Transformers: Combiner Wars Review

It’s time to look at the recent online miniseries that came out. Unfortunately, it would be taking the old “5 minute episodes” tactic that rarely ever works out well. The main difference between this one and Pokemon Generations is that the episodes do combine to tell one self contained story. It does have a bit of a cliffhanger to lead into the next part of the trilogy though. It’s a pretty solid mini show that could have certainly benefited from having normal length episodes instead of mini ones, but was fairly decent for its limitations.

The plot takes place in the far future, which is a nice change of pace since most of the shows and movies all take place during the war between the Autobots and Decepticons. The comics have long since passed this part in history, but the shows and movies don’t seem to ever want to leave it. I guess it makes sense since that era had a lot of interesting characters and battles to look at, but the future arcs can be a blast too. Case in point, the plot in this series is actually very interesting and epic. The series itself just fails to completely utilize it.

Both sides are now working together since there aren’t Decepticons and Autobots anymore. Rodimus Prime, Starscream, and The Mistress of Flame are the three rulers now. They use Combiners to take any pockets of villain resistance left. The world still isn’t at peace and it probably never will be, but the situation isn’t half bad at this point. Unfortunately, that’s when the heroes get the bright idea to try and use a super special item to mind control all of the Combiners to have them serve as a personal army. This will take away their autonomy and it’ll serve as the ultimate counter to evil. How can this fail? Rodimus half heartedly advises against it, but is then for it later on. All three of the members go back and forth on the issue until someone ensures that the device is used. It’s like they always say, if you have a weapon, that means you intend to use it at some point.

Windblade knows about what is going on so she recruits Optimus Prime to help her end this. She wants to destroy the device and Prime is in agreement, although he isn’t thrilled about being called back into action. He’s in retirement and nobody likes him even though he fought for peace for many centuries. People blame him for the war and that just goes to show that the average Cybertronian isn’t much smarter than the average human. I can’t believe that Prime of all people would be turned into an outcast after the many sacrifices that he made for justice. It’s pretty unreal. Prime also realizes that the two of them against an army of combiners may be a bit unrealistic so they call in Megatron. Megatron’s enjoying his retirement at a Colosseum, but he’s certainly happy to help if it means messing up Starscream and the others.

Seeing Optimus Prime and Megatron team up was probably the biggest hype moment of the mini series. Unfortunately, there really weren’t any villains for them to fight by that point. They got to shoot at the giant Starscream and at a few Combiners, but I would have liked more of a tangible threat for them to be honest. The back and forth between the two rivals was always good though and we saw their battle experience first hand. You always get the sense that Megatron and Prime are head and shoulders above the rest of the robots. Prime’s retirement was definitely pretty iffy if you ask me and seemed like another hero giving up the Luke Skywalker way. It’s a stretch to imagine Prime just deciding to give up and let others wield the torch, but at least that won’t be a problem for the next two parts of the trilogy. Megatron was definitely in character the whole time though and I can definitely see him being a big villain again someday.

Rodimus Prime didn’t look all that smart though. I don’t know how everyone just decided that it would be a good idea to let Starscream on the tribunal. If you ask me…that’s just not a smart move. Even if he claims that he’s changed….it’s Starscream that we’re talking about. He’s the shadiest Decepticon of them all. Starscream’s definitely pretty solid though. He has a good plan and considered all of the angles. You definitely can’t say that he’s not one of the smartest bots out there.

Windblade was basically the main character and she was really good. It’s nice to see her as a hardcore assassin. Robots in Disguise tried to make her really cool as well and she is decent in that show, but this one goes a little more all out. She’ll remind you of Arcee from the Transformer comics. Windblade gets the job done and while she should not have won her fight against the Combiner, (Get ready for a lot of plot hax, but this show is full of that so you won’t be surprised by the end) Windblade is definitely a character who is easy to root for and I would certainly say that she is one of the better Transformers overall.

As expected, the characters and the plot are good. Now, where did the series fail? Well, the 5 minute episodes really ensure that the show can’t do much. Now only are the episodes only around 5 minutes long, but they really waste time. One episode will have someone flying for about a minute or another will just have people talking about nothing really important for a while. I feel like the show was trying to show off its animation, but since the graphics weren’t really anything to write home about…it didn’t work. Plus, time was a big factor here so the show needed to take it into consideration.

The graphics aren’t bad though and despite getting a lot of heat, I dare say that they even look great. They have the style of a PS2 game, but with modernized graphics. The colors really stand out and since it is night time for most of the series, the contrasts make for really good visuals. The energy attacks all look sharp as well and these are graphics that I grew up with to the extent where the designs look solid. It’s hard to describe, but the robots actually look strong and menacing instead of skinny and more unassuming. It can’t hold its own to a modern hand drawn anime or anything like that, but the CGI is really good. I can’t say that I really remember the soundtrack all that well though. It’s very forgettable and it’s the kind of fare that works well while you’re in the moment, but just barely. It covers its bases and that’s about it.

Combiner Wars does end on a really epic note though. The cliff hanger for part 2 is really intense since aliens may finally be showing up to make a move. That’s one aspect of Transformers that was never handled too well. Aliens showing up could be really awesome, but usually their designs aren’t great or they just don’t get to do much. A proper Transformers vs Aliens plot for the sequel could definitely be really cool. It would certainly make for a better fight than Prime and friends against Cosmic Giant. The final fight is a little underwhelming because the villain can barely move and the heroes can’t hurt him, which leads to an unfortunate stale mate. Some good visuals make it in there, but that’s about all that you can say for it.
Overall, Transformers: Combiner Wars is a pretty fun little show. Just treat it as a 30 minute OVA and it works well. The animation is solid and the fight scenes are a lot of fun aside from the last one. The plot is very engaging and the main character cast of Windblade, Prime, and Megatron is a good trio. It will also remind you of just how good the show could have been had it been full length though. Despite it being a series about Combiners, we didn’t get to see them do all that much here. There was simply no time since the series had to try and fit everybody in with the limited length. Hopefully the next part will either have more episodes or they will be able to extend the length of each episode. I think that would do wonders for the show. Still, I recommend it if you’re interested in the future timeline of Transformers, which is rarely explored.

