A Maximal science vessel and a fugitive Predacon starship crash land on a mysterious, primitive world.
- Japanese title: 超 生命 体 トランスフォーマー 登場 (Chō Seimei Tai Transformers Tōjō "Enter the Super Lifeform Transformers")
In an unknown star system, a transwarp portal opens, releasing two starships: a fleeing Predacon warship and a pursuing Maximal exploration vessel. Already carrying the scars of battle, both ships immediately open fire upon each other. On the Maximal ship, a youthful crewmember reports on their damaged condition, in response to which another bitterly complains about their non-combat exploration vessel not being cut out for this mission. Their commander, Optimus Primal, states that they were the only ship in range capable of intercepting the fugitives.
On the fleeing Predacon starship, the first officer urges his leader, Megatron, to finish off the Maximals while their opponents' shields are down. Megatron arrogantly rebuffs this suggestion, preferring to toy with his opponents. A broadside attack cripples their enemies' engines and causes significant damage to their stasis hold. Optimus Primal orders the ship's cargo of stasis pods be released into safe orbit before firing the forward plasma cannons, strafing the Predacons' hull. With no engines, both ships are caught in the planet's gravitational pull and plummet to its surface.
Both ships are non-flightworthy after their crashes. The Maximals have landed on a cliff above a lake; the Predacon warship has landed smack in the middle of the ash-hardened opening of an active shield volcano. The Predacon computer informs Megatron that their location is unknown, as while the course settings were accurate, the readings were not consistent with what was to be expected of the location. Dismissing this for the time being, Megatron demands to know if the mysterious planet has Energon, which the computer confirms to his elation. However, it warns that there is so much Energon that prolonged exposure would permanently damage their robot modes. Declaring that they will take the forms of the most powerful creatures on the planet, Megatron orders his science officer to scan for local lifeforms which they could adapt as alternate modes to survive on this world. The Predacon ship launches a drone, scanning the fossils of a Tyrannosaurus rex, Velociraptor, and Pteranodon, as well as a living spider and wasp.
At the cliff, the Maximals have the same idea, with a gorilla, rat, rhino and cheetah. The team checks out their new forms and bicker amongst themselves until Optimus Primal orders the crew to stand down, reminding them that their new beast forms are to protect them from the long-term effects of the abundant Energon fields: While they need Energon for power, their robot modes will short out after a few minutes after being exposed to too much of it, which means it is crutial that they transform to Robot Mode sparingly. Optimus notes that they are on a very unusual planet, wherever it is. Rhinox points out that the transwarp drive allows them to journey through space and time, so they could be in any place, at any time. Optimus expresses concern about the stasis pods in orbit, as it means the team is outnumbered if Megatron gets his hands on them.
Back at the other crash site, the Predacons are testing out their new beast modes, bar one. First officer Dinobot, studying the Golden Disk he and his cohorts had stolen, and in his velociraptor beast mode, is furious, declaring that this world cannot be Earth. He accuses Megatron of failure, both in battle against the Maximals and in failing to guide them to the right planet. Megatron laughs off Dinobot's accusations, and has Scorponok (scorpion) blast the treacherous Dinobot over the horizon. Megatron informs the other Predacons (Tarantulas - tarantula, Waspinator - wasp, and Terrorsaur - pteranodon, as well as Scorponok) that it doesn't matter which planet they are on, as they had come looking for Energon to fuel their Maximal-Predacon war, and this planet is rich with it. Megatron dispatches his crew to seek out and destroy their enemies.
Meanwhile, speaking of their enemies, they are surveying the land around them and cleaning up the wreckage on the Axalon. Rattrap complains about all the fuss over the Golden Disk, but Optimus Primal reminds him that the Disk is Cybertron's most closely guarded relic, a guide to a major source of Energon, which is why Megatron stole it. Rattrap doesn't care, retorting they were supposed to be performing deep-space exploration and that it isn't his job to chase after criminals. He sarcastically speculates on Primal's readiness to handle a command position. Optimus further reminds him of the Great War, noting that if the Predacons are able to secure a massive source of Energon, they wouldn't hesitate to start a new one. Rattrap isn't convinced.
Deciding to show (and goof) off, Cheetor gives chase after two cheetahs running on the plains near the ship. Optimus tries to call him back, but the Energon radiation severely limits the range of their communications equipment. Anything over 100 meters, they ain't worth scrap.
Cheetor continues the chase until he is finally in in-person greeting range of the cheetahs, lining himself beside the two cats as they run. He greets them but they roar in fear at the sight of a talking cheetah before jetting away in the same manner leaving him in the dust. He tries to rejoin them but they are too far away and fast.
