If you only remember two things from the Transformers cartoon, odds are one of them is Optimus Prime, and the other is that tape guy with the cool voice.
The Transformers cartoon
Nine million years ago, during the Golden Age of Cybertron, Soundwave was one of Megatron's first Decepticons and was seen flying through the planet's skies alongside his leader and Shockwave by Orion Pax. When the Great War with the Autobots erupted not long after, Soundwave served as Megatron's intelligence officer and most loyal subordinate, and as keeper of the Decepticon Mini-Cassettes, diminutive robots designed for espionage. While Soundwave was a nigh-constant battlefield presence, he would himself often play no major role in combat, more regularly being present merely to deploy his cassette minions, and, off the field of battle, to replay for his fellow Decepticons the information they would gather for him.
After five million years of war, Cybertron found itself in the throes of an energy crisis, and Soundwave was charged with spying on the Autobots to learn how they were dealing with it. Using his unconventional alternate mode as a space-age "lamp-post" to position himself on the street outside Iacon, Soundwave was able to deploy Laserbeak to snoop even closer. Laserbeak discovered that the Autobots were preparing to depart Cybertron to search for new sources of energy on other planets, and Soundwave quickly took this news back to Megatron, prompting the Decepticons to pursue the Autobots' spacecraft when it left the planet. After navigating a treacherous meteor shower, the Decepticons intercepted and boarded the Autobots' ship, and battle erupted between the two factions, during which Soundwave displayed his prowess by holding his own against Jazz, Prowl, Sideswipe, Ironhide and Ratchet. However, the fighting was soon cut short when the Autobot spacecraft was caught in the gravity of the nearby prehistoric planet Earth and crash-landed. The ship impacted with the side of a volcano in a collision so violent that all the Transformers onboard, Soundwave included, were knocked off line.
Four million years later, in the Earth year 1984, a volcanic eruption jarred the ship's computer, Teletraan I back on-line, and it reactivated and repaired the Transformers indiscriminately, reformatting Soundwave with the Earthly alternate mode of a portable cassette player. Before the Autobots were restored, the Decepticons pulled out of the ruined hulk of the ship, and Megatron immediately charged Soundwave with drawing up plans for a new space cruiser to return the Decepticons to Cybertron. Soundwave then deployed Rumble to help Starscream ransack a power plant to gather materials for construction, sent Ravage to scare off humans who came to investigate, and dispatched Laserbeak to search the planet for sources of energy. Laserbeak soon returned to report his discovery of an offshore oil platform, which the Decepticons promptly attacked, gathering oil and storing it in the energon cubes Soundwave generated from his chest. The Autobots soon arrived to stop the Decepticons, but Megatron collapsed the rig, forcing the Autobots to save the human workers and allowing the Decepticons to escape.
Seeking to exploit the data that Teletraan I had gathered on Earth in its short time on the planet, Soundwave positioned himself close to the Autobots' base, where he transformed into his cassette player mode and allowed himself to be found by the Autobots' new human friend, Spike Witwicky. Unaware of the true nature of the unassuming tape player he had found, Spike brought Soundwave into the Autobot ship and then left him unattended, allowing the Decepticon communicator to release Ravage. The feline felon interfaced with Teletraan I and located the computer's data on energy sources, which Soundwave then recorded. Soundwave was soon caught in the act by Spike, but managed to escape to report to Megatron. Using the information Soundwave obtained, Megatron decided to attack Sherman Dam, where Soundwave instructed Rumble to use his earthquake-generating powers to create a tidal wave that maximized the plant's energy output.
The Decepticons' raids continued apace, until only one more theft was necessary. As Megatron put his plan to attack an Air Force base together, Starscream attempted another of his infamous coups by trying to shoot him in the back, but Soundwave proved his loyalty to Megatron by warning his leader of the attack. The subsequent raid on the Air Force base went smoothly, and the Decepticons were at last poised to return to Cybertron when the Autobots made one last-ditch attack on their launch site. Soundwave and his tapes went into action, but Megatron soon called the battle off and ordered the Decepticons to board the completed space cruiser. Soundwave served as the ship's helmsman as it blasted off from Earth, but the flight proved a short one, as Soundwave discovered that the Autobot spy Mirage has used his invisibility powers to stow away. Before the Decepticons could react, Mirage had sabotaged the ship and sent it plummeting back towards Earth. With Soundwave unable to stop its descent, the ship crashed into the ocean, and the Autobots believed the Decepticons destroyed.
