The Transformers

by Simon Butler
Ocean Software Ltd
Crash Issue 27, Apr 1986   page(s) 17

Producer: Ocean
Retail Price: £7.95
Author: Denton Designs

Once again life as we know and love it has come under threat from evil minions - this time in the form of the evil Decepticons, Transformer robots which have invaded the planet Earth and are doing their very best to take over.

Only a handful of good guys remain - five Autobots who go by the names Mirage, Optimus Prime, Hound, Jazz and Bumblebee. You take control of the Autobot team and have to find the four parts of the Autobot Energon Cube in order to stave off an energy crisis as well as eliminate the baddies.

Naturally, the invading force of dastardly Decepticons is out to defeat the quintet of heros - to make your life more difficult, the Decepticons have perfected the art of robo-cloning, which allows them to multiply rapidly. If you don't wipe out the baddies quickly, they start popping up all over the place.

The main playing area is presented in a large window which occupies the top half of the screen, and flips as you move off the edge of the current screen. Below the action area is the status panel. At the start of the game the five Autobots are nestling within Defensa Pods and five icons are ranged on the bottom of the screen. To take control of one of the team, you have to move a cursor over the appropriate Autobot's icon and Press fire, where upon one of the Defensa Pods opens to reveal your chosen combatant.

Once you have control of an Autobot, the status display changes, and the icons are replaced with three bar graphs which indicate the shield, power and weapons status of your current champion. Inrobot mode, the Autobots can run to the left and right and take to the air, flying along Superman style. To transform into vehicle mode turn the Autobot so it is facing out of the screen,press fire, and it crunches down into a nifty four wheel motor. An Autobot in vehicle mode can zoom along at a fair lick, but the penalty is that its laser system is disabled. Fortunately, the vehicles are low on the ground, so most of the laser bolts fired by the evil Decepticons pass above it.

The battle is waged in a huge city complex containing a weird mix of architectural constructions including walkways, ramps and strange pillars. In vehicle mode you can out-run the Decepticons, and make rapid progress along the catwalks and up and down ramps - but be careful not to zoom off the edge of a walkway into thinair as you can't transform when you are falling. In walking mode the normal left right controls apply, and to move up or down the ramps which link platforms up or down have to be selected at the same time as left or right. Flying is simple enough - press up and you take to the air, but care is needed as collisions with some sections of the environment lead to an early death.

If the status bars reveal that your Autobot is running out of energy, weapons or shields, sanctuary can be taken by stepping into one of the Defensa Pods, which will close and return control to the Autobot Selection screen. Any nasty Decepticons on screen when the door shuts on a Pod are vapourised and the Autobot'srest cure tops up its shield, power and weapons levels.

The game is played in real time - you have fifteen minutes to find the four sections of the Energon Cube and fetch them back to the Autbot HO. The Decepticons, wise to your activities, are alsoafter the cube, and scamper back to their HO with any sections they come across. Which means you have to penetrate their base, and life becomes harder...

Success within the fifteen minutes on level one is all very well, but the battle continues, getting harder and harder as the bad guys get meaner and multiply faster.


Control keys: 1 left, 2 right, 3 down, 4 up, 5 fire
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2, Protek, Fuller, AGF
Keyboard play: awkward
Use of colour: plenty of it, but lots of clashes
Graphics: neatly done
Sound: none
Skill levels: one
Screens: 128

I really think more could have been made of this game. The graphics are good, but there's too much colour and clashes occur regularly. Transformers isn't terrible, but it's certainly not all it could be. Maybe it should have been made simpler, because I don't think it'll appeal to hardened arcade players. Perhaps it will sell to younger children who like the toys of the same name. So much more could have been done with the Transformers idea - it's the first time I've seen a program lacking in any way from Denton Designs, but there you are.