Some distance away, Cheetor's two cheetah buddies are freaked out by toward Waspinator; their first instinct when in fear in this case: taking off. It's not long before Cheetor's chase after them brings him to the wasp. Realizing through Waspinator's beast mode that he is a Robot In Disguise, Cheetor jumps into the air, transforms, lands in robot mode and fires unprovoked, attempting to swat him. But he notices he's been discovered (Mainly due to his size being bigger than a normal wasp's), transforms and retaliates. Back at the Axalon, the other Maximals move out to give Cheetor backup, with Rhinox ramming his way through a pile of boulders to speed up their progress. Waspinator manages to get the better of Cheetor when the Maximal's quazar rifle ends up in a Quazar jam, but fortunately, the other Maximals have arrived by then. Unfortunately, Megatron and the Predacons have arrived as well.
Optimus Primal tries to convince Megatron to not engage in hostilities, as the Maximals and Predacons have been at peace for centuries. Megatron spits back that while the Maximals may have been at peace, the Predacons, like all enemies who appear "peaceful", were merely biding their time. The Predacons have never forgotten their goal of galactic conquest, but were merely waiting for the right time to strike. Cheetor's response to Megatron's sentence's ending is: "You mean like this?", fires and successfully hits Megatron in the jaw. Megatron did not see that coming and compliments Cheetor before declaring that for now the power gaunlet has been cast. Megatron:"PREDACONS: TERRORIZE!" With Megatron's order given, Optimus gives his team the follow-suit order.
Both sides transform, and the battle is joined. As the Maximals seek cover from the Preds' heavy fire from the air and land, Cheetor is blasted by one of Scorponok's missiles and ends up with his leg trapped under a boulder. Optimus Primal orders Rattrap to assist Cheetor while he provides cover fire, but Rattrap flatly refuses to risk his life for anybody else, to Optimus' anger. The Maximal leader flies to Cheetor's position himself but is hit by Predacon fire, much to Rattrap's smug delight, proving his case. Nonetheless, Optimus manages to free Cheetor while Rhinox "persuades" Rattrap to help provide the pair with cover fire. With the Predacons now seeking cover of their own, the Maximals make their escape. Megatron orders pursuit, but he and his Predacons begin succumbing to the effects of the energon buildup and are forced to revert to beast mode.
On the way back to base, Optimus Primal chews out Rattrap for disobeying a direct order, explaining to the petulant Maximal that he could have given better cover fire, an explanation which Rattrap accepts rather grudgingly. Cheetor notes that they seem to have escaped the Predacons. Primal isn't sure, as the Golden Disk theft reports indicated there were six Predacons, but they only encountered five in the previous battle. As if on cue, Dinobot, Predacon number six, appears, barring their way across a stone bridge to the Axalon. Dinobot states that he has left the Predacons to join the Maximals.. as leader. He challenges Optimus Primal to a one-on-one battle, with the winner to lead the Maximals, the loser to be destroyed!
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Cheetor: Hull breach in Sector 7, Guiding systems failing.
Rattrap: Oh man, this is ridiculous. We're an exploration ship, not a battle cruiser.
Optimus Primal: No choice. Our ship was the only one that could lock onto Megatron's warp signature.
Cheetor: Shields are doing a major fade.
Optimus Primal: Plasma cannons to full power.
- —Cheetor, Rattrap and Optimus' first lines in the first episode and the series.
Dinobot: No, no, NO! It's all WRONG! This cannot be EARTH! Megatron, you FAILED! Not only did you FAIL to destroy the Maximals when you had the chance, you FAILED to bring us to the right PLANET! We stole the Golden Disk for NOTHING, you IDIOT! [tosses aside the Golden Disk]
Megtron: [exits Darksyde] Heh, I beg your pardon? [Angry] WHAT DID YOU CALL ME?!?
Dinobot: You heard. You are an IDIOT and an INCOMPETENT LEADER, and I am taking over! Dinobot: TERRORIZE!!! I challenge you to battle, Megatron. The winner shall lead the Predacons, and the loser shall be DESTROYED!
Megatron: Ahh, you're so impulsive, Dinobot. Brave...but misguided.
Dinobot: DO YOU ACCEPT MY CHALLENGE?!?
Megatron: Ah-hahaha...there's more to being a leader than simple courage. Well, there's cleverness and cunning as well.[To Scorponok] Isn't that right... Scorponok?
[Scorponok, clicking noises heard, emerges from the shadows and fires a missile, blasting Dinobot away and from the set]
- —Megatron deals swiftly with Dinobot's belligerence
Rattrap: [Throws piece of equipment to the side] All this fer a Golden Disk.
Optimus Primal: It was cybertron's most carefully guarded relic Rattrap. It gave the location of a major Energon source. That's why Megatron stole it.
Rattrap: Eh, well, y'know, we were supposed to be doin' deep space exploration. Playin' galactic patrol was nowhere in my job description, y'know what I'm sayin'? You sure you're cut out for this commander gig?
Optimus Primal: Remember the great war, Rattrap. If the Predacons get enough Energon, they'll start it again. We can't let that happen. Besides, you wanted exploration, and here we are on an unknown planet. What more do you want?
