The Misadventures of Tron Bonne

Selecting a mission

   At first glance, The Misadventures of Tron Bonne would seem to be the ultimate niche game. There's a subset of gamers that likes Megaman, only some of whom enjoyed Megaman Legends, and only some of those who liked Tron Bonne enough to buy a game starring the devious mechanical genius. Upon closer inspection, though, Tron Bonne has enough charm and diverse gameplay to satisfy any kind of gamer.

   The game's premise starts when Tron's older brother Teisel, desperate for money after constructing his new airship, the Gesellschaft, goes hunting for the legendary Diana Tear. Before reaching it, however, he and younger brother Bon both get captured by Glyde and Loath, the loan sharks who financed the Gesellschaft build. The ransom is the original one million zenny that the construction cost. If Tron was a secretary, or a teacher, this might take several decades of hard work and savings. But Tron is a pirate, and the object of the game is to steal as much cash and valuables from the population of Ryship island as she can to meet Loath's demands. She won't be alone in her pillaging, either; 40 of the cute little indestructible Servbots will accompany her.

Action mode

   There are four general ways Tron can get zenny: Action, RPG, Puzzle, and, in a bit of thunder-stealing from Yu Suzuki, FREE mode. The first mode, Action, is a lot like the boss battles of the original Megaman Legends in gameplay. It's also the most chaotically amusing mode, because this is the area of the game in which you land in Ryship Island's township and wreak havoc. The object is to use Servbots to rob as many houses and buildings as possible while destroying anything that might offer a reward. In the absence of Megaman, your main adversary will be Officer Denise, the determined police captain who resorts to greater and greater lengths to capture Tron.

   The FREE mode is also similar to Megaman Legends, but hearkens more toward its dungeon exploration aspects. FREE mode is the only part of the game that isn't divided into separate missions; rather, you explore one large cavern and take your findings back to the Gesellschaft when you get low on energy. Some of the most useful items in the game are in FREE mode, but be careful because whatever you find is lost permanently when you run out of energy there.

Puzzle mode

   On the other hand, you can try puzzle stages as often as you like, even deciding to start over in the middle of one, with no penalty. This is a good thing, because the puzzle stages are probably the hardest mode in the game. Tron has a very limited number of moves with which to bring a set amount of stolen crates back to the boat. The catch is that there's a bonus crate in each stage, which requires a slightly more sophisticated strategy to reach. None of the stages are that tricky at the beginning, but soon you'll find yourself settling for just the four "normal" crates. By the later stages, retrieving the regular four crates is such a challenge that going the extra mile for the bonus crate is almost unthinkable.

   The last proper gameplay mode is RPG mode. Though it doesn't have much to do with RPGs, it's one of the most interesting modes in that it's the only one in which you don't control the Gustaff mech. The caverns you explore are too small for the large battle suit, so Tron sends the Finkel, a much smaller radio-controlled aerostat. The Finkel, however, is to small to influence anything directly except by its limited ramming ability, so almost all actions are performed using Beacon Bombs to send the three Servbots to investigate objects or talk to people. To go deeper into the caverns, you'll have to talk to the Diggers you find and collect keys to unlock chests. The emphasis in RPG mode is on puzzle solving, though each mission has a few enemies of its own, as well as a boss encounter.

On the Gesellschaft

   The real RPG elements of Tron Bonne are found in its "fifth mode." Though it isn't really a gameplay mode, and you don't really gain zenny while playing it, there's a fifth aspect of Tron Bonne that's almost as intriguing as the other four settings. Tron's base of operations, the airship Gesellschaft, is under construction during the whole course of the game, and each room opens up a new function to explore or more Servbots with their own special abilities--a kind of action-adventure version of Suikoden's Toran Castle. Here, you can talk to each of the 40 Servbots, develop new parts and weapons for the Gustaff, enhance your Servbots' abilities, send Servbots out to scout for treasure, chart mission objectives, sell off items you've acquired during missions, and much more.

   With so many separate gameplay modes, it's unfortunate but perhaps expected that Tron Bonne's graphics don't quite measure up to the current generation of PlayStation games. Though the 2D character portraits during conversations have a certain charm of their own, and the anime-styled character models keep a consistent cartoonish feel to the game, there's no denying that many of the graphics are servicable at best, with lots of clipping and pixelation at close range. Most of the game's detail lies in the mere three "town" stages, while the rest of the game (especially the cavern stages in the RPG and FREE modes) suffers from a lack of variety in the textures and environments.


   The music is similarly uninspired, a problem that's carried over from the first Megaman Legends game. On the other hand, the sound effects and especially the voices are almost a reason in themselves to play this game. All of the Bonne family voices, save for Bon, are back from Megaman Legends. The real stars of the show, at least as far as voices are concerned, are the Servbots. They'll comment adorably and naively on just about everything that goes on, until you either want to throttle them or take them home.

   If you played Megaman Legends and were unhappy with its departure from the Megaman formula, then perhaps Tron Bonne would be more your speed since the Blue Bomber is nowhere in sight here. Though the graphics might not be cutting-edge, there's enough diverse gameplay and goofy charm here to win over just about any gamer.

Review by Nich Maragos, GIA.
The Misadventures of Tron Bonne
Developer Capcom
Publisher Capcom
Genre Misadventure
Medium CD-ROM (1)
Platform PlayStation
Release Date  07.19.99
84 screenshots / 4 Japanese movies
Misadventures of Tron Bonne to include Mega Man Legends 2 demo
16 character designs
U.S. and Japanese packaging