Transformers is a bit disappointing. The graphics are okayish but not up to the quality we expect from Denton Designs. On the whole the game is enjoyable but it does lack something incontent: it's one of those games you play for an hour or so and then put away to forget about. l can'I really think of anything really constructive about this game - it's neither particularly good nor really bad. If you're a fan of the TV series it may prove enjoyable, but l doubt it. This is an average game that may appeal to younger players.

Definitely one of Ocean's worst games, though it may appeal to a few people who like Transformers. I was left with a very bad impression: no nice tunes; no fast or smooth graphics; attribute problems galore; character space accuracy and terrible controls. If you leg it off the edge of a screen with a nasty in hot pursuit it doesn't follow you, which is a bit illogical. I found it very hard to get into and slow to react to the fast decisions that have to be made in order to defeat the Deceptrons. All in, the presentation of the game is way below Ocean's normal standard, and a real let down from the Denton Designs people. The only bit I really liked was the point (right at the end) when I pulled out the power lead.

Use of Computer: 72%
Graphics: 62%
Playability: 68%
Getting Started: 75%
Addictive Qualities: 59%
Value for Money: 58%
Overall: 60%

Summary: General Rating: A bit of a dissapointment, given the idea and the people who wrote the game.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 3, Mar 1986   page(s) 29


They get everywhere these Transformers don't they? You've played with the toys, watched the cartoon on the telly and eaten the cereal. Now, in case you're feeling deprived, here's the computer game. Yes, it's yet another chance to control the five amazing autobots that transform instantly into cars in their amazing struggle against the evil Decepticons.

In Ocean's version, your task is to collect the four pieces of the Energon Cube before the baddies nick them. You control all five bots though only one at once - stop off at a Defensa Pod to recuperate and you can then switch to any of the other four - hardly Shadowfire! All the Decepticons are there, too, in minute detail but, unlike the toys, they reproduce at a fantastic rate in order to make the game a shoot'em-up more than anything else. It would be a platform and ladders clone with shooting but the ability of Autobots to fly/drive when necessary makes the platforms a bit redundant.

The game is slick but nothing new, the keyboard controls are awful and the cassette inlay diabolical; not your usual dashing Autobot prose at all. Strongly recommended for all remaining Transformer freaks everywhere. Personally, I'll stick to the real thing... I could do with a good play now and again...

Graphics: 7/10
Playability: 6/10
Value For Money: 6/10
Addictiveness: 7/10
Overall: 6/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 48, Mar 1986   page(s) 36

Publisher: Ocean
Programmers: Denton Designs
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface II

We've had Glo-bots, Gro-bots, Zoids and, most popular, Transformers. So, it's only natural that Ocean should see green at the idea of producing a computer game featuring our fragile plastic friends.

Four parts of the Autobots' energy cube lie scattered around the city complex. The Decepticons, evil, tyrannical, super robots with a programmed hatred of Autobots will exploit their enemies' weaknesses. They have invaded the city and plan to steal the energy cube.

As this is a Denton Designs game it has the icon control system made famous by Shadowfire and Enigma Force. You have five robots - leader Optimus Prime, Hound, Jazz, Mirage and Bumblebee - under your command. Each one can be selected by moving the cross-hair cursor over it and pressing fire. The boys are stored in Defensa Pods, the covers of which slide upwards to reveal their slick bodies. There is an extensive network of open Defensa Pods in which the Autobots can shelter from Decepticon attacks and recharge their batteries.

The Decepticons do not have recharging stations but have a cloning ability which increases their number two or three-fold during the game. If you do not speedily eliminate them they will swamp the city.

All Autobots have the same set of attributes - shields, power and weapons. The leader, Optimus Prime, has more power than weapon energy but less shield power.

Mirage, on the other hand, has more weapons energy than power or shield force. Optimus is, therefore, more able to stand up to a battering, while Mirage is an attack robot.

The fastest mode of travel for an Autobot is as a vehicle. Transformations can be accomplished by turning the robot to face the front and pressing fire. It will then collapse into the shape of a vehicle ranging from a truck to supercharged sports car.

