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Beast Wars: Transformers (1997)

Beast Wars: Transformers is a third-person shooter released by Hasbro Interactive on December 5, 1997 for PlayStation and May 31, 1998 for PC. It is based on the popular Transformers: Beast Wars animated series, specifically the first season, after the introduction of Airazor and Inferno.

The game allows you to play as either the Maximals or the Predacons in a series of missions to sabotage the other side’s attempts at gaining a tactical advantage in the Beast Wars. There are six playable characters on each side, one unlockable by finding a stasis pod in a specific level and the other only accessible in Rescue missions, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and they all have both a health meter and an Energon tolerance meter that slowly goes down while in Robot mode (staying in Beast Mode slowly refills this meter); once this meter is empty, the player takes damage from the ambient Energon radiation in the air. If the player fails in a mission and gets the character killed, the character can be ‘revived’ by finding a mini game icon in that same level. The mini game allows the player to take control of Airazor or Terrorsaur to recover the fallen ally.

The game was universally panned by both critics and fans alike, given a mediocre to bad rating by most online reviewers for the game’s blocky and textureless graphics, clipping problems, somewhat slippery controls, and poor voice acting. Ironically the ever so unpopular voice acting was joined by a surprisingly interesting music score, consisting of Electric Guitar solos and energetic sounds. In fact one of the most fine tuned elements of this game was the sound effects and musical score. Both later sold as a downloadable track. Despite the great music, the game still failed in the eyes of the critics. However, the PC version of the game rates a bit higher than its PlayStation counterpart for one specific reason: the support of 8-player LAN or online play (the PlayStation version took out this multi-player function, reducing its playability severely); in fact, for a while, the MSN Gaming Zone had a series of rooms open specifically for multiplayer Beast Wars matches. Although Beast Wars was criticised it is noted as being the first Transformers brand game that allowed the player to choose both Good and Evil playable characters. In the form of both Maximal and Predacon factions,this game mechanic later became a seemingly expected feature in most future transformer game incarnations. Both the Movie series and WFC/FOC adopted this selection feature, making Beast Wars partially groundbreaking.

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