- This article is about the Beast Machines episode. For the process this episode refers to and is named after, see Reformatting
Escaping from strange new foes and unable to Transform to fight them off, the four surviving Maximals' journey, as they are now targets hunted by these new Transformers, leads them into encountering a mysterious supercomputer which remakes them into a whole new kind of Transformer, far more beyond what they've ever seen or been before.
- Japanese title: Densetsu No Fukkatsu (伝説 の 復活 Revival Of The Legend)
On Cybertron, a single flower bizarrely grows out of a tear in the street. Suddenly, Optimus Primal races past, pursued by a horde of drone-like tank Transformers; one of which flattens the flower under foot. In an even stranger vein, Primal has lost his Transmetal properties and is now in his original pre-Transmetal body and, to make matters worse, mysteriously in Beast Mode. A hunting scene ensures as he meets these drones from every direction at every turn without pause.
After a couple of minutes of cat-and-mouse with these newcomers, Optimus, stumbling upon a dead end, decides the time has come for no more running but to face them down Maximalo e Tank drono and prepares to Transform. But his Beast Mode parts refuse to move and he screams in pain as he is tortured by electrical shocks. He enquires to himself why he can't Transform. The answer is revealed by his internal computer: "System error. System error." He avoids the Tank drones' firepower with the mode he is stuck in as he desperately tries to find salvation.
Suddenly, his eyes glow and he receives a strange signal from an alien source. It directs his attention to a monorail vehicle nearby, and as such, he swings away from the drones and towards it for salvation; upon entering, he finds another one of his missing comrades: Rattrap, who explains that he has had a lot of trouble Transforming as well, as evident by the shocks and pain he too is suffering from, and has no memory of returning to Cybertron after the end of the Beast Wars and the capture of Megatron. They escape from the transport just as the drones blow it to pieces and Rattrap tries to use his command code, all with the following results...
"Rattrap: Maximize! Rattrap: Maximize!"
Fortunately, a silhouette quitely creeps on a high supported beam behind the drones, before it leaps and reveals itself to be Cheetor (who cannot Transform himself), playing Blind man's bluff with one of the drones. Its head spins wildly, and it takes pot shots, destroying one of its companions; Cheetor compliments this act as "Deep freeze cold". As the attacks continue, Rattrap slides through the legs of a single file of these drones; they watch him slide, but the Maximal commander quickly takes the incentive to charge at them and knock down one, thus beginning a chain reaction of the Earth variety. Cheetor is hoping to find a CR chamber and use it to eliminate the Transformation lock virus that plagues them all. Rattrap points out that Cybertron seems to have changed a lot in their absence. But there is no time to discuss matters, as new Tank Drones are readying a renewed assault. Plunging (more like falling) into a hole, the Maximals bounce on a web, courtesy of Blackarachnia, in the same predicament as the other three.
Primal decides that the best course of action is to head deeper underground, where the drones have failed to look. Using Blackarachnia's webbing as a climb, they head deeper into the bowels of Cybertron, passing layers and layers of ancient Cybertronian times as they descend. Brushed metal and steel give way to rusting iron, which gives way to stone. Eventually, Blackarachnia's webbing begins to dry up and, too weak to climb, they fall sharply from the makeshift descent rope, plunging into complete darkness below them. Determined not to give in to death, Primal throws a piece of scrap metal, shattering some kind of covering and awakening the supercomputer called the Oracle. A wall of flames happens to be behind the covering as it stands in the team's way and daunts them. Undaunted by the seeming threat, Optimus walks straight through them and extends his hand into it, revealing it to be nothing more but just a defensive hologram, which drops and reveals the Oracle. Recognizing his Spark as being "receptive", it speaks to Primal, initiating an download interface with him and taking him into the bowels of the Matrix.