Vehicles cannot fly and do not have laser weapons. They can however, outrun any Decepticon and, because they are at a lower level, the Decepticon's laser weapons cannot reach them. The only problems you will have in car form are either colliding with a Decepticon or plummeting from a catwalk.

Flying can also be a dangerous occupation. It is safe to fly across domes, slopes, stairways and pipes. Any contact with catwalks or with cylindrical tanks at the bottom of the complex will result in destruction.

You should also be wary of using the slopes which take you from one level to another. Keyboard play is difficult in the extreme. To move up a right sloping ramp, for instance, you must depress the up and right keys simultaneously.

If for some reason you do not push diagonally, you will either walk or - disaster of disasters - fly. Within the narrow confines of the catwalks you can easily crash into a ceiling.

The energy cube which will sustain the Autobots during their power crisis is made up of four pill-shaped segments, each of which is marked with a cross. These must all be found before the game ends - there is a time limit of 15 minutes.

There is no pause key but when all the robots are in their Defensa Pods the clock stops. Also, when an Autobot closes the cover of a pod, any Decepticons on the screen are destroyed.

To succeed quickly in finding a piece when just beginning the game, select Mirage and fly him left across the city in as straight a line as possible. Within a minute you will see a piece and can collect it.

I would then advise you to take Mirage to the nearest open Defensa Pod and lock him in. Decepticons are drawn to the energy waves of a piece of the cube and, if you don't get under cover quickly, the Autobot will be destroyed and the piece stolen.

While any of the Autobots can pick up some or all of the cube pieces, the best strategy is for four of the five robots to pick up just one piece and run for cover. It's a coward's way out but for a beginner it will provide a fairly quick solution to the game.

Unfortunately, the cube pieces are not randomly placed within the city. They are in the same place every time you play. So, once you've located them the fun of the quest is finished.

I would not put the game down because the basic plot can be solved with relative ease. Transformers is a game where a high score is all-important, and I am sure that once you have found the energy cube you will still enjoy a scrap with the Decepticons.

Overall: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 52, Feb 1986   page(s) 15

MACHINE: CBM 64/Spectrum
PRICE: £7.95 (Spectrum), £8.95 (CBM 64)

Those robots in disguise finally make it to the screen of your computer thanks to Denton Designs. You have to help the five remaining Autobots - the goodies - battle the evil Decepticons - the baddies - in a do or die battle for the future of Earth.

The Autobots are suffering an energy crisis and have to fly around and run around a structure which looks a bit like an oil refinery in search of the four bits of the Autobot Energon Cube and transporting them back to Autobot Centre where they will end the crisis.

The Decepticons will try to steal these cubes which are scattered far and wide among the girders and walkways of the game.

You control five Autobots, Optimus Prime, Hound. Jazz, Mirage and Bumblebee. Each has varying energy, firepower and strength levels. You have to select right Autobot to collect the various parts of the cube. It's no good sending the relatively weak Bumblebee off on a long search when you should really send tough old Optimus.

They ether shoot at you or make kamikaze dives into your shields weakening them until your Autobot is destroyed. You can't rebuild your Autobots but the evil Decepticons have perfected the art of robo-cloning - so there's no end to them!

You can give your autobots a zap of life giving energy by dashing to the nearest Defence Pod. These pods zap your energy, firepower and shield levels back up to battle status and MUST be used if you are to succeed.

The Autobots can transform into their earthly disguise as trucks and sports cars etc - but this seems more of a frill than a real game tactic. The Decepticons still attack whatever you look like! Also can race along a girder and off the end before you've a chance to change back to an Autobot all too easily.

Which brings us back to controlling the game. This is the difficult most part of the whole game. It'll take you some time to get used to the ultra-sensitive controls and become aware of what you can run/fly through without being destroyed.

Graphics aren't bad and the Transformers' theme tune is copied very neatly. Not a brilliant game - not a terrible one either. Play a friend's copy first.

Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 6/10
Playability: 6/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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