DISCS OF TRON - complete guide by Q.T.Quazar (qan@home.com) - revised 14/06/2000





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Manufacturer: Bally Midway
Year: 1983

History: For a game that was supposed to be part of the multi-game Tron, Discs of Tron certainly has no problems standing out as a classic on its own terms. As a young kid, I remember watching people form lineups of 20-30 to play the Environmental version, which featured one of the first 'immersive' gaming experiences in arcades.

The arcade game is a combination of the disc game and the ring game from the movie Tron. Hitting someone with an ID disc causes them to derez (deresolution). In the movie, Tron fights four of Sark's soldiers in an arena match, defeating them all. You won't have to do quite as much. :) You WILL have to put up with Sark's continual taunts and laughter, however.

Objective: Knock Sark off his three platforms by hitting him with one of your three discs, while at the same time dodging or deflecting his discs.

Offense: The first step to hitting Sark is to get him off the middle platform. It is generally advisable to throw all three of your discs in a row. Aim the first slightly left or right of Sark, but just enough so that it will still connect if he doesn't move. Then aim the next one straight at him, and the last disc can be used to either further force him off the middle platform, or if he's already moving off the middle disc after you've thrown the second (this will happen fast, remember) you can try and tag him with your third disc by aiming where you think he will be after his jump to his next platform.

The next step is simple--it's the very same as above. Try to push Sark towards the outer edge of the side platforms (aim your discs so that he CANNOT jump back to the middle platform, or else you're wasting your time), so that he has nowhere to go and is caught by one of your three discs. If everything goes perfectly, Sark will be completely trapped by about your 8th or 9th disc, no matter what level you're on. A Discs of Tron expert can peg Sark on the 1st two levels after the Logic probe with 3 or less discs! (more on this later).

Defence: Of course, things won't go that smoothly. Sark will be throwing his discs right back at you, and you're going to have to get very good at aiming your shots while dodging Sark's throws. However, Sark tends not to throw his discs all at once, and takes a little bit of time between shots, so you should have a decided speed advantage as long as you're constantly throwing your discs in groups of three. If you smash each other's discs, you are able to throw right away again, while Sark will take a second or two before throwing.

Use your deflector any time that you feel uncomfortable with what one of Sark's discs heights is, or if you need to stall him (remember, he can't throw another disc when all three of his are in play) The deflector is also crucial for when chasers are in play (more on this under the Chasers section).

To be successful at Discs of Tron, you need to master one technique--jumping between platforms. While you are jumping from platform to platform, you are temporarily invulnerable, meaning nothing can hit or graze you (you can, however, be hit as soon as you land) This technique will be called upon later in this guide.

If it was only Sark's discs that you needed to contend with, you probably wouldn't be reading this guide. However Sark has a few more nasty tricks up his sleeve. They are:

Energy Pellets:Two or three green pellets will split off from a single green pellet, and shoot straight out across the arena. These energy pellets DO NOT have guidance of any sort, so as long as you're aiming at Sark all the time, you'll more than likely take one or two of them out when they're less than halfway across the arena. Anyways, these aren't particularly hard to dodge if you're out of discs, as you know they're coming in a straight line, and you have enough time to move out of the way. You cannot deflect Energy Pellets, and you'll want the easy points for destroying them anyways.

Super Chaser: Sark can only throw one of these at a time, and it consists of a chaser with two energy pellets spinning around it. It takes between 2-4 hits to destroy, depending on whether you hit the energy pellets (1 hit each to destroy) or the chaser core (2 hits to destroy) Furthermore, it can not be deflected. Notice, however, what I said at the start? Sark can only throw ONE of these, meaning he's vulnerable because he can't throw any discs while one of these is in play (although he can start throwing discs if you destroy one of the circling energy discs) and you only have one object to track. Run from platform to platform, timing your jumps so that the Super Chaser is just leaving the middle platform as you are jumping to it. While in mid jump, fire your three discs at Sark, and chances are one of them will hit the Super Chaser en passant (Sark also seems to react slower when a Super Chaser is in play) A Super Chaser will eventually self destruct after about 20 seconds of not being hit (the pitch will go up slowly, and then it will derez).

Chasers: The hardest part of the game, without question. One chaser is annoying, two is worrisome, and three is trouble. Sark throws chasers when you're taking too long on a level, or when he feels like being a bastard (there's probably more to this, but I didn't write the game) To beat the chasers, you'll need to use the jumping technique, but be careful if Sark hasn't fired all of his discs/chasers yet. You need to group all of the chasers together when you're jumping between the platforms, or else that stray one will nail you as soon as you land. Generally chasers 1,2 and 3 will come out close together, but sometimes Sark delays and throw the third one late. In this case, move immediately to an edge platform. The first two chasers will be grouped, so jump them and cross to the far platform. By now, the third chaser will have arrived, and the two first ones will be closing in. If you're lucky, and you timed everything right, the three chasers will now be grouped. If you're not lucky, deflect the third chaser, jump the two grouped ones, and cross tot he far platform. You'll have to keep repeating this process until all three are grouped, or until they burn out (this happens after 20 seconds or so, I'll have the exact time when I revise this guide) As with Super Chasers, each chaser in play uses up one of Sark's discs, so he can't shoot at you while all three Chasers are in play. Shoot at Sark when moving between platforms, and chances are you'll start taking them out. Chasers take 2 hits each to destroy.

