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The Transformers: Mystery of Convoy

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The Transformers: Mystery of Convoy
"I thought you were made of sterner stuff."
— Optimus Prime
Genre(s): Platform
Platform(s): Family Computer
Release: 1986
Developer(s): ISCO
Publisher(s): Takara
Country: Japan
Series: Transformers

The Transformers: Mystery of Convoy[1] ( (たたか)え! (ちょう)ロボット生命体 (せいめいたい)トランスフォーマー コンボイの (ナゾ) Tatakae! Chō Robotto Seimeitai Toransufōmā: Konboi no Nazo, lit. Fight! Super Robot Life-Form Transformers: Mystery of Convoy), is a 1986 platform video game developed by ISCO and published by Takara exclusively in Japan. It is based on the popular Transformers toyline.

A mobile phone remake of the game was eventually released in August 2014 exclusively in Japan, titled Q-Transformers: Mystery of Convoy Returns (キュートランスフォーマー (かえ)ってきたコンボイの (ナゾ) Kyūtoransufōmā Kaettekita Konboi no Nazo), as part of the Q-Transformers toyline. A tie-in anime series was also released in 2015, featuring super-deformed versions of the Age of Extinction incarnations of Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Lockdown.

At the time of the game's release, Transformers: The Movie was already being screened in North America, but not in Japan until four years later. Because of this, Optimus Prime's death was not adequately explained to the Japanese audience. Therefore, this game was intended to capitalize on that gap.


The game is a simple 2D platformer with the player — playing as Ultra Magnus — making their way through 10 levels while under constant attack from various enemies. At the end of each level is a boss which in almost all cases simply floats up and down on the right side of the screen while randomly firing projectiles at the player.

There are also a few secrets in the game, such as special red jet enemies that appear in certain stages. If Ultra Magnus manages to kill these, Bumblebee appears and lets him skip a few levels. Another secret is the seven hidden letters that spell out "RODIMUS" which are obtained by killing certain enemies. If the player collects all seven letters by the end of the game, they are given the option of playing through the game again, this time as Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime.

Why It Isn't Made of Sterner Stuff

  1. One hit and the player dies, also the player only gets three lives.
  2. None of the levels have checkpoints.
  3. The same bland eight-second song plays endlessly in each level except for boss fights or when you've picked up a specific power-up.
  4. The enemies have a huge advantage over you. They can camouflage themselves in the background, as well as shoot and pass through solid platforms and they can take multiple hits before they die.
  5. Flashing screens that cause seizures.
  6. Misleading Title: Despite the game being titled "Mystery of Convoy"[1], Optimus Prime doesn't appear in the game at all.
  7. The enemies are small, move very fast, and in irregular patterns as well as coming out of nowhere.
  8. The title "Mystery of Convoy" on the cover art is misspelled as "Mystery of Comvoy".
  9. The player's projectiles cannot pass through solid platforms, making you defenseless.
  10. The game has poor hit detection. The player can get killed if enemy projectiles get anywhere near your perimeter. In addition, your targeting must be dead center, or else your bullet will pass through the enemy.
  11. The boss fights are too easy as they move up and down and shoot one projectile at a time.
  12. Extremely lazy boss design. Three of the bosses are the Decepticon insignia with different colors and twice the player must fight a planet that doesn't resemble Unicron.
  13. In Stage 9, if the player does not collect the key and follows the stage on a certain path, the stage will loop over and over. The game does not explain what you're supposed to do unless you find a guide. In addition, the route that needs to be taken is much more difficult than just advancing through the level normally.
  14. The difficulty in the game is inconsistent between levels.
  15. Though you can transform into the game, it is suicide. Despite the fact you can shoot in vehicle mode as well as pass through narrow spots, you're left open for attacks.
  16. The game has to be completed twice to see the ending. At first, you play as Ultra Magnus and once you beat the game and collect all the hidden letters that spell "Rodimus", you must play through the whole game again as Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime (no difference in gameplay other than your vehicle sprite being different).
  17. Your reward for beating the whole game twice is a single screen of text with one word: "Congratulation!"
  18. Extremely lazy stage design. Stages 1 and 7 are the exact same level but palette-swapped and the final level is Stage 6 in reverse.
  19. To make up for how unfairly hard the game is you have unlimited continues, however, you have to use a cheat code at the game over screen to continue (hold ◉A+◉B+Start).
  20. One of the power-ups serves no purpose. Even worse, it cancels all power-ups you've gathered upon collecting.
  21. Fake difficulty: The bullets are hard to see due to the bright backgrounds. And the fact that they're small only makes this worse.


AVGN Enraged.jpg "What were they thinking?"
The Shit Scale
Games that are debatably bad High level of shit contamination The very high category The severe zone Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Major code red
This game/console belongs to the "Very High Category" category of the AVGN's Shit Scale.

In a retrospective, called it the "perfect example of a shameless tie-in." They criticized the game for its high level of difficulty, the game's implementation of the transforming ability, and how the ninth stage loops infinitely unless a specific pattern is followed.

Due to the game's quality, Convoy no Nazo became one of the first Famicom games to be labeled a "Kusoge game".

James Rolfe states that this game is not for Transformers fans and gamers who want a reasonable challenge. He concludes that "it disappoints in both ways."



Release Announcment Promo

Gameplay, Reviews, Top 10s and Let's Plays


  1. 1.0 1.1 Convoy is Optimus Prime's name in Japan.


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