Set Review: 8980 Gresh
Saturday, December 27th, 2008 at 4:33pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: Darth Vader]
It is time to return to 2009 sets for our set reviews. Today BZPower Blog Assistant Darth Vader shares his thoughts on the Glatorian Gresh. Is this green warrior right for you? Read on!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and the days of auld lang syne?
Ah, the canister. With one, single, sordid exception, these have been a veritable hallmark of what differentiates the Bionicle line from so many others, while still paying a clear homage to its forerunners, the Throwbots and, more specifically, the Roborider. Ignoring that one exception, every Bionicle grouping of six has come inside some form of canister, whether cylindrical, triangular, or just merely roughly trapezoidial.
And folks, the Glatorian, thankfully, have not changed this wonderful hat-hanging instrument on us. Though 2009 is a new direction, one anyone can just jump right into, old fans will be pleased to know the canister has not fallen by the wayside.
Cheers all around!
Gresh comes in one of these plastic oases of heritage, resembling most directly those belonging to the Inika. The lime lid stands in bright contrast to the solid black canister, creating a brilliant beacon that shall thrill the eyes.
Seriously, this lime means business.
The canister image is the same CGI'd promo image we've been feasting on for the past few months, and it looks familiar here, like an old friend. The large "BIONICLE" logo resides in typical fashion at the top, with a Thornax fruit dotting the first "I". At the bottom is the new "GLATORIAN" branding, and to the left the age, uh, 'guidelines.' Reminiscent of the 2001 canister images, here Gresh proudly stands, amidst a jungle, firing his Thornax launcher into the unknown. Behind him is a staircase of stone stairs, looking positively ancient, and mysterious. Words cannot express how neat it is to experience that sort of landscape awe again.
The Gresh image is somewhat more subdued than his can, his lime not quite matching the lime on the canister, which is a shame, as the lime on the canister is the same lime inside the canister, covering Gresh's parts. Oddly enough, unlike some of the other set images, Gresh looks almost like an artistic rendering rather than that done by a computer. Slightly puzzling, but all the way awesome.
Unlike some of the canister and box imaged from last year (anything blue, really), Gresh's images and lid help him stand out from the rest of the toy shelf, and that's fantastic.
The back of the canister has the usual legal hocus-pocus that I, and you, never really read. Also adorning the rear canister visage is a simple picture of Gresh and his Agori compatriot, Tarduk, standing in front of the same sandstone temple-esque entrance seen on the back of the other Glatorian canisters. An advertisement for the "SUPER NEW ACTION FIGURE GAME" is in the top right corner, and the BIO code rests in the near-absolute middle. Strangely, the code on the back of Gresh is the same as that on Malum (you can tell, because it seems these codes might be the ones Binky mentioned he had created, and if so, props to him for creating neat, leet versions of the set names for the BIO codes. Just remember that leet is not allowed on the BZP forums. Wicked, Bink, wicked.)
Raised on the right (from the front!) side of the canister is the word "BIONICLE". The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Ah, the instruction book. Here you'll find the same image that adorns the front of the box, in a slightly more widescreen format. Open the canister up, flip the pages, and in no time, a Glatorian is born.
The build is pretty easy, and pretty straightforward. Veteran Bionicle fans should have no problem building great portions of Gresh without even cracking open the instructions manual. And let's all admit it, that's kind of boring, right?
There are a few things you'll need it for, of course, but not many! And you'll notice that the instuctions have you putting his weapons on as either arm-blades, or a shield. I prefer the arm-blades, personally.
Overall, there's not a lot to say here. He's pretty straightforward, as most Inika-esque builds have been. There are a few differences caused by the shoulder blades, and the life-counter (on his back), but overall, same old, same old. I guess the more things change, the more they really do stay the same. Brought that one on myself!
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
New and recolored pieces are plentiful, and that's fantastic. The new 'mask' (which I'm probably just going to refer to as a helm, really) is an interesting mix of old and new, with sleek curves, character-defining eye holes, and molded lines. Not a bad aesthetic, LEGO. I love the molded eyes, as they remind me of Tahu's original Hau, with an almost stern scowl. Very cool. The bladed prongs that extend from the back are molded to match the lime claws on both his shoulders and thighs, and that's a really nice feature. It fits onto the new head via molded pin, not into the mouth as we have been so accustomed, but into the top of the head. The head does have the ability to flip down and act as a head for the older Metru-era + mask holder, but it's far too small to be of any good.
And that's mildly disappointing.
