TransBot

TransBot - Master System - Gameplay Screenshot

TransBot (1986)
By: Sega  Genre: Shooting  Players: 1  Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Master System  First Day Score: 36,940
Also Available For: Nothing

Despite being pretty popular here in the UK, the Master System was never really the most popular console of all-time. The comparative lack of games could be one reason, the NES was awash with thousands of games after all, but it’s still a shame as Sega’s sleek-looking console was pretty innovative for its time. Among the bright ideas it housed was a ‘Smart Card’ system, adapted from an accessory for Sega’s earlier Japan-only console, the SG-1000, which was an alternative to the high-cost ROM cartridges used for most games. The card system was effectively home to a budget range of games early in the Master System’s life before being dropped, but considering the number of games released on the format barely reached double figures, it didn’t really matter too much!

TransBot - Master System - Gameplay Screenshot

TransBot was, however, one of the few games to find a use for Sega’s card format (although it was later released on cartridge too, which kind of defeated the object). It’s a pretty basic horizontally scrolling shmup set after a nuclear war. Having sought refuge underground, Mankind slowly starts to emerge only to find Dalaus, a computer left over from the old world, has designs on the planet itself and has sent its minions to see us off! Luckily, our hero has access to at least one device with which to try and stop them – the CA-214 fighter. This ‘TransBot’ fighter initially seems normal enough, but it has the ability to change its form, and with these changes come new armaments. The default form of the fighter is a fairly unassuming jet / spaceship type craft which movies slowly and is equipped with a puny forward shot.

TransBot - Master System - Gameplay Screenshot

Enemies come in a variety of small, uncomplicated forms, and are easily dispatched, even with the default craft. However, they move much more quickly, and often in screen-spanning formations, so it’s sometimes easier to just avoid some of them. Trundling periodically along the bottom of the screen is a small truck which is apparently a munitions vehicle which, when shot, will release an icon branded with a question mark. Collecting this will trigger the power-up bar at the top of the screen to begin cycling through letters A – G, each denoting a particular power-up. Press the button to stop it moving and you’ll get the weapon it landed on. Many of these involve your craft transforming into a robot with increased firepower such as simultaneous forward and rear shots, three-way shots, wide shots, etc. However, this also makes the craft larger and therefore more likely to be hit. Luckily your craft can also be powered-up in its smaller form too!

TransBot - Master System - Gameplay Screenshot

Unlike most shmups, rather than lasting until the player loses a life, these power-ups only last for a limited time and it’s not long! Fortunately the munitions trucks are frequent and certain weapons are more suitable for particular sections, so it actually works out pretty well. This isn’t the only slightly unusual feature in TransBot either. Your ship has an energy bar for one thing, which allows you to sustain several enemy hits before going down rather than falling victim to a single strike. Also, and perhaps most obviously, there is no real level structure, with the game instead cycling through two different types of background – a pretty standard, planetary surface, and a metallic-looking enemy base of some sort ending in a boss – and the game goes on, cycling through them forever as far as I can tell! This makes TransBot an excellent score-attack game, something backed up by the fact that world authority on score-keeping, Twin Galaxies, has an official record for the game!

TransBot - Master System - Gameplay Screenshot

Given the popularity of the Transformers at the time this was released, it’s not hard to see where the inspiration for the main character came from, but I’m not really sure it works too well. It’s at best an under-used gimmick here, but does that make this a bad game? Well, back when my trusty Master System was my main console of choice and its games were freely available in high-street stores, I always steered clear of this game. Every magazine review I saw of the game slated it, despite its cheaper price point. If it was that bad then, it must be terrible now, right? Well, no actually. Being both a budget game as well as an early release for the Master System, TransBot is understandably basic, in concept as well as aesthetics, but it’s actually not at all bad, and certainly not as bad as I’ve believed all these years! Yes, the graphics and sound are bland and repetitive, and with games like R-Type, Fantasy Zone, Cloud Master, and others available, there seems to be little reason to play this, and I’m guessing this is from where the aforementioned scorn originates, but it’s a decent enough little blaster which is challenging, addictive, and good fun.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kzmHCYnSQg[/youtube]

RKS Score: 6/10

Bryan Davies: Wargaming.net

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Name: Bryan Davies

Tittle: VP of Public Relations, North America

 

Company: Wargaming.net

Dxcover

What is your favorite classic game: Deus Ex (Original) developed by Warren Spector

Why is it your favorite classic game: It was a groundbreaking game in the sense of crossing genre barriers, it was also really the first game that the gameplay and story truly changed based on your choices in how you play. 

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpEoLH0cUSw[/youtube]

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider - Playstation - Box

I can’t imagine there’s a human being out there reading this that hasn’t played this game, or at least knows everything about it. Before all the sequels (good and bad), all the comics (good and bad), and all the movies (good and bad), there was the original game that set everything up.

Soon after I purchased my PSOne, my cousin stopped by my apartment. I didn’t realize he was a big video game guy until I talked to him that day. He didn’t live too far from me and we talked about getting together. My brother was already over and I told him we were playing the Playstation. He told me he had one as well, and was going to bring over some games. I don’t remember any of the others he brought, because I don’t think we ever got past Tomb Raider.
“It’s an Indiana Jones chick who jumps around and shoots stuff.”

Tomb Raider is a 3rd-person action-adventure game which really plays like a classic platformer in 3D. Your hero, Lara Croft, is a rich girl who grew up in archeology, but her parents died when she was younger, leaving her with money and boredom. You’ll learn a lot more of her backstory in future games.

Tomb Raider - Playstation - Gameplay Screenshot

In this particular game, she’s hired to search the world for objects which have ties to the Lost City of Atlantis. She will battle animals, creatures, and humans, as well as the occasional mythical figure. Always armed with two guns and unlimited ammo, this will be her signature.

Tomb Raider is more about puzzle-solving than shooting, although there is enough of that. Throughout the levels, which will take her around the world, she will collect items and treasures, pull levers, push blocks, climb walls, jump to ledges, all while avoiding breaking her neck or falling into a death-pit. All in a normal day for an adventurer. Not only can she walk, but run, flip, and swim in water.

A true magical adventure, this game had me hooked. Looking back at it now, the graphics are pretty blocky, but the game play was/is something special.

Tomb Raider - Playstation - Gameplay Screenshot

I can’t finish this review without mentioning one of my favorite moments in video game history……the first time Lara’s walking around and the gigantic T-Rex comes seemingly out of nowhere, and I had nothing but the dual-pistols. Literally a crap-your-pants moment.

Obviously, this marked a special moment in gaming. I can’t stress enough how this was literally a game-changer. Combining great graphics and level design, wonderful music, engaging gameplay…..it almost seemed like you were in a movie, and a must-own for any gamer.

Only two negatives about the game, and they’re not minor; First, you can’t save where/whenever you’d like (they would change that in the sequels), but you have to find the save points. Secondly, the camera angles can be brutal, and sometimes get stuck. Can be very difficult to make a crazy jump when the camera is not cooperating. This will be a problem throughout the series.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL1cwhNDWkw[/youtube]

The great Tommy Shaw once said, “Don’t go messing with a girl with guns.” The man was right-on, she’s totally badass.