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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Tahukanuva's review of: Optimus VS Megatron Boxset

Name: The Ultimate Battle
Function: More cheap leaders, yay!
Sub-Group: Free Money

Long before the dawn of man on Earth, the war between Autobots and Decepticons raged. Two titans huge metal warriors, each committed to total victory emerged as leaders. Optimus Prime, wise, just and gentle, despite having strength enough to move mountains, took command of the Autobot forces, hoping to lead his people to peace and freedom. Megatron, an evil, destructive tyrant bent on total domination of the universe and all its resources, led his Decepticons on an endless war of conquest. For millions of years their battle has raged like fire across the galaxy, and now they are here on Earth in a fight that will determine the fate of the planet and all its people.

Ah, yes, the leader two-pack, first seen in the west in the form of bat Optimus Primal and 'gator Megatron. The concept next appeared in Energon with smaller versions of both Prime and Megs, then Beast Wars 10th Anniv. as remolds of the original Primal and Megatron Mega figures, and now in the classics line with The Ultimate Battle box set. All of the above sets have two things in common;
1) They're all separate molds from the individual figures
2) They're all (save the BW 10th) cheaper alternatives to the individual figures.

This set, being part of the Classics line, updates a couple of Classic characters, but since they've already updated G1 Prime and Megs, this set includes updates of the G2 versions of the characters. While for Prime that means it still looks like G1, Megatron is quite a bit different.

Alternate Mode:

I'm going to be the doctor who gives bad news first, we start with Optimus.

Optimus is of course a red and blue semi-truck, except about as realistic as a Lego mini-figure. Looking at this mode reminds me of THS 02 Convoy, which also sacrificed a vehicle mode for the sake of a new transformation. The cab is three different widths making him look like a vehicular step pyramid from the front, the back end is over three times as long as the front, which could easily have been solved by having the legs collapse in on themselves. Optimus traditionally turns into a cab-over-engine, but this is more cab-over-road. The modes sole redeeming feature is the awesome gun turret on the back that pivots both up/down and left/right. Too bad I never want him in this mode to begin with.

Megatron, however, is the best tank we've had since Armada Megs/Demolisher. Looking like a downsized version of the big G2 Megatron, he's mostly green, with the garish purple of the original replaced by metallic copper, and mild beige, which seems almost like colors you'd actually find on a tank. While the original toy's turret couldn't move due it being made of the arms, this one has the arms attached to a thin plate, allowing full mobility, turning 180 degrees, with the main gun able to tilt 45 degrees. Like the Hero Megatron, he's got a spot to stick his handgun for extra firepower. The only disadvantage is that the feet jut out from the back, unlike Optimus, however, his appearance problems can be fixed, just unscrew the lower leg and switch right foot with left, shouldn't take more than five minutes.

Robot Mode:

Again, we start with Optimus.

Now, this is much better. Optimus looks almost exactly like his G1 cartoon self, with some changes. He's close enough that if you ask ten random adults, eight of them at least will recognize who this is. His lower legs have changed quite a bit, the most significant difference is the funky kneepads. His head's a bit different, more rounded than most Primes, with bigger eyes. It provides a nice contrast with the sharp angles of the Robot Master head sculpt. Other notes on the sculpt include; the plates on the back of his hand look like brass (steel) knuckles, in scale smokestacks, and somewhat stumpy arms. A rather puzzling bit is the vents on the inside of his legs. Wouldn't the heat coming out of one, blow into the other, defeating the point?

His articulation is where he really shines, with peg; neck, biceps, chest, and thighs. Ball-joint shoulders and hips, and hinge; neck, ankles, and wrists, you can get him into a variety of poses. His rifle looks like he fused his original with a Tommy gun with the drum magazine formed from the rotating point from its turret mode. I think that his robot mode is one of the best the West has received.

Megatron's robot mode is just as good as Prime's, with psuedo-ball-joint shoulders, peg neck, biceps, thighs, right wrist, and waist, and hinge knees, elbows and torso. Megatron looks quite a bit like his G2 self, though with more major changes than Optimus went through. He still has half a tank for a chest, though it no longer sticks out farther than Pam Anderson's. His legs are still formed from the bank of the tank, however, instead of armor over empty air, he has actual legs with the tank treads just adding some extra bulk. Unlike the G2 version, and more like the G1 version, his gun is not attached to his shoulder, but his forearm. Not only does it not look as cool, it also sacrifices his right hand. Overall however, this is one of best Megatron's released yet.

Gimmicks:

Both Optimus and Megatron have similar gimmicks, with varying degrees of success.

Optimus' gimmick is a "rapid punch action," which amounts to pressing a button on the back that causes his entire upper torso to spin around in circles. This is the worst feature on a Prime figure since Armada Bendy's "super shoulder twitch." On the upside, it can be locked up, and thus give Op a somewhat useful chest joint.

Megatron's gimmick is much more successful. Go back to that arm-mounted cannon, now take it, flip it down, fold out the armor panel on said cannon, now press the button on his bicep. This gimmick feature actually looks like it would be useful in actual combat, giving it a major one-up over Optimus. Plus, when it's not spinning, it looks like a battle staff.

DVD

Random clips from the Unicron Trilogy, telling the history of the Transformers in the A/E/C continuity, you know, to get all those kids interested in shows that are no longer on the air. Plus points for getting Gary Chalk in to narrate it, but that doesn't save this from being 20 minutes of wasted life.

Transformation: 8, Neat updates of the toys they're based on, though it leaves Prime significantly lacking.
Durability: 9, Don't seem like they'll break anytime soon.
Fun: 9, I love multi-packs, especially of the battle-in-a-box type.
Price: 10, Two deluxe sized figures, and a DVD for $20, have to admit, that's value.
Overall: 7, I know that doesn't add up, but your money's better spent on one of the Classics Voyagers.

 
 
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