- —Rattrap explains that the Maximals were an exploration crew and not galactic patrol while Optimus Primal explains the end result of not stopping the Predacons from gaining enough Energon
Rattrap: So, uhhh, this your first day on the job or what?
Optimus Primal: Shut up, Rattrap.
Rattrap: Oh, yes sir. Y'know, I feel just heaps better knowin' that our lives are in your capable hands. [To Rhinox] We're all gonna die.
- — Optimus starts a hilarious trend among the Maximals, at the expense of Rattrap
Ahh, a treacherous, under-handed sneak attack. Oh-ho-ho, I like you, pussycat. Yeeesss...
- —Megatron's response to Cheetor's unprovoked attack
Optimus Primal: Rattrap, help Cheetor. We'll cover you.
Rattrap: Yeah, right!
Optimus Primal: That's an order, Rattrap!
Rattrap: Yeah? An' you can kiss my skidplate, fearless leader, 'cause I aim't goin' out there an' gettin' my pelt punctured!
— Now we know one source of Rattrap's insubordination
This guy's got bearings of chrome steel.
- —Rhinox on Dinobot's bid for Maximal group leader
- Before they gain their beast modes, the Maximals and Predacons are shown mostly in shadow. This is probably to save the animators the trouble of coming up with entirely different models for each character. However, if one pays close attention, there are some marked differences to the facial areas shown, and Rattrap's arms are slightly different. Also Tarantulas has normal hands, not claws.
- As this was the first episode, the transformation/catchphrase sequences are rather overbearing by comparison to later episodes of the series.
- The Japanese version of the episode, titled "Enter the Super Lifeform Transformers", has a slightly alternate opening. The episode begins with scrolling letters across an outer space backdrop, "Star Wars"-style, which explain the basics of the Transformers history (Cybertron, factions, energy plundering, etc.).
- If the Beast Warriors are on an "unknown planet", presumably containing animals they've never seen before... how does everybody manage to think up such fitting new beast-mode-based names? (Presumably, not all information about Earth was off-limits.)
- Rhinox holds Cheetor's gun in a scene.
- Throughout this episode and "Beast Wars (Part 2)", Scorponok's missiles have a Maximal insignia on them, meant to indicate Maximal kills. This confused viewers into thinking that they were mistakenly "Maximal missiles" and the symbols changed.
- Cheetor has the dual honour of being the first character to appear in Beast Wars, as well as the first character to fire a shot (unprovoked) at the enemy. Cheetor also had the honour of speaking the final words of the Beast Era in the final episode of Beast Wars' sequel Beast Machines.
- During the scene where the Maximals reveal their new beast modes, it is not clear why they (bar Optimus Primal) had to rename themselves.
- Dinobot has the distinction of being the first Beast Wars character to transform into robot mode.
- This episode marks the only instance in the entire series where Dinobot uses "Terrorize", despite nominally being a Predacon. He would later reprogram himself with the Maximal activation code.
- Waspinator fires pink eye lasers (similar to Dinobot's) during his battle with Cheetor.
- In contrast to his later abysmal track record in combat, Waspinator does very well in his first fight against Cheetor. Presumably this is because Cheetor is a rookie, and therefor inexperienced in combat.
- This is the first Beast Era episode, which begins the whole continuity.
- Waspinator's "death"
- For his first moment of getting slagged in the series Waspinator simply gets affected by Energon overload.
Animation and/or technical glitches
- When the Predacons first disembark their ship, Scorponok is walking around outside with Tarantulas. However, not a minute later when he sneak-attacks Dinobot, he is quite clearly shown emerging from the ship's inside after Megatron.
- After Megatron's pre-battle speech, Terrorsaur's wings clip through each other when he flaps them.
- When Waspinator fights Cheetor, the stripes on his thighs are mapped in the wrong axis.
- As Optimus, Rhinox and Rattrap ride out to give Cheetor support, Rhinox breaks through a 'roadblock' of boulders. However, in the previous shot of this location, the boulders were not present.
- When Rhinox picks up Rattrap and swings him around to face the Predacons, Rattrap's gun clips right through the boulder in front of them.
- During the battle between Dinobot and Optimus, Dinobots spinning blades are severely shortened and misshapen making it appear that it has been chibified.
- During the first major battle, Waspinator's neck seems to be gone, making him look like he's part turtle at one point.
- At about 13:18, Primal is speaking but his mouth isn't moving.
- Shortly after, the ground becomes glitchy.
- Cheetor spends the longest time in the open while in robot mode, but does not suffer the effects of energon overload that the Predacons do.
- Optimus Primal mentions the Great War, which is what the Transformers of the Beast era called the conflict between the Autobots and Decepticons.
- Cheetor utters the popular words Robots in disguise when he notices that the giant wasp is Waspinator.