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Night Creeper

Perhaps it was the way I first discovered the Night Creeper, to my surprise, at a local small mom and pop general store back in 1990, but for whatever reason I've been smitten with those purple bastards during the years since their original release. Yeah, they had a whole lot of strange colors for a night infiltration ninja agent, but for whatever reason, I really loved their look. Hasbro made them almost perfect during the 2000+ releases, putting them out in some awesome urban paint decos and those remain some of my favorite o-ring style figures to date. But, I must begrudgingly admit, that some vintage styled o-ring figures simply aren't meant to translate to the 25th Anniversary. Or if they do, certain liberties must be taken, but sometimes those liberties aren't always for the better.

I know it's in the nature of a Hasbro designer to try and soup things up a bit from the figure's predecessor. I mean, come on, it's 2009, right? Well, the Hasbro designers seemed like they kind of tried to "soup up" the base look of the Night Creeper, but whatever changes they made didn't really seem necessary in my book. Don't get me wrong, the figure is a good one, with some great articulation and some nice new aspects.

I'm not really sold on the removable head cowl...I mean, it fits fine on his head and stays there well enough that it's not a big deal, but I have no idea why anyone would want to remove it in the first place. The sculpting throughout the head is actually remarkably nice, especially on the head, that just seems like a strange choice to me. Not a bad one, just a strange one.

I like the torso choice and the newly sculpted lower legs. The range of motion and paint apps are all perfect matches for the awesome vintage Night Creeper. But then we get to the arms, and it gets a little weird again. The Wal-Mart exclusive Night Creeper looks pretty awesome using the original 5-Pack Snake Eyes arms, I'm really not sure what posessed them to work in the Flint arms on this version. The rolled up sleeves don't match at all, and neither do the cuffed gloves. Then, of course, we get those obnoxious hands again. Actually, I can't talk bad too much about the Night Creeper's hands, as they work very nicely with the Night Creeper crossbow, but really they're stuck at this weird off position, and the original didn't have the gloves at all, so I'm not sure where the short sleeves, watch, and funky gloves came into the design process.

Speaking of the crossbow, I freaking love this thing. The separating "multi-loader" aspect of it is a really neat touch, and the actual design and sculpting of the crossbow itself simply rocks. This was a great addition to the figure that makes it stand out nicely against the original. He's also got the trademark wavy sword, the familiar backpack, chest armor and head scarf. Not very elaborate, but what they've got, they've done a great job with.

I'm so much more of a "play and pose" guy, that by their very nature, I find the Rise of COBRA toys more functional and appealing, simply because they seemed to be built with play in mind, instead of just display. Dipping back into the Anniversary style pool after tooling with Rise of COBRA stuff puts some cracks in the rose-colored glasses a bit, at least from my own stance as a "posing" guy. I want to love these figures, especially a potentially awesome update to the Night Creeper, but I find myself being somewhat disappointed by critically flawed articulation and some errors in design concept. Thankfully, most of the design and articulation issues are very minor with Night Creeper, so he is a bright spot in design, sculpting, and poseability.

I know these 7-packs were cobbled together from mostly available tooling, and I know Hasbro pulled a lot of strings to get these out there...and honestly, I'm THRILLED that they did. It's just somewhat unfortunate that just a hard and fast focus on the Anniversary style with this swan song ended up focusing a bit too much attention on some flaws of the style.

Thankfully, those flaws aren't quite so apparent with the Night Creeper (beyond the strangely chosen arms and hands) and this ends up being a very fun, functional figure.

Buy this set at Big Bad Toy Store!