TransBot / Astro Flash

2/15/2013 9:50:10 AM

By Tommy

Most people who owned TransBot probably did because it was the cheapest game in the store. Being one of the earliest Mark III/Master System games, it still has its place in Sega history though.

Download theme which can be used in RetroCopy v1.0: (2.45 MB)

I remember getting TransBot as a gift from relatives in Scotland, and was very excited that I had a Sega game that came from another country! Of course I didn't know it was already quite a few years old when I got it sometime in the early 90s.

Although it is in no way a fantastic game, it still feels and plays like one of those classic Sega Master System games from the 80s that I like so much. There is something special and unique about those games made in Japan in the 80s that I feel European developers didn't quite manage to replicate with their 90s Master System games. I think it's a combination of graphics and music, which are both awesome in this game. You see the title screen and hear this strange drum rhythm, which I've later found to be very similar to the rhythm found in prog rock band King Crimson's "The Devil's Triangle" from 1970. Just listen! It's the exact same rhythm! And then we have the "fanfare" when you start, and then the "overworld" music. All great!

Speaking about the "overworld" and "underworld", the only demo the game plays is actually from the "underworld", so I knew there had to be a different level than the one the game starts with. I wasn't able to reach it though. The first level just kept on forever, no matter what I did. I knew there had to be a trick, and I remember trying everything I could think of in order to get to that "underworld" level, before I finally (after many hours probably) found out what I was supposed to do: shoot some star-looking enemies using the D-weapon. I bet many kids didn't figure that one out!

Once you finish the "underworld" and beat the boss (which looks pretty cool, by the way), you start again in level 1, although some of the enemies have changed. And then these two levels just repeats over and over again. I think I reached level 16 or 17 (which of course are identical to level 1 and 2) once as a kid, just playing and playing for hours, hoping the game would end. But of course it didn't. The game never ends, and you might wonder what is really going on here. Where are we? Some strange alien planet in the future? Why are we forced to play the same levels over and over again? Are we trapped in some sort of time loop? Perhaps it's best not to put too much thought into this and just play the game instead. And it isn't such a bad game if you give it a chance. But perhaps you need to have grown up with it to appreciate it fully...

Download theme which can be used in RetroCopy v1.0: (2,63 MB)

My RetroCopy 1.0 theme for this game is quite simple, but I like the overall look of it and I feel it puts you in the right mood to play this game. The background is of course taken from the overworld stage, but I have changed the colours a bit and put on some nice looking effects in order to differentiate it from the "preview window" when actually playing the overworld stage. The left and right images are taken from the Brazilian TransBot box. The reason why I used the Brazilian box and not the European or American, which show the same drawing, is we see more of the TransBot character in the Brazilian box, which is quite interesting as the game was released much later in Brazil than Europe and America. That means Sega in Europe and America had a larger drawing than the one they put on the box, and that they only put parts of it on. Even though the Brazilian box show more of the TransBot, we still don't see his feet, so those I had to draw myself!

Astro Flash was the original Japanese title of this game when it was released in 1985. Another thing that's interesting, is that the arcade version of Astro Flash (known as "Transformer" in the West) wasn't released until the following year - 1986. It's quite unique that the console version comes before the arcade version, but when that's said, the arcade version of Astro Flash/Transformer is much improved compared to the Mark III/Master version, and much has been changed.

Download theme which can be used in RetroCopy v1.0: (2,37 MB)

For some strange reason TecToy in Brazil decided the rename the game, so "Nuclear Creature" is the title you will find on the Brazilian box. My theme tries to mimic the font used on that box. It was just the box which was changed though. Brazilians who put the "Nuclear Creature" cartridge in their Master Systems, would still see a title screen which said "Transbot".

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