Transformers-themed pub could be Britain’s Best Home Bar

A Transformers-themed pub is in the running to be crowned Britain’s Best Home Bar, in a competition being run by Liberty Games. The winning bar, chosen… [more]

Transformers-themed pub could be Britain’s Best Home Bar Transformers-themed pub could be Britain’s Best Home Bar

TFNation 2019 Transformers Convention Review

This last weekend saw yet another Transformers convention take over the Metropole Hilton, in Birmingham. These weekends have become a staple of my summer… [more]

TFNation 2019 Transformers Convention Review TFNation 2019 Transformers Convention Review

Annual Transformers Forum Meet Tour

Every year, since 2011, the nerds from TheTF.Net forum (now a Facebook group, because running a forum proved too much like hard work) have met for a weekend… [more]

Annual Transformers Forum Meet Tour Annual Transformers Forum Meet Tour

Our 2019 Forum Meet took place this weekend, in Cardiff

This weekend saw our annual forum meet being held in the Welsh capital of Cardiff. Each year we meet in a different town or city in the UK, alternating… [more]

Our 2019 Forum Meet took place this weekend, in Cardiff Our 2019 Forum Meet took place this weekend, in Cardiff

Video Footage from Transforce in 2001

Almost 18 years ago (crikey, has it been that long?) we wrote a review of our visit to Transforce in August 2001. It was a seriously hot day, but a great… [more]

Video Footage from Transforce in 2001 Video Footage from Transforce in 2001
 

Review: Transformers Season 2 Part 2 (R2 UK) DVD

Written by Big Bot on May 3, 2004 | Reviews |

INFO PAGE | REVIEW

Written by Chris McFeely

Woo-hoo, my copy of Season 2, Part 2 finally came today! I’ve been really looking forward to this set, even more than I was looking forward to Part 1, and even better, I’m off work right now, so I can just sit and soak it in all day.

Now, to kick this off, I’ll say this – this set is SO much better, in terms of presentation and professionalism than the first set was. The sleeve is just like the first set, shiny silver, on this time, it’s decked out with a big Decepticon symbol, and the two boxes look very well next to each other on a shelf. The back of the sleeve remains mostly the same, except with the purple and red backgrounds for the extra features list and character illustrations switched. The blurb for the set itself is now in purple, making it *much* easier to read than the white text on Part 1 (white on silver, really?). Once again, the individual boxes are red plastic (I was kinda hoping for purple to really set off that Decepticon theme), and their covers are a little gaudy, but functional. They depict, in order, Jazz, Starscream and Soundwave. I wonder why they didn’t put Jazz in Devastator’s place as the cover to volume 3 in part one, to make that set fully Autobot-centric, and this one fully Decepticon-centric, but there you go. The discs are labelled volumes 4, 5 and 6.

Before getting into the discs themselves, there’s a small bundle of inserts and stuff inside volume 4’s case. First is the booklet like that which was included with Part 1 – a listing of the episodes on the disc (and instead of a red border at the bottom of each page, it’s now purple. The Decepticon theme runs strong!). Also included are ads for Dorling Kindersly’s “Transformers: The Ultimate Guide” (out this Thursday, the 6th), and Atari’s PS2 game (no date given, and official sources range, but this Friday is looking good. It’s a damn good week to be a Transfan!). A typically enthusiastic intro from Darren Jamieson rounds out the booklet.

Next are Andy Wildman’s four postcards, and boy-howdy, do they beat the pants off of Lee Sullivan’s. Wildman is *rocking it* since he started doing Dreamwave-style, rather than his usual “people in boxes” Transformers, and the spiffy backgrounds on the cards liven them up to no end. The cards are of Prime, Megatron, Blaster and Superion.

Now, the most interesting insert – “The Beast Within,” a fan comic written by theTF.Net’s own Darren Jamieson, and illustrated by Dylan Gibson. And I will be frank. My first instinct in writing this was to not say much, but I don’t think Daz would want me to sugar coat my feelings about it, and just to be honest with what I think, so I will be.

