Transformers: Convoy no Nazo (or "Mystery of Comvoy," as the subtitle is translated on the cover) is a side-scrolling and vertical-scrolling Platform Game for the Nintendo Family Computer, based on characters from Transformers: Generation 1 note . It was originally released in 1986 by Takara, in Japan only.
The plot — minimal as it may be — centers on Ultra Magnus attacking various Decepticon strongholds to find out who killed Optimus Prime. As The Transformers: The Movie wasn't released in Japan until 1989, the circumstances of Prime's death prior the third season of The Transformers (dubbed in Japan as a separate series entitled Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers 2010) weren't very clear to Japanese audiences at the time.
In October 2009, TakaraTomy released a pack-in comic with the Diamond Black version of Alternity Megatron, which tied in with this game by establishing it as a proxy war - a "game full of death and suffering" - between an Optimus Prime from one dimension (using Ultra Magnus as his champion) and a Megatron from another dimension (sharing his power with the Decepticons of that era and is also the Megatron that is fought as a boss in the game). TFWiki acknowledges that this may be one of the greatest instances of Fan Wank ever.
In late 2014, the game was adapted as an Endless Running Game for mobile devices to tie in with a line of Super-Deformed Transformers figures. This game, Q-Transformers: Kaettekita Convoy no Nazo (Mystery of Convoy Returns), was further accompanied by a series of online animated shorts under the same title, in which the Q-Transformers have various fourth-wall shattering conversations about the quirks and reputation of the game and the franchise as a whole.
This game contains the following tropes:
- 1-Up: An Energon cube with a "1" on it.
- A Winner Is You: Beat the game as Rodimus Prime? "CONGRATULATION!" and your total score is all you get.
- Big Bad: The Decepticons, though seemingly Megatron is this as a portrait of him is seen when killing an enemy in Stage 8.
- Boss Room: Most stages end in an area with three platforms that float up and down and the boss on the right.
- Collision Damage: Touch an enemy, and Ultra Magnus will lose one life.
- Cut and Paste Environments: Given that it's an early NES title.
- Depth Perplexion: The player can't shoot or pass through solid blocks. Enemies fly in front of the bricks, but they still kill you with Collision Damage if they touch you.
- Dragon Their Feet: For some unknown reason, Trypticon is the final boss instead of Megatron.
- Epileptic Flashing Lights: When Optimus Prime forms for the first time and every time you complete a boss, you're treated to an extremely bright flashing red, blue, and yellow strobe light effect that goes on for a good few seconds and takes up the whole screen, which would otherwise be solid black.
- Excuse Plot: Optimus Prime's dead. Find out who killed him. Though to be fair, since the movie hadn't been released in Japan yet (not until 1989!), it did somewhat help explain the circumstances of Optimus' death for Japanese fans at the time.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Trypticon as the final boss. This seems bizarre since the boss before him was Megatron. While he at least makes sense to be an earlier boss, just not the final one, the Deception Symbols fought throughout the game have no such excuse.
- Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: The levels are famous for their frustrating difficulty, but the bosses are basically gigantic hitboxes that shoot very slow, large projectiles at you.
- Hitbox Dissonance: Enemy hitboxes are far larger than their graphics might suggest. On top of that, your own character is a large robot to begin with, and the game is extremely biased when it comes to hit detection - your own projectiles have to hit enemies dead center to hit them (and they're often very small to begin with) while enemy projectiles only need to barely graze you to score a hit.
- Humongous Mecha: Bruticus, Menasor and Trypticon. And Megatron, oddly enough.
- Lampshade Hanging: What the Convoy no Nazo cartoon boils down to, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Lockdown commenting about the game and how hard it is and them and other guest stars commenting about the Transformers franchise in general.
- Level in Reverse: Stage 6 is Stage 3 going down instead of up, and Stage 10 is Stage 8 going up instead of down.
- The Maze: Stage 9, which loops if the player doesn't take the correct path.
- Mooks: Prominent Decepticons such as Blitzwing and Soundwave show up as regular enemies... several times. Sometimes, two of the same character appear on the same screen!
- Nintendo Hard: There is very little room for error and the odds are never in your favor. Your tiny projectiles have to hit enemies dead center while the abundance of foes can kill you in one hit if their bullets merely graze you, and their bullets can sometimes be hard to distinguish from background details.
- One Bullet at a Time: Only four shots can be on screen at once.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: Normally, Ultra Magnus dies if anything hits him (in either form), but the "B" Energon cube produces a barrier that protects against three hits.
- Palette Swap: You fight a Decepticon symbol as bosses 3, 6, and 8 that only differ in color. Rodimus Prime's robot mode sprite is merely a recolor of Ultra Magnus, but gets a new sprite for his vehicle mode.
- Poison Mushroom: The "D" Energon cube undoes the effects of other powerups.
- Recurring Boss:
- The boss of stages 3, 6 and 8 is a giant Decepticon mark.
- The bosses of the first two stages are what appear to be nuclear macadamia nuts inside moons.
- Spelling Bonus: The alternate ending is unlocked by collecting the letters R-O-D-I-M-U-S, which are hidden in seven different stages.
- The Starscream: He appears as an enemy. And a Warp Zone too, no less!
- Video Game Flight: A power granted by the "F" Energon cube.
- Warp Zone: You can skip to later levels in some levels if you kill Starscream when he shows up.
- You Don't Look Like You: The sprites tend to not resemble their intended characters very well, such as the recurring jet enemies meant to be Seekers lacking most of their defining robot mode traits, Bruticus being a weird mish-mash of his toy and cartoon designs and having a Shoulder Cannon for some reason, and Trypticon being entirely gray instead of black with light gray and purple highlights. Rodimus Prime's robot mode is a mere Palette Swap of Ultra Magnus', but his vehicle mode is accurate (albeit with the mid-transformation sprites depicting him turning into Ultra Magnus' truck mode before suddenly becoming his proper alt mode).
- Your Size May Vary: For some reason, the Nemesis is relatively small compared to Ultra Magnus (as is Trypticon, who supposedly turns into a Decepticon-scale city), while Megatron dwarfs him!