Thursday, December 3, 2015

Second Look at TRON: Legacy

*DERK'S NOTE: After a brief hiatus, Bumper City is back up and running! Took some time to rejuvenate and get things sorted out but we're back it and ready to get posting! this is a bit of an older post, something I have had written up for some time now but just never had the chance to post it. I really like TRON so I want to get this post out to you instead of just collecting digital cobwebs! Also, there is a TRON: Legacy within city limits at Silver Snail on Yonge Street, just north of Dundas Station! I heard it is really nice so go check it out!*

After more than a year, TRON: Legacy has reappeared in Toronto! Back in 2011, before I moved to the city, I first experienced TRON at Done Right Inn and learned about Done Right Inn's infamous TILT settings. A few years later in 2013, I found TRON at Pegasus Bar and wrote a review about it! A few months and a couple of seasons later, TRON once again appeared at May Cafe. During its stint at May, I really got to sink my teeth into TRON: Legacy.
After May ditched TRON, it reappeared at Monarch Tavern.
TRON is long gone from Monarch Tavern, having been replaced by The Sopranos which has now been swapped out for The Walking Dead which has now been switched out for KISS! Geeze louise! The very same TRON made its way to Lipstick & Dynamite down in Parkdale for a good moment then over to Brass Taps on the Danforth, however, the wear and tear was certainly beginning to show. Right now, this particular TRON is no longer around but another TRON machine has popped up at Silver Snail on Yonge!

With all the time (and money) spent working on my TRON game at May, I was ready to take on the table once again at one of my favourite bars in the city. I have had quite a few good rounds on TRON at Monarch and put a few high scores up.
Coming in just 2 MILLION short of the Grand Champion score, I think I have a good handle on the table and so I feel taking a second look at TRON: Legacy!
Released in 2011, TRON was when designer John Borg hit a good stride in his designs. TRON was followed by X-MEN and Metallica, the former of which I reviewed at the 2012 Canadian Pinball Championships and recently took a second look at, as well. Having played a lot of both X-MEN and TRON, there are a few similarities between the two. Both tables bear third flippers in the upper playfield area although TRON's flipper is on the left while X-MEN's is on the right. The accompanying shots for the third flipper are quite alike; there's a ramp shot as well as an adjacent loop shot.
The loop shot is not too hard to hit on X-MEN. It has a pretty clear path compared to TRON's loop shot. TRON's GEM loop shot is a much tighter shot and is made all the more difficult by the fact that the recognizer target bank obscures a bit of the shot.
The GEM loop is one of the few shots that I tend to avoid due to the difficulty and risk. If the ball gets caught up in there, it can fall down towards the center drain although the setup of the right ramp has a way of dropping the ball back to the left flipper with a small nudge. Usually the GEM shot is not a necessary one and GEM mode can be lit or completed through the Arcade Mystery Award. However, there is one point where it becomes an essential shot and a total roadblock.. more on that in a bit...
I find that on a lot of tables with upper playfield flippers that it can be difficult to get to the flipper and moreso to make a clean shot from it. Usually the opposite orbit will send the ball to the flipper but often at a speed that requires rapid-fire reflexes and doesn't give you a moment to think. I like how this is addressed on TRON. You can go through the right orbit but first you have to go through a bumper cluster which is a tight shot.
However, there is another loop that wraps around the left ramp, that being the Quorra Loop. It is a really easy and low-risk shot that can be made from the right flipper. The loop leads right to the upper left flipper and reduces the ball's speed enough that you can make a clean shot for the right ramp or the GEM Loop. Not only that but each shot works towards lighting Quorra Multiball.
I soon found that TRON has a really good flow to it despite it looking a bit clunky at first glance. There is a strategy that I have when making the shots that provides a beautiful sense of flow when done right. Hit the left ramp which will then feed the ball to the right flipper. From the right flipper, hit the Quorra Loop. The ball will loop around down to the upper flipper. Hit the right ramp which will feed to the left flipper. Then, if you feel lucky, try to hit the shot through the bumper cluster to get a big combo. The other option is to hit the Arcade Scoop for either Mystery or Multiball. Usually by hitting this combo strategy, you will light Light Cycle Multiball as many of the shots work towards activating that multiball mode. What I like to do is build up the Quorra Multiball then use this shot combo to light both Quorra AND Light Cycle Multiball. This leads to a 4 ball Multiball with lots of Jackpot shots.
There is a LOT riding on this one shot...
Here's a neat tip... During Quorra Multiball, hit the Recognizer target bank several times to Add-A-Ball. Try doing this while the ball save is on to turn a 2-ball Multiball into 3-ball!
Once you have completed all the main modes, you will light Sea of Simulation at Flynn's Arcade. This mode is like the mini-boss to the game's wizard mode, Portal Multiball. In order to complete Sea of Simulation, you need to hit the lit shots. The shots may vary game-to-game but in order to proceed, you must hit the shot that is lit. Nothing else is lit and will not award points so you are forced to make some of the difficult shots, like the Gem loop I had mentioned. I was playing at May Cafe and once reached Sea of Simulation. The first shot that was lit was the Gem Loop. Lemme tell you, I tried my damnedest but I just could not hit that loop!
TRON: Legacy can be a bit of a tricky table at first with much of the right side of the playfield  occupied by the bumper cluster and the right ramp. Despite the cluttered feeling the table may evoke, TRON has a few shots that flow well together and can be combo'd quite easily with some careful flipping. The shot combo strategy I spoke of also helps work towards building two of TRON's multiball modes, Light Cycle and Quorra Multiball, both of which can be stacked for 4-Ball Multiball and even more lit Jackpot shots. John Borg's design on TRON: Legacy helped inspire some of the design on his next table, X-MEN, with similarities such as the the upper playfield flipper and it's accompanying shots. Take a shot at TRON: Legacy at Silver Snail! what's holding you back?
OK that might hold ya back...

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