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Transformers: The Game

Score: 65%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Traveller's Tales
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Themed

Graphics & Sound:

I have to remind myself once again that it is summer time. Summer time means all of the marketing monsters chomping at the bit with their summer movie blockbusters in tow, just itching to get them as much publicity as possible. So how do you go above and beyond the typical movie posters, plot revealing trailers and toy line? You make a videogame out of it. So, thus we have Transformers: The Game. Now if you haven't heard, Transformers have been around a while. I was a huge fan, of course, and as a lifelong fan, I have an idea of what the game should be like in my head. This was not that game. This was yet another movie turned game.

Based off the current version of the Transformers movie, because yes there has already been one, the look is very similar to games like Grand Theft Auto III. You have a weird mixture of these real world textures and cartoon-like appearances of common people and places. Overall, the look gave this a "been there, done that" feel. All of the intros and cut scenes are done in the same style as the game. I was hoping to get some movie footage. You are also going to see the same vehicles and enemies over and over, so get used to the repetition.

The music is directly from the movie, as are all of the well known sound effects that you would expect from the Transformers universe. With a classic that already has a deep and embedded history, it is hard to stray from expectations in any way. I unfortunately have not had a chance to see this new version of Transformers, but I am remedying that soon.


In Transformers: The Game, you start off deciding if you are an Autobot or one of the evil Decepticons. Choosing either will start you off in different areas of the movie. Once you have chosen your fate, you play down a very linear game experience tied to experiences of the movie, a game on rails. I mentioned in Graphics that the game looked like GTA III and it plays like it as well, in a bad way. All of the physics for the game were really off for me. In the early missions with the Autobot Bumblebee, the driving was awkward and not as easy to control as I thought a simple movie game should be. You have an attention and damage meter just like GTA III that alerts more cops to the scene in order to make completing your tasks harder. So when it came down to it, I was playing a familiar game minus the free-roaming ability and side missions that made it interesting.

You can transform at any time. Your vehicle or disguised mode, whatever that may be for the character you are playing, is your fastest way to get around the map. Your robot mode is where you can do the most damage to other Transformers. You will proceed along the storyline completing each mission and gathering points and tokens towards unlockable Bonus Features.

The targeting reticule and camera are controlled by the wand with the movement controlled by the thumb stick on the Nunchuk. The camera is controlled by your reticule touching the side of the screen. The whole control scheme felt off as well. I felt a 3rd person look in robot mode would have done just fine and not been as awkward.


So besides Transformers: The Game being harder to control than the bowels of a 19 year old poodle with a spastic colon, I thought the game was fairly easy and straightforward. There are no upfront ways to change the difficulties in the game settings such as easy, medium, or hard.

I spoke earlier about the control scheme, but it really deserves another look to say, "What were they thinking?" I was really confused by this because there were several ways they could have gone about controlling the robot. If you wanted to leave the ability to target anything on the viewable screen with your wand, then why have an auto-target? It locked your camera into it and left you disoriented when you tried to move around.

Game Mechanics:

The physics of Transformers: The Game has to be, by far, one of the more unbalanced and random mechanics in the game. I bump a car and it flies across the screen at mach 1, but if I bend over to pick one up to use as a weapon, I am all of the sudden caught in this time dilation field that won't let me move. But, I can hit someone with a piece of construction fencing and I have to work to find out where they have landed so I can finish them off.

You will find yourself having to work your way through extremely large chunks of the game in order to be able to save, so that you can take advantage of the bonus features you have unlocked. I will let you be the judge of whether the bonus features were worth the fuss of trying to unlock them. I personally was not surprised with the offering.

I really hope the movie is better than the game, but I have no fear it will be. I have a lot of childhood imagination, time, and my allowance invested in the Transformer's universe. I spent hours as Optimus Prime as well as many characters. I know this game is a marketing ploy, but it really doesn't help that we perpetuate the stigma that movies make bad games. Already we see that the box office take for Transformers will "force" another sequel, which in turn will mean another game. Hopefully the second time will be a charm.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

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