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'Transformers' game: More than meets the eye

By Stephen Ryan
CNN Headline News

Another nice feature to "Transformers" is that it comes with plenty of extras. Granted, you have to work hard to unlock them.
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(CNN) -- There really is "more than meets the eye" when it comes to the Transformers. Granted, you don't have to strain your eyes too hard to find Atari's new "Transformers" video game. It's a third-person action/combat shooter that leaves well enough alone... keeping the Autobots pitted against the Decepticons.

The game's storyline centers around a war on Cybertron, the Transformers' home planet. The evil Decepticons are mounting an offensive to dominate all life sustaining planets throughout the universe. And it's the "good guy" Autobots who, with your help, plan to stop them. Here's the problem: The Mini-Con robots, the Transformers' long-lost third race, has sent a distress signal from Earth. Knowing the Mini-Cons' capabilities can tip the balance of power in the war, both the Autobots and the Decepticons are racing to Earth to find them.

In "Transformers," you control a single Autobot at a time. But there is plenty of variety to choose from. Each character's capabilities vary depending on whether it is in vehicle mode or robot mode. I found the most powerful character to be Optimus Prime, the Autobot leader. He's a heavy-duty semi truck with size and strength, but slow. There also is Red Alert, an emergency SUV, and Hot Shot, a sports car. You can switch characters depending on your needs, even in the middle of a mission.

The Autobots can kick some serious Decepticon tail, although they can't do it alone. This is where the Mini-Cons come in as power players. They can combine with the Autobots to enable a variety of different weapons and abilities. But the boost doesn't come without a price. Each Autobot can only carry a certain number of Mini-Cons before it is overloaded.

Recon Mode also is a huge help to the Autobots. It allows the character to move slowly and quietly, reducing the likelihood of being spotted by a nearby enemy. The Autobot is equipped with an optical zoom to help it get the drop first.

There are a lot of controls in "Transformers" because of, well, the characters' transformation skills. For example, the left analog stick controls steering while in vehicle mode. But in robot mode it controls your Autobot's movement and strafing capabilities. Converting from vehicle to robot is simple enough in itself. Just press the triangle button.

"Transformers" is a great game for nostalgic gamers who remember watching the show back in the day.

Another nice feature to "Transformers" is that it comes with plenty of extras. Granted, you have to work hard to unlock them. There are movies, soundtrack extras and art archives. You have two ways to unlock the extras. When you complete main objectives, the game automatically unlocks that mission's soundtrack music and movie clips. The second way is to discover Data-Cons, disc-shaped information modules scattered around Earth. Each time you find a Data-Con you unlock a new extra feature.

"Transformers" is a great game for nostalgic gamers who remember watching the show back in the day. It's got solid graphics, especially when watching the movies, and enough action and different modes to keep you on your toes. Or wheels.

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