Voltron: Defender of the Universe Review

by

When i was a child, i remember watching Voltron on TV, delightful times as one of the first japanese animation shows i watched along with Robotech (back in the day i had no idea what anime was, at all).
Now THQ decided to bring me back to my childhood with Voltron: Defender of the Universe for the Xbox Live Arcade and the Playstation Network. If i was playing this when i was a kid, all i could say is “omg is this what dreams are made of? Awesome!” and probably would cause a time paradox for messing with consoles from the future.

Voltron: Defender of the Universe

Story
From days of long ago, from uncharted regions of the universe, comes a legend, the legend of Voltron, Defender of the Universe. A mighty robot, loved by good, feared by evil. As Voltron’s legend grew, peace settled across the galaxy.
Dont tell me you didn’t love that intro? I know i did but hmm, loved by good, feared by evil? Oh wow.. Voltron it’s Batman!
Basically the game follows the story from the tv show, as you discover the lions and rescue inhabitants of the planet Arus that has been captured and to defeat the evil forces commanded by evil King Zarkon.
So… This is the story of the super force of space explorers….. specially trained and sent by the alliance to bring back….. Voltron, defender of the universe!

Voltron

i bet Zohan learned the feet uppercut from Voltron! Smell it, Smell it… Now take it!

Gameplay
You can say Voltron has 3 different types of gameplay, first a top view that feels and play similar to Renegade Ops, second a vertical shooter and third… hmm maybe not a mode but the way you fight when you form Voltron is different, basically a sequence of pressing the right buttons to beat the bosses.

The first mode lets you play as the pilot when your lion is damaged and is repairing himself for 10 seconds, if you survive you can go back to your lion and continue to kickass! If you are defeated outside the lion you will lose a life.
Second mode doesn’t allow such thing, if SCI-FI taught us something, it’s that nobody can hear you scream in space and your eyeballs will pop out as in Total Recall (loved that movie!) Anyway…
As you play throughout the stages you will find pieces to form a star, this will give you extra lives and more score points, you also gain extra bonus points by rescuing Arus prisoners, destroying enemies and more.
Now, once you form Voltron specially in multiplayer the interactive animated sequences begin, from forming the body, the sword, defenses and attacks. There is a good combination of quick time events and button mashing action.

And as if you were in the show, all the players cooperate along the fight, so not everything is up to one player. Meanwhile the rest of the players can do nothing but watch. This is not the case, sometimes the player piloting the red lion must do a sequence and the pilot on the green lion another, you get the idea, teamwork is the key to defeat the bosses. Although i had doubts of how well this was going to work, i have to admit it’s interesting and actually works pretty well.
Dual analog controls just like in Renegade Ops and other games. You move with the left and shoot with the right analog. Controls are responsive and easy to learn, which is something we all like.
You are not limited to shoot with the right analog, L1 and R1 let you melee to finish enemies faster, specially heavy artillery. There are several aerial enemies and by using R2 your lion jumps in the air and with his claws, takes down the enemy ships on the ground. I enjoyed the controls a lot, easy to pick and play the game from the beginning to end.

Graphics 7.5/10
Dude, when you have the intro from the tv show in a Voltron videogame, i’m sold! It was a fantastic way to start the game by taking you back down memory lane, a perfect way to suck the players into the Voltron Universe.
Having animated sequences from the anime between each level to show us the story is also enjoyable, both for grown ups that watched the show as kids and for newcomers that never watched it before.

Sound 8/10
Very good, i love how they added the audio for commercial breaks when you pause the game, that was such a nice touch! Music from the tv show is also present with nostalgia and catchy tunes, explosions are noisy, overall… Good job!

Downside
I know i’m asking too much but i’m a purist, can we have japanese voices? Maybe for future releases (Volton Vehicle Force perhaps?).

Voltron

Overall
With Voltron: Defender of the Universe, THQ not only takes you back down memory lane, it also introduces a classic anime show to a new generation and they did it quite right. Quality gameplay with good controls, colorful graphics and equally good sound effects makes this game an excellent choice.

Playing this title was delightful and a very pleasant experience with the right dose of challenge we all love in a videogame, give the demo a try! But really with such an affordable price, i’m sure you will not regret it.
Available for Xbox Live Arcade for 800MSP and the Playstation Network for $10us.

Giving the game an 8 out of 10!

~Mario