Kids' cartoons are often divided into easily recognizable good and evil. It's just easier to have a character who will always be there to cause the hero headaches, a character whose motivation you don't have to explain every week. GIJoe had Cobra, the Thundercats had Mumm-Ra, He-Man had Skeletor and Optimus Prime had Megatron.
Though he was the big baddie of his day, I never owned a Megatron of my own. Not that I came from a family of anti-gun nuts or anything, but through G1, G2, Beastwhatevers, Robots in Disguise and Armada, I never brought the Decepticon commander home. For the Energon line, Toys R Us got an exclusive two-pack of Megatron and Optimus Prime. While neither of the figures impressed me very much on their own, together they were much more tempting.
Energon Optimus Prime is a pretty disappointing toy. Because of a gimmick designed for the mass-market version, but discarded for this release, Prime's torso is far too big for his limbs. His arms and legs are miniscule and a tiny little head rests on his huge shoulders. He's known, disaffectionately, to fans as Crapimus Prime, Fatassimus Prime and other charming epithets.
He looked goofy enough as a full-size version, but the two toys in this released have been scaled down a bit. Standing 5 1/4" tall, Prime's approximately 65% of his normal size. Other than the grossly outsized torso, the figure doesn't look too bad. There's more white in his color scheme than previous Primes - maybe showing some brotherhood with Ultra Magnus. As a side effect of the gigantism, the robot's thighs almost make him look like he's wearing pantaloons. Nothing commands respect like pantaloons!
The transformation into a truck is easy, as it's always been, but the vehicle just looks awful. The cab and the wheel base are fine, but his head and arms are plainly visible on the back - Hasbro didn't even try to hide them. To help his wee little head fit in with the rest of the body, he's got a flip-up football helmet that is also blatantly exposed in both modes.
Pime's best feature is that his new, smaller stature allows him to hook up with the mid-sized "Powerlinx" vehicles. Select Energon toys can split in half and combine with one another to form larger, more powerful robots. In his Powerlinx mode - Prime looks best as an upper body rather than lower body - he matches quite nicely with Rodimus, the newest incarnation of old G1 standby Hot Rod, who just happens to look best as a pair of legs instead of arms. It's a fortuitous bit of happenstance, since the two characters have been so linked over the years.
Megatron gets a new form now that he's been reincarnated for Energon. In a rather odd move, he's become a giant white airplane. It's definitely a futuristic design, with angled wings and a sweeping cockpit. There are big jet engines under the wings, and a tank mounted on the rear of the body. As a plane, it definitely has that "almost but not quite" vehicle feel of a lot of recent Transformers.
Transformation is relatively easy, but still complex enough to be rewarding. In 'bot form, this 7 1/2" Megatron has some nice visual nods to G1's Galvatron, particularly his crown and the square "abs" on his torso. Though it's not possible to really move his wings out of the way, they wrap around him in such a way that they almost look like they belong. Look at them as additional weaponry.
The tank can be removed from the plane to serve as a standalone item, and it can also be attached to Megatron's arm. That's right, for the first time since the original we all know and love, Megatron's got a bigass cannon growing out of his forearm. Not a dragon head, not a sword, a gun, perfect for blasting the crap out of his enemies. His many, many enemies.
Of course, if you do prefer the sword, a blade can be plugged into the back of the tank to make the most ridiculous-looking weapon ever. The tank fires a small blue missile and makes a blasting sound thanks to the included batteries.
Full-size Megatron was released as a Wal*Mart exclusive in the U.S., and this TRU exclusive is the only other place to get him. I guess Hasbro figures that kids don't like bad guys. Ha! It's a shame Megatron's so limited: Crapimus Prime may be a hunk of ass, but Megatron's not so bad. So, is this 50-50 battle in a box worth a purchase? Maybe. Neither of the toys is a must-own by itself, but getting the two main characters in one shot is a good deal.
What the hell is the deal with Crapimus Prime? Does Hasbro know the meaning of "asleep at the wheel?" Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.