MP36 Masterpiece Megatron Review

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“I am sick of comments about my giant head. The first such incident occurred on…”

You’ve got to hand it to Japan. When it comes to giant robots, spandex-clad superheroes, and animated porn featuring suspiciously “fresh” young ladies, they’re absolutely at the top of their game. It’s the aforementioned giant robots we’re interested in today, but stick with us for the latter. If ever the TMW readership takes a dip we’ve always got the safety net of My Sexy Robot Little Sister reviews to fall back on.

LISTEN TO UNCLE!

The 80’s version of Megatron originated in Japan as a 1:1 scale toy robot who turned into a gun. Specifically, a Walther P38. Even more specifically, it turned into the customised boomstick used by Napoleon Solo in the Man from U.N.C.L.E television series. Weird huh?

One more thing!

This toy was one of many, many existing Japanese figures shanghaied into the Transformers toyline and animated series by Hasbro in 1984. We’ve covered this in detail before, but the discrepancy between the toy version of Megatron and the animated one – which also appeared in the comics, merchandise, and even in Universal Studios as a kid-size replica the little shits could climb over/vandalise –  has been a bone of contention for Transformers fans since the sunny Saturday morning in 1984 the TV series hit the airwaves.

His crotch doubles as a TV dinner tray.

Just look at it. Christ, look at it. It pales in comparison to the tin tyrant who stomped all over our TV screens in the 80’s. So now – well over thirty years later – it’s up to Takara to leap in, banish the old toy to the land of winds and ghosts, and right past wrongs with the release of the new Masterpiece Megatron. Is it worthy of the name? Let’s find out.

THE REVIEW

Put simply – for we ain’t so good with big words here at TMW, hyuck hyuck – the only way you’re getting a better Megatron than this is to shove off to Cybertron with a special shrinky-dinky machine and steal the real one for yourself. There. We said it. It is best Megatron. End of review.

He scales and displays perfectly with his nemesis Optimus Prime, but veers more towards the animated cartoon aesthetic than Prime. In some ways Megs shoots for almost slavish cartoon accuracy, sporting a frankly massive head – with plenty of goofy expressions – and other odd details like the slightly wrong Decepticon sign all the baddies had in the show.

“Yessss!” Megatron finds out he gets 50% of all the movie’s T-shirt sales

He also features electronic sounds activated by a button on his patented fusion cannon. You can switch between three sounds: the transforming sound (you know the one); a very weedy laser sound affect (ignore this one); and a smattering of Japanese phrases, none of which we understand apart from “Destron gundan, TRANSU-FOOOOOOOOORM!” which we never get tired of hearing.

Articulation is what you’d expect from a toy this price. As well as the standard joints, he has ratcheting shoulders and knees, so can really hold a pose. Curiously he can bend over double at the waist in a way that’ll have Marilyn Manson sobbing into his sacrificial altar with envy. We like.

CH-CH-CH CHANGES

Unfortunately, actually transforming this thing is such a pain in the ass. So much so we usually think twice before getting him off the shelf and do something easier instead, like bringing peace to the Middle East . This is mostly due to the boggling amount of tiny movable parts, but is sometimes made harder by the odd oversight on the part of the designer. For a start, the whole figure is coated in a thin layer of matte paint, which scrapes off leaving ugly marks if you’re not careful. Actually it happens even if you are careful. Good job we don’t keep our toys mint or we’d be absolutely fuming. Also, on our sample the hips were basically fused by the thickness of the paint and the tight joints, and just wouldn’t come apart for transformation. We had to take a screwdriver to it in the end.

The gun barrel is a likely point of breakage too. The plastic is just too soft and is liable to bend or snap completely at the hinge if you don’t know what you’re doing. We shaved it down with a stanley knife. Jesus, is this a toy or a fucking model kit?

It took us a good forty minutes to get into gun mode, and even then the whole thing was sort of straining to pop apart like one of those clown cars where the wheels fall off. By this point we were too enraged to care. Seriously, this thing would have had Mahatma Ghandi going beast mode and throwing hands like M. Bison if it came out in his lifetime. Er, if Ghandi played with toy robots, which is unlikely.