The cover is a wraparound of metal tendrils bursting out of Grimlock, and Prime, Megs and Starscream and Soundwave looking on. The inside cover is an intro to the story (essentially – a big arse fight has gone on, and it don’t look good for Prime’s boys), followed by an intro by Dylan Gibson, which probably should be read after, as it spoils a bit about what’s in the story. To quickly summarie the story – as battle rages around him, Grimlock seems to be holding back, afraid of something within himself. But he is eventually forced to act by the deseperation of the situation, and, shockingly… the Dinobots combine! The unnamed monstrosity that is formed from their combination is pure, uncontrollable rage, that quickly rips through Predaking, Devastator, Bruticus and Menasor. And then, with the Decepticons defeated, it turns on the Autobots… to be continued, presumably in the Season 3 DVD set.

Now, my thoughts. It’s an interesting concept – I thought that “the beast within” would just be Grimlock’s own berserker drive, so I was surprised by the revelation, and thought it was a good idea. However, I find it’s implimentation to be a bit… well… fanwanky. It comes off as… “Look, look, this is REALLY awesome!” As a reader of comics who is now, frankly, bloody tired of Grimlock thanks to Simon Furman’s overkill use of the character, I wasn’t loving the concept of *another* story about him. I think he’s one of the most overrated TFs there is. But that’s personal preferences, and that’s all I can REALLY complain about, story wise.

Art-wise, Gibson does a nice job, a little affected by the small amount of space his work has been compressed to. Also, unfortunately for him, he seems to have made an effort to ape the style of Pat Lee, particularly in his drawnings of Optimus Prime (white stripes on arms, chunky window frames), a particularly overrated artist who people shouldn’t strive to emulate.

But the biggest gripe about this comic is the lettering and dialogue. It’s apalling. The text is all over the place, poorly formatted in some ill-shaped word balloons, and there’s not a SINGLE FULL STOP in the entire comic! Three dots don’t count!

Anyway, enough ranting. It’s a neat, intruiging extra that just needs a bit of fine tuning.

And now, the main event!

The twenty-five episodes of the set are split up nine to volume 4, nine to volume 5, and seven to volume 6 (as opposed to the 10-10-4 split of Part 1). The main menus are VASTLY superior to Part 1’s decidedly underwhelming offerings, with more use of the energy grid from the season 2 opening and nifty 3D faction symbols. These ones are NICE to look at. However, I don’t know if it’s my player or not, but the transititions between menus are a bit jerky and iffy.

Again, we have 5.1 or 2.0 audio options, with 5.1 being the default, unlike Part 1. Now, most people will remember the rantings that have gone on in the past of how Rhino, the American company who remastered these episodes, added extra noises to the 5.1 track (jet fly-bys, big explosions, and the primary truly annoying one, a demonically irritating WHCSSH!! to nearly every laser impact). For their season 1 box set, Maverick used only this 5.1 audio. Metrodome, for S2, Pt2, gave us both 5.1 and 2.0, although an error by Rhino on their set carried over, which saw the extra noises applied to the 2.0 tracks of “Changing Gears,” “City of Steel,” “Attack of the Autobots” and “Traitor.” Furthermore, on the American Season 2, Part 2 set a technical error resulted in the 2.0 track of EVERY episode getting the added noises, driving many US fans up the wall.

The good news?

This error HASN’T carried over! I haven’t watched EVERY episode yet, but after a good chunk of disc one, and a sampling of some episodes from the others, flicking back and forth between tracks and rewinding to examine specific instances, I can find no evidence that the 2.0 tracks contain the added noises! TAKE THAT, YANKEES! If I find evidence to the contrary, of course, I’ll take this back.

