|Developed by Atari's "Melbourne House" studio (I remembered that name from the Dreamcast "Test Drive Le Mans" racing game), Transformers is a keen-looking game, with shimmering metal robots, shiny rivers, spectacular explosions and laser beam effects, highly-detailed, lush landscapes, and elegant-looking menus. It also has lots of slowdown, which they kind of try masking with that PS2 blur effect seen throughout Grand Theft Auto (see entry 107), although at least in those games you can turn the blur off (I forgot to check if you can do it in Transformers).|
I didn't play the game long, but I got stuck and made to feel stupid in the very first level, or whatever you call it in this game that wants to seem nonlinear and thus gives you a world map from which to pick a location, but there's only one, and then tells you that you have "0/9" of something--so presumably you need to get the rest. These may have been warp gates, which were scattered around the jungle I entered, or maybe cute little robot "Mini-Cons" that you can attach to your Autobot as weapon accessories.
I couldn't tell which, because I got a Mini-Con and one or two warp gates activated, and the map chooser went up to "1/9" and didn't give me any new areas to go to, and I was at a loss for what to do. I backtracked through the jungle/Mayan Temple area, and had the damn annoying radio robot keep calling and interrupting my progress over and over, all over again, and he even said "there's a Mini-Con in that temple" even though I'd already got the Mini-Con out of the temple that he'd told me about the first time through.
So I guess I broke the game. I wandered around through the jungle as Optimus Prime a bit, and it was fun to transform into a semi cab and crush miniscule little enemy robots who got in my way, but there wasn't much else to do aside from drowning in the river (apparently Autobots drown if left in water for about five seconds straight--no wonder they can never beat those Decepticons).
Prime's movement was very sluggish, which sort of matched the framerate. He really couldn't jump well at all, which sucked because there were a number of jumping cliffy areas--and for some reason Jump is on L1, which just seems weird. The rest of the control is dual analog, left stick to steer, right stick to aim, and works well enough aside from the slowdown. I found myself wishing that the game as a whole was much lighter and faster--like Sega's Macross, for instance (see entry 349).