GUNNING PLAN

So. After all that straining, grunting and sweating (ooer) it sort of looks like a gun. Card-carrying NRA members (not sure there’s much crossover between gun nuts and Transformers fans, but we’ve been wrong before) beware: it definitely doesn’t look like a real Walther. Quite apart from the millions of seams and cracks running over the thing, it’s way too blocky and oversized. In any case, we’re glad they traded a bit of real-world accuracy away in favour of the impressive robot mode. No electronic sounds in this mode unfortunately, so pulling the trigger gets you nothing. For shame.

That being said, it really is incredibly satisfying to turn it back into robot mode. The level of engineering skill on show here is something else. We’re very impressed. If a man in Japan asked us to design a functioning robot toy with nothing but an 80’s cartoon and a handgun to go on, we’d quite frankly shit ourselves. It’s worth a fiddle just to see how everything works.

This selfie stick obsession is getting silly now.

THE VERDICT

There’s lots of value to be had here. The stock and silencer are configurable into loads of different modes, and there’s a bundle of quirky accessories to have fun with. Our faves are the battle-damaged face/chest bits, and the doofy looking “control helmet”. All of Megatron’s iconic weapons and gizmos are included. There’s so much to mess about with. If you like to have a guilty play with your high-end collectable toys it’s a must. But maybe leave it in the box if you don’t fancy getting the figure – and yourself – into a right state.

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Unite Warriors Devastator Review

Long admired as the Autobots’ most deadly foe, the fans have been begging Hasbro to produce a “proper” toy of this leviathan for decades. The original 1985 version just doesn’t cut the mustard in the modern age, not least because of how tiny it is. Even back in the eighties, kids were disappointed; the Decepticon titan was dwarfed by most Transformer toys of the era, even its direct contemporaries.

So ever since Transformers returned to the mainstream in 2001/2002, ceaseless rumours abounded that a ‘remake’ of the toy was in the works. The case was certainly not helped when Dreamwave released a now iconic bit of artwork – it showed Devastator surging out of the water underneath the San Francisco Golden Gate bridge. Rendered in the complex, anime style that Dreamwave became famous for, it turned out to be naught but a tease, and the hopes of a mechanical Goliath appearing on toy shelves went unfulfilled.

Look out! It's one of those fish that swims up your crank!

Devastator, watch out! It’s one of those little fish that swims up your crank!

We’ve had combining Transformers since then, but they’ve never quite been up to scratch with the original concept. Hasbro were reluctant to commit to the idea of five or six unique toys needed to combine into a single robot, and deemed it unmarketable. Therefore we were provided with combiner teams that unconvincingly consisted of two sets of robotic identical twins. It’s cheaper that way, you see – Hasbro save 40% on costs because they only have to design three toys for a final set of five. Oh, and let’s not forget that the combined robots didn’t have hands or feet.

So majestic!

So majestic!

Utterly flabbergasting.

However, Combiner Wars / Unite Warriors Devastator is material proof that if you wish on a star, cross your fingers and eat all your vegetables, dreams sometimes do come true. Hasbro has pulled out all the stops and released a colossus of a robot – Devastator how he was always meant to be. We have a full team of six Constructicons, each able to convert into a construction vehicle, but most importantly able to merge into one giant mechanical menace!

How's the weather up there?

How’s the weather up there?

In combined mode, Devastator stands about eighteen inches tall. He’s not the largest Transformer ever made, but he comes close. Each individual Constructicon is as large as your average “voyager class” Transformer toy, which in muggle terms means about seven inches. They’re not lightweights, either, and look suitably bulky and menacing – as you’d expect for a Decepticon goon squad. Their design is based more closely on the animation models, rather than the original toys, and in fact they look like they crawled straight out of your VHS copy of Transformers: The Movie like that girl from The Ring.

"Hulk Smash! Oops, wrong movie!"

“Hulk Smash! Oops, wrong movie!”

Devastator is one solid toy – each component clicks and locks into place so securely that you’ll never have to worry about him falling apart. The original went to pieces easier than Adam watching Homeward Bound. The joints, especially in the legs, are stiff and ratchet into place. He even has ankles that tilt outwards for those extra-cool poses!

Draw!

Draw!

