aka: Transformers Armada: Prelude to Energon
Moby ID: 12916
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Description official descriptions

On the planet of Cybertron, the Transformer war between the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons rages on. But the losses are mounting up, and the war's front has been pushed into the heart of Autobot territory. The Autobots’ last stand takes a turn for the worse when the Decepticons introduce their secret weapon: the new Decepticlone army.

As if by fate, a distress signal from the Mini-Cons, the long-lost third Transformer race, blasts onto the battlefield. Knowing that the Mini-Cons will tip the balance of power, the Autobots and the Decepticons race to Earth. On Earth, the Decepticons and their army invade the planet with extreme prejudice. It is then up to the Autobots to save Earth and prevent the Decepticons from controlling the universe.

The player takes control of one of 3 featured Autobots and can switch between them for any mission. These are: Optimus Prime, Hot Shot and Red Alert. All have the ability to transform into their vehicle modes, with classic '80s transforming sound effects.

Players have to find and retrieve Mini-Con robots (of which there are over 40), which then function as weapons or equip the Autobot with new abilities. These add-ons include offensive weapons such as Missile Launchers, Limpet Mines, a Tractor Beam, Electric Arc Guns, Ribbon Beams, etc.; defensive abilitles such as Shields, Armours and Recharges; and Abilities such as Glide Wings, Boost Jumps, and Dashes.

The player must battle the Decepticons and their Decepticlone army through a range of environments including the Amazon jungle, desolate Antarctica and a rugged Pacific island.

Level enemies take the form of uniquely-designed Decepticlones - champions from an army of robots created to serve the Decepticons.

All of the famous Decepticons are featured as game Bosses - including Starscream, Cyclonus, Tidal Wave (as a full-scale Aircraft Carrier/robot) and of course... the Decepticon leader, Megatron.

A classic battle of good versus evil...

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Credits (PlayStation 2 version)

202 People (175 developers, 27 thanks) · View all

Director & Executive Producer
Technical Producer
Technical Director
Programming Director
Lead Programmer (A.I. Group)
A.I Programmers
Lead Programmer (Player Group)
Game Systems Programmer
Weapons Programmer
Lead Programmer (Physics & Simulation Group)
Physics & Simulation Programmer
Lead Programmers (Visual Effects)
Visual Effects Programmers
Lead Programmer (UI Group)
UI Programmer
Senior Programmer (General Arts)
[ full credits ]



Average score: 75% (based on 19 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 26 ratings with 4 reviews)

One of the best, most challenging games for PS2.

The Good
Holy cow, this game is amazing. And it's also incredibly underrated! Almost nobody I know has played this game but I think it's about time it gets the recognition it deserves. Transformers is apparently based on the Armada series featuring the same characters from the show, but the game isn't particularly storyline-heavy and it is perfectly accessible to non-Transformers fans (I'm not a Transformers fan myself).

So, what's this all about? The Transformers are huge robots native to the player Cybertron which are split into two different factions: The Autobots, defenders of equality and justice led by Optimus Prime and the Decepticons, evil tyrants who want to conquer the galaxy led by Megatron. As the war goes on on Cybertron another race of robots known as the Mini-cons, very small robots with the ability to fuse with the Transformers allowing them to gain new weapons, flee the planet and their starship crashes into the Earth. Both the Autobots and the Decepticons then land on the planet in hope of capturing as many Mini-Cons as possible and finally gaining the upper hand in the war.

You can take control of one of three Autobots: Optimus Prime, Red Alert and Hot Shot. Each of the three characters can walk on foot and use various weapons, jump and so on, but they can also transform at any given time into a vehicle. Each character has a different transformation, with Optimus Prime being a very strong Truck, Red Alert an off-road car and Hot Shot a very fast racing car. Each characters also have different stats like speed and defense. But to be perfectly honest, Optimus Prime is pretty much the only one I can use to full effect since the other ones simply can't take enough damage before they die.

Which leads us to a major point of the game. This is without a doubt one of the hardest games I have ever played, even on the "Easy" setting. The game throws a LOT of enemies at you (some of which are very big), and the boss fights are incredibly challenging. There's all kinds of foot soldiers, mechas, starships, exploration drones, battle commanders, artillery pieces and many other enemies trying to tear you into pieces, and you'll have to fight them both on foot and on wheel if you want to win!