So, with that joyous discovery made, I was really settling down to watch some awesome robot action. There’s little point in actually going into episodes in that much detail, but I reccommend-

– the refreshingly mature change of pace that is “The God Gambit”
– “The Secret of Omega Supreme,” which gets the “Contradicting the Conustructions’ Origin, but Giving A Reason For At Least ONE of the Season’s New Characters” award
– the hoots that are “Prime Target” and “Triple Take Over”
– The really quite spiffy “Key to Vector Sigma”
– the continuity-chewy-tasty “War Dawn”
– and the absolutely CRACKIN’ “Starscream’s Brigade” and “Revenge of Bruticus.”

The worst ep on the set is, without question, the utterly nonsenscial, brain-itching “B.O.T.,” one of the worst episodes of Transformers ever.

Now, as I did in the past, let’s take a deep look at the extras. Before I get into them individually, I just have to say that they are presented *sooooo* much better than the previous set’s. More work has gone in here, and even though there are less individual extras than Part 1, what we do get is simply much more pleasing to experience.

The first extra is the quiz – same format as part 1, multiple choice, only with 20 questions, instead of 10. And these ones are ones that you DO have to REALLY be a Transfan to answer. When you complete the quiz, it’s apparent that nothing is unlocked, but….

…when the quiz is over, and “Special Features” is highlighted, press “up,” and Megatron’s eyes will light up. Hit enter to play the set’s vaunted Easter Egg… and then be disappointed to discover that it’s “Four Soliders From the Sky,” the first episodes of the Japanese “Headmasters” series… again. Forget the fact that it’s the lip-jabberingly poor English dub, and focus instead on the fact that this is now the THIRD time this episode has been on DVD, first on Maverick’s release of the movie, then again on it’s own disc with five more Headmasters episodes, and now this time. It’s hard to know what to feel here – I mean, I am annoyed that it’s this episode AGAIN, but I also applaud Metrodome for using some Japanese episodes (boding well for their use in the future), and although it would have been NICE to start where Maverick left off, that seems silly, even though Metrodome has done it with their box sets. Ah well.

Next up is the game, just identified as “Transformers Game” on the Menu, but called “Guess the Autopart” in the booklet and “Scrambled Transformers” on the sleeve and box. From any screenshots you may have seen of it, you may think it’s played by selecting individual parts and combining them to make a Transformers, but in actuality, it’s just a randomised process – you just repeatedly hit “play” until a whole Transformer appears on screen. You can build either Starscream, Soundwave, Jazz or Bumblebee, and once you have successfully done so, you can play a slideshow of the character’s highlights from the set. Unfortunately, like the menu transititions, these are a bit choppy – though as before, I’m not sure if this is just my player or not. A nice idea for an extra, though the way I *thought* it could be played would have been a better way to play it.

Next are the staple character profiles, presented a bit better than Part 1’s with a preferable use of screen captures, rather than artwork. Profiles are for Menasor, Superion, Bruticus, Defensor and Blaster. Better written all around. Nice work.

Next up is a familiar sight – the Fan Art gallery. Wisely changed from the scrolling movie of Part 1 to a user-controlled page-by-page presentation, this thing is bloody MASSIVE. Art ranges from great to average to copied (bad boys, dirty boys, in your bed, etc).

Next on the list are the Episode Scripts – once again, wisely changed from Part 1’s on-screen presentation to PDF files opened on your computers. They’re the original dialogue of the episodes, lacking the stage directions between speech. All twenty five episodes have their scripts here – that’s a lot of reading!

Finally, there is the Atari game trailer, a preview of the Armada PS2 which rocks my socks. Seeing Tidal Wave transform and land in that water just gave me a joygasm.

And that, my lads and lassies, is your lot. A huge improvement over the already-great Part 1, with a much more professional, polished finish, a better handling of content, some spiffy inserts, and with superior audio to the US set. Roll on season 3/4 – if the quality climbs as much as it did from S2 Pt 1 to Pt 2, I may very well explode.

No Comments

There are no comments on this yet, be the first to write a comment.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.