In truth, however, Soundwave and the other Decepticons had survived the crash, and after months of working in secret, reconstructed their spaceship into an undersea headquarters. The villains revealed their continued existence to the world when Soundwave again used his inconspicuous tape player form to infiltrate a solar power plant and proceeded to take control of it, allowing the Decepticons to harvest its energy that they planned to send back to Cybertron over their new intergalactic "space bridge" transport system. Soundwave repelled an Autobot counterattack by wielding Megatron in pistol mode, but ultimately, the plan backfired when Megatron himself was caught in the space bridge's pull and believed destroyed, leaving Starscream to take control of the Decepticons. Soundwave chafed under Starscream's inept leadership, and their first sortie with the air commander in charge ended in a comical defeat that saw Soundwave bowled over by Prowl as he ran away. Thankfully, Megatron soon returned, with a scheme to steal Doctor Alcazar's antimatter formula, and Soundwave happily latched back onto his master. After Alcazar deleted the formula from his own computer, Soundwave used his mind-reading talents to acquire the formula from the brain of Chip Chase.
Soundwave participated in a Decepticon attack on Autobot Headquarters when Optimus Prime was mistakenly believed to be fatally wounded. Skyfire in the North Pole. Soundwave helped reactivate him by delivering a million-volt shock to his systems, but Skyfire ultimately sided with the Autobots to stop the Decepticons' plan. Later, Soundwave and Reflector were sent on a data-gathering mission, acquiring information about the Great Falls to facilitate a Decepticon attack on the hydro-electric plant there.Soon after, during a scheme to drain heat energy from the Earth's core, the Decepticons unearthed the frozen body of Starscream's old friend
On a mission to the Peruvian Andes, Soundwave successfully proved that the legend of the Incan Crystal of Power was true when he deduced that the pyramid containing the fabled gemstone rested on a shaft leading to the Earth's core. On a mission to gather steel for a weapon frame to channel the crystal's power, Soundwave and Reflector were ambushed by Brawn and Windcharger in mid-air, and Soundwave found himself driven face-first into a mountain by the small Autobot in the first of several clashes that they would engage in over the years. Soundwave tried to fight back with his own rifle, and even tried blasting Brawn with Megatron in pistol mode, but the little Autobot took everything he had to give and escaped in one piece. Later, Soundwave's mind-reading abilities came into use again when he scanned the brains of the Dinobots, Grimlock, Slag and Sludge, in order to determine their weaknesses.
When Megatron schemed to use the space bridge to transport Cybertron into Earth's orbit, he required human slaves to gather the energy that would result from the massive natural catastrophes such an action would cause. Soundwave and his cassettes were dispatched to capture Sparkplug Witwicky, who served as a guinea pig for the mind-controlling hypno-chips created by the Decepticons' new ally, Doctor Arkeville. The plan to transport Cybertron was subsequently accomplished despite Autobot interference, and Soundwave ensured that energy collection could begin quickly by forcing the Autobots to flee with a barrage of painful audio disruptor waves. Soundwave later transported a cache of energon cubes to the orbiting Cybertron, and was still there when a group of Autobots arrived, searching for the hypno-chip master control. In another encounter with Brawn, Soundwave was taken down by a single blast from his undersized rival, and then alerted the Decepticon forces on the planet to the Autobots' escape. It did little good, as the heroes were able to evade capture, find the hypno-chip control, free the slaves and blast Cybertron out of orbit.
Megatron was briefly thought destroyed by the explosion that pushed Cybertron out of orbit, by the Decepticon leader soon returned to Earth, where Soundwave immediately informed him of Starscream's latest play for leadership. Thundercracker to Bali, where they met the Insecticons. Later still, when Megatron challenged Optimus Prime to a one-on-one duel, Soundwave and the other Decepticons contributed their power chip rectifiers to a machine built by the Constructicons that would transfer all their powers into Megatron, so that he could win the fight with ease. While Megatron never used Soundwave's powers in the duel, he still claimed victory, but when his breach of the rules was revealed, he, Soundwave and all the Decepticons were sent tumbling into a river of lava by the fighting-mad Autobots.Soundwave later accompanied Megatron and
As 1985 rolled in, Soundwave participated in a Decepticon attack on an Air Force base, Solar Needle in the jungles of South America. When Megatron sought to conquer New York City, Soundwave, Rumble and Frenzy battled a group of Autobots in Central Park, and Soundwave was later put in charge of the weapons systems of the so-called "New Cybertron" that New York was being turned into. That control was soon lost, unfortunately, when a stray blast from an irate Megatron destroyed Soundwave's console.and helped in the construction of the
Soundwave and his cassettes were next sent on a distraction mission, keeping the Autobots occupied while Megatron and Starscream snuck inside their base and sabotaged their recharging chambers with a Personality destabilizer device, narrowly avoiding another pounding from Brawn in the process. After helping to steal electro-cells and the Autobots' new Immobilizer invention, Soundwave was appointed to guard the captive Autobots after Megatron succeeded in trapping them in vehicle mode with the Transfixatron. The communications officer put his skills to work disabling the Autobots' communicators, but neglected to disable Hound's hologram projector, which the Autobot was able to use to summon the small number of his comrades who had not been affected by the Transfixatron. Wheeljack and Ratchet developed a grenade to undo the device's effects, and together, Spike and Chip Chase outran Soundwave and Ravage to detonate it and restore the Autobots.