The main objective of the game is as already stated to collect as many Mini-Cons as possible. Each Mini-Con is actually a weapon or a powerup, however, which you can equip to your Transformer. Since there's about... 8? Mini-Cons in a level, that's a LOT of weapons you can equip, and some of them are simply awesome. There's a heat seeking rocket launcher, an electric pulse gun, a super-charge plasma gun which can fire huge projectiles if charged enough, a protective shield, increased armor, increased melee combat, grenade launchers, enhanced blasters, enhanced jumpers and even a Mini-Con which allows you to fly AND use the grenade launcher to drop grenades while flying, basically turning you into a bomber plane!

Gaining Mini-Cons will be no easy task, however. Other than the many Decepticons guarding the Mini-Cons, you'll have to find them first. Another big point of the game is the fact that the levels are HUGE and wide open! This isn't a completely linear third person shooter like Ratchet & Clank, but it involves a great deal of exploration and sometimes the levels may remind you of Shadow of the Colossus because of how big they are, and even though they're significantly smaller than the huge, single level in SotC, they are MUCH better looking, much more colorful and most importantly much more alive, as there's enemies waiting for you at every spot. But the levels definitely look great as you explore the Amazon Forest, the South Pole, the Atlantic ocean and other locations to stop the Decepticon army. Each place features very high quality graphics and even though there's more than one amazon level and more than one ice level (you'd think they could use a few more additional themes), they all look great in their own right. Shadow of the Colossus is generally cited as being very innovative thanks to the "open level" approach, but Transformers did it first as it was released one year before that game, and to be frank, Shadow of the Colossus is just boring while this game is a lot of fun. And if you think this doesn't have a giant boss well be prepared to be proven wrong because it does. It's Tidal Wave, one of the biggest and most bad ass video game bosses EVER made.

The game's AI is also quite effective. Enemies won't just run at you firing blindly but they will attempt to take cover, jump above obstacles and pick alternate routes to ambush you, making the fights very satisfying. The sound department is equally effective, with some very catchy tracks which become "heavier" when you're in the middle of a battle, and good explosion and weapon sounds.

The Bad
The game doesn't do anything particularly wrong to be honest (if you can stomach its extreme difficulty), but it's what it doesn't do that might disappoint some gamers. First of all, with such a powerful engine it's kind of a shame that there's such a limited number of levels. Sure, they're very fun to play and are very large thus take a long time to finish, but there are no levels set in a human city for example. Just think about how awesome that would have been.

Also from what I understand, one of the main Decepticons from Armada, Demolisher, seems to be missing. There is concept artwork for him in the bonus section but he never shows up in game. It would have been awesome if there was a desert stage with him at the end boss since he seems to fit well for deserts.

Lastly, I'm kind of disappointed there are no Mini-Cons that allow you to gain vehicle weapons. Sure, running over decepticons while transformed is a lot of fun but that doesn't do a damn thing to the bigger enemies which show up very often later on.

Overall I'd say the biggest problem of the game is that it's so good that it makes you wish it was longer.

The Bottom Line
To conclude, Transformers is an excellent game and one of the best third person shooters for the PS2. Its incredible challenge will surely make you frustrated quite a few times, but this also makes the game incredibly rewarding once you manage to get past a very hard part. Highly underrated, and highly recommended.

PlayStation 2 · by CKeen The Great (160) · 2011

A Decent, If Difficult Transformers Game.

The Good
While not the original Autobot/Decepticon war, this game makes more than enough references to the original series to make it almost a virtual trip down memory lane. FINALLY, players get the chance to take Optimus Prime out for a spin in a world populated by Decepticons and the new Mini-Cons. And what a beautiful world it is.

This is one of the most beautiful games Atari has ever put out, and a PS2 visual feast. The game is stunning to look at in terms of detail, and the cinematics are equally as impressive. The game pulls out all the stops when it comes to special effects, and it shows.

Sound effects are great, especially the familiar transformation noise when going from robot to vehicle. Soundtrack is suitable, but the themes make subtle hints to the original cartoon theme. Lot of explosions and ambient sound effects full out the aural aspects. The voices are also suitable.

As far as bonuses go, the game excels here as well. Toy blueprints, original PSAs from the '80's, music, cinemas, storyboards.... You can find a lot throughout the worlds. And there are equally as many Mini-Cons to find and configure to add strategy to the game. The more you build on yourself, the more you can find in the worlds.

The Bad
H-A-R-D. HARD. This game will beat you within an inch of your life, then laugh as it takes that final inch. Don't be fooled by the "toy" license. This game can be downright ruthless in terms of difficulty, especially when facing bosses like Starscream and Cyclonus. As much as I enjoy the game, I have to set it down and walk away at times due to the frustrating difficulty.

