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Cult Video Game Essentials: The Transformers – Mystery of Convoy (1986)

The Transformers: Mystery of Convoy is a 1986 Famicom video game developed by ISCO and published by Takara exclusively in Japan. It is based on the popular toyline Transformers. The game was made available on the Virtual Console on June 10, 2008.

The game stars Autobot protagonist Ultra Magnus. The titular Mystery is the identity of Optimus Prime’s (referred to in the title as “Convoy”) killer, as the 1986 film did not see a Japanese release for another four years. Thus, Optimus Prime’s death was not adequately explained to the Japanese audience; this game was intended to capitalize on that gap.

Although the game title is The Transformers: Mystery of Convoy, “Convoy” is misspelled as “Comvoy” on both the game box and the cartridge.

As mentioned, Transformers: The Movie was initially released only in the Western market. The movie details the final epic battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron, during which Optimus sustained fatal injuries. As a result, he passes the Autobot Matrix of Leadership on to Ultra Magnus before passing away. The third season of the animated series picked up where the movie left off, and was aired in both the United States and Japan (where it was retitled Transformers 2010). However, since the movie was not yet released in Japan, the Japanese audience was left to wonder about the fate of Optimus Prime. This is the premise of the game, in which Ultra Magnus goes on a solo mission through various Decepticon strongholds to find out exactly what happened to Optimus.

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