VIDEO GAME REVIEW: Voltron

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Recently, Voltron has become a thing again. Apparently there are some comics on the way and I’ve heard rumors of a new TV series, but that’s not what we’re discussing here today. As part of this new “thing” a Voltron video game has come out for the downloadable market, that’s what we’re here to discuss.

VOLTRON
Developer: Behaviour Interactive
Publisher: THQ
Platform: XBLA and PSN
Price: 800 MSP or $10

Voltron is the precursor to Power Rangers, and a damned fun one at that (at least for the cliché ‘80s cartoons). Five young heroes pilot five lion-shaped mecha that in a time of dire crisis can combine to form one giant humanoid mech. This giant robot is known as Voltron: Defender of the Universe. For this game, you take up one of these pilots in the fight against evil.

GAMEPLAY

There are three modes of gameplay: lion, space lion, and Voltron. Because this is presented as a multiplayer game, the lion mode is the one given the most work. Essentially both lion modes are upgraded twin-stick shooters. This is a very good thing as the genre is good by itself and what’s done here is great. Each lion has a somewhat unique array of abilities and stats; different types/rates of fire and different specials. I did play with each lion, and while I had my favorites for specific reasons, each of them is very much suited to different situations. Now, the normal lion modes were more fun than the space modes as one, you had a bit more variety and two, you got to see the differentiations more. The big thing here, both modes were balls-crushingly hard. I had to have someone else to play with in order beat some levels and still we had to drop to the lowest difficulty. This isn’t a bad thing as it encourages multiplayer, and considering the source material it really should.
Voltron mode on the other hand was rather simple. Instead of straight up controlling the robot itself, you did a series of mini-games instead.

The mini-games were mostly just context based button pushers, but they were fun. The reason they decided to go this route though was the push toward multiplayer. Having up to five people trying to control this would have been embarrassing, so instead you alternate choosing attacks and holding the targeting reticle with the attacker having to shoot on time. Defensively doesn’t rely on any one person, instead as long as someone hits the correct button the attack is defended against. Initially I saw this as a downside, but there are two bonuses here. First off, multiplayer would have been a headache if you either had to cede control or deal with everybody playing at once. Secondly, I never lost while playing Voltron, heck I was barely ever scratched, this made Voltron feel like the nigh-invincible protector it should have been.

VISUALS, STORY, AND OTHER

Visually the game itself is quite stunning. Even on my less than HD television I was able to get a great look of everything. The story takes three separate episodes from the original series and breaks them down in to four chunks of gameplay. The story is told in cut scenes pulled straight from the series itself, including the original voice work. All in all it made for just a fun experience

BOTTOM LINE: MORE THAN ENOUGH FUN

Though the game is, like I said, balls-crushingly difficult I really did enjoy every moment. I enjoyed it so much that my only real complaint is that there wasn’t more available. With great moments, like Peter Cullen telling me we’ll be back whenever I pause, the game earns a good 4 out of 5 stars. I guess I should mention that I specifically had the X-Box version, so there might be some differences with the PS3 version but I doubt it would be too much.

Rating: ★★★★☆