Transformers: The Headmasters is based on the Transformers series of the same name, which was exclusive to Japan. It marked the beginning of Japan's divergent continuity in the Transformers universe.
The player controls one of five Autobot "Headmasters", each functionally identical save for their fully maxed out weapons, which each have different effects. Unlike other Transformers games, which allow the player to shift forms whenever they wish, each stage in the game is broken up into a vehicle section and a robot section.
The player can switch between the five Autobots whenever they wish, though they must first rescue them by completing the stages they're imprisoned on. Initially the player can only use Chromedome until more are found.
- Chromedome: Transforms into a fast car. Available initially.
- Hardhead: Transforms into a tank. Needs to be saved from the "Jail" vehicle stage.
- Brainstorm: Transforms into a jet. Rescued from the Jail robot stage.
- Rodimus Prime: Transforms into a six-wheeled truck. Rescued from the Cybertron vehicle stage.
- Highbrow: Transforms into a helicopter. Rescued from the Cybertron robot stage.
- Fortress Maximus: An enormous Transformer that is available only in the final stage. Transforms into a massive battle station.