There are two versions of Devastator available – one for the west released by Hasbro, and one for the Japanese market (featured here) by Takara. There’s aesthetically little difference between to two; Hasbro’s has black hands and slightly different paint details. However, there’s quite a big difference in terms of construction, which is where things start to get weird.

In short: someone at the Hasbro fun factory forgot how to make elbows. We still can’t believe we really have to say this this because it sounds so stupid. But it’s such a strange and ubiquitous flaw in the group that we just have to point it out. Poor Scrapper has no elbows at all. Long Haul’s tiny forearms swing uselessly outwards on a fixed hinge. Hook and Mixmaster have it worst of all. Just look at this mess:

Remember when you were younger and you’d break your toys? Maybe you’d ask your dad to take a look at them, and he’d bodge together a rudimentary fix? Our toybox is full of hobbled, mutant robots who got the “dad treatment”. And you know what? It looks for all the world like someone at Hasbro was taking notes…

The Magnificent Six

The Magnificent Six

The aforementioned Japanese release does fix the elbow issues for all involved. However, Scavenger’s newly articulated arms require incredible force to bend – probably because he takes the enormous weight of the combined form on his forearms when in leg mode. Still, we’re not going to look a gift horse in the elbow. Mouth.

Takara also went the extra mile and included some new pieces. The individual Constructicons get a handgun each – a vital tool for a group of warriors, we can all agree – and Devastator gets a new head with a really nifty “visor” gimmick. You see, depending on what episode of the cartoon you were watching, Devastator either had two individual eyes or rocked the ‘sunglasses’ look that so many Transformers did so well. This toy allows you to flip flop back and forth depending on your mood (just like the animators! Arf!) by having a tiny visor that folds away to stow inside the head.

*Put on your 3D glasses now*

*Put on your 3D glasses now*

There are only a couple very minor flaws that are common to both versions of Devastator:

Most noticeably, Long Haul’s general proportions are well out of whack when compared to his team mates. This is because where the original Devastator had a removable plastic codpiece to hold his legs on, this envious job is now assigned solely to Long Haul. Well, it’s either that or he’s spent the intervening decades on the Wayne Rooney diet because he could crush planets between those thunder thighs. He’s very sensitive about it, so don’t say anything.

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“Me so hungee.”

Devastator’s arms are subject to some minor mechanical oversights – for example, his forearms are hollow gauntlets that loosely peg on to a flap below the elbow. It doesn’t look bad at all, but they fall off rather easily. Also, his arms ratchet outwards at the shoulder, but not forwards. So he can do star jumps just fine, but can’t hold his gun out straight without the arm sagging slightly. Very odd indeed.

"We're gonna need bigger guns..."

“We’re gonna need bigger guns…”

Overall, the toy is a wonderful slab of plastic and a fine addition to any Transformers collection… But at anywhere between £150 – £170, it doesn’t come cheap. We again plumped for the Japanese box set, but we’re not sure the modest improvements made to the set really justify the massive gulf in price. If you can find the domestic version grab it.

DEVVY RATING

Missing my Nemesis

Everyone needs a nemesis. Superman has Lex Luthor, He-Man has Skeletor, and Peter Popoff has James Randi.

When two polar opposites eventually throw down, it’s going to be something special. More than just another fight, this is a clash of irreconcilable ideals that will reverberate throughout the universe. TMW takes a look at the best clashes of good and evil throughout the ages.

Darth Vader Vs Obi Wan/Luke Skywalker

Speaking objectively, the first Star Wars film is great, even if behind the scenes George Lucas was going bald from stress and Alec Guinness was renegotiating his contract every five minutes. It introduced us to classic characters and ideas that will forever be embedded in our hearts and the hearts of our grandchildren.

"Daddy! Why won't you hug me!?"

“Daddy! Why won’t you hug me!?”

Obi Wan Kenobi’s fight with Darth Vader is remembered as one of cinema’s great moments. Or should that be misremembered? Watching it today, in Space Year 2015, the whole thing seems a bit of an anticlimax.

The lightsaber battle is dull – I’ve seen slicker moves when my grandma sweeps the kitchen floor. And the old wizard decides that while he could use his Jedi magic to drop a spaceship on Vader’s shiny black noggin, he’ll just stand there and die. Although the concept of death in the Star Wars universe doesn’t seem to be clearly defined.