Granted visions that he could not yet understand, he sees images of an Earth-like planet transformed into a purely Cybertron-like world. Concluding with the mysterious statement that "the seeds of the future lie buried in the past", the Oracle declares that it is time for him to begin his "reformatting", tapping the power of the Matrix and converting his purely organic gorilla body into a perfect blend of organic tissue and machine, and, by some extent, changing his Beast Mode to that of a silverback gorrila. Stepping back into real-space in a pure wash of white light, the other Maximals simply watch on as he emerges and admire his new body. Primal says that if they wish to survive, they must be "reformatted" by the Oracle as well, and one by one, Cheetor, Rattrap and Blackarachnia are all reformatted in a similar premise, in new, Technorganic bodies.
Suddenly, the Oracle warps out of existence, to which Rattrap enquires where to, and a hum fills the cave; this is another squadron of drones, but these ones are motorcycles, which means they're coming fast at high speed. Lining up in a four-way battle formation, the team initiates a (failed) group Maximize; although no pain ensues, nothing happens and they still remain in Beast Mode much to their own dismay. After escaping a small group of them for a few minutes as that group plummets to their doom down a pit of darkness, Optimus realizes they must learn how to Transform as it has somehow become a lost art after the first Transformers "came" to Cybertron. Realizing this, the Maximals resign to combat in their beast modes, and Cheetor, Rattrap and Blackarachnia all split up in three directions with at least one drone chasing them down. Meanwhile, Optimus now has his hands full as he engages the approaching squadron. Rattrap attacks his Cycle Drone's wheel with his teeth and sends it uncontrollably skidding to its destruction, Cheetor zooms into the shadows before he pounces on his Cycle Drone and attacks it with lightning-fast movements, and Blackarachnia uses her webs to snare the third and crawl towards it for its fate... Primal, strugguling with one drone, and, having been dangerously driven near an edge heading down for the darkness during the battle, is shot from behind by a quartet, and is sent falling, before he grabs the edge. He is safe for a second before a powerful whack of one Drone's claw at his hand sends him plunging into the pit. Panicking, a voice from the Oracle reminds him that "To unleash the warrior within, you must tame the beast without...".
Finding his inner balance as mentored by the Oracle, he manages to Transform. A blue light spreads throughout his entire body, converting him to Robot Mode through a magical, mystical liquid-morph style transformation, before he booms a new, somewhat spiritual, transformation phrase: "I... AM... TRANSFORMED!!!". Activating his new jets, he flies out from certain doom and jet-upper cuts a watching Drone in the process. Grabbing the two nearest Drones, he demands answers from them as the others return and watch on at the sight before them, but gets none as they flash him in the optics and make their escape to certain doom. His anger has made him lose his newly-found center, and he converts back to Beast Mode as a result. Awed at everything he has just seen, Cheetor expresses his interest in this new transformation style. Optimus declares that they must re-learn the art of transformation and learn also of their new style of combat if they are to stand a chance against the new threst.
Meanwhile, inside the Council Citadel, a mysterious figure has been watching the battle, and vows to destroy the "impure" organic Maximals. As a computer shows him that Optimus' Spark signature has been detected and that his transformation capabilities are still operating, this figure is quite surprised that they had actually survived the transformation lock when it had put them on the verge of permanent deactivation. The figure now seeks to once and for all destroy them, claiming that their Beast Modes are 'contaminating' Cybertron in a way that implies he must have major plans for the planet. But who is this figure? Why is he on Cybertron? And why does his voice sound so familiar?
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
I don't know who you are, but if it's a fight you're looking for... Optimus: MAXIMIZE!!!
(Optimus' body struggles to Transform, but fails, as he is tortured by the transformation's inresponse)
What's... happening to me? Why... can't I Transform?"
System error. System error.
- —Optimus Primal, your Transformation systems.EXE are not responding due to an error
Optimus Primal... The seeds of the future lie buried in the past...
- —The Oracle, being all mystical
Rattrap: Maximize! Rattrap: Maximize! Rattrap: pretty please Maximize!
- —Rattrap being... well, Rattrap
Rattrap: Rattrap: pretty please Maximize?
