Remember wanting to play it?
Well... go ahead!
Space Paranoids is now online! And it even works on a Mac!
Well... not my G5 iMac. It runs like a dog on that. But it runs great on newer Macs. (Not iPhones though. Maybe someday.)
There have been clues left on various viral websites created for the film, and within Space Paranoids itself, which lead to even more websites and other clues. (Or "Clu"s?)
I hadn't checked Flynn Lives in a few weeks, so I missed all of this until just the other day. There's a re-cap of some of the recent stuff on their front page, plus other stuff (like Encom e-mails) in their "forums".
As for the game itself, they did a pretty-good job of adapting a few moments from a 28-year-old movie into a playable game. The controls are slightly wonky, since you aim the tank turret with your mouse, and move with arrow keys. Standard stuff for first-person shooters, but with the tank you can turn the turret in completely opposite directions from how you're moving, so it's easy to forget which way your tank is facing and get disoriented (hint: aim down so you can see your tank - the red circle with the arrow on it is the front of your tank).
Gameplay-wise, you drive a tank around a maze and shoot Recognizers. Since they're higher than you, you can aim vertically and horizontally. (The arcade cabinet built for Comic Con used a track-ball to aim.) If the Recognizers catch up to you, they pin you down with a force field, and stomp on you - just like in the movie. You also have enemy tanks roaming around, although they don't fire at you (that I've seen so far), they just kill you if they touch you. And there's some fire-hydrant thing that shoots at you. Not sure what that is.
The environment's graphics don't quite match those of the movie, and they've had to add a Bosconian/Rally-X type radar to show where your enemies and recharge stations are located, but it captures the feel of the arcade game from the movie, as much as you could expect from something glimpsed only briefly. You're limited to five shots before you have to recharge, so it's a trade-off between using your shots wisely, knowing when to run away to recharge, and how long it's safe to stay there while that's happening (it's not instantaneous, nor do you have infinite recharges). The recharging is a bit slow for my tastes, but everything else feels about right.
It's actually a pretty fun and well-balanced game, and it would have been right at home in a classic arcade. It has a good early 80's look to it, although the graphics are a bit too polished for even a fictional game of the era (maybe halfway between what they came up with and I, Robot would have looked about right). Of course, they have to appease fans of Tron, and classic arcade gamers, and modern gamers as well, so it's an interesting set of challenges to be sure. I think they did a good job with it. Especially since I don't have to pump quarters into it to play the thing.
Overall, it's a really cool idea for a movie tie-in, nicely filling in that missing piece of Tron gaming that we all wanted back when the movie came out.
Well, that and light cycles. But there's always GLTron for that.