Overall 7/10

Transformers Dark of The Moon Review

Transformers definitely has a very solid track record when it comes to video games. Although the same could be said for shows and comics, the video games are really something else as they all typically grab 8/10s. This one is no exception and while Dark of The Moon may not have quite as much depth as War For Cybertron, the gameplay is still great like always. The game doesn’t play like a movie tie in and it’s good to see the developers still give this game their best shot.

So…the plot. Well…you can beat the game while barely recognizing that there is one. Things are happening and the government calls in the Autobots to help out, but what is the grand scheme? Well, it leads to Megatron activating Shockwave at any rate and he makes for a pretty tricky boss. Interestingly enough, Megatron isn’t the final boss and I don’t think you even get to fight him. You do fight Optimus Prime while playing as Megatron though so I suppose that can count to an extent. It was an odd choice, but it was a curve ball so I can appreciate that. There is even a big cliffhanger left in the ending since the Decepticons are now stronger than ever. Who knows, maybe the movie tie ins will diverge even more than we thought or things will tie up nicely. (Shockwave being in Transformers IV suddenly makes sense.

Graphically, you probably could not tell the difference between this one and War For Cybertron. If anything, Cybertron probably looks a little more impressive as all of the levels are futuristic and high tech. At the same time, I do love the city/forest levels in this game so its certainly not a big loss there. The designs are bland if anything and that’s because it is based on the films. I still think the robots could have been a lot more unique and it was a big missed opportunity, but that’s on the films once again. The soundtrack is pretty nonexistent when I try to think about it, but I’m sure that there were some decent tunes while I was playing through. They just escape me at the moment, which is the price of being generic.

Now let’s talk about the gameplay. It is a 3D shooter, which is the norm for Transformers. You can also engage in fisticuffs or turn into a vehicle to throw the opponents off. I don’t recommend close quarters combat..ever, unless you are trying to get a trophy. It simply puts you at a disadvantage as far as I am concerned. Turning into a car is great though and you should do that a lot. I’d say that the game did a terrific job with this mode and the occasional driving level is much appreciated. It brings in a whole new element to the game. (Not the franchise tho) Towards the end of the campaign it will start to be less helpful, but it’s always fun. Normal shooting mode is slightly sketchier than usual as the aim can be a bit off and there is no good lock on as far as I am aware. I think the game mentioned one, but if I did use it, It definitely was not helpful.

The game is reasonably difficult so you can expect a bit of a challenge. There are also a lot of checkpoints which is good since nothing is worse than having to redo a large section from the very beginning. Watch out for large enemy hordes since they can take down your full health bar in seconds. Those guys will give you more of a challenge than the bosses in this game (Which are pretty easy since there are check points at various points so you can enter the fight midway with full health if you lose) and it may take a few shots to beat some of the minion hordes. Strength in numbers and all.

It is worth mentioning that each character has a special ability. I would say that the Machine Gun is the best one, but Invisibility can be quite handy as well. Just use your abilities wisely and you will be okay. They all have their uses and I don’t believe that there were any bad ones, which is good. As far as replay value goes, this game does all right. There are collectibles to grab and a lot of trophies to earn. Considering that the online is basically dead, it will be extremely hard to platinum this title so you’re just earning trophies for the fun of it. If you’re really serious about this, you can probably find some people to help you boost the trophy as well. I collect em, but I’ve never done the whole boosting thing. I’m not quite that into it and I want to earn the online trophies the standard way, with skills and brawn! This will definitely extend your play time in the game, but in the end a multiplayer mode would have been even better.

Overall, Dark of The Moon is pretty fun. It is easy to see why the online died quickly however, since you may as well stick with War For Cybertron. The multiplayer feels more epic and Team Deathmatch is still a blast. While the game may lose out to War For Cybertron, that does not mean you should completely take a pass on the title. The action and enjoyable gameplay still makes this a pretty complete game and you’ll enjoy it a lot even if the plot is very forgettable. We did have some good banter between one of the Autobots and the government in one level though. The Autobot talked tough for a while, but once he started to get pounded by the Decepticons, he knew who to call. I do wish that we could have gotten a game for the 4th film. Ah well, maybe the 5th film will get a title. If not, another stand alone title like Devastation will fit the bill.

Overall 8/10

Transformers Devastation Review

It’s been a decent while since the last Transformers game although the gap wasn’t incredibly long or anything like that. Devastation got a lot of hype before it came out and I was certainly on board as well since my favorite iteration of the Transformers would be returning. The game lives up to the hype and then some with the only weakness being the game’s short length. Aw well, short games let me really feel the experience in a short burst so I can roll with that.

It starts out like a classic Transformers episode. The Decepticons are causing trouble so the Autobots storm the city to save everyone. The humans have already been evacuated so they don’t need to worry about that, but hundreds of insecticons have flooded the city and Megatron’s plans for conquest are not even close to being finished. He wants to terraform the planet…or cyberform in this case so that Cybertron can virtually live on Earth again. Prime and the other Autobots are a little hesitant to stop him because it may involve destroying the entire history of Cybertron (Kept on a device) but if it’s the only way…then they shall be ready!

Devastation is a very fast paced game. You’re thrown right into the action and are confronted with bosses and enemies at every turn. The game was done by Platinum and I mostly know them for their reputation through Bayonetta as one of the best game developers in the biz. I can certainly see why they are known as such a great company as the gameplay is tight and very exciting. The focus is more on hand to hand than in shooting down your enemies and while Transformers Prime attempted this first, Devastation does it best. You’re essentially in a 3D fighting game while playing. There are numerous combos that you can use with each character and the weapons system allows you to keep crafting bigger and better weapons. You can also level up your characters to really get an edge in the battles.

There’s even a counter/dodge system in place. Essentially, if you dodge right before an opponent attacks, time will slow down and then you can really hand out the pounding. The timing is surprisingly tricky and a nice test for your reflexes. The A.I. is also nice and strong on Normal so I can imagine that they are quite impressive on hard. To an extent, their ability to break any of your combos is a little OP and I did have to retry one or two bosses a few times as they could be OP at times, but the gameplay is really fun so you definitely won’t mind doing the battles again. The combat system is really good and it’s nice to see Platinum really give the game their all.