Optimus Primal: Cheetor!
Rattrap: WOO-HOO! Good timin', Spots!
Cheetor: Move it or lose it, guys! I can't play blind man's buff forever!
(One Tank Drone targets Cheetor, but he books from the head of the Tank Drone he blinded just before he's shot)
Cheetor: Hey, you just slagged your own guy! That's deep-freeze cold!
Rattrap: Yo, Tin-Man! Yeah, I'm talkin' to you, rust-for-brains!
- —With the addition of Cheetor, the chase continues...
Cheetor: Did I miss something? This is Cybertron, right? Our home planet? I mean, why would our own kind shoot at us?
Rattrap: Heheheh, have ya looked in the mirror lately? Our 'own kind' don't recognize us in these lousy fur coats!
Cheetor: Not a problem. We just need to get to a Regeneration Chamber and debug this transforming glitch!
Rattrap: Hellooo? We're in da MIDDLE OF NOWHERE HERE! (Wails in pain, as the glitching continues)
Cheetor: (Feels pain in his servos; glitching continues) AAAGGGHHH!!
Optimus Primal: It's worse than I though... If we don't Transform out of these Beast Modes soon, our operating systems will shut down... permanently.
Cheetor: So you're saying that if the robo-tanks don't get us, the virus will?!
Rattrap: Woo, I love havin' options.
- —Optimus Primal, Cheetor & Rattrap discuss about the transformation lock and Cybertron's major changes...
Oracle: (Directs him down a newly-created hole) Optimus Primal...
Optimus Primal: Everyone underground - NOW!
Rattrap: What makes ya think it's gonna be any better down THERE?
(tower/container/object creaks and begins to descend)
Rattrap: I withdraw the question...
- — Rattrap' utters what are the worst words possible before imminent doom
Hey! Where'd the Oracle go?
- —Rattrap's enquiry about the Oracle's sudden exit from the scene
Cheetor: What do you say we give these bods a test drive?
Maximals: Maximals: MAXIMIZE!!!!
Rattrap: Uh...do these upgrades come with a warranty?
- — Rattrap on the new bodies and their inability to Transform without onboard computers
Cheetor: Look, we bought some time, but we're still toast if we can't transform.
Optimus: Of course... The seeds of the future lie buried in the past.
Rattrap: Why do ya keep sayin' that?
Optimus: According to legend, the first robots who came to Cybertron had to learn how to Transform. It took discipline, purity of Spark, and years of practice...
(A new group of Cycle Drones appears)
Rattrap: News flash for ya, monkey boy: WE AIN'T GOT YEARS!
Blackarachnia: Then we'll just have to split up and fight with what we have!
- — Optimus reveals that the team needs to learn to Transform in their new Technorganic states, and bases his theory on Cybertronian legend
Oracle: To unleash the warrior within... You must tame the beast without... You must tame the beast without...
(Optimus realizes and concentrates. A light forms and Optimus' body begins to Transform)
Optimus: I... AM... TRANSFORMED!!!!!
- — Optimus finally masters Technorganic transformation
Blackarachnia: (Upon seeing Optimus in Robot Mode as a Technorganic for the first time) Whoa! You can teach an old ape new tricks.
Optimus: (In the air, with two Cycle Drones held hostage; one held in each hand) Time for some answers: Who sent you!? Why are we being targeted!?
(The Cycle Drone to Optimus' right flashes its headlight right at his optics, long enough for both it and its adjacent partner to drive to their doom to avoid revealing information)
(Optimus' body begins to Transform from Robot Mode, to make matters worse, against his will)
Optimus: NO! Not... NOW!
- —Optimus learns the hard way of the unfortunate downside to Technorganic transformation from Beast to Robot
Cheetor: Awesome transformation, Big-Bot!
Rattrap: So, uh... What's your secret?
Optimus: I... understand...
Blackarachnia: Great. That makes one of us.
Optimus: We all have much to learn. Our training will commence at once.
