Ocean Software Ltd
Denton Designs
1986
Arcade: Platform
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
SpeedLock 1

36
John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

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.

John Gilbert

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

****

4/5

Screenshot Text

Transformers: Mirage, Optimus Prime, Hound, Jazz and Bumblebee