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Thursday, November 3, 2022

The Misadventures of Tron Bonne

A prequel to Mega Man Legends starring the series' breakout character, Tron Bonne.  While it does still utilize the same engine as the other two games, weird control scheme, stiff physics and all, the gameplay here is changed up quite a bit, broken up into a mission structure (with each mission having three sub-levels) rather than being an open-world game.  You play as Tron, of course, piloting a mecha called the Gustaff and commanding a small squad of Servbots via "beacon bombs" to carry out various tasks - looting buildings, attacking enemies or disabling hazards temporarily, and whatever else needs doing.   Some missions are pretty straightforward action segments, while others change things up quite a bit.  The closest it comes to MML's overall gameplay is a search through a labyrinthine pyramid in search of a legendary treasure, but others include a battle through a city to rob a bank, stealing livestock and carting them off in a truck, a puzzle game of sorts where you load cargo containers onto a ship in a set number of moves, a first-person dungeon crawl, and even a casino where you can play Bingo and High-or-Low.  The strangest thing, though, is that Misadventures has a slight X-COM vibe to its design - your Servbots' stats can be improved by going on missions and playing minigames, which not only give them new combat capabilities, but can unlock hidden potentials in them that allow for customization options and can even unlock upgrades to the Gustaff.  If you don't take them on missions for a good while they'll also fill up their "Sloth" meter and refuse to work, which can only be lowered by sending them to the torture room and playing another minigame to sort them out.  While Misadventures ultimately isn't particularly deep and retains the series' usual weird quirks with hit detection, awkward controls and stiff movement, it once again gets by on the merits of its sense of humor and by having a lot of charm, and the general 'variety show' feel of its design ensures it doesn't wear out its welcome.  It's also a very expensive game these days, going for well over $500 online, but thankfully Capcom saw fit to release it on the Playstation Network, so you can still play it without breaking the bank; it takes a bit of doing these days, but for only $6 it's hard to argue against at least trying it.

Developer: Capcom Production Studio 2
Publisher: Capcom, Eidos Interactive
Platform: Playstation, Playstation Network (PS3/Vita)
Released: 2000