Tron Solar Sailer

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Follow this link for info about the review system. 1 = Terrible, 5 = Awesome!

Mattel went all-in with it's Tron license. Solar Sailer is the third of the original Tron-related titles.

Tron Solar SailerGraphics: 4
Sound: 3
Replay Value: 3
Notes: 1-player game; requires Intellivoice
Screen Shots

Tron Solar Sailer was not a popular game, but by golly, it's a Tron game!

Graphics: The gameplay graphics are good, and the playfields are colorful–sometimes eye-searingly so. The Grid is well-populated with targets, but scrolling is choppy at higher speeds. On The Grid, try to stick to the odd-numbered tracks. When you get hauled back a track or two by a recognizer, pray you don't land on an even-numbered track. The color schemes on the even tracks are punishing. The odd tracks are the place to be! Much more soothing and Tron-like.

The font for status screen text is AWESOME. The similarity between status screens in Tron Solar Sailer and Vectron is unmistakable. As Keith Robinson was fond of mentioning, he and Mark Urbaniec sat across from each other during development, each working on his game, and the two were constantly one-upping and inspiring each other. That's clearly evident here.

Controls: Controls-wise, the idea​ of the scheme is sound, but in practice, changing beams and firing can be frustrating. Beam-changing works reasonably well, but 'misses' more often than you'd expect. Given the marathon nature of the game, you may get a sore thumb from all that beam-changing. Firing at grid bugs, tanks, etc. seems really erratic. Perhaps with pristine controllers it's better, but often shots seem to fire at angles quite a bit different than you'd expect.

Sound: The sound effects are good. Freezing a Recognizer produces a great sound effect. The tank firing shot probably sounds a lot cooler with some bass boost. The music—though frequently interrupted by other effects—is directly from the movie soundtrack, which is a great bonus.

Voices: Being an Intellivoice game, of course, means you need voices. As developer Keith Robinson was known to say in reference to the 'It Talks!' blurb on the box: It never shuts up! The game talks a lot​. The verbal transmission of the access code to get to the next track is the most critical gameplay element. The status of beam energy is another one you'll hear all the time–and also important. There are quite a few different voices in the game, which is good for variety, but mostly you'll hear Yori: "We've been hit!" and Tron: "Energy [high | medium | low]!". Bit naturally only says "Yes!" and "No!". Alan's voice uses the standard male voice you hear for example in Space Spartans. And of course, the MCP is there just to insult and threaten you. The MCP's somewhat infamous mondegreen in this game became the basis for an in-house "adult" version of Astrosmash, used to make a point.

Gameplay: The worst complaint is hitting targets. Many times, you see the heart of the shot pass right through the center of a bug or tank, only to miss. On Track 1, life is tough. Often before being able to even begin speeding up, a recognizer swoops in and ... buh-bye!

Some Tips:

  • Speed up! "Slingshot" when you start off. You can get moving at a speedy clip if you make a U-turn or do a full circle, accelerating as much as possible. When you accelerate, you tend to snug up to a screen edge. This doesn't seem to be too bad horizontally, but try to stay vertically centered. Recognizers can snatch you right up if you're too close to the edges.
  • Be a good listener! Unlike today's captchas, you get only one chance to hear the code and write it down correctly–or commit it to memory. Circling back around to re-do things to get a new code is really time-consuming.
  • Take the quickest path! Most of the time, you need to go to an I/O Beam in sector 3,4 or 5. If you're starting at sector 0 and need to hit sector 3, head East! For sector 5, head West! You'll save some time and improve your survival rate.

Once you get the hang of 'beam riding' you can play this game a long, long time. The most frustrating thing to this long-in-the-tooth player is that the innermost tracks are really tough to get through. The Recognizers are fast and merciless​ and arrive in packs. This game can take a long​ time to finish, so get situated comfortably, use the pause feature, and don't have your console plugged into an outlet controlled by a wall switch! Best Score: 143,800–but failed to reach the MCP phase.




ROM No ROM variants have been identified.
Box So far, two variations have been found.
Manual Four variants have been identified.
Overlays No variations have been found.
Label To date, two labels have been recorded.
Easter Eggs Entering a special access code gives you a good luck wish before entering the next sector. Credit: Intellivision Lives! website)




A total of two Tron Solar Sailer box variants have been documented.

Image Vendor Part Number Year Origin Description
Tron Solar Sailer Box (Mattel Electronics 5393-0910) Mattel Electronics 5393-0910 1982 U.S.A. Trayless pocket; no part number on top; © Mattel, Inc. Hawthorne, CA on bottom
Image not available. Mattel Electronics 5393-0910 1982 Hong Kong Plastic tray; no part number on top; © Mattel, Inc. Hawthorne, CA on bottom




A total of four Tron Solar Sailer manual variants have been documented.

Image Vendor Part Number Year Origin Description
Tron Solar Sailer Manual (Mattel Electronics 5393-0920) Mattel Electronics 5393-0920 1982 U.S.A.  
Tron Solar Sailer Manual (Mattel Electronics 5393-0920) Mattel Electronics 5393-0920 1982 Hong Kong  
Tron Solar Sailer Manual (Mattel Electronics) Mattel Electronics N/A None France Submitted by Oscar G.; appears to be something typed up in the French office of Mattel Electronics and distributed there
Tron Solar Sailer Manual (Intellivision Inc. 5393-0920) Intellivision Inc. 5393-0920 1982 U.S.A. Has © 1982 Walt Disney Productions; only known Intellivision, Inc. reprint of an IntelliVoice game manual—have never seen box or cartridge label though




Only one version of the overlay has been found for Tron Solar Sailer.

Image Vendor Part Number Year Origin Description
Tron Solar Sailer Overlay (Mattel Electronics) Mattel Electronics N/A None    




A total of two Tron Solar Sailer label variants have been documented.

Image Vendor Part Number Year Origin Description
Tron Solar Sailer Label (Mattel Electronics) Mattel Electronics N/A 1981 U.S.A. Origin upper left; © M.I. 1981 upper right; © 1981 Disney upper right; smaller label, rounded corners
Tron Solar Sailer Label (Mattel Electronics) Mattel Electronics N/A 1981 Hong Kong Origin upper left; © M.I. 1981 upper right; © 1981 Disney upper right; larger label, rounded corners




Title Screen Cool font on the title screen
The Grid The Grid
The MCP MCP Battle





Special Message Easter Egg

Credit: The official Intellivision Lives! site

Reach Track 1: Good luck! It's harder than you think
Enter the access code followed by Keith Robinson's birthday: Enter the regular code you received verbally, followed by: [9][9][1][9][5][5]
Easter Egg: Keith wishes you good luck (need screen shot)




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