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Video Game / TRON: Evolution

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The game has changed.

"Greetings, programs!"

TRON: Evolution, the requisite video game tie-in/prequel to TRON: Legacy, fills in some of the backstory that is only vaguely alluded to in the film itself. You play as a newly-written program known only as the System Monitor, designed by Kevin Flynn to help quell the unrest between the newly-arrived ISOs and Grid-native Basics. The arrival of virus Abraxas on a supposedly-closed system doesn't help matters, and soon the Monitor is pressed into service to defend the Grid from threats both internal and external, with Quorra watching from a distance.

TRON: Evolution provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 100% Completion: The TRON Files and Abraxas Shards scattered throughout the game.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: From a virus, no less, which comes directly towards the screen.
  • Actually, I Am Him: Abraxas shows up shortly after the former leader of the ISOs is supposedly derezzed. No points for guessing his true identity. It goes even further if you connect the dots between the Xbox 360/Playstation 3 version and the Wii counterpart, Battle Grids. The customizable protagonist of Battle Grids ends the game by becoming the first ISO to win the title of champion of the Grid Games; information provided by collectibles in Evolution establish that Jalen, the ISO who becomes Abraxas, was the first ISO champion of the Games.
  • All There in the Manual: Anon's name was only said in prerelease information. Otherwise he is simply known as "a security monitor program".
    • Outside of the brief Reveal mid-game, the only way to learn Abraxas's full backstory is by collecting the Tron File and Abraxas Shard extras scattered throughout the game. The Abraxas Shards are of particular significance, as they contain Jalen's voice diary entries from the millicycles leading up to his transformation.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Everyone infected with the Abraxas Virus and Abraxas himself.
  • Big Bad: You'd think that would be Abraxas, the source of the virus infecting Tron City, but he himself was reprogrammed into a virus by Clu, using Abraxas as a distraction for Flynn, Quorra and Anon, while Clu takes over the Grid and exterminates the ISOs.
  • Bottomless Pits: The Grid is filled with them.
  • The Cameo: Despite his name being the title, Tron himself only appears briefly in the opening scenes. They did get Bruce Boxleitner, though.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Just like the films, blue is good (or at least neutral), while red is bad and dark yellow/orange is independent. Exclusive to the game is bright yellow representing infected programs. Although ISOs end up being both green and white during the game, green is reserved for residents of Bostrum, while all other ISOs are white.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Arjia City
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Supplementary materials confirm that the customizable player character of TRON: Evolution: Battle Grids was Jalen, the leader of ISOs and eventually the main antagonist and Final Boss Abraxas.
  • Deadly Disc: The only weapon is the identity disc, though it has multiple variants and can be used in melee and long range.
  • Deadly Euphemism: If a program dies, they "derez". This is used pretty much interchangeably with "die" throughout the series. For the most part, the game uses derez in its dialog with a few exceptions, most notably Quorra never using it.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: They'll even refill your health while they're at it. Sometimes suicide is the most effective way to give yourself a fighting chance against the next wave of enemies.
  • Doomed by Canon: Evolution is a prequel to Legacy. Anon, Gibson, Abraxas, Jalen, and Radia are all nowhere to be found in the film.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Kevin Flynn super-upgrades Anon prior to the seventh and final chapter, turning his circuitry white and making him powerful enough to try a one-program assault on the Rectifier.
  • Elite Mooks: Black Guards. Given how the early game only gives them one at a time, to open up specific areas, they could even count as Mini-Boss material.
  • Face–Monster Turn: Gibson, not to mention Jalen.
  • False Flag Operation: Revealed to be the true purpose behind Abraxas's rampage: Clu twists the ISO Jalen into a virus and sets him on the Grid, and then uses this to imply to the Grid's Basic population that all ISOs have the potential to evolve into menacing, dangerous viruses, thus gaining himself popular support for eliminating them entirely.
  • Faux Action Girl: While a genuine Action Girl in the film, Quorra does surprisingly little in the prequel other than stand around and/or get captured.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Gibson is able to resist the Abraxas Virus enough that the majority of his Boss Banter is him pleading for deresolution.
  • Final Boss: Abraxas.
  • Fragile Speedster: Scout type Sentries, who can use Le Parkour and run around the battlefield, but can be derezzed in two Counter-Attack moves.
  • Glass Cannon: Light Tanks, if against a Bomb Disc. One hit can derez Anon, but a single bomb can also derez the tank.