What’s the disadvantage of death, exactly, if you can come back as a sparkly ghost and perv on Leia taking a shower? You know you would, don’t lie. Lies lead to the dark side.

"Strike me down and I will see more boobs than you can ever imagine"

“Strike me down and I will see more boobs than you can ever imagine”

The later battle in Return of the Jedi between all growed-up Luke and Vader is pretty hardcore by comparison, even if he does spend twenty minutes being called chicken-shit by Mumm-Ra The Emperor.

It all gets pretty heavy when poor old Papa Vader kicks the bucket, but it’s a happy ending after all when Han Solo, two robots and the semi-incestuous Jedi twins have a dance with the teddy bears.

Optimus Prime Vs Megatron

This is when most of us learned that heroes sometimes fail. You probably learned this with tears streaming down your face, your tiny little hands balled into fists in a display of smoldering, primal rage.

"Oh, and Santa Claus ISN'T REAL. Mwhahaha!"

Back in the 80s, film characters stayed dead, kids.

This was the battle of the decade – after all those years of threats and posturing, Prime finally gave Megs the fight he asked for. And boy, did he give him a whupping. Optimus takes Megatron apart – it’s like watching Muhammad Ali take on that Mr. Glass guy from Unbreakable.

For all of us watching, it was intensely satisfying. Prime saves the day, and he has Megatron at his mercy. It was all going to be okay…

In 25 years, people will see how much of a pussy Megatron is in HD!

In 25 years, people will see how much of a pussy Megatron is in HD!

So mere human words cannot describe the horror of seeing the cowardly Megs take a hostage and blast Prime in the face with a concealed handgun.

Prime dies in an awfully protracted deathbed scene that mentally scarred 50% of the pre-adolescent population in 1986. For many of us, it was the day our childhoods died. For the rest, that probably happened some time in the mid nineties when they got their first modem.

The Shredder Vs Splinter

There was always a bit of “will they won’t they” with Splinter and the Shredder. Mortal enemies, their paths rarely crossed. So when they eventually did meet, you knew some serious shit was about to go down.

"No! It's step, jump, THEN sashay!"

“No! It’s step, jump, THEN sashay!”

Shredder always seemed to have an unfair advantage over Splinter. He was about four feet taller and covered in blades, for a start. But Splinter is like Yoda. Small, wrinkly, but still able to kick an ass or two.

Their first proper battle in the Technodrome sent our pulses racing, even if it was a proper rip-off of Star Wars. Shredder even seems to pull a sword from nowhere (he’s never again seen using one), furthering the obvious parallels.

"Your powers are weak, old man!"

“Your powers are weak, old man!”

Still, we didn’t care. The Shredder was one of the great cartoon villains – just hammy enough that you could laugh at him when the Turtles threw custard pies at his metal-plated face, but just scary enough that you took him seriously.

Of course, in the Turtlesverse good always triumphs over evil, and any adventure usually ends with high-fiving and delicious pizza. Except in the 2003 cartoon, where Leonardo cuts Shredders fricking head off. But that’s a story for another time.

"Hmm"

“Sounds like a pain in the neck”

We all know that Master Splinter is the real hero of the series, anyway. He taught us all that it’s not what’s on the outside that counts, but what is in your heart… As long as you have serious kung-fu skills. If you don’t, then you’re just a HIDEOUS FREAK.

He-Man Vs Skeletor

He-Man fought his nemesis all the time. It was like they had a playdate or something. They’d meet outside Castle Grayskull every Wednesday, exchange puns – occasionally waving a sword or staff menacingly in the others’ direction – and then go home.

"Take THIS!"

Spare a thought for the poor bastard on the tower in the background

Let’s not kid ourselves. No-one in the He-Man universe ever hurt or wounded anyone else. He-Man’s Sword of Power could have been used to slice and dice the entire evil horde, but instead he just used it to deflect lasers or cut conveniently-placed ropes.

Not that he even needed his sword at all; He-Man could rip Skeletor or any one of his minions in half like a Jelly Baby and feed them to Cringer. But he doesn’t. Because he’s a goodie, and with great power comes great… Uh… wimpiness?