Load times can be a bit long as well. It's not the worst I've experienced, but you can feel them when you are ready to leap back into combat.

The control also takes a bit to get used to, in light of its use of dual-analog, but within a few moments, it becomes more second nature. It becomes frustrating at times when you're being bombarded by missiles from all sides.

My final complaint is a personal one. As close as it is, I wish this game had been based off the Generation One Transformers. Finally, a decent Transformer game is given, and "legends" such as Jazz, Prowl, Hot Rod, or Bumblebee are nowhere to be found. This also goes for the gun version of Megatron. Or Soundwave. One can't help but feel a little left out after waiting all of these years.

The Bottom Line
For years, there has never been a "good" Transformers game, which in itself boggles the mind as the license seems perfect for video gaming. The NES version was ghastly, the PSX version wasn't much better.... Even the Japanese games haven't been entirely up to snuff. But this game? It gets it right... mostly.

But Atari did a fine job overall, though I wish the difficulty had been balanced more, especially against the bosses.

But there are few sights more impressive than some of the bosses that they put in this game. Full credit should be given to the developers for their imaginative use of making some of these characters absolutely HUGE.

Recommended, but just know that you're going to be in for a battle for the long run.

PlayStation 2 · by Guy Chapman (1746) · 2004

Play it on hard, harder or the hardest level of difficulty

The Good
Ever as a kid, I remember those transformers cartoons where Auto-bots fought (huh, Decepticons?) Aero-bots of some kind, hey, I doubt I knew any english back then and I am not sure if it was dubbed to begin with. Still, it was always fun to watch Optimus Prime with the rest of the goodguys messing up the plans of Megatron and the rest of the badguys. Still, those badguys just looked way cooler, I mean c'mon, do you prefer jet fighters or simple cars? ;))

Alright, I didn't know what to expect from this game except it's going to be an action shooter one way or another. Turns out it was pretty cool game with nice physics, transformation animations, and general abilities you could mount on your bot with the little help of Mini-bots. The levels were visually amazing and cinematics were fine, not too much and not just a few, and yet recognizable enough to realise it's not an in-game graphics.

Gameplay controls are not as hard as once might think with all the options and all, but will require abundance of quick reflexes to save your skin... I mean, metal, especially when it comes to boss battles. Audible and visually this game is a real treat, but otherwise it may come to annoy you here and there.

The Bad
Game was hard, and my guess is that it tried to cover up for being rather short or people would feel cheated for paying the full price if they'd select recruit level and finish the game in a single day. Levels are nicely designed and surprises are afoot, but there really is no fun when game actually offers you three levels of difficulty just to realise they are all variations of the meaning "hard".

I must admit I remembered a friend of mine who claims RPG battles are always possible if you give it enough time and those that require reflexes can annoy you much more, and almost gave up to that claim, but with a couple more different approaches I managed to prove different. The game that does not let you level up puts you in charge of situation while those that make you level up present you with an impassable situation. So yes, I still think this game is much easier than some early Final Fantasy games, but that it's hard I won't dispute. Makes me really proud being able to kick Megatron's a$$ back to his home planet.

The Bottom Line
I can't say I'm usually proud when I finish some game on an easy level, but this one was clearly an exception. I cannot even begin how normal or hard levels are, but easy one is way too difficult in certain boss battles, but still possible. This game is a true experience of TransFormers with loads of fun if you're into blasting stuff, but I don't think it's worth the full price, discount at its best.

PlayStation 2 · by MAT (238622) · 2012

[ View all 4 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

Transformers appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Cancelled sequel

There was sequel planned based on the Cybertron series, but Atari moved Melbourne House onto another project, effectively canceling it.

Cut content

Some characters were dropped from the game. Demolishor, one of the Decepticons, was to be a boss, and Ramjet, Tidal Wave's Minicon partner, was meant to be an enemy harassing the player prior to entering one of the stages.


This game is based on the series Transformers: Armada, the first series of the Unicron Trilogy. The name comes from the fact that the planet destroying Transformer of the same name has an important role in the series. In fact, the minicons are supposed to be its creations. The other two series are Energon and Cybertron.

Launch party

At the game's launch party, Atari's venue served several signature drinks named for the game-exclusive Mini-cons.

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 12916


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by //dbz:.

Additional contributors: Mark Ennis, FatherJack.

Game added May 4th, 2004. Last modified February 22nd, 2023.