Resident Evil 4: Series One (Figures)
I remember the first time I saw Resident Evil figures in stores, it was a great moment for my geeky little heart. They were really the first mass-marketed zombie figures, and even though the actual quality left a lot to be desired, I still had to have `em.
It's been years since those toys have been for sale, and now NECA has entered the game to bring figures from the fourth, and arguably best, game in the series. Well, technically I believe it's the sixth or seventh, but it's called Resident Evil 4 so we'll go with fourth.
It's only fitting that a game with such a redefining approach to the RE universe should get high quality figures, and if NECA's proven anything over the past few years it's that they know how to do high quality. Series One consists of Leon S Kennedy (both with and without jacket), Ada Wong, a Chainsaw Ganado, and the cream of the proverbial crop, Verdugo. Let's take a look at them, shall we?
Leon S Kennedy
Making his first Resident Evil appearance since the second game, this time out Leon is on his way to a Godforsaken island somewhere in Europe to try and find the president's daughter. It's clear both his aim and training have improved since we last saw him, and he's become a lot more of a hero this time out.
His figure's articulation is limited to only his arms and head (which looks eerily similar to its video game counterpart, great sculpt!), but that's to be expected since he's in the position he takes on the cover of the game for Gamecube (still the best one, despite the bells & whistles of the PS2 one). When I got him out of the package, I had some issues with getting his arms in the right position, but once I figured out where the hands should go to hold the gun right, it wasn't a problem.
He comes with a knife, handgun, rocket launcher (which I could not find a way for him to hold), as well as all three kinds of grenades (normal, flash, and incendiary) and a can of first aid spray. The only real issue I had with him is that despite the utility belt that looks like it could hold all the aforementioned goodies (since they are to scale with the figure, they're damn small), it's just there for show. Would've been nice to be able to put it to use!
Mysterious. Deadly. Agile. Very descriptive words to describe Ms. Wong, who shows up in clandestine meetings with Leon throughout the course of the game as we slowly learn more about her. She looks good in a dress, that's for sure, though. Leon doesn't seem to notice. Hmmmm...
Something seems to be missing from her head sculpt, and I'll be damned if I can figure out what it is. Maybe she just looks too happy with that little smirk on her face, whereas you really never see her smile in the game. Not that she has any reason to. The details on her dress (each butterfly looks as if it were hand-drawn) is immaculate, so little things like extra happiness can be over looked.
Her articulation is about the same as Leon's, as she's only supposed to stand there holding the gun, looking like a badass either with her arms folded or pointing the gun. The figure pulls that off admirably. Articulation exists in her shoulders, arms (just above the elbow), hands, and legs. For some reason I still can't get her to stand on her own no matter how much I move her right leg (a ball socket connects it to her hip), but that's about the only problem with the figure as a whole. Her head is also on a ball socket, so you can move it into any manner of position. Basically whatever makes her look like she could kick your ass more. Her only accessory is a tommy gun, which she can hold as easily as the pistol but looks slightly less cool with it. Not that I'd say that to her face.
Before I was offered the figures for review, this was the entire reason I was going to get the set. He's big, crazy, and wielding a chainsaw. He's also one of the most vicious and difficult to kill enemies of the entire game, so I felt I needed some kind of payback for all the times he cut Leon's head off in one fell swoop.
The greatest thing about Ganado is that other than putting the chainsaw in his hands, he doesn't need anything else out of the box. There's something about that simplicity that only adds to the overall cool of both the character and the figure. The sculpt is immaculate, as you would expect, and the bag over the head is especially impressive as it looks just like burlap. The clear, blazing eyes from behind the two holes in the bag only add to the figure's inherit madness.
Needless to say, character-wise, Ganado is one of my favorites. Their future lines will also feature the Chainsaw Sisters that you encounter later in the game, who were just as difficult if not more so than this big bastard, so I can't wait for that.
It's a bit of a leap going from a relatively static figure like the Chainsaw Ganado to the Verdugo, but I had to save this mean mother for last because he is truly the most impressive of the entire lineup.
Featuring all sorts of articulation from the head to toe to fingers (literally) and a segmented tail that you can pretty much put in any position you want it to be in, you can't get much cooler than Verdugo. My only minor complaint is the usual: the ability for it to stand. It took me a few times to get him upright on his own, mainly due to the tail's position, but I never got to the point of frustration because there are just so many choices as to how he stands; it's finding what looks best to you more than anything else.
Finally, of course, there is the sculpt and paint job, both of which are fantastic from the attention to detail in the shoulders and chest down to the gleam in the creature's eye. It's obvious a lot more attention went into the final look for these than was probably necessary, but that's pretty much what fans have come to expect from NECA at this point.
All in all, this is a great line of figures based on interesting characters from a truly amazing video game. If you're one of the millions who fell in love with Resident Evil 4 on either the Gamecube or more recently the PS2, you probably won't be able to help yourself when you see these in stores. Their unique (read: more compact) clamshell packaging will likely stand out against the bulkiness of some other figure sets out there, and if that doesn't do it, I'm sure the large blood splatter on the front will get your attention
NECA has proven yet again why they're leaders in the creation of badass toys for those of us who don't see the point in not collecting anymore. Where were these guys when I was 12, dammit? Oh, right, they were mostly 12, too...
Look for Series Two to hit shelves early next year!
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