Anyway, was Skelly really all that bad? In the He-Man Christmas Special, Skeletor kidnapped some children (admittedly a little bit evil) but then made lovely winter coats for them so they wouldn’t freeze to death (not at all evil). He even takes the time to cuddle the green robot puppy.

"Nyaa!"

“Nyaa!”

However, in the 2002 series, Skeletor was plenty evil, and made sure to keep his place on Evil Monthly’s Top 20 Maniacs list by throwing the reigning monarch off a cliff, throwing the crown prince off a cliff (the guy likes cliffs), and beating up He-Man’s pet cat.

Naturally, He-Man goes ape shit over that last one [Ape-Shit? I don’t remember him – Luke] and single-handedly takes down Skeletor’s entire army in an act of vicious but censor-pleasingly nonviolent retribution.

Sonic Vs. Super Sonic

Fleetway’s Sonic the Comic was awesome. We’re dead serious. Given the loose premise of Sonic the Hedgehog – in that there wasn’t one – the creators were free to do as they wished, and they crafted an unimaginably deep and dark universe for the Fastest Thing Alive.

Shit!

Not even Superman can make a 90 degree turn in mid-air!

It’s not too surprising that Sonic ended up with an evil alter ego – the concept is everywhere in the world of comics and cartoons – we have Judge Death, Bizarro, Captain Pollution, and Faker to name but a few.

Where Sonic is a cool, easygoing character, his opposite persona Super Sonic is enough to turn your blood to ice, despite having a slightly redonkulous name.

Super Sonic lived inside regular Sonic (or Sonic: Original, take your pick) and would come to the surface whenever he got stressed or angry. Sonic was basically a ticking time bomb, like Bill Bixby but without the flares.

Uhh, Bob Holness?

Uhh, Bob Holness?

Unstoppable, insane, and with an appetite for carnage and destruction, Super Sonic gave plenty of readers nightmares and caused all sorts of problems for Sonic and his chums. Things hit a high point when the ‘Super’ was split from Sonic and given form all his own, creating a menacing villain who was present 100% of the time, and hit a low point when Super Sonic lost his memory and went on lovely adventures with a magic cat lady and her friend Pajamas.

For real.

Depth Charge Vs Rampage

This one had us on the edge of our seats.

Beast Wars was high on character development, low on toy advertising. It’s the Star Trek of Transformers franchises, and despite the lack of ‘red shirts’, the creators of the show weren’t scared to blow a brother away.

The evil robot Rampage is introduced early in the second season, and he lives up to his name. Apparently indestructible, he’s a sadist who loves killing, maiming and listening to One Direction. He turns into a big crab which is a lot less stupid in practice than it sounds on paper. He has a long-term rivalry with goodie Depthcharge, and they clash several times throughout the series.

Crabs are like Super Spiders.

“Which one of you dickheads ordered the crab!?”

Eventually, the two meet for their final confrontation, and it’s a shocker. After a long battle, the warriors end up locked in a deadly embrace. In stalemate, Rampage gives up, calling our hero’s bluff. So what does Depthcharge do….?

He plunges the sword straight into his enemy’s beating heart. The resulting explosion kills D.C and presumably doubly-kills Rampage.

Funny Fact: Beast Wars was called “Beasties” in Canada because they thought the title was too violent. Makes you wonder what they made of this episode.

“Face your tiny”

Transformers: Devastation UK Review

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The Transformers have been with us for thirty years now, and in that time they’ve graced every form of media you can imagine. We’ve had cartoons, comics, movies, music and books. But so rarely have there been Transformers video games, you could count them on the fingers of one hand. If you only counted the good ones, you’d end up making a very rude gesture indeed.

Transformers games of the past have included the dire Commodore 64 game; the infamous Famicom Mystery of Convoy; and the PS2 bore-fest from (*snigger*) Winkysoft. So where does Devastation stand?

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First of all, the graphics are lovely, even if you’re playing on your old Xbox 360. The game moves along at a silky-smooth framerate that never slows even when things get busy on screen. Coming from the studio that brought us Viewtiful Joe and Okami, it’s no surprise that everything has a painted, cel-shaded look that manages to emulate the old 80s cartoon yet provide a crisp, metallic sheen to the characters.

