's barely a mention of Flynn, let alone an appearance by Jeff Bridges), the fun of the Ball Launcher, and the fun of finding all the Permissions for a level.
Although good luck finding a copy. It's not on sale anywhere that I can find. This is definitely one for the digital download services to retrieve. I hope Tron: Legacy can live up to the sequel Monolith already provided us.