That’s why it is disappointing that there is no multiplayer mode here. If ever a game needed a multiplayer option other than Mario Maker, it’s this one. Granted, the gameplay may be a little too advanced and intense to incorporate a multiplayer…that’s the argument that I can envision people making. If we can do Super Smash Bros or Dead or Alive, I’m sure that this game could have pulled it off. It would have added some nice replay value and simply would have been a great feature to have at the ready.

The graphics are very good. The faces could be surprisingly cartoony at times as the villains will make all kinds of faces at you, but it’s all in good fun. G1 was a great series in part because of its great character development and action, but also for the camp factor. I also liked the cutscenes where the heroes got to fight, albeit briefly and seeing more of that would have been awesome. The visuals certainly hold up quite well and I dare say that the game looks better than the other Transformer titles. It’s close though since the War for Cybertron series does look quite good.

In terms of music, there’s never been a Transformers game that was more impressive. Just about every musical piece is a guitar strum or some kind of epic rock music. Your blood will be pumping through every fight and the game feels that much more epic. It’s like being in an episode and you can duke it out with all of the classic villains. There are 3-5 bosses per level and that means you will be in store for quite a lot of action. It’s why I recommend saving your signature skill for when they show up.

Due to getting the game through Gamestop, we got Nemesis Prime and the Dark Starsaber unlocked from the get go. I equipped it after the first 3 missions and the weapon is quite useful. The shockwaves that it sends out are huge and deal a considerable amount of damage. You don’t have to worry about it becoming pay to win as you can easily find comparable sword attack-wise within the game, but the visuals are what really makes the weapon a lot of fun to use. You can opt to mainly use guns, but close quarters combat definitely has the edge in this title.

This game would have been an easy 9, but the story mode’s short length is definitely something that needs to be mentioned. There are only 7 levels and while the first two are decently long, they get a lot shorter after that. I beat the game in around 3 hours and did have fun grabbing some collectibles so it’s certainly possible to complete it quicker than t hat. Sure, there is replay scattered throughout the game, but without a multiplayer option either, I feel like deducting a star is worth it. Especially for the current price. Drop it down to 20 and that will help your case.

As for what the replay value entails, there are a lot of collectibles throughout the levels. That will take you some time to grab them all. There’s also a Mission Mode with 50 missions to tackle and they were pretty fun from what I saw. You’ll mainly be replaying parts of the story mode there. Finally, you also want to get all of the trophies to obtain the Platinum. The trophies are fair and don’t seem too hard, just time consuming. In a sense, all Platinums should be this way as you should need dedication without trying a level 1000 times. It’s a fair compromise I’d say.

Don’t forget to stick around for the after credits scene. It sets up the sequel quite well and you can tell that the boss will make for an intense antagonist. I’d be very hyped for a sequel although it’ll hopefully have a multiplayer mode or be a little longer. I feel like Platinum was aiming to make this title feel like an Arcade Game with its dynamic action scenes and quick soundtrack. If this was an Arcade Game, then 3 hours wouldn’t be so bad. I definitely trust that they will continue to make the gameplay 5 star material in a sequel.

Overall, if you’re a big fan of the original Transformers anime, you’re going to love this title. If you like action games where you are constantly fighting, then this is also right up your alley. The game really handled the gameplay perfectly and did justice to the Transformers name. Few franchises can say that they’ve consistently had 8 star games over and over again, but Transformers manages to pull it off. The only game in the franchise that I didn’t care for all that much was Animated and it still wasn’t downright bad. If you picked this up, let me know what you thought of it.

Overall 8/10

Akame vs Megatron

It’s interesting how Akame entered the blog after Esdeath. I suppose that this kind of thing has to happen once in a while. Either way, Megatron is in for another world of hurt as Akame’s skills far surpass those of Esdeath. Akame’s speed is legendary and her attack power is lethal. A single slice would cleanly cut Megatron in two and he will have lost before the match could truly begin. Akame is one of the stronger main heroines out there and this may just be the beginning of her blog run. Akame wins.

Esdeath vs Megatron

Megatron is a powerful Decepticon and he has more firepower than most of the other Transformers. His durability isn’t bad either, but his lack of speed is where Esdeath will destroy him. She was able to keep up with a berserk Akame and Esdeath’s ice abilities will prevent Megatron from staying far away. Megatron’s lasers would likely break through her ice shields, but Esdeath won’t need to rely on them thanks to her great speed feats. This is one of those times where speed trumps power. Esdeath wins.

Transformers Beast Wars The Gathering Review

It’s time for a Transformers review! This comic takes place during the Beast Wars saga, which is pretty interesting. The one downside is that I don’t know most of the characters and one comic isn’t enough to really learn all of their names to a great extent. Luckily, the wiki for Transformers is one of the best in the biz so they have my back. It’s a pretty fun comic and there’s a lot of action. It’s basically a collection that is made for popcorn fun!

The plot involves a new threat to the global peace that has enveloped the universe. His name is Magmatron and his power levels are pretty high. The Autobots and Decepticons have finally made peace and they are now known as Maximals and Predacons. They have a treaty and things are actually looking up for the heroes. The Predacons are too worried to actually launch an attack on the moment. Still, the Maximal leader suspects that Magmatron is up to something so he sends Razorbeast to be his spy on the inside. Razorbeast prevents Magmatron from turning every robot in the past into Predacons, but now the two groups are stuck in the past. They can watch the events of Beast Wars transpire, but those inhabitants cannot see or feel them unless these fighters wish it. The Predacons want to bring Megatron in and the Maximal group needs to stop them. Does Razorbeast really have what it takes to lead a group of newly formed heroes?

The premise of the story is interesting, but I don’t see how it could last a very long time. The villains and heroes can still mess around with the current Maximals and Predacons so all it would take is a single energy blast to rewrite time. Magmatron actually fights Megatron, which should affect the timeline a bit, even if nothing really major happened. That’s why working with time travel can be very risky. There are a lot of ways that you can definitely mess it up, but it also pays off in a big way when it works.

Magmatron is the main villain and he’s a pretty fun addition to the cast. This guy definitely looks very powerful and you get the feeling that he has the physical strength to back up his looks. He doesn’t get a lot of fights here, but he looks impressive for the most part. He takes on one of the legendary heroes and also puts up a good fight against Megatron. He definitely didn’t have the upper hand in that fight, but maybe he could have pulled out some kind of win. It would have been a pretty good fight. I hope he returns someday and I like to think that I’ll remember his design for a while. Maybe Transformers 5 will add him in for fun.