(Optimus, Cheetor & Blackarachnia begin to move out)
(Rattrap then joins the others)
- — The team discusses about what has just happened, and some training and practice is in order
Maximal Spark signatures: detected. Transformation capabilities: still functional.
So... Optimus Primal & his Maximals have survived after all. See how they 'contaminate' the 'perfection' of Cybertron with their mongrel beast forms... So wretched, so mishapen... So organic... I will destroy them...
—A mysterious voice has been eavesdropping on the Maximals' progress through his drones, and now seeks to eliminate the threat that organic and bestial tissue poses to Cybertron's technical purity...
- A special advance screening for this episode was held at BotCon 1999; despite the fact that the plot is portrayed as the Maximals being thrust into a rather planetwide situation and the episode has a dark tone, combined with the fact that the events that happened between here and the end of the Beast Wars have not been revealed, it received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from a good majority of the year's attendants.
- This is the episode in which the characters act most like they did in the Beast Wars.
It all goes downhill from this point onwards.
- The Maximals return to their synthetic Beast Modes from the beginning of the Beast Wars, and lose the ability to Transform in this episode due to a transformation lock. Towards the end, they undergo the reformatting, gaining new Technorganic forms, but only Optimus Primal uses the ability to Technorganically Transform as the others are yet to learn how it is done in the Technorganic style.
- The Veicons are introduced, but only the Drones. The Generals will not be introduced until "Fires of the Past". Only two types of drone have debuted: Tank & Cycle; the Aero Drones will make their first appearance after this episode.
- When Optimus' body struggles to Maximize, one of Primal's upper arms flashes rapidly from the synthetic flesh of his Beast Mode to the exposed upper arm of his Robot Mode.
- As he Transforms successfully, the coloration of one of his Beast Mode eyes is that of his Robot Mode's just before a bright flash generates from it
- Although the Maximals' original beast modes from the Beast Wars are shown in this episode, there are some rather strange inconsistencies here:
It would seem that the actual texture mapping isn't as complex as that of the Beast Wars.
- While it is an easy mistake, Optimus cannot have regressed to his synthetic body. This body was destroyed during the Planet Buster crisis and with it the DNA sequence of the gorilla he scanned in the first half of Beast Wars (Episode). So technically, Optimus should have returned to his basic Transmetal body. Anyone who additionally attempts to factor in the effects of Optimus Prime's Spark and its (dis)similarity to a normal Transmetal upgrade or the permanent effects it would have demonstrated is without a clue on how the transferrence of the Autobot leader's Spark into Primal's own body links with or influences the devolution from Super Transmetal straight to pre-Transmetal at the hands of the virus.
- It is possible that due to the events of the time storm in the final third of The Agenda, Optimus' body contained the memory of his original form which the virus affected. Because of that, it might be presumed that those memories can act as a substitue for the destroyed DNA sequence.
- The Oracle, which for all intents and purposes is Vector Sigma, has a female persona whereas in the original cartoon Vector Sigma's was that of a male.
- However, the Oracle was later revealed to be a shell program that surrounds Vector Sigma.
- In this episode as well as the next two that follow, Blackarachnia's Technorganic webbing is blue and looks like steel. However, from Mercenary Pursuits onwards, it is green.
- It was from this episode that the term "reformatting" started to pass into general use amongst Transformerdom as a term used for when a Transformer is given life in a new form of body, not counting evolution, which happened with Synthetors to Transmetals.
- Rattrap's "Ground Control to Major Optimus" line is a reference to the 1969 David Bowie song "Space Oddity."
- Optimus Primal's reformatting is very remeniscent of the final scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Furthermore, a group of black monoliths are briefly seen.
Items Of Note
- As Cheetor, Rattrap, and Optimus fall down the pipe towards the first sub-level of Cybertron in the first act, the scream of Transmutate can subtley be heard. However, this scream is hard to notice, which means that viewers may have to listen carefully. Why exactly Transmutate's scream appears is unknown.