Level Layout: There are six preliminary stages in Discs of Tron. They are:

1. 1 platform
2. 2 platforms
3. 3 platforms
4. 2 platforms, timed wall
5. 1 platform, energy wall
6. 3 platforms

To complete a level, you must derez Sark twice.

1-3 are not worth discussing, as they are extremely easy. 4 is a problem, as until the middle wall opens, you need to aim shots off the wall at Sark. Try and use the same advice as at the start of this guide, moving your pointer by small increments after each disc. Knowing what angle will work takes a bit of practice. As soon as the wall opens, pin Sark as fast as you can and TAKE HIM OUT! Getting killed on this stage can happen easily if you can distracted by the wall when it opens, and derezzing this early in the game is very frustrating.

5 is mostly a speed contest. Focus your eyes just past the wall on Sark's side watching for aprroaching Discs that you need to smash or deflect, and use your peripheral vision to spot openings in the energy wall. Use our deflector to buy yourself time to target Sark, since he can't throw if his disc is still in play, but he CAN throw if you've smashed it.

By stage 6 Sark is starting to throw faster, and you should be able to gauge on this level how well you are playing. Use this stage to relax and focus yourself, as the game basically begins at this point, and you need to make sure your depth perception and reflexes are controlled at this point.

After 6, the logic probe arrives, and you start what Discs of Tron players call 'the cycles'. The cycles consist of 7 stages, which are as follows:

1. 3 platforms, your middle one raised, Sark's middle one lowered.
2. 3 platforms, your middle one lowered, Sark's middle one raised.
3. 3 platforms, both middle platforms rising/falling.
4. 3 platforms, all platforms rising/falling.
5. 3 platforms, both middle platforms rising/falling, platforms can be destroyed.
6. 3 platforms, all platforms rising/falling, platforms can be destroyed.
7. 3 platforms, all platforms level and stationary

For 1-4, the game doesn't change much, except that you can now aim vertically as well as horizontally. You have a range of about four lines vertically upon which you can hit Sark when he is at any height, anywhere from the top of his head to skimming his boots. Sark does not throw particularly fast yet, so take your time and place your shots. Sark is easy pickings in particular near the start of 1 and 2, and can often be taken out with your first few discs.

For 5-6, you can throw your discs to destroy each other's platforms. This can be acoomplished by aiming straight at the platform, or by bouncing your disc off of the roof and down onto the platform. If you do hit a platform, Sark has about 5 seconds to reach it and touch it. If he doesn't, the platform goes white, and will derez in another 2-3 seconds. The same applies for your side, so if a platform goes white, get the heck off it! Sark is throwing much faster by these stages, so don't play around. Try and kill him cleanly right away (focusing on hitting the platforms can be a very bad distraction, despite the points). As soon as you derez him, aim for one of his platforms and try to tag it while he's rezzing up. As an advanced technique, you can try and hit one of Sark's platforms, and then use your other two discs to keep Sark from being able to jump to it.

For 7, the game becomes much simpler, as you don't have a height control any more. However, Sark is throwing extremely fast by now, and more erratically, so use your deflector often.

After 7, the logic probe arrives, the cycle starts over again at 1, and Sark's throws slow down again.

Smash Sark's disc - 100
Smash Sark's energy disc - 200
Smash Sark's chaser - 400
Smash Sark's super chaser - 800
Graze Sark - 200
Derez Sark - 1000
Derez Sark's Platform - 2000

Playing hints/tips:

o The deflector buys you time. I can't stress this enough. If Sark seems to be smashing all of your discs, block his throws, and as his discs slowly float back to him, take him out.

o On variable height levels (where you can aim higher/lower), try to keep your pointer near the middle level fo the screen. The you don't have to move up or down much.

o Unless you're playing on the real machine, bouncing discs off the roof on the platform-destroying levels is extremely difficult and a waste of time. Aim staright for the platform.

o As soon as Sark starts rezzing up, on ANY level, start firing. Don't give him any extra time.

o You can sometimes take out Sark's disc at the end of a level as well, while he's still derezzing.

o If you're grazed, you can't move for 2-3 seconds. Same goes for Sark. Nail 'im.

o Really skilled? You can lean off the edge of your platform do dodge that disc that just came TOO close. Careful though, too much leaning and you'll fall.

o Chasers cross the arena at variable heights, so don't waste your discs trying to take them out as they come across. Wait until they've arrived, and then nail them when you're jumping.

o Timing your jumps between platforms is what differentiates the high scorers from those watching Tron slowly derez as he plummets off his platform.

o If you deflect something after you've derezzed Sark for the first time, or right when he's rezzing back up, you may not be back at 7 deflectors. Check your gauge when you can afford to to be sure of how many deflections you have left.

o Discs CAN hit you even after you've killed Sark for the second time on a level; so can Chasers, Super Chasers, and Energy Pellets. If discs are still in play, use your deflector or target them. If a Chaser or Super Chaser is still in play, keep jumping and throwing at it. NOTHING is more frustrating than being killed by Sark after a level is 'over.'

o Taunt Sark back. It feels good.

Come and watch mine or Brian McLean's .inp files at the MAME Action Replay Page to see how it's done Just download them, unzip them, and play them back with the appropriate version of MAME.