Razorbeast is basically the main character since it’s all up to him now. He’s the robot who quickly sabotages Magmatron’s plan and then scampers off to find the new Maximals. He’s not the strongest fighter and he’s more of a hit and run kind of guy. That’s still pretty handy in itself and I’m sure that the heroes were glad to have him. He has a pretty climatic fight towards the end and he definitely doesn’t back down from a fight. He’s all right and Razorbeast definitely beats the average side character, but I wouldn’t be adding him to my top 10 anytime soon. It’s pretty tough to get up there I suppose.

Grimlock is one of the few G1 characters to appear and it’s great to have him back in the ranks. He talks as tough as you may have expected and he puts up a pretty good fight. It’s a little disappointing to see him on the losing side, but it makes sense thanks to Grimlock’s fighting strategy. He launches into the brawl and that’s not a good idea against Magmatron. Magmatron’s body comes equipped with a dinosaur and a snake so it’s like fighting three opponents at once. That definitely gives close combat fighters a disadvantage. His role here is small, but I’m confident that he would appear more in the sequel. I hope they are able to squeeze in more G1 fighters.

Ravage is another fighter from the original series who is ready for some action. He also appeared in the TV show, which was pretty cool. He’s definitely powerful and he is a lot more experienced than most of the other villains. He doesn’t really feel like the real Ravage, but it has been a long time since the original series. As long as he’s still able to take out dozens of opponents in a short period of time, Ravage is good enough for me!

Megatron (The one from the show of course) looks pretty good since he takes the situation in stride. When Magmatron attacks, Megatron doesn’t miss a beat as he counters. He actually does very well against Magmatron and he seems to have the overwhelming advantage until he gets ganged up on by the other Predacons. This Megatron is the robot responsible for keeping up the Megatron name so you almost can’t help but root for him. It’s better that Megatron wins instead of Magmatron right? It also works as a nice guest star appearance for him as a Beast Wars TV show character.

There are other characters, but most of them are still waiting for their character development arcs to start. The shows come in handy for Transformers because it’s really hard to get to know them through comics. There are simply too many of them and you just end up losing track. Especially since the names are usually two words squeezed together. The names may not even make any sense until you see the character appear some more.

Luckily, this comic basically had everything that I could have wanted from Transformers. It’s a simple action story that has a lot of heart and it makes for a good read. I can’t say that I really had any negatives for it. Naturally, the comic didn’t exactly get a 10, but that just speaks to how difficult it is to get such a high rating. I think a 7 is fair for the collection because it didn’t make any mistakes, but it didn’t do anything so spectacular that I could give it anything higher. It’s pretty standard. That being said, it is still fairly difficult to make a comic without any real mistakes.

Longtime Transformer fans can probably appreciate a nice twist in the story. The Maximals finally have the overwhelming advantage in the present since the Dece-Predacons have basically given up. Of course, that becomes moot since the Maximals are on the run in the past, but it’s still pretty fun to see. It’s always the reverse in the other shows and movies as the Decepticons always outnumber the heroes.

We can’t forget that one of the big positives for the collection is the great artwork. It really shines in just about every page and especially for the character designs. Everyone looks like they’re ready to fight. It makes it tougher to discern who is an expendable character and who isn’t. These guys really look like brawlers and the fight scenes are pretty great as well.

Overall, This was a pretty fun comic for Beast Wars. The Gathering is an intriguing title and you’ll certainly get why it’s called that once you read the comic. Any Transformer fan should get a kick out of this title and I’d say the same thing about any action fan. Even if you don’t know the characters, you should still enjoy the fight scenes and the art. It’s a fairly engaging piece from start to finish and maybe it will make you a fan of the franchise if you aren’t already one. It’s time to step into the Beast Wars!

Overall 7/10

Transformers Classics Volume 5 Review

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The final of my retro, retro reviews is the 5th volume of the Transformers Classics series. The original Transformers series was definitely a lot of fun and I’ll miss it. There are still a few more volumes to go before the series is concluded, but it could be a long time until I read volume 6. As always, the Autobots are in a pretty bad spot in this volume. Their numbers have diminished while there always seem to be more Decepticons on the loose. It’s a pretty fun collection with some solid stories.

There are many stories featured in this collection and while Transformers has always done pretty well with keeping a strict continuity in place, we also get some issues that don’t really add to the plot. They’re still entertaining though so it’s not a huge loss. Most of the others do have reprucussions that directly affect future comics as well so you really want to stay sharp as you read through them. I shall briefly give a synopsis for several of the comics included.

The first comic follows good ole Spike as he hikes up a mountain. He doesn’t want to be a Transformer anymore and he’s rejected that way of life to be a normal person once more. Unfortunately, Decepticons show up and Spike’s friend is put in danger. Can Spike really risk their lives just because he doesn’t feel up to the task at the moment? It’s time for Spike to make a choice! I can’t say that I cared for Spike in this issue since he should always be ready for a fight and heroes have no time to worry about being normal. It’s a tough world out there and they need to stay alert. The next comic was a pretty big change in tone as a few Autobots head into an amazonian lair. They were using their humanoid mirages so the Amazons thought that they were not human. Men are not allowed of course, but the Autobot passes the test to prove that he is worthy. Unfortunately, he then lets them know that he’s not human and he basically loses his head during the discussion. Is this really a safe refuge for the heroes? The concept of that comic was pretty intriguing, but it didn’t really have a lot of action so it wasn’t one of the best ones.

The next issue was probably the best one in the collection or it definitely ranks up there at the very least. A few of the Autobots quit the group and decide to strike out on their own. Roadhandler is challenged to a wrestling match and he obliges. He doesn’t want to throw the fight so he wins and then he proceeds to keep on winning the matches. He gets a pretty large following, but then the Decepticons come over to town. They kidnap the fans so that Roadhandler will have to throw the fight against one of them. It’s a diabolical plan, but it;s definitely an effective one. I know that Wrestling fans won’t like the fact that Wrestling is supposed to be fake in this comic, but the battles are still fun and I’m glad that Roadhandler didn’t throw the fight. All’s well that ends well and we even get a moral at the end of the comic. Not bad!

