The Transformers: Universe CD-ROM was produced in 2003, and packaged with early waves of Transformers: Universe toys. The CD-ROM was to be the first CD-ROM pack-in, refreshed seasonally, which would tell the Transformers: Universe story to the general market. However, only one CD-ROM was ever produced.
The Universe CD-ROM features the Armada theme song, an Armada game, an Armada episode, and another non-Universe game. The only Transformers: Universe content on the disk is an animated comic, which tells a version of the basic Universe story.
The disk navigation features an animated robot head guiding one through the contents, with an animated system called the "Cyerber-Transformer" unit. It uses the same library/archive color scheme as the librarian from the Generation One episode "Surprise Party". The navigation system uses plentiful sound effects from the The Transformers cartoon, the rights of which were almost certainly not cleared with Sunbow.
The CD-ROM takes the form of a Cybertronian information archive (complete with library agent to guide you.) It contains 5 sections.
- Cybertron Factory - A Make-Your-Own-Transformer Game
- The Energon Within - An Armada game
- Video Datafeeds - The Armada episode "Awakening"
- Historical Data Link - A short animated Universe comic
- Web Link - A link to Hasbro's Transformers site
The Historical Data Link relates the story of a gigantic, mysterious space ship that, once a year, every year, travels to Cybertron, when the fighting there is at its peak. The ship arrives this time as Optimus Primal is beating the stuffing out of Reptillion; it kidnaps Reptillion and some other Decepticons, then silently returns to deep space.
The Autobots left behind have no idea where the great ship goes, but the truth is that the vessel returns to Unicron, where its passengers are disgorged and ultimately stored in a giant series of tubes - a vast Decepticon army awaiting the day it is unleashed. Unicron plans to absorb the energon radiation emitted by the battling Transformers, for collectively, this energy is powerful enough to control the universe and make its wielder unstoppable.
Fortunately, a counter-power exists deep within Cybertron and is recruiting an army of its own. Will Primus be able to gather enough Autobot recruits to counter the threat of Unicron?
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Items of Note
- The comic shows no signs of being intended to fit with other Universe fiction. However, since Universe is entirely ABOUT alternate dimensions, this could still be a side-note to the main storyline. Even taking this view, though, there are still many factors that set this story apart:
- Unicron's abduction ship is unique; in the main Universe comic, he simply teleports victims out of their universes. Also, here he seems to be merely building up a Decepticon army, not running multi-allegiance deathmatches. And lastly, he is depicted as an intact robot, not a decimated planet. These discrepancies could perhaps be accounted for by placing this story at a significantly different timeframe in the Universe war than the main comic series... though the spaceship is still just weird, no matter how you look at it.
- This Cybertron must be an alternate, as its combatants are described as "Autobots" and "Decepticons" despite their mainstream incarnations being almost everything but.
- Nearly everyone is in post-Unicron-exposure colors and forms, yet no one has any idea what's going on with the abductions. This most definitely sets the Autobots and Blackarachnia apart as alternate incarnations, but it doesn't necessarily disqualify the other Decepticons.
- In fact, Blackarachnia isn't even colored like her Universe self at all. This look has never been seen before or since.
- Reptillion must be another alternate, as his mainstream Universe incarnation was "snatched away from a routine exploratory mission" according to his bio. Plus his name is spelled with only one "l" elsewhere, so there you go.
- Obsidian, Tankor, and Razorclaw are the least conflicted in terms of backstory. In the main Universe storyline, all three came from alternate universes... so could this be where they came from? Obsidian and Tankor hail from an alterna-Beast Machines, while Razorclaw originated in an alterna-Beast Wars (and both Tankor and Razorclaw are said to have destroyed their Megatrons, so take that as you will). This Cybertron, with its centuries of Autobot and Decepticon domination, doesn't particularly resemble either setting, but too little is known about it to declare an outright contradiction. Perhaps the biggest conflict is that, if Unicron is as revitalized as he appears, then it's far too late in the game for these incarnations to be the ones seen in the main Universe comic.
- So... this bigass ship comes to town once a year, every year, and kidnaps a bunch of Cybertron's citizens. And nobody has bothered to investigate where it goes? Plus why is everybody still shocked at this point?
- How does the ship know it's the most intense day of fighting for the whole year? What if tomorrow turns out to be even more extreme?
- Unicron (parts of him, at least) is based on an unproduced 1998 Beast Wars Neo Unicron toy.
- Unicron's Decepticon storage chamber bears some conceptual resemblance to the human storage plant from the Matrix movies.