Few words can make a gaming reporter roll their eyes as easily as a publicist’s offer to “let me show you the Wii version.” So how did the Nintendo Wii version of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” look during a demo this week?
Transforming is, essentially, a super fighting move.
Activision promises that the Wii version of the coming-to-every-platform “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” won’t be a stinker.
For some gamers, that’s not been a safe bet. Since the Wii launch, many publishers have slapped together Wii editions of games that were conceived to best entertain and impress on higher-end systems like the Xbox 360 and PS3. Didn’t the Wii, the most popular system in the world, deserve its own special treatment?
To get around this problem, Activision has tapped Krome Studios, developers of the Wii version of “Star Wars The Force Unleashed” to make a from-the-ground-up Wii version of “Revenge of the Fallen.”
Here are some key differences I was shown during an in-person, controlled demo by Activision reps earlier this week.
* The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of “Revenge of the Fallen” let players pick Autobot and Decepticon campaigns. The Wii game puts players in one chronological adventure, controlling whichever Autobot or Decepticon is tied to each level.
* The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions allow players to transform at will, to fly or drive, then turn into a robot, smash an enemy, transform back and dash away. The levels in the Wii game are geared to one mode at a time: flying, driving or robot. Players move their Transformer with the nunchuk’s control stick and aim/shoot with the Wii remote.A player can transform in any of those missions, but only when their energy meter is full enough and only because they can use their transformations as special attacks. Transforming is, essentially, a super fighting move.
For example, in a Bumblebee robot mission set in a city swarmed by Deceptions, transforming Bumblebee caused him to go into car mode, spin out his tires and smash into enemies before reverting to robot.

In an on-rails flight mission featuring Starscream blitzing a fleet of aircraft carriers, the one-button transformation caused the Decepticon to switch into robot mode, aim at his enemies and allowed the player to point the Wii remote and shoot them down. (Flight control for Starscream when he was in plane mode was managed with tilts of the Wii remote.)
The co-op player controls a floating gizmo called the Remote Weapons System.
In a driving mission set in a tunnel in Shanghai, the transformation caused the player’s car Transformer to become a robot that can grind, “Tony Hawk“-style with whatever momentum he had from his driving, before reverting back to a car. The Transformer can shoot while in robot mode.
* The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the games are single-player adventures with separate online multiplayer modes. The Wii has campaign co-op and a two-robot horde-survival mode called Arena. Arena Mode is reminiscent, I was told (but not shown), of “Gears of Wars“‘ Horde mode. The campaign co-op is inspired by “Super Mario Galaxy.” As with Nintendo’s game, a second player can pick up a Wii remote and serve as support. The lead player controls the mission’s Transformer. The co-op player controls a floating gizmo called the Remote Weapons System. This small drone will float near the Transformer. The player controlling it can use it to shoot enemies, exchange energy with the lead player (who can give health energy back), or throw up a shield that can be re-positioned at different sides of the first player’s Transformer. An Activision rep said that the game’s difficulty will automatically be adjusted when the second player joins and dropped when they leave, simply by tweaking values related to damage and health.
The Wii game will also have Achievement/Trophy-like “Feats” and even some missions that show action not seen in the upcoming movie.
The Wii game is indisputably graphically inferior to the Xbox 360 and PS3 games, but has been designed to be something different. That’s what it needs, right?