Now that the first ever Figureguy Review is done, and since I'm not opening Megatron until Monday, I had time to play with the Golden Disc CD-Rom. Unfortunately, since there isn't a lot I can do without knowing Japanese, my time with the disc was a little shorter than I hoped. Since I have more time on my hand today, I decided to review the Golden Disc, and it's multimedia features.
The Disc Itself:
The first thing that struck me is when the CD went to load, I received a warning from Windows XP that there is active content on the disc, and a warning against letting it run. I chose to let it run, but this did worry me. I have Norton Internet Security Suite, so I feel protected, but for someone who might not have such security on their PC this could be a problem.
The Golden Disc comes in a plastic CD case, shrink wrapped, and taped to the bubble that holds the figures. The hard plastic case and shrink wrap is a nice touch, but I found myself disappointed with the appearance of the disc itself.
Since so much work has been done to modify these figures to represent their show versions, I wish as much work had gone into the detail of the disc itself, to make it look more show accurate also.
My first complaint comes with the golden sheen. While the gold is shiny, I have seen shinier on CDs, and the textured appearance of the gold takes away from the CD. I was also not that happy with the symbols. While detailed and pretty on the mark, they are also done in a gold that blends in to easy to the background of the disc. I would have preferred them to be silver to echo the glowing look of the symbols from the television show.
The third part, while very minor, concerns all the Kanji and Trademark information on the disc. While expected, I wish they could have instead put it on a CD disc jacket, keeping the disc free of writing like the show. This might be a little nitpicky to some, but if this is supposed to be the ultimate BW set, I want accuracy. A funny thing is on the CD-Rom, they have printed Beast Wars Reboan, instead of reborn. Funny because this small error seems indicative of all the problems I have been reading about with Takara's quality control lately.
While a nice added extra, it could have been nicer. Now to pop it in, and review the multimedia features of the disc itself.
The first thing I noticed when I popped the disc in, was a warning message from Windows XP about active content on the disc. It automatically blocked it from playing, but I have Norton Internet Security on my system, so I feel secure in allowing it. For those who might not have adequate system protection, here is what Windows says about the disc.
What is active content and why does Internet Explorer restrict it?
Active content is content that relies on either ActiveX controls or computer code called a script to work properly. Examples include stock tickers, video, and animated content on Web pages.
These programs can, however, malfunction or give you content you donít want. In some cases, these programs can be used to collect information from your computer in ways you might not approve of, possibly damage data on your computer, install software on your computer without your consent, or allow someone else to control your computer remotely. Given these risks, you should only install these programs if you completely trust the publisher.
If a Web page you visit tries to display active content, you will see the message below (click the message for more information).
Since I wasn't that sure about it what it meant, I felt posting this information could be helpful. As I said, I feel confident playing this content, but some others might think twice.
The main page has a splash picture with Optimus Primal, in all three modes with a banner that says Beast Wars Chronicle. There are 2 rows of menus, a top one of 4, and a bottom of 3. For this review, I am going to select menus from left to right, top then bottom row. Also of note is a lit yellow link on the bottom left to download Shockwave, which I have installed, but I infer your computer needs to access the content. Since most of the writing is in Japanese, I will only point out any writing I can distinguish.
When you click on Menu 1, you are taken to a screen where in the background, is a scrolling movie type reel of CGI scenes from the show. In the forefront is written what I have to assume to be the history of Beast Wars. All I can read is the years 1996, 1999, 2004, CG for computer graphics, and 10 for the anniversary. That is all you can interact with, except a TOP button, which is found on all menus, to take you back to the main menu. Not much on this one, without a grasp of the language.
The button has a BW on it, and when clicked takes you to a screen with artwork of original Optimus Primal, and 2 buttons for Cybertron and Destron, the Japanese names for Maximals and Predacons, and a button underneath. When you press the Cybertron button, you are taken to a list of Cybertron BW toys, where by clicking on the different list numbers, you are greeted to pictures of the figure in both robot and alt toy form, tech specs, where you can read the numbers only, and a description I can guess of each character.
