VOLTRON: DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE
This game has been recently released for XBLA and PSN. I have a 360, so that is the version I've been playing. From what I hear, though, there are not really any differences from XBOX to Playstation.
The game starts off pretty amazingly once you kick off. The original soundtrack is there in the menus and it really makes a difference. Most of that in-menu artwork has been supplied by a lot of fan-art taken from the official Voltron art book. The menus look slick.
In-game play is another story. From the beginning, you command your choice of one of the five Voltron lions from the Lion Force version of Voltron. There's basically three modes of play. The first and most consistent mode is that of you controlling your lion on a land-based format which guides you through the landscape via the use of checkpoints. You pretty much use the left thumbstick to move your lion and the right thumbstick to fire in any given direction of 360º. The second mode is that of a 'space mode' which is more of a traditional shooter, but still utilizes the same controls. The third mode is that of a combat simulation where the Voltron gestalt is pitted against a robeast and attacks are fashioned by a combination of point and click and button determination; the results of which are played out on screen after the fact.
The controls of the lions are decent, though change of direction is a bit sluggish. This is offset a bit by the animation of the lion models actually struggling to halt before changing direction, though the overhead view is at such a far distance that it isn't easily registered. There is a 'pounce' feature for the lions to attack with, but it takes getting used to and places your lion vulnerable to immediate attack once you've registered it. Another attack is the 'paw swipe' which I figured out is actually pretty destructive if you know how to use it: if you alternate your left and right pounce swipes, you can pretty much decimate just about any enemy in a matter of seconds. The game doesn't explain this to you, though... I just figured it out on my own. Without the paw swipes, you're basically regulated to running around in circles around the enemies while you use your right thumbstick to fire off volley after volley of projectile attack.
The robeast fights are designated by button pushing at designated intervals. You don't so much fight the robeasts as you do select an attack and then push a button when the light tells you to. There's a bit more to it than that, but you'd have to play to understand. Just let it be known that there's no fighting skill when it comes to facing off with your robeast opponent. It's more like Parappa than Street Fighter.
Overall, I found the game to be amusing for about an hour. You can easily beat it within that time frame. The presentation is really great for the game, utilizing over-the-top artwork and original music score for the menus and cutscenes from the original cartoon in-between levels. However, the game is a bit of a flop overall. It's nice to play a VOLTRON game for once. It's also nice to seem the time and effort involved in modeling a lot of the Drule ships and tanks. But at the end of the day, this game will appeal only to die hard Voltron fans, and even then there leaves a little bit to be desired. I might have liked the game more if they incorporated the 'vehicle Voltron' elements into the game along with the lions (which could have been done quite easily, mind you), but I'm not sure that would even save the playabililty of the game.
There is multiplayer availability, though even on day ONE when this game was released, I found it hard to find another 4 players to make the 5-lion Voltron team. It appears you must play through entirely as five players; if someone bails, you're screwed.... this especially sucks since it's generally hard to get anyone to play through the entire game in one sitting. I never got as far to see how the Voltron vs. Robeast plays out in multiplayer, but I can't fathom it being very user-friendly.
Is it worth it? It's worth a play through for the Voltron fan, but at the end of the day, the game is a bit bland and a rather generic offering for what could be otherwise considered a flagship for the 80's geekanerd. It could have been better and the game engine dynamic is not so unique that it couldn't be used for something else entirely without anyone being the wiser.
I say, try it out if you're a Voltron fan. The menus and original soundtrack are great. In-game-wise, there's not a whole lot here for the non-Voltron fan.