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TRON Deadly Discs

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Released: 1982

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Intellivision

Publisher: Mattel Electronics

Developer: Mattel Electronics

Submitted by: Marc Parker

Probably one of the most unsung video games ever created, on its host hardware, Deadly Discs is still a maddeningly addictive experience.  Gameplay is simple – enemies attack in waves of three and you have to take them out.  initially, you face standard grunts that take one hit to eradicate, but as you increase your points you’ll face enemies that take multiple hits, have differing abilities in terms of speed and accuracy, or in some cases, pack more powerful or even heat-seeking discs.  No, they weren’t in the film, but oh well…

Controls make use of the Intellivisions innovative joypad design by offering 16-way directional movement and 8-way firing all at the touch of a fingertip, ensuring that when you do mess up there’s only one person to blame.  There are little in the way of complications, other than Pac-Man style warps from one side of the screen to another, activated by hitting the doors the enemies swapn through.  If however,  too many are unlocked, a Recognizer will appear to block them off, and he only has one weak spot – the eye – that you have to nail whilst being chased by a web that will paralyse you once it hits.  There’s also a nosty surprise for anyone that hits a million points and this is where the difficulty really ramps up.

All in all it’s a simple premise, but one that has stood the test of time remarkably well. Also,  I can’t say for certain which was reeased first, but I’m sure both this and Robotron must share a strand or two of DNA…