The next story is the meat of the collection as it’s a 4 parter. (Debatably, it could be said to be 5 parts since the issue afterwards deals with the aftermath) Ratchet is feeling guilty about the deaths of his comrades and he has not been able to fix them. A group of new Autobots tell Ratchet that they may have an idea on how to help so Ratchet follows them. He doesn’t contact any of the other Autobots to let them know where he was going and that turns out to be a pretty deadly mistake as the Autobots lead him to Megatron! It was a trap and Megatron intends to revive Starscream among others. Ratchet’s mistake may have ended the war.

Meanwhile, The fake Autobots lead the Autobots into a battle with Scorponok’s forces. Neither side is really in the mood, but it’s hard to exit such a battle once it has started. Both sides clash and Optimus Prime’s group definitely has the edge. Nontheless, Prime realizes that Megatron is up to something so both groups are forced to join forces. Prime is pretty upset about the whole thing and he’s not holding back any longer. The climatic battle against Megatron will resume once again!

One comic gives us the “true” origin of the Transformers. Primus and Unicron had an epic battle and Primus tricked Unicron into merging with a planet so that he wouldn’t be a threat anymore. The problem is that the plan worked a little too well and he also got trapped. Primus built some normal Transformers and that’s how things started. An energy blast hits him in the modern day and he wakes up…this could be tricky for the Transformers. There are a few stand alone issues after that where Autobots travel to various planets to try and find the Matrix, but it’s all for naught. Maybe it just cannot be found anymore.

Aside from the issues, one reason that I really like the Classics series is the fact that the volume does a good job of giving the reader a lot of extra info. Before each comic, we get a fun foreward by the author explaining details about the comic like what they were thinking when it was written or scenes that were cut out. Likewise, there is a lot of writing after each issue where each panel is discussed. It’s a very fun way to read the comics since you really get the maximum amount of enjoyment since you can safely say that you’ve seen the comic from every angle.

The art for the issues is pretty good. The Transformers Wiki typically has an error relating to the art in most of the issues, but it is easy to miss them so it’s all good. A few mixed up colors definitely won’t stop the rest of the collection from looking good and I really miss some of these designs. Bumblebee’s has changed for the better, but the rest of the fighters have never really looked as good as the G1 designs.

One thing that I did find interesting was the use of the “Fake Autobots.” I believe that they called these Decepticons “Pretenders” and it’s an apt description. It’s really a brilliant move on their part and I’m surprised that it hasn’t been tried before. Switching emblems is likely difficult, but I’m sure that it would be easy for Shockwave to invent something to make it possible. The plan worked and the only oversight was that the Decepticons should have expected Prime to quickly take down Scorponok and then put a wrench in the plans. If there were more Decepticons then it would have definitely been a pretty crushing win. I would like to see more robots use this tactic in the future since it could make for a pretty great plot. Especially in the newer comics since there are so many fighters on either

Just about all of the characters were pretty solid. Ratchet was a lot better than usual and Megatron/Optimus Prime are always great characters. The rest of the Autobots and Decepticons were decent and they played their roles well. I can’t say that I really cared for Spike since he really didn’t make the right calls as quickly as he should have. Trying to leave the Transformers just isn’t that responsible when you are the leader of a team.

Overall, This was a solid addition to the Transformers Classics series. We got to Megatron return to fight the good fight and the 4 part epic with Ratchet was pretty exciting. The wrestling issue is an example of a great story that may not work quite as well in the modern comics. It was played seriously and yet it felt like a parody from the start. I highly recommend checking out this comic if you’re a Transformers fan or if you just want some action. It will be a little tougher to really get into the volume if you’ve never read Transformers before, but you have to start somewhere right? We are definitely reaching the climax and it appears that Unicron will definitely be joining the action in the next volume. That definitely sounds fun!

Overall 7/10

Transformers Review

Nothing beats the original Transformers film and that never changes no matter how many times I see it. It’s easily the definitive robot film and I actually don’t believe that any will ever be able to pass it. Nonstop action and a solid cast of characters keep this classic afloat and after Transformers 4, it was time to relive the good ole days. Get ready for an emotional war as the Autobots and Decepticons have their climatic clash!

The plot starts after most of the TV show events have already occurred. The Decepticons have a huge advantage thanks to the fact that they have already conquered Cybertron and the Autobots seem to be very weakened. The heroes are low on energon and they only have a city on Earth as well as a pair of moons. The Decepticons decide to destroy this resistance once and for all and a climatic battle ensues. Meanwhile, the legendary Unicron is on his way to Cybertron and he’s already conquered several planets. Defeating him is basically out of the question at this point. Can the Autobots even afford to worry about him with all of the Decepticons who are around? Only time will tell!

The film is really fast paced and so many plots develop throughout the course of the film. This is considering that the film isn’t even a full 90 minutes! The first half hour is easily the best part of the film as we witness a big Decepticon invasion and the heroes heroically try to fend them off. It’s emotional and the fight scenes are just intense. The film doesn’t really slow down until we get to the planet of Junk where the film gives the audience a brief rest. After that, it’s time for the climax against the planet eater.

Ironically enough, the climax is one of the least exciting parts. After the first 50-60 minutes of nonstop action and battles between the two sides of Transformers, the final half hour is a little uneventful. We have a water planet, the junk planet, and then a quick battle against Unicron. It’s still solid of course, but nothing beats the first chunk of the film. All of the classic fighters get their chance to show what they’re made of.

Optimus Prime is still the fearless leader of the Autobots and this continuity was easily his best portrayal. Prime means business and he effortlessly takes out quite a few Decepticon warriors. His climatic battle against Megatron is still famous and the battle was very well done. Prime is essentially the perfect main character and he really had no flaws in the film. I doubt we’ll ever see him look quite this good again, but he’s consistently been a solid character across the multiverse anyway. His shotgun/cannon also looks impressive and it’s definitely one of the stronger weapons in the film. He may not have gotten a very large role, but it was definitely a critical one.

Megatron is also an excellent villain. He is a great leader for the Decepticons and his plan is a solid one. Infiltrating Autobot city nearly ended the war in an instant. He took out quite a few Autobots and he seems to have a lot of energon since he was fighting all day. I will admit that I was always surprised with the fact that Megatron begs for his life at one point. I suppose that he doesn’t care what he has to do in order to defeat Optimus Prime, but as Prime said “I thought you were made of sterner stuff.” Megatron is able to get past this thanks to the fact that he’s an awesome villain and the film wouldn’t have been the same without him.

