The dearth of Transformers games of the years has been pretty surprising. Giant robots bristling with weapons that can instantly change into other vehicles? Come on, that just screams “video game”. Well for whatever reason the wait is over thanks to Atari’s Transformers, and you can finally take control of the Autobots as they battle the evil Decepticons. The wait may have been a long one, but it was worth it as Transformers is an enjoyable game sure to please fans of the toys and TV series.
|The expansive jungles of the Amazon.|
In Transformers, you control the Autobots as they journey to Earth to stop the latest Decepticon plot. It seems that a long lost class of miniature transformers known as minicons has been discovered to have made their way to Earth where they are available to whoever can find them first. What makes the minicons of such great interest to Autobots and Decepticons alike is the fact that transformers can equip minicons to gain the benefits of new weapons and abilities. Obviously, the minicons must not fall into the hands of the evil Decepticons and it is up to you and the Autobots to stop them.
Before entering a mission you’ll be able to select to play as one of three Autobots. Optimus Prime is slow but strong, Hot Shot is fast but fragile, and Red Alert is balanced between the two. At first you won’t have any minicons available, but as you play through the game and discover minicons you’ll be able to select which ones to equip your Autobot with before entering the next mission. The minicons provide a wide range of weapons and abilities that include guided missiles, shielding, sniper rifles, and thermal vision. You can equip up to four minicons at a time, mapping each one’s effect to one of the shoulder buttons. Each requires a certain amount of power to equip and there is an overall limit to the power that you have to equip minicons, so you’ll have to make some choices between the stronger minicons as you won’t be able to equip them all at once. There is an element of strategy beyond “bigger is better” when selecting your minicons. Some are better suited to particular missions than others and when you equip multiple minicons from the same class you get a boost in the capabilities for the ones of the same class. Once you have selected your minicons you’re ready to hit the warp gate and drop down to Earth for your next mission. Once on the ground you’ll receive the mission briefings and objective updates via radio communications with the mothership.
You control your transformer from a third person perspective. As mentioned earlier you control minicon weapons by using the shoulder buttons, and if you find your self surrounded by lots of enemies and are low on energy you can unleash a basic melee attack. You also have a jump button, but the transformers jump about as well as you’d expect a giant metallic robot to jump. And they wouldn’t be transformers if they didn’t transform, so you can press a button and instantly turn Optimus Prime, Hot Shot, and Red Alert into a truck, race car, and rescue van respectively. However, you’ll find that you won’t be doing that much transforming during the game as your transformer can not attack when in vehicle form (other than trying to run enemies over). You’ll use the vehicular form when you need to move over a large distance quickly or jump over wide gaps, but otherwise you’ll spend most of your time as a robot. Over all the control scheme works really well, but movement will take a little getting used to. The game models the fact that you have a lot of weight behind you so directional changes are a little sluggish as you try to overcome all of that momentum you’re generating.