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April 2, 2004
Transformers - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
14/5/2004AtariMelbourne House1$99.95

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Check out the effects.
If you were a kid in the 80's chances are that you spend some time playing with transformers, watching the TV show and generally wishing you could tranform yourself into a truck and drive around the school playground mowing kids down. Well, maybe not all of us had thoughts like that, but most would have at the very least some idea about what transformers are. For those of you brought up in the era of Pokemon (I thank god I was well before that) Transformers are basically large robots that can transform into planes, trucks or any other number of mechanical monsters. The new Transformers Armada series has a large following, and the game is based around this updated version.

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Check out the backgrounds.
Transformers Armada is the 21st century take on the Autobot/Decepticon world with a new manga-style polish spawning new toys, new comics and a Cartoon Network series. Transformers, which has been given a name change from the unweildly Transformers Armada: Prelude to Energon, introduces a new generation of gamers to the delights of Megatron, Smokescreen and Starscream in a third person adventure where you get to control three of the Autobot characters. Battle the evil Decepticons on foot using an array of hand-to-hand manoeuvres and weapons, or transform into vehicle mode and make them eat your dust. Both forces are battling to ally/enslave the tiny Mini-Con robot race, which can augment the full size robots' power to phenomenal levels.

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Check out the effects.
It's pretty clear from the surrounding screenshots that Transformers is one visually impressive title. Melbourne House are pushing the PS2 to its limits and it's paying big dividends. The company has a history (especially recently) of producing increasingly better games such as Grand Prix Challenge and Le Mans 24 Hours. The developers are promising a solid 60fps frame rate, with some splendid special visual effects such as smoke, explosions and reflections. The stunning texturing is accomplished using Melbourne House's Eco System, a volumetric renderer. The CG, and there will apparently be plenty of it through the game, is being worked on by Build Up who also worked on the Soul Calibur series and Panzer Dragoon.

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Run them over...
To top it all off the development team are promising widescreen support as well as Dolby Pro Logic II for some atmospheric sound. Transformers is now due in stores on May 14th, 2004, by which time the new Transformers craze will hopefully still be in full effect. Don't get this game confused with the very average looking Transformers Tatakai being developed by Winky Soft in Japan, this is a much more promising title. There is only one disappointing aspect to this game, the lack of online support, especially given the type of action which it will include. Still, if this first game is a success - as it almost certainly deserves to be - who knows what else may be released in future.