It was good to see Grimlock since I really didn’t like his portrayal in TF 4. This is the Dinobot that I remember and he’s acknowledged as one of the strongest Autobots. There’s a reason why Prime sent the Dinobots to take out Devastator! Few other robots could have been challenged with such a task. Grimlock may not have crushed Devastator, but he did pretty well with the other Dinobots. (The other Dinobots are cool as well and I believe that Slag may have done more damage than Grimlock, but their roles were a lot smaller so I won’t really be talking about them) Grimlock even humors Wheelie for a while and then takes command of a huge army of Sharkticons. That’s what I’m talking about!

Hot Rod is essentially the main character of the film and this is how I became a big fan of the character. He may have gotten a little watered down in the comics that came out after this, but he still looks pretty good in the film. He shoots at the Decepticons upon seeing them and then he embarks on a dangerous journey with the others so that they can mount a counter attack. When he finds out that the Matrix has been stolen, Hot Rod immediately says that they should attack and get it back.

Now, his only sad moment is when Megatron is able to easily overpower him and shoot Prime. It’s a controversial move since it can be said that Prime would have won otherwise. I am confident that Megatron would have still shot him, but maybe it would have only been once instead of several times. It’s definitely a debate, but Hot Rod’s intentions were sound and he really did try to help. It just turns out that his power was feeble compared to Megatron’s and he never stood a chance. He still pulls through when it counts and that’s what ultimately matters. He officially ended the wars and changed history!
Bumblebee gets a very small role in the film and he only gets a line or maybe a few more. His design is definitely interesting and it’s one of the only ones from G1 that didn’t really become mainstream. I will always prefer this version since he can talk to most of the others, but he definitely wasn’t a star in this film. He doesn’t even say thanks at the end when Daniel saves his life. It was still good to see him get a cameo though.

Unicron is the big bad villain of the film and he makes for a solid threat. Instead of talking tough and doing something gritty to call attention to himself, Unicron just destroys the planet in one fell swoop. After that, he sets his sights on Cybertron and it’s a pretty epic journey. He takes out two moons for fun as he gets closer and closer to his goal. His attack on Cybertron is also one of the few times where we actually get to see Shockwave mobilize the troops so that was cool. (Although the Decepticons did not last for very long) Unicron’s decision to transform into robot mode was his big mistake. The enemies quickly took advantage of this and Unicron is essentially defenseless in this form. It’s why I am opposed to villains being too large. It just makes them vulnerable in the end. Ignoring that, he was still a pretty solid opponent for the Autobots and his voice was nice and menacing. Not even Megatron was able to stand up to his tricks.

Galvatron is the new villain who was introduced for the film. He’s not as new as you may think, but that’s another story and you’ll realize this as you watch the film. His arsenal is impressive and taking on Starscream is a pretty good feat. The scene should be pretty cool if you’re a fan of Galvatron or if you’ve just wanted to see this happen to Starscream for a while now. Galvatron talks tough throughout the film and he can back it up with his high amounts of power. You have to respect the fact that he never gives up and keeps on trying to make his plans succeed. He’s just in a very difficult position to make this actually happen. He is a very good villain for the film.

Wheelie is definitely the worst Transformers robot. His voice is definitely tough to understand and you stop trying after a while. The rhymes were a little over the top. I do applaud the fact that the film tried to make the voices unique, but it just didn’t work this time. Wheelie ends up sticking around through the next TV show, but I can’t say that it was a good thing. He doesn’t really bring down the film a whole lot, but he’s still unnecessary.

Wreck Gar is from the Planet Junk and he talks in radio signals mixed in with TV. It’s very hard to understand him and I can’t say that I liked him as a character. It helps that the whole Planet of Junk was a little uneventful and I didn’t like the Piranha world that much either. Wreck Gar just doesn’t really add much to the plot and I’m a little skeptical on how that junk would be so sturdy. He must know something that I do not.

Kup is one of the major players in this film, but he’s never been one of my favorite Autobots. He can fight and he has a lot of experience, but it just wasn’t enough to win me over. He’s not a bad character, but he’s really not the type of guy that I tend to find likable. He’s just too old and he doesn’t fight all that much. He talks a good game, but he typically can’t back it up. Still, he did pretty well when he took out the tank so I give him props for that.

Ultra Magnus is one of the major Autobots and I used to think that he was a powerful fighter based on the name. I’m sure that he’s tough, but there’s nothing to really suggest that he’s tougher than the other Autobots in this film. I’m definitely a fan of his, but the film really tried to show why he wasn’t a terrific leader. He didn’t have time to worry about his comrades and his one on two fight didn’t go over so well. Dropping the Matrix of Leadership was likely his biggest mistake. It would have been great if Ultra Magnus could have went down putting up more of a fight. He may not be the next Prime, but he’s still a likable Autobot.

Daniel is the new human companion to the Autobots, but he isn’t a great character. He means well and he helped the Autobots to become aware of the Decepticon threat, which likely saved many bots. However, he just wasn’t much of an asset to the team and he didn’t figure out how to use his energy gun until the climax of the film. Also, asking the Autobots what happened to Spike during such a dangerous situation was a little on the dicey side and he even broke the great air board from the intro of the film. He’s still a step up from the protagonist of the Transformers Trilogy.

Spike was one of the main characters from the TV show, but he doesn’t get a huge role in the movie. He decides to leave Unicron a little present in the form of a bomb, but he took too long admiring his craftsmanship to make enough time to escape. I can’t say that he was very likable, but he wasn’t a bad character either. He was just pretty inconsequential in the grand scheme of things and he definitely panicked a lot when Daniel hesitated to save his life. I suppose that it was understandable though….

Arcee doesn’t look very good in this film and it was before the big social wave that helped to make female characters much stronger in today’s media. This is before Arcee became the pro fighter that we see in Transformers Prime. She helps Daniel out through the tough times, but she never gets a chance to fight back. I would have liked to see her fight some Decepticons and the closest that she comes to this is when she breaks one of the tires on an enemy car when the Junk bots attack. So, she definitely couldn’t look as good as the other Transformers without any fight scenes, but she was all right I suppose. Definitely needed some action though.