  • Gladiator Games: The Game Grid.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The Mag Disc acts like one of these, pulling Anon toward the magnet hook he aims at.
  • The Heavy: Abraxas's actual role, considering CLU 2 is the Big Bad.
  • The Hero Dies: Anon dies saving Quorra when the damaged Recognizer crashes in the ending.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Gibson to save Anon and Anon to save Quorra.
  • Hero of Another Story: Anon. In TRON: Legacy, Quorra briefly mentions a "sympathetic program" helping her to escape the Purge before she was found by Flynn; it seems likely that she meant Anon.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs:
    Gibson: Son of a glitch that hurts!
  • Ink-Suit Actor: For Tron and Quorra, definitely. Averted with Gibson, who doesn't look much like Jensen Ackles, and with Flynn and CLU because they're being voiced by Fred Tatasciore rather than Jeff Bridges.
  • Justified Extra Lives: Since you are playing as a computer program you are simply restored from backup whenever you die.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The game spoils in the tutorial that Quorra is an ISO.
  • Le Parkour: The Monitor's preferred method of travel. Heck, you have to use Le Parkour to restore your health and energy by running along Energy Tranfer Circuits along walls and structures. Vaulting towards an enemy and attacking also increases damage. The Scout sentry type is also capable of this.
  • Life Drain: The Corruption Disc allows you to regain health from non-boss enemies.
  • Like Cannot Cut Like: Averted. Unlike the films, one disc CAN destroy another if charged up. It's even a minor plot point.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Black Guards, the Elite Mooks who can use the same Le Parkour as Anon, but also have a very high health limit and powerful attacks.
  • Mighty Glacier: Shield type Sentries, who can throw very powerful strikes, but are very slow.
  • Mercy Kill: Anon has to perform one on Gibson right after Gibson knocks him out of Abraxas's reach.
  • Mook Chivalry: When Abraxas first attacks, several guards run at him in a single-file line and are individually swatted into oblivion. Which is odd, because they were shoulder-to-shoulder when they started running, and don't even draw their discs to deal with the obviously dangerous program.
  • New Game Plus: All your upgrades and disc types carry over from one playthrough to the next. You can even take your upgraded Monitor into online multiplayer.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: That said, there's not much to see aside from the straight paths.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: The idenity disc will fly straight at whatever the Monitors attack before either flying straight back.
  • Reformulated Game: Battle Grids has all of the same gameplay mechanics of Evolution but limit it to a party-style selection of minigames, with a simplistic story to tie together the single player mode. Turns out its one plot twist is important to the main game.
  • Rousing Speech: CLU gives one while you're busy fighting for your life in the Game Grid. He also gives one in the introduction.
  • RPG Elements: The Monitor acquires Experience Points and upgrades, gaining Version Numbers as the game progresses.
  • Skilled, but Naive:
    • Characteristic of the ISOs and the undoing of Jalen, architect of Arjia City, co-leader of the ISOs, first ISO Champion of the Games, and prospective co-Administrator of the entire Grid...until he naively hands his disc over to Clu for an "upgrade", that is.
    • Averted, interestingly, with Gibson, who is much more jaded, street-smart, and snarky than the average ISO. His fellow Bostrumites are implied to be similar in temperament.
  • Stealth Prequel: Battle Grids looks like a standard Reformulated Game given the typical treatment of Wii titles for licensed games of the time period. It actually turns out it covers events just prior to Clu creating Abraxas. You play the first Iso to compete in and win the Games, which the Abraxas Shards reveal is Jalen.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: Abraxas Shards and Tron Files provide tidbits of information that reveal more of the plot than simply playing through the game will provide.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Each time a new enemy type appears, the game tells you what disc or attack they are weak against, as well as what their defensive measures are.
  • Tank Goodness: The Light Tank shows up as a vehicle, both as an enemy unit and as a usable vehicle in different parts of the game.
  • Tron Lines: Trope Namer is the original source material, after all.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Light Cycles in a TRON game were to be expected. How they were implemented was not (though players can battle with Light Cycles to their hearts' content in multiplayer).
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Gibson has one for getting The Monitor out of the Game Grid.
  • The Virus: Abraxas.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: This is what a computer virus does in the Tron universe. Infected Programs turn from their normal coloring to a Sickly Green Glow, and their functions are overwritten by the desire to hunt, infect, or destroy healthy Programs. The only thing you can do for the poor scripts is put them out of their misery

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