It looks like the old Transformers cartoon come to vivid life, and it’s brilliant. The Transformers themselves are reminiscent of the old cartoon designs but are more intricately detailed. The animation is top-notch and the characters leap around like gymnasts, tumbling and somersaulting around the levels. At any time you can transform into vehicle mode, and it’s intensely satisfying – you’ll no doubt spend a little while just transforming back and forth.

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If you had asked a kid back in the eighties to describe the perfect Transformer computer game (and, well, a computer to play it on) he would not in his wildest dreams have thought up anything half as good as this. That said, we do wonder if the kids of today will be put off by the cartoonish stylings. Not for nothing have the modern Transformer movies made four billion dollars – it may be too much to ask for people to make the leap back to the old cartoony style.

The game is primarily an “action combat game”, or hack ‘n’ slasher as they’re more commonly known. It seems a strange and risky choice for a Transformers title, given the relatively small audience for the genre. Indeed, we were a bit apprehensive about it, but you couldn’t have surgically removed the smile from Adam’s face as he tore around the first level as Sideswipe in Lamborghini mode and sped towards a Decepticon, before transforming back to robot mode at 100mph and uppercutting him square beneath the jaw. Kabosh!

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The freedom of movement is fantastic. The superb animation combined with slick motion and camera controls means that you’ll spend a few minutes running around each new environment just for the fun of it. There’s nothing quite like leaping around the city as Optimus Prime – the real Optimus Prime, not Michael Bay’s movie monster – then with a press of a button transforming to truck mode to drive through underground tunnels while your headlights illuminate the path ahead.

The playable characters – Prime, Sideswipe, Bumblebee, Wheejack and Grimlock – can either use their traditional weaponry that they’re famous for (Optimus’ axe, Sideswipe’s shoulder cannon, etc) or swap them out for a huge variety of blasters, flamethrowers, swords and hammers to take on the legions of Decepticon goons and – far more frequently than you might expect – big hitters like Megatron, Soundwave or the mighty Devastator!

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You can upgrade your character and weapons, but frankly it makes our heads spin. There are way too many statistics and XP points and whatnot – it’s very daunting. However, the game is first and foremost a hack ‘n’ slasher so these things are to be expected. Many players will enjoy improving their weapons or leveling-up their characters, no doubt.
Upgrades and power-ups can be found scattered around the environments or can be created in Wheeljack’s lab in a fun little mini-game found on the character-select screen.

There are little cameos and appearances from Transformers characters and lore long forgotten. Some are pretty obvious, like the little Kremzeek that hides in the dark alleyways, and others more subtle, like the image of Prowl’s stern face staring back at you from a computer monitor.

Transformers-Devastation-1

There are quite a few unlockables to be found, including artwork from the game and the wider Transformers universe, as well as weapons and downloadable skins for your characters. Bumblebee and Sideswipe become Goldbug and Red Alert at the touch of a button. It won’t add much replayability to the game, but it’s nice for fans of the latter two characters and bodes well for future DLC content.

The graphics and presentation are wonderful, but the music is quite generic, despite Vince DiCola’s input. Most of the time you won’t even notice it, but when you do it has that inoffensive ‘rawk’ feel that puts us in mind of Sonic Adventure. The voices are spot-on, though, with several of the original cast returning to reprise their roles. The most obvious – apart from Peter Cullen and Frank Welker – being the unmistakable Michael Bell. The characters will narrate your gameplay and mutter amusing non-sequiturs to themselves, and also talk to each other via a little pop-up in the bottom of the screen, much like your team mates in Star Fox.

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We doubt that many casual players will want to see the game through to the end. It’s really only for die-hard hack ‘n’ slashers. It’s a shame, as the joy of movement, great graphics and slick combat could have made for an unbeatable action-platformer.

As it is, the environments are a little too small for players uninterested in the combat to make a game of exploring, and we worry that the relatively niche genre will put off most players. It also seems strange that you can only play as the Autobots, despite the enemy Decepticons being so well designed that it seems like a cruel tease to have them unplayable.

