Retro Sunday Review – Transformers (ZX Spectrum)

Every Sunday, I get retro.  I boot up some emulators (or even the real thing if time allows) and replay some of the more obscure games of yesteryear.

Transformers (1986, Ocean)

When I was younger, I was obsessed with Transformers.  I watched the cartoon, had a lot of the toys, even the sticker album with the 16-sticker diorama in the front.  What was there not to love?  Robots that fired lasers and transformed into some mean-looking vehicles?  Awesome.  So when I unwrapped this one Christmas, I almost spoiled my new jammys with excitement.

In Transformers the Game, you take control of five Autobots – Optimus Prime, Jazz, Hound, Mirage and Bumblebee, each with varying amounts of health and power.  You have to find/steal energon balls and return them to your base.  That’s pretty-much it.  What spoiled this for me back all those years ago is that the Decepticons aren’t unique – you destroy Ravage, another one pops up later, yet your Autobots are finite.  This gives the game a kind of desperate hopeless kind of feeling, and coupled with the enormous game level, it is a fairly dark title.  The Autobots are great – you can transform, fly, shoot lasers, but don’t drive off of the platforms or you’ll crash and burn.  Likewise for flying.  For a Spectrum game, it looks and feels brilliant, but the pointless open-ended plot spoils it.

Play time = 10 minutes

Verdict =  Not bad – I wish I still had the toys.

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