Voltron Forms Blazing Sword in New Game
Look, we were born in 1981, so when someone says the word "Voltron," something deep within us awakens. There's an image in our head of giant robots, flaming swords and really, really badly animated adventures. In other words, we recapture part of the innocence and joy of childhood.
So when we got the chance to download the first real video game adaption of the classic series from THQ we were excited, but also a little hesitant. There's way too much nostalgia baiting going on across the entertainment strata. You can't throw a rock without hitting an attempt to breed a golden goose by dressing it up as He-Man or Optimus Prime. Was this going to be one of those cases, or would the world finally get the interactive adventure it deserves?
In a word, mostly.
Voltron: Defender of the Universe may be the most faithful adaptation of any cinematic vehicle to game form since Street Fighter: The Movie - The Game (Didn't say it was good, just said that it was very, very faithful). They start out just right by plopping you right into the middle of classic episodes. We don't mean that those episodes have been re-created, either. They use clips from the actual series, right down to that typical '80s grainy finish.
Once the action starts, you're shoved out into lush worlds astride the robotic lion of your choosing. The controls couldn't be simpler, with your left stick controlling your movement and the right controlling your infinite cache of laser fire. Your shoulder buttons will dash you in the direction you're facing, and through the top-down levels you rescue civilians (Important for life gain), collect star pieces for extra lives, destroy enemy tanks and occasionally do defense work for transports or towers.
The levels are full of enemies, and you had better get real good at dodging their fire. Too much damage ejects you from your lion, and you have ten seconds of surviving on foot while everything still tries to kill you.
One technique you had better master quickly is using the second shoulder buttons to leap onto enemies. This takes out flying enemies in one hit, and does significant damage to the big tanks. Otherwise, battles against the harder enemies can quickly turn into agonizingly long strafing battles as you very slowly wear down their health with your cannon fire. Be warned, using the leap too puts you right next to the enemy, obviously, and they can hit back pretty hard.
What you really want to know about is what's it like when you finally form Voltron for the big boss battles? Well, the classic animated sequence is there to set the perfect mood, but the fights themselves are somewhat disappointing.