"And I'll form the head!"
It is a moment in my childhood which stands in stark relief. I may have the ability to recall ridiculous things like where in the theater I was sitting for a particular movie, but some things stick out more than others, and one of the moments I absolutely remember is being sick at home the day Voltron: Defender of the Universe premiered. It took less than one episode and I was hooked (and not just because I'd already had the chance to play with the lions as my grandfather brought home the full set of five months previously).
I have tuned into and out of various other incarnations of the lions and their operators as time went on (I never did like that one where they're all the mini-spaceships and come together to form Voltron that way, it's the golions or nothing for me), including checking out an episode or two of the new Voltron Force. When THQ announced that they were going to be putting out a new Voltron game, and one based on the original series, my interest was piqued.
Currently available on PSN and XBLA, Voltron: Defender of the Universe is a pretty simple game that utilizes the original series to a great degree. Upon loading the game, one gets the backstory video complete with voiceover from Voltron and more clips from the series play as interstitials between levels. Thus, even while the game's story is terribly weak, one regularly feels connected to the show here.
In point of fact, the game isn't just a throwback because it's resurrecting moments from that original series, the style of play is a complete throwback as well. Presented with a not-quite-top-down perspective, the game asks you to choose a lion (they have different attributes) and race (mainly) forward, destroying all the evil creatures that King Zarkon throws in your path. It is easiest to think of it as River Raid or 1942-esque in that regard. It doesn't stick hard and fast to that format (it allows for movement to the side and backwards from time to time), but it would certainly be best classified as a top-down shooter.
Lions can perform multiple moves from melees to longer distance firing and even pouncing on flying objects. Depending on how you go about bashing in the baddies you'll be awarded varying amounts of points. Plus, depending on the lion you choose, you'll be better or worse at melee, armor piercing, long distance firing, etc. The differences aren't huge, but they do exist.