Transformers Season 3/4 DVD (Region 2)
Released 2004 by Metrodome, Reviewed 23rd July 2004
Season 3 / 4 is Metrodome's third Transformers release by Metrodome, and includes some classic episodes like Five Faces of Darkness, Call of the Primitives, Return of Optimus Prime and Re-birth.
This review has been conducted using Check Disks, so the quality of the final product may vary.
Metrodome's website can be found here.
This DVD boxset is yet to be released / rated.
The final released version of this DVD boxset will come in silver packaging, with Galvatron's face on the cover and Part 2 of the comic The Beast Within..
The DVD contains 33 episodes spread over 4 disks, compared to 2 DVD boxsets of 3 disks for the Region 1 release. This instantly gives the Metrodome release a far better value for money ratio.
Disks 1,2 and 3 only contain episodes, whilst disk 4 also contains the Special Features, a DVD ROM feature and there is even an "Easter Egg" to find.
The disk starts with legal notice, followed by Metrodome, TV Loonland and Hasbro's splash pages (TV Loonland's splash page includes a baaing sheep).
The menu systems on the Metrodome TF DVDs have improved with every release, and this continues with Season 3/4. The initial loading screen is exceptionally nice, and as soon as the Season 3 music hits the blood starts to pump. The Audio screen is especially nice, with a really cool lightning effect.
The transition between Main Menu and Sub-Menus sees the bottom bar "transform" as it creates / reduces the space between the top and bottom, depending on the information it contains. This looks really nice and is well animated.
The colour background changes depending on which disk you have in.
Episode Selection Screen.
The episode selection screen goes back to basic, but there are more episodes on these disks then in their previous releases, so you understand that. There's nothing special to announce there.
Sound Selection Screen
The Sound selection screen as we previously mentioned looks really nice. The lightning effect is very cool.
Although we are unable to comment on the final packaging of the DVD, we can comment on the menus. The DVD menus continue to improve, and look better then the previous DVD boxsets.
The image quality of the episodes is good, although it can be a little fuzzy at times (thought that is probably due to the age of the originals). It's great to see the different animation styles of the regular Sunbow animation team and that of the Movie team, who did the artwork for Call of the Primitives (as the regular team were on strike).
I'd give it an 9/10 - it's hard to rate cartoons for their clarity, but it could be a tad clearer.
It's also nice that the UK finally gets to see the beginning to Headmasters, which was not shown on the original Rebirth figure.
Note - We've spoken to Metrodome on this, and they have explained that the reason why the image quality might be slightly poorer compared to its region 1 cousin, is because they use a higher compression on the show, allowing them to fit more onto each DVD.
Once again the sound quality is excellent, vastly outdoing the now dated look of the cartoon. You get a great feeling when the opening tune hits, the series 3 tune really sounds good.
The sound is completely re mastered, and it is so nice to be able to watch the Transformers episodes with such high quality. There are no downer's about this at all.
Note: Chris McFeely points out that we actually get the Correct Dubbing for Dark Awakening and the US version.
Character Profiles - Still quiet short, but you don't
really want them too long. The artwork on these is the best so far, great
Quiz - Darren Jamieson does another great job. If you want top marks then you need to have your comic hat on. We only got 17 on the first go, having not read the comics since the mid 90's and not watched the cartoons for 7 years (quiet naughty of us really)
Fan Art - This time there is even less then normal, but some of it (especially the Alternators) looks amazing.
Auto Assembly Footage - Only the second time a convention in the UK has been filmed, and this one is very well done. The footage includes interviews with Simon Furman, Andy Wildman, Lee Sullivan and Simon WIlliams.
The commentary is done by TheTransformers.net's Overlord - and it has to be said that he does a fantastic job. My "embarrassing wave" is in there (which is good for a laugh) and over all it is far superior then the one on Series 2 Pt 2. The Theme tune that plays in the background would have got annoying if played consistently, but they remove it for the interviews / talks with fans.
One strange thing is that can can choose "Play All", or just "Interview with Furman", "Interview with Sullivan" or "Interview with Wildman". This is fine, only if you choose "Play All" it includes the interviews, then after it finishes it plays the interviews again, rather then returning to the menu.
EDIT: Thanks to Chris McFeely for pointing out that the interviews after the normal footage are longer then the ones in the main footage.
DVD Rom Features
Scripts - Every episode in PDF format and Cast listings.
Face Masks - A novel idea. You can make a face mask in the image of the Metrodome DVD covers
Wallpaper - There are 3 wallpapers for your PC - always good to bulk up the special features.
Comic - The Beast Within Part 2 - not available with
the check disks
Post cards - See Above
Presentation - 10/10 -The presentation is excellent,
and improves again on the previous releases. The DVD Rom menu is fantastic
and the only advantage that the Region 1 version has is that it feature
Image Quality - 9/10 - It's nice but still slightly worse than the Region 1 version (as explained in the review). The image is a little grainy in places but still great.
Sound Quality - 10/10 Excellent. The sound quality cannot be faulted .. fantastic.
Special Features - 10/10 - I'm giving this a 10 as I don't know what else they could have added. OK the Fan Art is a little short, but that is my only gripe. The comic, which we have yet to see, will round this set of to get top marks.
Overall - 10//10
Series 2 gained a 9.5 out of 10 rating, and as this is better it has to get a 10. It will be interesting to see how Metrodome beat this with Series 1.
Region 1 or Region 2?
No competition, Region 2 all the way. We get two Region 1 releases in one set, and on less disks too! More feature, two different audio tracks for Dark Awakening (original and released version), a free comic all for only £20.99 from Amazon.co.uk