The Cybertrons found under this list are:
Original Optimus Primal, Polarclaw, Original Cheetor, Original Dinobot, Original Rattrap, Optimus Primal in Bat form, Or. Rhinox, Tigatron, Wolfang, Or. Airrazor, Cybershark, Bat Form Optimus Red, and Armordillo in the exclusive set with mountain and play mat.
Click on the Destron link at the bottom of the page, and you are taken to a list of Destrons, and found there is:
Original Megatron, Scorponok, Waspinator, Tarantulas, Terrorsaur, Alligator Megatron, Shadow Panther, Blackarachnia, Buzzsaw, Insecticon, Inferno, Purple Alligator Megatron, and Snapper from the set with Armordillo.
Now here's an interesting feature. Click the back button on 2 consecutive screens, and you are taken to the first one with the menus. Click the button under Cybertron and Destrons, then click the Cybertron menu, and now you are greeted with a new list for the Transmetal and Transmetal 2 pictures.
The Transmetal Cybertrons found on this list are:
TM Optimus, Silverbolt, TM Cheetor, TM Ratrrap, TM Rhinox, TM Airrazor, Depthcharge, Optimal Optimus, TM2 Blackarachnia, TM2 Cheetor, and Tigerhawk.
Click on the Destron Button on the bottom, and you can find on that list:
TM Megatron, Rampage, TM Waspinator, TM Terrorsaur, TM Tarantulas, Quickstrike, Scavenger, TM2 Megatron, TM2 Dinobot, and Ravage X-9.
Overall, this is one the best and most interactive menus on the disc.
Click on Menu 3 and you are greeted with four background wallpapers for your computer, downloadable in 800X600 pixel, or 1024X768 pixels. The first wallpaper is of all the season 1 BW figures in robot mode. The second picture has all the same bots in robot and alt mode facing off against each other. The third wallpaper is a computer rendering of TM Cheetor and TM Rattrap in animal mode, with a larger picture of TM Optimus on hover board, set against a space backdrop. The last picture is also of TM Optimus, in a collage of all 3 forms of the toy.
While I appreciate putting wallpapers on here, I would have liked to see more of a selection, and not so much on the toys but more line art of CGI versions of the characters.
In this menu, you find a lot of writing, the Beast Wars Reborn logo, but something unexpected. There are two drawings of Optimus Primal and Megatron, darkened, but with detail able to be seen. What is unexpected is that these are the Hasbro BWA New Mold Primal and Megatron. What I can infer is that these are going to also be released in Japan under the BWR line. At the bottom of the page looks like a box to, say, put in your email address, and what would be a submit button. I tried, but nothing. Then I saw that what I put in doesn't show as characters and letters but asterisks. I wonder if by putting in a secret word or phrase, say, that you will be able to see the pictures in their entirety. Just a guess, but it is plausible.
Besides the darkened pictures of the figures, which is only artwork, nothing to do on this menu at all.
This menu seems to be a show list. It breaks the series into two 26 episodes, instead of the season 1, 2, and 3 we are familiar with. There are no links, and all I can make out is individual episode numbers, and what appears to be air dates. There is no interactivity on this menu page at all. Without a knowledge of the Japanese Language, there is nothing I can understand that describes, or even names each episode.
This is the easiest to use, and the best content on the disc. This menu contains characters sketches, with both modes, weapons, multiple head shots (including mutant heads) in black and white sketches. The menu is broken into two parts, with one being the first series, and the second dealing with, I think the Beast Wars Metals. Inside each part, it is again broken into a sub-menu for Cybertrons and one for the Destrons. These might be design sketches, or just breakdowns for the animation models.
In season 1, Cybertron menu there are sketches for:
Optimus Primal, Wolfang (with Cheetorís robot and mutant head for some reason), Dinobot, Rattrap, Optimus Primal in bat form, Rhinox, Tigatron and Airrazor.
Season 1 Destrons:
Megatron, Scorponok, Waspinator, Tarantulas, Terrorsaur, Megatron in crocodile form, and Inferno.
