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Transformers Review - PS2

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The Transformers franchise - built up of giant robots that transform seamlessly into different types of vehicles - has been present in the cartoon, toy and many other industries for many years. Finally, though, the Transformers have hit the gaming scene, complete with everything you could ever want and expect in a game exclusive to the PlayStation 2 titled, simply, Transformers.

Gameplay

Transformers takes place on Earth in the future, revolving around a struggle between two types of transformer robots; the game's levels - or mission sites and drop zones as they're known in-game - take you across the globe to familiar locations such as the Amazon jungle, Alaska and the Pacific Islands. The story is propelled by short yet dramatic and effective full-motion videos.

Each of the game's levels is entered in sequence through the cleverly employed hub which, other than acting as a divider between levels, allows you to switch between the three available transformers and customise your attack and defense upgrades. Scattered throughout each level are small portals that both save your progress and provide an entry point instantly back to the hub. Occasionally you'll need to return to the hub to customise attack and defense upgrades in order to conquer certain situations, as you can only have four of the many upgrades equipped at one time, each assigned to one of the shoulder buttons.

These upgrades or mini-cons as they're known in the robot world are found throughout levels, indicated by large, fluorescent energy flares. Some of the more powerful upgrades are harder to access or are hidden. Each upgrade, ultimately, provides - as you may have guessed - either an attack benefit or a defense benefit. Some of those that you'll encounter, for example, are heat-seeking and multiple-shot rockets, more powerful standard lasers, stronger armour, shields and deflectors and the occasional necessary functional item such as the cool glider. This attaches collapsible wings to your transformer and allows you to glide quite a decent distance.

Early in the game your commander - who dishes out your objectives and information - provides you with a miniature transformer. This robot tails you unnoticeably throughout each level, waiting for you to tap the Square button in order to link to him. This provides you with many battle advantages as the action around you assumes a slow-motion pace and your weapons' power is increased. Of course, there's a downside to wielding such power - whenever equipped, your health will slowly degenerate.

Each of the game's levels - as I mentioned above - contains a small amount of objectives. These have been designed, however, to allow you to essentially push them to the back of your mind and enjoy the blast-fest ride through the game's often massive environments; often, your objectives require you to simply reach a certain centrepoint, noticeably perched somewhere upon the terrain.

Each transformer present in the game handles very realistically. They move sluggishly but not in a useless or ... (continued next page)