Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Killzone bit my shit
It’s not like Mamoru Oshii invented the Panzer Corps look from scratch back when he made The Red Spectacles in 1986. The Protect Gear is just a heavily armored take on German WWII soldier wear. Oh, I guess he did add the snazzy shining red eyes so bonus points there. I’m not sure if anyone remembers the first footage released of Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox, but the soldiers you encounter later in the game used to look a lot more like the Panzer Corps soldiers. The Helghast dudes in Killzone aren’t an exact copy either, but the iconic menacing red eyes remain the same. Okay, maybe they look a bit more orange in Killzone, but the effect is the same.
Anyway, the point is I dig the look. So much so I bothered to track down the Dragon International Kerberos figure about three years ago (that’s the one on the left). What you can’t guess from the pictures is the helmet and bullets are real die-cast metal so, yeah, BAD…ASS. Cool as this figure was, the overall rendition of the Armor and facemask left a little to be desired. Dragon released a more expensive version with “Lightening eyes”, which meant a battery lit up the red goggles although this made it impossible to take the helmet off. They also made a battle damaged version, but I didn’t care for that one.
A few months ago, Takara released their take on the Protect Gear through their Cool Girls series (known as Cy Girls domestically…yeah that Cy Girls, the insanely crappy videogame Cy Girls). They nailed it. Each piece of armor has great detail, and there are interchangeable pieces so you can customize how a particular squad looks. No fancy die-cast metal, but a really well thought out execution of the Protect Gear. If you’ve ever put together a Gundam model, one of the things you remember is how well each piece of plastic was molded so it fits and stays together without the use of glue. The Takara figure has that quality feel to it.
Takara took liberties with the undergarments, but again they score here. A sleek leather number that is perfect for a bit of espionage, commandeering a motorcycle, or making it in time for a fashion shoot. Very versatile. (For the anal readers: The hand punching the Killzone box is from another figure. The Protect Gear version didn't come with a closed fist piece)
Soldiers from Ninja Gaiden – 6 out of 10
They’re tough customers, but it’s hard to get good looks at their gear
Helghast Soldiers – 7 out of 10
They would score higher if the first thing you saw were the glowing eyes coming for you. Instead, you always hear them yelling all loud and giving away their position. Not so scary.
Dragon Internation figure – 8 out of 10
Can be hard to pose, plus mask and armor pieces aren’t as realized as they should be.
Takara Protect Gear figure – 9 out of 10
It’s an expensive import item ($100+ at some sites), but it should remain a valuable collectable like the Dragon figure since a US release is highly doubtful. Plus it’s the best rendition of this type of armor.
Posted by Wataru Maruyama at 4:51 PM