When Laserbeak and Buzzsaw stumbled upon the subaquatic city of Sub-Atlantica, Soundwave immediately summoned Megatron to view their findings. Megatron and the Decepticons set out for the city at once, and forged an alliance with its leader, the boastful telepathic King Nergill, in order to conquer Washington, D.C. Starscream, however, did not trust the fish-man, and had Soundwave put his own telepathic powers to use to decrypt the scrambled messages Nergill repeatedly gave to his underlings. Soundwave discovered that Nergill was planning to betray the Decepticons, leading to the breakdown of their alliance.
Soundwave and Megatron used their diminutive alternate modes to infiltrate Quantum Laboratories as part of a plan to take over the computer TORQ III. Later, Soundwave helped steal the human-made robot ninja Nightbird (finally getting one over on Brawn in the process by collapsing a balcony out from under him), and aided Bombshell in reprogramming the femme-bot to serve the Decepticons.
When the Decepticons discovered strange energy emanations coming from a crevice, Soundwave dispatched the Autoscout to investigate, discovering the crevice was filled with Korlonium crystals. Megatron schemed to create a clone of Optimus Prime as part of a plan to harness the crystals' power, and while the plan failed, the clone was at least impressive enough to completely fool Soundwave, and he was in on it! Subsequently, Soundwave took part in the Decepticons' plan to drill to the Earth's core, and was then made a mind-controlled pawn of the Insecticons, who used him to download data from the human military defense computer at Iron Mountain. Megatron and Optimus Prime were forced to team up to stop the Insecticons and destroy the cerebro-shell controlling Soundwave, erasing the data he had gathered in the process.
While spying on Autobot Headquarters, Soundwave learned of the existence of the mysterious prehistoric Dinobot Island, and sent Laserbeak to follow the Dinobots as they travelled there. Soundwave proceeded to join the Decepticons in raiding the island's energy sources, before the Autobots, Dinobots and the island's native dinosaurs saw them off.
Using his alternate mode to infiltrate a military testing site, Soundwave and his cassettes made a hard-fought but ultimately failed attempt to steal the Autobots' new Negavator weapon. Later, when human archaeologists uncovered the wreckage of the Decepticons' old space cruiser in South America, Soundwave alerted Megatron to the news report about their findings, then accompanied him to the wreckage, where they removed the ship's power source, the Heart of Cybertron. Celebrating the new power that the Heart bestowed upon Megatron, Soundwave joined his fellow Decepticons in over-energizing on energon, leaving him too inebriated to do much of anything.
When Megatron framed the Autobots for energy theft and had them exiled from Earth, Soundwave took part in the Decepticons' pretense of being heroes. Central City was turned into. Thankfully, the Autobots soon returned to Earth to clear their names and rout the Decepticons.Soundwave was quite popular among the humans: a young child was heard cheering for him by name, and when he and his cassettes attended a disco, he acquired many female admirers. After Megatron revealed his deception, however, Soundwave was made the slave-master of the work camp that
In one of his most impressible displays of sneakitude, Soundwave was able to position himself, in tape player mode, inside Ironhide's vehicle mode, right next to Blaster, and spy on the test run of the Ultra Plane, with neither Autobot noticing until he deployed Ravage. While Blaster wrestled with Ravage, Soundwave escaped to report to Megatron, after which he and Starscream joined their leader in attacking the lab containing the blueprints for the plane. The Autobots saw them off, but during their flight away, the Decepticons' systems began to malfunction as a result of cybertonium degradation. Soundwave's cassettes began ejecting without his command, and his flight powers gave out, sending him crashing to the ground. Once repaired with fresh cybertonium from Cybertron, Soundwave joined the Decepticons on a mission to Great Britain.