It’s a more entertaining game than the grisly and grim War for Cybertron, but the light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. A bargain at £25 (if you settle for last gen), it’s great while it lasts – if you love games like Bayonetta, Devil May Cry or Oneechanbara, then add a point to the score. If you also love Transformers, add another point – you’ll be in heaven.

It’s funny, enjoyable, well-presented and a love-letter to G1 fans old and new. But it never quite breaks the chains of the genre.

Rating Strip TFD

I Clean My Gun and Dream of Galvatron

Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the animated Transformers movie, and the masterminds at Takara have promised to celebrate the event the only way they know how: by making more awesome toys. So far revealed for 2016 are new figures of movie posterboy Hot Rod – which makes sense – and menacing Decepticon Shockwave, which makes far less sense when you consider he has exactly two lines in the movie and is quietly squashed out of existence in the final act.

Both are part of the reinvigorated Masterpiece line, which aims to correct the mistakes of the past and produce new figures of existing characters improved with today’s toy technology. So why the hell have we not got a Galvatron yet?

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“Who’s a guy got to disintegrate to get a new toy around here?”

In the movie, Galvatron was created by Unicron from the remains of Decepticon boss Megatron. His job was to cover Unicron’s considerable ass by hunting down any pesky Autobots who would seek to destroy him. Unbelievably, Unicron was voiced by Orson Welles – whether or not the animators modeled the foul-tempered planet-eater on Welles himself is not certain at this time. Galvatron sets out to capture the Autobot Matrix for his master, but not before getting his own house in order by challenging Starscream for leadership of the Decepticons. And by “challenging” we mean straight-up terminating his ass in one of the movie’s most brutal scenes.

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Our faces looked just like this when Starscream carked it.

The character of Galvatron came about, in real-life terms, because of a number of factors. Changing gun laws in the United States meant that the continued production of Megatron – who turned into a perfect replica of a P-38 Walther handgun – just wasn’t viable. The toys had been on the shelves for two years by this point, so it was decided to shake up the ranks of the Autobots and Decepticons with two new leader characters. The new, improved version of Megatron would now turn into a futuristic-looking laser gun, and if need be further transform into a static laser cannon.

FriedmanAuctionGalvatronModelEdit

The battles of the future will be fought with… these things.

Galvatron’s original animation model was designed by artist Floro Dery with little consideration for how it would work as an actual toy – leaving the people at Hasbro to do their best to make a transforming action figure from his sketches in short time. The resulting finished toy has a good amount of weight to it, and even fits nicely in an adult’s hand in laser gun mode. It’s also one of the first – if not the first – Transformer to have electronic lights and sounds. Alas, this figure of Galvatron is probably best described as the phrase “you tried” manifested in physical form.  If you squint a bit it kind of looks like him. Or at the very least it looks like a random Transformer in a home-made Galvatron Halloween costume.

$_57

“If you do just 50 crunches a day, you can have abs like these!”

It would take Hasbro 22 years to muster up the willpower to crank out another toy, and you can guess how that went. This time Galvatron was a tank – a mandate by Hasbro deems that all new TF lines must contain at least five tanks because “kids love that war shit” – but the figure has vestiges of some kind of third mode, a symptom of being drastically scaled-back in both size and complexity at some point in production. The result is a figure that not even a God of Chaos could love.

ugalvatron2

Tanks, but no tanks.

And that’s how Galvatron’s story ends. These days, the name has variously been applied to new characters in the live-action movies and comics, and by all accounts Hasbro is more than happy to leave Megatron’s alter ego well enough alone for another 20 years. In the words of gravelly-voiced old timer Kup, it’s not the end we’d wish for, lad. Someone at Takara needs to put this right!

Transformer Tuesday #1

Through the magic of time travel (it is 2015, after all. We all have hoverboards and phone booths now) this first edition of Transformer Tuesday comes to you on a Thursday. It may also have something to do with the fact that I only invented the idea this morning and couldn’t be fussed to wait five days to implement it.

Well, yesterday (try and keep up, dear) I got a lovely package from Mr. Postman. I had to sing that old Marvelettes song before he’d give it to me, which I think is very unprofessional and tantamount to abuse. I complied only because my parcel contained a Transformer toy that I’ve literally waited some twenty-seven years to buy. It’s…… FANGRY!

Green... with evil!

Green… with evil!

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