I decided that I needed to dig back through the collection and step out of the Robots in Disguise/Generations/Masterpiece rut I find myself in. Don’t get me wrong, there’s enough fantastic content that I am excited about that I could write about and photograph recent Robots in Disguise/Generations/Masterpiece releases ’til the cows come home and never run out of steam.
All mixed metaphors aside, when I pushed myself out of that selfsame rut, the diversion I found myself taking was considerable. We’re talking pulling-the-old-Playstation-2-out-of-the-box-in-the-closet-and-hooking-it-up levels of tangent.
That is the title screen of the 2004 Playstation 2 game “Transformers”. Not to be confused with the 2003 Playstation 2 game “The Transformers”. Imagine you had to choose which of these two scenarios would result in a fantastic game: an action role-playing game developed by Winkysoft in Japan for Takara, starring a large G1 cast; or an action/combat game developed by Melbourne House in Australia for Hasbro, starring three Autobots and a handful of Decepticons from the Transformers: Armada universe. If you’ve seen a single episode of the travesty that is the Hasbro release of the Transformers: Armada TV show then Takara’s G1 game seems the safe bet by far, right? Defying all possible expectations, the G1-based video game was uniformly panned as vaguely atrocious while Melbourne House was lauded as having done “the impossible – they’ve not only made one of the best action games on the PS2, but they’ve made a cool Transformers game”. Originally having a working name of Transformers Armada: Prelude to Energon and even at one point Transformers Armada: Battle for Energon, in most aspects this game is totally Armada; “Gotta catch ’em all”. In some ways, however, it takes portions of the Armada universe and turns it up to 11. Case in point, the behemoth Tidal Wave.
While Tidal Wave in the cartoon is indeed quite large — and inconsistently so due to the woeful animation — he was nowhere near the immensity of the video game’s brobdingnagian leviathan. In fact, Tidal Wave is so large that his combined alt mode is the entire first half of the Mid-Atlantic level; as an Autobot literally runs around inside him taking out Decepticlones.
The last half pits you against this colossal titan in robot mode as he spews blasts and missiles from his torso cannons, minions that fly out from him, and solid laser beams from his forehead that scorch the ground and do a lot of damage. There’s a lot of running and jumping and Mini-Con use. Well, after you get over the initial shock of just how freakishly large he is.
If you haven’t had a chance to play the game, I can’t express how much fun it is. Even as old as it is, it’s definitely still worth a play-through. Just make sure to stick around through the credits to see some fun extras, including Tidal Wave and a phalanx of Decepticlones getting their physical fitness on.
One thing that is apparent from his appearance in the game is that Hasbro provided the colour scheme. His cartoon appearance is a more uniform pattern of shades of grey with purple highlights and the Takara release of his toy mirrors this. The Hasbro release of his toy, reflected in his video game appearance, is a much livelier design.
While cartoon accuracy is nice, I much prefer the Hasbro toy colour scheme as it makes for a much better display piece. His size class is a strange catch-all class for larger Armada molds called “Giga-Con” — invented along with several other class names during the Armada toyline. Like his fellow Giga-Con class mold, Megatron/Galvatron, he’s lacking knees, which is a pity.
Normally, it wouldn’t be “inspired” for a transformer to turn from robot to alt mode, but the simple fact that his primary alt mode isn’t a single ship, but an entire fleet means that having a second, combined alt mode that doesn’t need to separate and reconfigure to transform is actually noteworthy.
Here lies his one interactive Mini-Con port. When a Mini-Con is attached, it allows the weaponry to come to life and swivel and rotate; either on his battleship in fleet mode, his combined battleship, or his chest in robot mode.
Just like in the cartoon, the alt modes don’t stop there. Armada and Energon were both very much into combining. In his separated mode Tidal Wave can also form armor, weaponry, and a jetpack upgrade for his commanding officer.