Random Thoughts: Beast Machines vs. Mass Effect 3

Every now and then I do a post about something other than games. It usually still has something to do with entertainment media, though. In this case, it’s an old TV show.

I was never really that into Transformers, but I watched a lot of Beast Wars as a kid. I recently re-watched the entire series, and then I watched Beast Machines, the sequel series. Then I had some thoughts about it. And now I’m writing them down here. Uh… yeah. Oh, and don’t worry, I’m going to tie this into games as well.

I finished Beast Machines the other night. I was initially put off by the ridiculous animation and late ’90s designs, but the story was actually really well-written. Robert Skir, the story editor, described it as a “religious epic novel for television”, and that’s exactly what it was. Not sure what Hasbro was on when they said they wanted their newest series to have overtly spiritual themes, but they need to be on that more often. (And if you think you might want to write for TV, video games or movies some day, definitely check out the interviews with Robert Skir and Marv Wolfman on the BM complete series DVD).


I couldn’t help but notice how much the story resembled the Mass Effect trilogy. The entire show was basically about achieving the synthesis ending in ME3. Megatron wanted the blue ending, in which the machines prevail, but Optimus wanted the green ending, in which machines and organics are combined and live in harmony. There were BioWare-esque characters and relationships (even romances), and a story arc about two opposing sides in battles of rising intensity, which ultimately led to rebirth from total devastation with great sacrifices.

The final rebirth of Cybertron as a technorganic land is reminiscent of the synthesis ending.
Shepard, Optimus.
Megatron, The Reapers.
Synthesis, The rebirth of Cybertron.
Similar stories, similar endings.

Except, to be perfectly honest, the writers of Beast Machines handled their ending much, much better.

It was fairly concise, as they needed to wrap up a story arc in a 20-minute episode, but hearing the culmination of Optimus and Megatron’s philosophies was interesting and definitely didn’t seem fitting of a kids show. I mean, it wasn’t as heady as The Matrix, as there were clearly defined ideas and concepts, but it was still a little too much for kids, I would think. Or maybe not. I guess I probably would’ve been really interested in it as a 12-14-year-old.

Nevertheless, the ending was straightforward and didn’t bring up new, confusing concepts unrelated to the direction of the entire series such as star children that give you three wishes to choose from. There was, however, space magic. Optimus finally takes Megatron down with him to the depths of the planet’s organic core, where they create a new, technorganic Cybertron together.
This apparently happens instantaneously.

Space magic. Gotta love it.

Unlike ME3’s space magic, however, Beast Machines‘ actually makes sense. It ties in with the rest of the plot in how there’s this organic core, and the Maximals are trying to get to it to make Cybertron more organic. At the end, Megatron exposes the organic core and goes a firin’ his lazor at it to make it completely technological/ machine. At this point he has every spark on Cybertron in his body. Then, in a dazzling display of hubris, he is interrupted from his lazoring and taken by Optimus down into the organic core to blasto the planet into technorganic goodness, restoring all the sparks to their bodies and destroying both Optimus and Megatron. Oh, spoiler alert. Sorry.

Some comparison screens:

Optimus and Megatron falling into the organic core…

… Shepard falling into the Catalyst.

Megatron being “reformatted”…

… Shepard being “synthesized”. “Reformatted” also works, because the results are the same as in Beast Machines.

Cybertron being “reformatted”…

… And Earth being “synthesized”/ “reformatted”.
That’s about all I had to say about the show, I think. I found some things about it interesting, and especially because they were related to Mass Effect, I wanted to make a post about them. So there you go. New video coming soon, also a product of my Transformers binge lately. What is it about? Wait and see!



~ by The Retro Gamer on October 10, 2012.

One Response to “Random Thoughts: Beast Machines vs. Mass Effect 3”

  1. Glad I’m not the only one to make that connection. Everyone always says they’re been turned into cyborgs but that such a narrow and short-sighted claim. The organic and machine merging and evolving into something more. That’s technorganic.

    But yeah, Bioware clearly needed another year on the game at least.

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