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Misadventures of Tron Bonne, The

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:

GAME DEVELOPER:CAPCOM

GAME PUBLISHER:EIDOS Interactive

Copyright 2000, EIDOS Interactive

The Misadventures of Tron Bonne is one of my most favorite games on Sony’s Playstation console, and it ranks even today as one of the best cross-genre games. The heroine of this game is actually the villain in CAPCOM’s Mega Man Legends game: mechanical genius named Tron Bonne. Along with the rest of her family, miss Bonne is a professional “sky pirate” who is trying to find the big score that will set her up for life. Unfortunately, big brother Tiesel Bonne had managed to accumulate a large debt with a loan shark – who dropped in on him one day to call in the loans… by taking Tiesel hostage. It’s up to you, as Tron, to loot and pillage your way over missions to get enough cash to free your brother.

To accumulate cash, you basically go on a number of missions which are very varied in style. There are action-based missions where you rely on reflexes to fight the police and collect valuables, puzzle-based missions where you have to maneuver different colored crates (think Soko-ban), and adventure-based missions where you talk to people and find important items. These three genres form a coherent whole, thanks to mission-based nature and the engaging plot development that doesn’t make anything feel out of place. In most action/exploration missions, you can use Beacon Bombs to talk to people and explore rooms and acquire items.

There is also considerable gameplay between missions as well: aboard your ship, you can train the various “Servbots” (Lego-men-lookalikes who are built by the Bonne family to do their bidding), talk to them, and even give them items that will add or enhance their skills. Handling these Servbots is one of the most fun parts in the game. Each of the forty Servbots in the game have Attack (red bar), Speed (green bar), and Brains (blue bar) ratings on a scale from 1-4, with 4 being the highest. Each Servbot also has a yellow Sloth meter which will gradually go up if you don’t take them on any missions for too long. If a Servbot’s Sloth rating goes all the way to 4, then you must punish the lazy Servbot or else he won’t go on any missions with you. Figuring out which item to give to what Servbot to ‘unlock’ his special skill is a lot of fun – usually talking to the Servbots will give you clues to the right item.

Graphics, as is typical for CAPCOM’s games, is very good, although the Servbots’ antics may look too “cutesy” for PC gamers who are unfamiliar with anime-style games (their tinny voices do grate on my ears after a while). The game design is excellent: the difficulty of all the genres are balanced well, although expert gamers may find the game far too easy until the last 30% or so. With a unique and near-perfect blend of different genres, Tron Bonne is a great example of how to do a hybrid game that appeals across many gaming camps. Two thumbs up, way up!



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