Starscream really steals the show for the Decepticons. He’s the one Decepticon in the film that I prefer to Megatron. His shreeky voice is iconic at this point and some would even say that it is more memorable than Prime’s or Megatron’s. That may go a little far, but it’s definitely one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of Transformers. This is Starscream as he was meant to be portrayed and the fact that he directly insults Megatron instead of beating around the bush is intense. “How do you feel mighty Megatron!” as Starscream kicks him while he’s down. His lines to Megatron as he throws him out of the starship are great as well and he even got to wear a crown. It’s hard to find any character that’s as good as Starscream.

Soundwave gets a pretty small role in the film, but he is the only Decepticon to show any loyalty to Megatron. He may not have stopped the others from throwing him off of the ship, but he did save him from the being left at the Autobot base. Soundwave’s definitely one of the more useful Decepticons and I’ve always liked him as a character. Letting the constructicons know who was superior was definitely a nice line as well.

The film’s soundtrack is dynamite and just about all of the songs are catchy. The only one that I didn’t care for played during the planet of Junk as they all held hands and danced around. It really wasn’t my type of film and I definitely could have gone without it. Aside from that, it’s hard to even know where to begin. It really makes you feel like you’re watching a theatrical film. The music is loud and it’s energetic. You really get into the fight scenes and they’re well played. The main Transformers theme is easily my favorite tune and I’ve listened to it many times. It ends up making the opening credits really exciting and you know that you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.

The animation is also excellent. This film came out in the 80’s and yet, it looks so much better than some 2014 shows like Pac Man and Teen Titans Go. (Still airing in 2014 anyway) This film always helps to reinforce the fact that animation has been on the decline in America. We need to get away from Flash and CGI so that we can go back to traditional hand drawn shows/films. I’ve viewed this film on dvd many times and it’s finally starting to show some wear and tear. The final 20-30 minutes saw a drop in quality, but it wasn’t the film, just the disk. This film definitely deserves the blu ray treatment and then more people can see the epicness from which Transformers was born. The animation definitely holds up very well to this day and I can say with confidence that it is timeless.
Overall, this is not just the definitive Transformers film, but it is the best robot film out there. The cast of characters is excellent and the soundtrack is top notch. The animation pulls no punches and there is action throughout the film. The fight scenes are very well done and the robots focus on winning instead of tearing each other to shreds for a while. This results in accurate shots that take the robot down in an instant. There were only a few characters that I didn’t really care for and things slowed down towards the end, but that’s not a major concern. I highly recommend this film to Transformers fans and to anyone that wants to relive the good ole theater experience. The film is nearly perfect and I doubt that it shall ever be surpassed by another Transformers film. I recommend watching this one whenever you are about to watch the Michael Bay version.

Overall 9/10

Transformers Rise of The Dark Spark Review

We are nearing the opening of the new Transformers film so excitement is certainly in the air. (Unless you’re a Jetfire fan) Likely to celebrate, Hasbro came out with a time travel game that features the heroes from the films and their older counterparts from the War For Cybertron games. In this game, they are of the same continuity and the Cybertron era merely takes place thousands of years before the current days. It’s nice to see both versions fight on the big screen. I can definitely say that this game holds up against the tough Transformers legacy. This legacy is powerful because all of the Transformers games that I’ve played (Minus Animated) have been awesome. I can safely say that they’ve all been 8s or very strong 7s. Transformers tends to have amazing gameplay and that’s what I expected from this game. Luckily, I was not disappointed!

The plot involves a man machine being by the name of Lockdown. He arrives on Earth and then decides that the Dark Spark will be his. The Autobots don’t know what he intends to do with this power, but they must stop him and put an end to these dangerous plans. Optimus Prime will have the help of his classic pal Bumblebee and the honor bound Drift. The three of them will foil Lockdown’s plans once and for all! Meanwhile, thousands of years ago, the Decepticons learn of the Dark Spark after becoming aware of the existence of the Insecticons. Optimus Prime realizes that if Megatron obtains such power, it could be the end of everything. Prime’s allies in this quest are Sideswipe, Jetfire, and Jazz among others. They face heavier resistance than their future counterparts as Megatron is aided by legendary figures like Starscream, Shockwave, and Soundwave. One Shall Find The Dark Spark and One Shall Fall To The Dark Spark!

Lockdown makes his big appearance in this game. I haven’t really seen him before now so it was interesting to see his personality. He’s definitely a little more..chipper compared to the other villains. That’s not the best word to describe him though. Maybe sarcastic or old? Either way, I can’t say that I’m a fan of Lockdown, but he makes for a decent final boss. His character design is humanoid, which is always good because bosses are much more fun to face off against when they’re your own size. His plan is intriguing and it makes a lot more sense than the average villain plan so I give him props for it. It’s an ingenious way to use the Dark Spark.

Optimus Prime gets a large role of course and now you can finally decide which Prime is more likable. The one from the movies or the one from the games. It’s fun because the movie version has had three games while the game version has had two, but they’ve both gotten to appear a lot. I prefer the game version slightly as he seems to be a lot more…intense. He’s in the middle of a war so he’s more serious and it’s great to see him ripping down doors whenever you go through a level. I can easily agree with the many fans of Optimus Prime that he is one of the best characters in the franchise. He takes Megatron on directly (At last!) and he certainly fights pretty well.

This is really the first that I get to see of Drift’s cinematic personality. The mask makes for an interesting twist and it probably takes his character a little too seriously, but I thought that they did a good job with Drift. He still follows his honor code and he’s kept his legendary speed and sword wielding. He’s one of my favorite characters to play as and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing him in the film. This could be the push that he needs to make it into the top 10 most popular Transformers. I hope so since he’s definitely one of the better ones.

Megatron surprisingly gets a small role in this game. He appears at the very end of the past storyline. He does still manage to take on Optimus Prime in a one on one fight, but you wouldn’t become an instant fan of his through this game. He’s not quite as threatening as he was in War For Cybertron. I still like his design in this game, but I would have preferred that they went with a classic G1 appearance of the one from Prime.

