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game: Transformers
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
date posted: 12:00 AM Sat May 1st, 2004
last revision: 12:00 AM Sat May 1st, 2004

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By Eric Qualls

Transformers fans, you can safely lay your fears to rest. This game is going to be excellent. And don't worry, the fact that this game is not based on the classic series stops being an issue about three seconds after you start playing. I mean, these are freaking robots that can turn into freaking cars! The environments are huge, the shooting is fun, and the simple ability to transform at the press of a button makes exploring and goofing off as fun, if not more, than the story missions themselves. I can't wait to play the full version.

The demo Atari sent out only contained one level and you could only play as Hot Shot, but it is more than enough to show just how Transformers is going to turn out. The goal of Transformers is to collect Mini-Cons before the Decepticons and Megatron's Decepticlone army get to them. The Decepticlone army is really only present because the game wouldn't really work if you kept fighting the same four or five Decepticons over and over again. Starscream, Megatron, Tidal Wave, and Cyclonus are saved for boss battles. The Mini-Cons are little Transformers that give whoever finds them new powers such as stealth, rockets, and other power-ups.

The gameplay is fairly standard third-person shooter fare with one twist: You are a freaking robot that can turn into a freaking car. You can drive around the level at high speed and then when you come across some enemies you press the triangle button and instantly change into your robot form. In robot form, you move with the left stick and turn and aim with the right stick. The combat is pretty straightforward, but it is extremely satisfying when you get to test out a new weapon or ability. The physics in the game are just about perfect. You really feel like you are a giant robot that weighs a few tons. You can't just stop on a dime, and when you transform after driving around at sixty miles an hour it takes a few steps for your character to stop.

The level featured in the demo was the Amazon and it is absolutely massive. There is a huge winding river, ancient ruins, tons of open space, and a section of very dense forest that covers several square miles. You can go pretty much anywhere on the level you want, but you'll get calls from Autobot HQ telling you where the next mission objective is. Of course, you won't find all of the Mini-Cons if you just follow the main path, so exploration is a big part of Transformers. Worth noting is just how fun it is to drive around the levels and look around. There are a ton of hills and jumps and little nooks and crannies and it is fun to goof off. When you transform from car to robot you jump up in the air quite a bit, so it is interesting to combine big jumps as a car with a quick transformation in midair so you can try and reach new areas. The graphics and sound are good, but not jaw dropping.

It takes a little while to get used to the different voices and sound effects used in the Armada series compared to the (much superior) original series, but they aren't bad by any means. The characters are very detailed and the environments are huge and very impressive. After getting a little taste of Transformers, I am hooked. I can't wait for May 11th to come around because the full version of this game is going to be outstanding. I am also looking forward to finally getting my hands on Optimus Prime and driving around screaming I'm Optimus Prime, bitch!? Now, if you'll excuse me, I have two boxes of Transformers toys to dig out of the garage.

Features in full game:

* Single-player, third-person action/combat game with countless enemies, immense battles and intense Decepticon boss fights.

* Choose to play as Optimus Prime, Hot Shot or Red Alert.

* Instantly convert your Autobot from Robot form to Vehicle form for greater speed and mobility.

* Battle though 8 immense locations across the Earth and on Cybertron (Transformers home world).

* Go one-on-one against evil Decepticon leaders including Megatron, Starscream, Tidal Wave and Cyclonus.

* Rescue Mini-Cons to obtain offensive and defensive power-ups including Cluster Rocket Launcher, EMP Blast, Glide and Stealth.