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Ah, the '80s. They gave us so much: Reagan, crack, AIDS, cocaine, Huey Lewis-the list goes on. But most importantly, the '80s gave us poorly designed cartoons that inspired us to become Dino-Riders, travel through the Spiral Zone or try and defy God's natural order and transform into a semi truck. To make sure we'd know exactly what to be angry at Michael Bay about, we went back to the cartoon to polish up on our Transformers chops. We were surprised to find that, just like dad, not all of the Transformers were as badass as we'd thought when we were younger. In fact, some of them were downright useless. Below is a rundown of the most pointless of them all.


Transforms into: A cassette player

Why is he useless?

Soundwave looks like he should be 100 percent badass, until you get to know him. He can read minds, intercept and block radio transmissions and is one of the strongest Transformers around; no easy task when all of your peers are enormous robots.

You stop liking/fearing/respecting Soundwave, however, when you realize that he uses all of his robot powers for the sole purpose of spying on his fellow Decepticons to detect mutiny. Seriously, he quietly hangs around his evil pals, waits for them to take issue with one of Megatron's orders and then records the shit out of it.

The other downside to Soundwave is that, when he's not out being a giant robo-narc, he's a motherfucking cassette player. We stopped needing a cassette player in like the early '90s. Can you even name a single person who owns a cassette tape anymore? If we want some tunes, we can just use the mp3 player on our niece's camera phone.

Did you hear that, Soundwave? Our 7-year-old niece's camera phone is a more impressive Transformer than you.


Transforms into: A "Cybertron" car

Why is he useless?

If the above insane Japanese animation is any indication, Wheelie's special robot powers lie in his ability to drink too much and pal around with young boys. We had a Transformer just like him at our old middle school. He was a janitor and he paid us in Yodels, because we were good at keeping secrets.

Don't think for a second that Wheelie's only job is to get out-drunk by a 10-year-old boy, though. He also speaks in rhyme! So ... there's that.

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Transforms into: A space shuttle and a locomotive

Why is he useless?

Astrotrain can turn into a space shuttle, a robot or a locomotive, which makes him virtually unstoppable, provided his enemies wait patiently on train tracks directly in front of him. One of Megatron's henchmen, Astrotrain had delusions of running the show and taking over the world one day. The details of his diabolical plot are still kind of blurry, but one thing is crystal clear: Trains were probably not only involved, but essential.

About a year ago all the New Jersey Transit workers went on strike and refused to run the trains. We remember not being affected even a little bit. Diagnosis: Don't go bragging about your triple-changing abilities if one of your changes is a goddamn train.


Transforms into: A spaceship (Scattershot), a motorcycle (Afterburner), a "space fighter" (Strafe), a car (Lightspeed) and a tank with a drill on it (Nosecone)

Why are they useless?

Five unpredictable, badass robots combine to form Computron, whose motto is, we shit you not, "Thorough data analysis is essential for the synthesis of successful strategy." Right off the bat, we're disappointed in a Transformer who has a motto that isn't "I'm a giant robot who fucking loves fighting other giant robots."

Apparently, it is unclear to the executives behind Transformers why we, and many other nerds, watched the show to begin with. We suppose the burden of responsibility falls on us to clarify: It's the giant robots fighting each other . In case you guys weren't sure-if, perhaps, it was neck and neck between robot-fighting and data analysis-we pray ours can be the deciding vote. When you have five loose-cannon robots, all of whom are just itching to fight other robots with or without a reasonable excuse, for Christ's sake, don't ruin every single one of them by sticking them together to make Nerdmotron 6000.

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Transforms into: A detective that also happens to be a car

Why is he useless?

Criminal No. 1: Hey, I think we should stop talking about our secret plans.

Criminal No. 2: Why's that?

Criminal No. 1: I think we're being followed by the Enormous Transforming Robot Detective.

Criminal No. 2: You mean that Honda wearing a trench coat and reading the newspaper?

Criminal No. 1: [pause] Yes. That's exactly what I mean.

Private detectives rely on being able to blend in and remain incognito while spying on suspects. Leave the huge, shape-shifting robot monster at home for this one.


Transforms into: A microscope.

Why is he useless?

Perceptor was designed with the sole purpose of going into battle and hanging out with Soundwave to figure out which one was more useless and outdated. It was a real barnburner until Soundwave's tape needed to be turned over and all of his Decepticon pals were busy trying to take over the world.

Perceptor: 1; Soundwave: 0. It should be noted that, though he is the winner, at the end of the day, Perceptor is still a fucking microscope.

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Transforms into: ????

Why is he useless?

It's still not really clear what Repugnus turns into. Some scholars claim that his secondary form is a metal crab, while still others maintain that he is just a "Monsterbot." A third school of thought, however, suggests that Repugnus transforms from robot to "Fucking Pointless" in record time.

No matter what he is, it is a widely accepted fact in all circles that Repugnus is the very last one called in an emergency. In a pinch, the Autobots will call Computron to show up and create an algorithm, then they'll call the robot that's also a damn microscope, and then they'll just start sending regular, non-transforming cars and appliances. When finally out of vacuums, Optimus Prime will reluctantly call Crabmonsterbot.

By John Lichman and Daniel O'Brien

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