Bumblebee’s role is also surprisingly small, but they still manage to give him a lot of hype. He immediately figures out the villain’s plan and then it’s all up to him to save the day. That certainly takes a lot of character, but I wish that he could talk. Remember his epic voice from War For Cybertron? Ah well, I still like his movie design so that’s great to see.

There were naturally many other fighters, but their personalities are more or less what you’d expect. Jetfire seems like a likable character even if his accent can be a little tricky. Starscream is as likable as usual and he still tends to get the best moments. Soundwave actually gets his own level, which will certainly be fun for fans. The insecticons are decently cool in their roles and Shockwave remains as one of the best Decepticons. He’s powerful and he tends to take command when Megatron isn’t around. Cliffjumper is still around, but he continues to lose at every opportunity. I wonder if he’ll ever look really good again.
The gameplay is essentially what you would expect from the other Transformers games, but I shall talk about it in case you haven’t played them. It’s a third person shooter and you typically have to destroy all of the enemy robots. You’re playing as a robot, which can be a little dicey at times, but also epic as well. Believe it or not, the robot genre is probably one of my weakest ones aside from Golf. Games like Armored Core and Gundam have had me stumped in the past. (Albeit, not for long except for Armored Core) Luckily, it’s easy to move your robot around and it just takes a little getting used too at first.

I love third person shooting games and it’s easily one of my favorite genres. I would say that the only genre that I prefer to it is third person fighting like Dragon Ball Z/Dynasty Warriors. Third place would be 2D fighters. This one performs well for the gameplay as everything is smooth. Flying is always fun and it adds that extra dynamic to the game. Who doesn’t want to soar through the skies and defeat all who oppose you? It’s just a blast! I highly recommend using vehicle mode whenever possible since it’s great to just blast away at opponents with your rockets or missiles.

The gameplay is largely the same for all levels, but there are two times where you get to control large characters. Grimlock and Bruticus. Playing as them can be fun since the game essentially turns into a beat em up. You just hack and slash your way through all of the opponents and get to the goal. Two factors to the gameplay that I forgot to mention are the hacks and tech. The tech is essentially an item that activates for a little while 6X EXP, or maybe a little battle droid. The hacks aren’t the gameshark kind, but they make the game more challenging for extra EXP. One way in which this occurs is letting enemies do extra damage so that you can get double EXP. It lasts for the entire level or until you die from the overwhelming power. It’s a nice element to add to the game and it makes it a lot easier to reach level 25.

The game can also be a little difficult at times since the enemies deal a lot of damage. Once the blasts get through your shield, then it’s time to retreat for a while until they replenish. I died a few times through the story and it’s a nice change of pace to have some difficulty. It means that you’ll have to actually plan out your moves a bit instead of charging in and attacking all of the Decepticons.

The game got rid of the multiplayer fighting modes that we had in War For Cybertron and Escalation is all that’s left. (Online co-op story mode is around I suppose) Well, fighting against other players is certainly more fun, but I’ve always liked Escalation Mode so this is cool as well. There are 15 waves and you need to survive them all to secure a nice gold trophy. It was a little easy as my team beat the whole thing in my first try, but maybe they had already been playing for a while so they knew the ropes. I still managed 104 kills in the battle so I definitely contributed my part.

I haven’t gotten all of the trophies yet, but I’m about halfway and I can say that it seems fair enough. The multiplayer trophies aren’t as much of a grind as they were in War For Cybertron. I’ve already gotten just about all of them at this point. They all seem reasonable and a few of them merely involve finding collectibles or blowing up certain objects in a level. It will likely require you to play each level a few times, but that’s not much of a grind since you can accomplish with a few trophies at once as you go through the level. I’m definitely satisfied with these trophies.

The replay value in Transformers is strong thanks to the trophies, but the campaign mode is a little on the short side. It took around 7 hours to complete the 14 levels. Their were more levels than War For Cybertron, but they were also quicker so both games ended up being more or less equal as far as time is concerned. 10 levels is my minimum so with 14, Rise of The Dark Spark is clearly safe from being too short. The levels are pretty engaging and aside from the fact that you can’t skip cutscenes, going through them again shouldn’t feel like a drag. Another element for the replay value is the fact that you need to get all challenges, guns, fighters, and more. Obtaining all of that should take even the most serious gamers quite a bit of time.

The soundtrack is pretty good. There aren’t any really memorable tunes in it, but they’re all good while you’re battling against all of the cons. So, I would likely give it a 3/5. It’s a solid soundtrack, but nothing that you’ll write home about like Super Smash Bros. It’s just how it goes sometimes.

One thing that needs to be mentioned is the audio. It can be a little inconsistent which makes setting it up difficult. The narration is much lower than the sound effects and music, so I lowered those to hear the narration. The problem is that they all lower for cutscenes so I have to choose between too loud gameplay or soft cutscenes. I chose the latter, but the audio could have been a little better.

The graphics for the game are solid and the levels that really stood out for me were the ones in the movie timeline. I actually preferred them because what they lacked in tech, they made up for in scale. You’ve just got to love fighting other robots in such a large city and it’s a lot of fun. The gameplay is definitely the same, but I can safely say that the experience is much different in the movie levels than the game ones. Either way, the graphics are solid for both sections and you shouldn’t have any problem with it.

Surprisingly, I prefer most of the designs from the movie verse. Optimus Prime and Bumblebee simply look a lot more intense. They’re taller and more sleek in their builds. You can tell that they’re hand to hand combatants as the old versions are more boxy. Of course, you can’t top Starscream or Soundwave’s designs so both universes get their wins. The designs are all great in the long run and playing as any of the characters can be fun.

Overall, Rise of The Dark Spark is a great Transformers game and it can certainly hold its own against any of the others. The story was engaging and the game never felt as if it was dragging on. It may have been a little towards the short side, but there is a lot of replay value through the online escalation mode and getting all of the PS3 Trophies. The movie characters felt as if they got the shaft compared to the game ones, but they technically had around the same amount of levels. the game did freeze up twice, but I suppose that it would be hard not too with all of the action that was going on. The game has a pretty epic ending as a certain continuity gets involved, which makes things interesting. It would be awesome to see this character in a possible sequel. There’s no reason not to get this game and I’d say that there is every reason to purchase it right away. The gameplay is just about perfect and you won’t regret buying it. I highly recommend the game to all gamers!

Overall 8/10