Optimus Prime Returns To The Arcade In Transformers Shadows Rising

arcadehero March 1, 2018 5
Optimus Prime Returns To The Arcade In Transformers Shadows Rising

Way back at IAAPA 2016, I was given a very small hint about Sega’s next big project after Daytona Championship USA. All I was told is that it was a shooting game, later to find out that it was not House Of The Dead Scarlet Dawn. We expected to see this project at IAAPA 2017 then EAG 2018; with those events passed and no new game appearance, it took Amusement Expo 2018 to finally reveal the project – a sequel to Sega’s Transformers: Human Alliance.

A Quick Review Of Transformers Human Alliance

The original Transformers: Human Alliance (THA) was originally released to North America in 2013 and gave us a new adventure based upon the Michael Bay cinematic universe of the Hasbro Transformer toys. Human players join with the Autobots to chase down the Allspark and keep it out of the hands of Megatron and the Decepticons. The cabinet was influenced by Bumblebee (as you can see below), sporting a bold yellow/black aesthetic and to this day the software remains exclusive to arcades.

Part of Sega’s EAG14 booth in London

This was also released in a gigantic 80″ Super Deluxe and a Special edition that resurrected the Sega R360 tech.

The New Transformers Shadows Rising

With the sequel, Sega has opted to focus on Optimus Prime. Several signs were posted on the machine saying that the software was 75% complete but the cabinet likewise seems to be lacking some production level finesse. The Optimus head looks spot on and has LED eyes; it also has decorated mufflers on each side. But different from the Deluxe version of Human Alliance(which uses a molded bezel), the back of the game is flat UPDATE: I got this wrong – looking at the video I shot, it does have a molded back to shape the engine. It uses frosted acrylic for the windows which is correct. My apologies on that. In looking at said video footage, what was off about it was the roof, which goes towards the back and is higher than the side panels.  The game’s title is only found on the side art instead of a noticeable marquee.  Overall feels like there are a couple of elements missing to cover that part of it so I would expect this to look slightly different by the time the release rolls around.

This was only shown in an environmental cabinet design. I have reached out to a contact within Sega asking about the possibility of a standard cab like Human Alliance had.

Software wise, the game plays like Human Alliance – there is a strong focus on co-op play, larger enemies require one to hit the targets quickly to break the attack, there are swarms of smaller enemies to fight, the voice acting is perfectly cheesy and there are Autobot assist sequences (Coop Battle as the game calls it) where you must hit all of the markers that appear to help the Autobot win the fight against the Decepticon. You (and your companion, if playing 2p) are given a letter grade depending upon your performance during these sequences, just like before. A story unfolds as you play along although chunks of it are certainly missing in this build. You also encounter Dinobots.

Where the game has some changes is in the new achievements system that tracks players being able to pass off certain requirements. I am not sure at this point if you register before or after the game to track these since that part of the game does not appear to have been completed yet.

There is also an element that has been borrowed from Deadstorm Pirates, the extra, unique controller. Instead of a pirate ship wheel, players have a self-centering two-way joystick to push or pull depending on the need. Called “Hyperenergy Tech Controls”, you can play mini-games with this when required but it is also supposed to allow you to pull of a strong attack or defense depending on the direction pulled. It seems like a neat variation of the idea but I was unable to see how it works as either the stick wasn’t wired properly or the software not completed yet to see the input and launch the sequence. They were also using an OutRun 2 up/down shifter while the control panel graphic as well as what you see in the game look different.

Graphically the game is a noticeable improvement over Human Alliance. It appears to be running at a higher native resolution; textures are sharper, character objects have more details, the colors are much more vibrant, there are nice smoke & explosion effects (now with more spark particles) and the game seemed to be running at the necessary 60 FPS. The lighting engine is better, with crisp shadows and less bloom than I recall from THA. I have no idea at the moment what hardware it is using but it seems likely it would be a step-up from the RingEdge 2 that THA ran on.

So what is our final verdict – none as of yet, as that would be silly for a prototype game. Assuming the game continues the course, if you liked Human Alliance then I get the sense that you’ll like Shadows Rising, if not more. They’ve packed more into the game, it keeps a good pace by what I played and I’m curious to see how the Hypertech Energy works when the joystick does. If you’re into cheesy/so-bad-its-good voice acting, it’s got plenty of that too. I am curious to hear if the additional features sound enticing to you as a player in the event that you were not a fan of THA.

Stay tuned for more information on this game as we get it; I will have a video up of it tomorrow along with more information on other titles that were at the show!


  1. arcades4ever March 2, 2018 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Sega seems to have picked up the pace more now. With the new house of the dead which I thought was original this game only for both of them to be their own games and then this it should be exciting, especially with the joystick idea borrowed from dead storm pirates. I do hope this game is longer as I found human alliance too short even though you go on a seperate route for both in stage 2.
    Will this game be released in time for summer do you know?

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