Soundwave was among the Decepticons who were granted invincible electrum coating by the "Golden Lagoon". With their new power, the Decepticons captured Seaspray and Perceptor, but when Starscream attempted to have the two Autobots fight each other for the villains' amusement, Soundwave immediately ran off and tattled on him to Megatron.
Following the Decepticons' alliance with the Geddis brothers, Soundwave joined in the Decepticon attempt to create a space bridge in a baseball stadium, where he wickedly delighted in playing catch with one of the players (literally!). The Autobots soon arrived, and another brawl between Soundwave and Brawn erupted, ending when the small Autobot threw Soundwave into the space bridge. When a stray blast then activated the bridge, Soundwave and a small group of Autobots and Decepticons were inadvertently hurled to a world of alien giants. After being menaced by the huge cat Nitro and trapped in a toybox by Nitro's owner Aron, Soundwave was taken with the other Transformers to the planet's authorities for study and dissection. Ravage succeeded in freeing them, and the Decepticons all escaped back to Earth through a mock space bridge Perceptor created out of a telescope. Upon his return, Soundwave was caught up in the menace of the Morphobots, analyzed the energy of an alien asteroid, and helped operate the Decepticons' new energy magnet.
After joining Megatron on a mission to the planet of the Tlalakans, Soundwave embarked on one of his most notable misadventures when, under the command of Starscream, he set about brainwashing humans with ultrasonic vibrations inside the Decepticon-built nightclub Dancitron in New York City. This led to his first major confrontation with his Autobot communications officer counterpart, Blaster, with whom he engaged in a sonic duel. Soundwave had the upper hand in the violent jam session, until Blaster used the club's sound system to magnify his own sonic attacks and win the fight.
When the Decepticons captured Hybrid Technologies heiress Astoria Carlton-Ritz, Soundwave tried to use the psycho-probe to read her mind, but her innate ability to jinx machines made it a challenge, and eventually led to Soundwave and Rumble being electrocuted. When Powerglide subsequently caused the Decepticons' new sub-orbital base to crash, it fell to Soundwave to inform Megatron that the base didn't have any forcefields. Whoops!
On a mission to recover some incriminating footage taken by a movie studio of their activities, Soundwave showed up Starscream by pointing out that while the air commander had recovered the film reel, he had not destroyed the negative. Soundwave then helped Megatron track the negative down, but they were tricked into thinking it was destroyed by Hoist. Soon after, Soundwave accompanied Megatron to Cybertron to give life to his new Stunticons, helping him locate the key to Vector Sigma and unlocking the door to the mega-computer's chamber. Upon their return to Earth with the now-living Stuncticons, Soundwave aided Megatron in analyzing the key to discover what other powers it possessed. By happenstance, its power to de-energize matter and turn it into metal was only discovered when Soundwave tripped and dropped it.
Soundwave soon returned to Cybertron to take part in Megatron's plan to trap the newest addition to the Autobot ranks, the Aerialbots, in the distant past, then went back to Earth and used his scanning powers to help Megatron locate the Pearl of Bahoudin. Soundwave later had Laserbeak monitor the Cosmic Rust infection spreading through the Autobot ranks, , and had the cassette remove Starscream from Decepticon Headquarters after Megatron finally banished the perennial traitor from the Decepticon ranks. When Starscream returned with his own army, the Combaticons, Soundwave was almost able to shoot the traitor in the back until Swindle caused his shot to go wild. Soundwave tried to summon the Stunticons to help, and while they initially rebuffed him, they eventually arrived to tip the scales in Megatron's favor.
Suspecting the Autobots had tampered with Megatron's new ruby laser cannon, Soundwave advised his leader to abandon the weapon, but Megatron was caught up in a battle-frenzy and ignored him. Predictably, the weapon promptly exploded. orbit disruptor cannon to do the job. Unfortunately, the cannon would only be operated by Bruticus, and all the Combaticons save Swindle had been destroyed, so Soundwave installed a bomb in Swindle's head to give him the incentive to gather up their parts and rebuild them. Bruticus was restored, and Soundwave participated in the Decepticon attack upon Autobot Headquarters that served as a test run for the disruptor cannon, but the complex plot was foiled when three college students used makeshift robot to destroy the cannon.For his final recorded adventure in the 20th century, Soundwave invented a device to control the flow of Earth's tides. Before the Decepticons could use it, however, it was necessary to blast the moon out of orbit to remove its controlling influence, so they developed an
- ↑ In the finished episode, that is. A scene deleted from "Heavy Metal War" saw Megatron use Soundwave's mind-reading abilities to deduce Prime's next attack move.
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