- Motto: ""It is not enough to win, you must maintain control.""
- Weapon: High-Amplification Directional Radiowave Sensor
To start off, this review is written from someone who has not played the previous movies DS games so one can expect a fairly pure view of these two games. Both serve as a prequel to the movie, obviously from the two sides perspectives. They follow roughly the same story, the Decepticons are trying to find Shockwave and the Bots are trying to stop them. They loosely mention things like Mixmaster trying to revive Devastator but nothing comes of that, might be a tie to a comic prequel or the other games.
As the Autobots you play as Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ironhide and Mirage/Dino. The Decepticon roster is a bit less predictable. You play as Soundwave, Lockdown, Crowbar (The tentacle wielding Dread from DOTM), and Megatron…in his ROTF tank body. Ratchet and Starscream are along for the ride as narrative guides for story arks and to shout things at you over the radio. Starscream also be summon via an icon at the map from time to time to do bombing runs against the cannon fodder Autobots. Each character can use a machine gun in robot mode, fire missiles and uses a unique melee attack (Megatron uses his hand flail, Bumblebee does a flying kick, etc…). The character models are nice looking…if the character isn’t a grey movie con amorphous blob (seriously if they do a TF 4 the cons need colors too, Lockdown did have his detailed black, greens and greys though). Only Peter Cullen and Jess Harnell voice their characters (Prime and Ironhide respectively) from the movie while Steve Blum plays Starscream. The others are relatively unknown to me though.
Vehicle modes make your quartet seem more unique. Some have different speeds, cornering and acceleration. You transform by tapping the insignia on your lower screen and pressing the A button activates your mech alive weaponry which converts your vehicle into an attack mode which tends to be more powerful than your standard guns but at the cost of maneuverability and jumping.
They also have a unique feature to use objects in stages to find upgrade bonuses…unique as in there are the same 4 in both games. Prime and Soundwave can surf power lines, Lockdown and Bumblebee can swing on flagpoles, Mirage and Crowbar can wall run, and finally Ironhide and Megatron can double jump. But these can only be done at specific sites and are useless to do in replays if one already has acquired the upgrades.
One can find from one to three upgrades in the 12 stages to use to make your characters stronger. All upgrades are shared, making individual customization impossible. You can upgrade you main guns, missiles, health and shielding. Once maxed out the game takes a turn for the unfair...especially as Prime and Megatron. Megatron’s Tank mode cannon is especially overpowered once this is done. The stages themselves are nicely done for Ds graphically but in each game it’s the same 12 and you know which ones will be boss stages.
The game play involves set tasks. Aside from killing all foes, of which you have small, medium and large Transformers, sometimes turrets and rarely vehicle mode gunners, you get several small tasks from time to time. Some stages has radars one can hack by pressing a radar symbol on the lower screen, then on said screen faction symbols flash randomly. Press yours when it pops up and the radar is hacked. One can also corrupt enemy turrets this way. Boss fights happen rarely where one ends up fighting the playables from the other games, and often they come in with enemies. Both games have unique missions whereas the Bots one has to save buildings from con attacks while the cons get to blow buildings up.
In conclusion the games are simple and easily beaten with their twelve stages, replayablilty is an option as once you finish the game you can play as any of the four. However once one is leveled up fully one only really needs to worry about pitfall deaths as you’re too powerful to die. Still they’re not bad but not good. If you want a quick and easy game to play got for it, but if you’re going to buy one pick your favorite side or characters. If not…well you might want to consider buying the collectors editions at least if you collect Speed stars. They come with a unique recolor of the DOTM Bumblebee and the ROTF Lockdown toys. Otherwise avoid and get something more your speed. I give them a 3/5 rating. They’re average to me…and points taken away for featuring Shockwave on the cover for the Decepticon game but not letting him be playable.