The first reimagining of Bruticus didn't exactly mean the return of the Combaticons, since the characters' names and personalities were nothing like the G1 versions - but for the second instance of the Combaticons Reimagined, that changed. Today, we're looking at the game and toys that reintroduced the classic Combaticons (or at least their very similar counterparts from an alternate universe), Fall of Cybertron! Read on to learn more.
High Moon Studios' Transformers games were technically set in the Aligned continuity of Transformers Prime, but much like IDW's earlier comics, the design sensibilities were along the lines of a more elaborate, gritty version of G1. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron brought more variation to the third-person shooter gameplay of the first in the series, War For Cybertron, by adding more gameplay options than shoot, drive, and fly. With a narrative that shifts from character to character instead of distinct stages, the Combaticon segment of the game starts you off in control of individual team members and culminates in your playing as the nearly-unstoppable Bruticus. Then in the final chapter, after running around as Bruticus smashing things and being unstoppable for a second time, you play as Jazz and are tasked with stopping Bruticus.
Sadly, the confrontation between Grimlock and Bruticus teased in the trailer never comes to pass, but the time you get to spend as Bruticus is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the single-player game.
2012's Generations lineup focused on the character designs seen in Fall of Cybertron, with Bruticus - the largest and most complex combiner in a very long time - taking center stage. The original character names were brought back this time and applied to detailed robots with Cybertronian vehicle modes.
Swindle, the Cybertronian Dune Buggy voiced in the game by Steve Blum, is sporting a head that wasn't really right for G1 Swindle... which is something we'll explain another day! Swindle is the best-feeling of the individual Combaticons, and the only one I'd recommend as a Deluxe unto itself without Combiner considerations entering into it.
Blast Off, the Cybertronian Spacecraft, was voiced by Keith Silverstein in FoC. His big bulky shoulders are kind of weird, but otherwise he's one of the better Deluxes.
Vortex, the Cybertronian Helicopter, was voiced by Dave Boat. Sure, why not a space helicopter? Vortex is skinny and his articulation is weird, but his swords are really cool.
Brawl, the Cybertronian Tank voiced by Nolan North. He's okayish as a tank, and makes an interesting and solid foot, but otherwise he just seems kind of... off. The robot mode is far too small and slim for the character as portrayed in the game.
Speaking of far too small: we have Onslaught, the Cybertronian Assault Truck voiced by Travis Willingham. As the torso of Bruticus, Onslaught makes a lot of concessions for that mode that really do him few to no favors as his own bot.
Bruticus, also voiced by Nolan North in the game itself, was wonderful to have after so long without combiner teams - but it has issues that have dogged many modern combiners to various degrees. Most prominently, a torso that doesn't hold together super-well, creating balance and posing issues. An issue unique to this set of molds is that Onslaught, as a Deluxe that other Deluxes plug into, is really not bulky enough to be the torso as shown in the game. The arm and leg sockets on the other Combaticons have to serve double duty; putting them where they belong to be knees means they are very high up on the arms, making for extra-long arms and the overall proportions of an emaciated gorilla. (Unless you use the slightly awkward-looking alternate transformation for Blast Off and Vortex devised by ExVee and see above.) Each of the four Combaticon limbs features built-in hands and feet of extremely variable quality, which is one major reason why the external accessory pieces of Combiner Wars were a welcome sight.
Perhaps Bruticus' best feature which was not carried over into Combiner Wars is that the Combaticons' weapons can be combined in a variety of larger configurations for Bruticus to use. ...unfortunately, some of those configurations require Onslaught's back-guns, which are load-bearing parts of Bruticus' already problematic torso. Oops!
The first version of Bruticus offered for sale was a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive, with a paint job more closely matching what was seen in the game. This deco was also reissued later in a Platinum Edition set with a recolor of Fall of Cybertron Grimlock.
And of course TakaraTomy did their own version, which splits the difference between the two Hasbro versions, opting for a blue Onslaught but going with more vivid versions of the SDCC Bruticus' limb color schemes.
As with the G1 molds, Generations Bruticus would be used often. Besides the uses seen here as this specific Bruticus there are two more - and we'll get to them in later installments!
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