Season 2 Cybertrons:
TM Optimus, Silverbolt, TM Cheetor, TM Rattrap, Tm Rhinox, TM Airrazor, Depthcharge, Optimal Optimus, TM2 Blackarachnia, TM2 Cheetor and Tigerhawk.
Season 2 Cybertrons:
TM Megatron, Rampage, TM Waspinator, TM Tarantulas, Quickstrike, Scavenger, TM2 Megatron, and TM2 Dinobot.
All these drawings are very detailed, and as I stated, easily one of the best menus on the disc.
Finally, we come to Menu 7:
This is very interactive, and without knowing Japanese, one of the most regrettable menus on the disc. There is so much information on here, three columns of pictures, one of 3, and two sets of 4. On each one, when you click on the picture, you are greeted with a large color picture, and in the bottom left hand corner a button appears, and when clicked, transposes a paragraph or two on top of the picture, probably explaining what it is. From the looks of it, all eleven pictures have something to do with celebrating the anniversary. I will detail each picture, and if I can recognize any of the text, tell you so.
A nicely done drawing of the original Optimus Primal. All I can recognize is: LOVE.
A page of a comic book, with about 6 panels. The interesting thing is, itís a color comic with the BW characters in the modern world, within a city, with buildings, cars and humans. No recognizable text.
All the character art from the US release of the BWA figures, all six in color, with the darkened artwork in the background of the new US mold Megatron and Primal. Recognizable Text: the number 10, and the name and positions of Aaron Archer and Greg Lombardo from Hasbro.
A Super Deformed sketch of Primal and Megs scaling a skyscraper. Text: Beast Wars, 10, 1973, 25, 1993.
A sketch and toy pictures of what appears to be a cobra style transformer in robot mode. Text: BEE-CRAFT.
A drawing of Optimus Primal with a blue sky behind him, and lens flares. Text: BW, TF.
Two toys, a golden what looks like Cheetor, but more skeletal, on a stand with blue jewel eyes, and a golden Scorponok, with jeweled red eyes and a pincher. Also in the picture is an orange Decepticon force chip, where the cheetah seems about the same size as the chip, and the scorpion a tad bigger. Text: 10, 12, TF, 2007, 3.
A comic panel of TM Primal inside the mouth of TM Megatron, holding the jaws open. Text: 10, 1988, 6, 1999, 2, 3, 9, 2003, 2004.
A very detailed comic panel of original Optimus Primal fighting original Megatron. Text: 43, S.G.T., 3, SW.
A realistic drawing of Primal in a Monkey suit with the head removed and sitting on the ground in front of him. No recognizable text.
A drawing of four Primal heads surrounding the logo of Beast Wars. All four Prime heads are facing inwards, with flame details on the helmet. On the border of the picture, is writing not in Japanese symbols, but in the phonetic spelling of the words. Text: Beast Wars, 10, 20, 1993, BOYS.
This could have easily been the best menu, as each picture seems to be a sneak preview of something new related to the 10th anniversary of Beast Wars. But without a translator, all this potential secret information is lost to me.
While I appreciate how nice it is to have additions like this disc to the BWR-01 set, I feel that it could have had so much more potential. Whether or not you can understand Japanese, this could have been a better disc with, oh, more wallpapers, toy pictures of perhaps some of the BW the Second line, or even more outside the continuity of the first Beast Wars. Since they include Polarclaw, Wolfang, and Insecticon among those that got toy reviews, why not more of the figures that werenít in the animated show? Maybe a couple of downloadable episodes, or at least clips or sound bytes. I think the perfect addition would have been to add clips from the show where you saw the golden disc on screen.
For something included free, you would think I canít be choosy. But as I said before, if this is to be the ultimate Beast Wars Reborn set, then I set the bar high, perhaps a little too high. Somehow, I canít help thinking with Takara realizing how much this set would be purchased from the overseas market, that they couldnít have included an English option for the text.
After I get to open BWR-01 Megatron on Monday, I hope to follow up with my final review concerning that set.
Image Gallery 3