The new head also has the both neat and unsettling face. I think it is the huge nostrils that add the unsettling factor into it for me.
The new heads are much smaller than anything prior, though they also fix my awkward neck issue from the Av-toran heads, with a socket built more directly into the neck, like a, well, neck.
The new blades are a stunningly goregeous mix of lime and Metru green, and they look simply lovely.
Also included is a new, straightened ball joint mold, similar to the Hordika necks we've seen only in bley for the past four years. This, thankfully, is black.
The Thornax launchers are two simple pieces, and they are both simple and small enough that I have seen many rejoicing, as this is a launcher that only barely registers on the set, unlike the disastrously large and obtrusive Cordak and Midak launchers. It seems that LEGO has listened to some of the launcher gripes, and for that, I am thankful.
The new launchers shoot a rubberized near-Zamor, with a hard plastic strip running down the middle. These, apparently, are Thornax fruit, and they may, or may not, explode. I also hear they taste like tires. Who knew? The spikes are rubbery, so no injuries there.
Next are the new hand pieces. Molded into these pieces are three fingers, and an awkwardly-placed (yet mostly necessary) thumb opposite. The pieces are symmetrical when looking at the inside of the hand, so the same pieces is used for both hands. That's a big plus for LEGO, as they only have to produce one mold. The new hands are sort of interesting, and sort of unsettling. They look rather large on the figure, almost comical, really. Also disappointingly (though expectedly), they are molded much like the old hand sockets of yore, and can only take one pin length before being forcibly stopped, as they are not molded to allow a rod to go all the way through. A slight minus.
And of course, the newly-coloured old pieces. Lime spiked Inika feet, lime Tahu Nuva Mistika thigh claws, lime Piraka thigh armour, solid-dark-green Jaller-style Inika chest armour, and a printed system/technic tread that is now a life-counter for the "SUPER NEW ACTION FIGURE GAME".
Gresh isn't all that different from an Inika/Mahri/Phantoka/Mistika. He's just not. But I'll give it up to TLG, he looks so much cooler than any of them ever hoped to. The lime claws add a fantastic flair to Gresh, helping acheive this gloriously lithe and dangerous look. He's sharp, and he's athletic. And the claws help sell this. Wonderfully, as I mentioned, his helm prongs match the claws, and really bring home the spiked awesomeness. I really like this.
As I mentioned, the hands look goofy. I really can't get over how much more so they look in person than in images. While it's interesting to finally see TLG give us molded, symmetrical hands, something about the length bothers me. I think that where the socket is now is too far back, giving Gresh these silly-long wrists. I wonder if he would look better with the traditional socket pieces.
But back to the shoulder spikes. Luckily, these do even more than just add flair to a flairsome figure. They also add an extra dimension to the torso, forcing the Inika torso armour out one pin length further, and I adore this. Long have I complained about the lack of depth in the Inika torso design, and this rectifies the problem almost completely.
Almost. Because of these shoulder spikes, the torso is now also woefully empty from the side. Let's hope Gresh uses these unsightly gaps to avoid being struck by an oppoent's blade, shall we?
The life counter doesn't look that bad on Gresh. It's placed onto his back, using a Metru chest-piece, and visually homages the Toa Olda and the Toa Nuva while also providing an outlet for children looking to play with their new gladiators using the "SUPER NEW ACTION FIGURE GAME."
This also adds some depth to the torso, and I'm not complaining. The colours don't look too terrible here, as the red tends to fade into the back of the new Glatorian head, allowing for a sort of colour-matching happiness.
That to say, on Gresh, it's not an eyesore.
And of course, the obligatory Av-Matoran, er, Agori comparison. He's about twice the size of Atakus (who is a boring Av-Toran. Boo LEGO.)
Overall, while there is some ingenuity to Gresh's designs, he's really still more of the same. Luckily, he happens to look infinitely cooler than any other Inika-esque sets have, so I'm prone to almost-forgiving this. Almost.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
The Thornax launchers aren't bad. I'll say it.
Depending on where you press down on the launcher, the fruit will fly out, either not very far, or way out there, almost Zamor and Midak far.
And that's awesome. No silly gimmicky launcher, this is a plain old pressure launcher made with two pieces and ammo. I really hope LEGO stays with this sort of launcher idea, if we are indeed stuck with them.
Gresh is, of course, just as posable as his other Inika-style brethren. His shoulders, elbows, wrists, neck, hips, knees, and ankles all possess some sort of movement point, though both his neck and shoulders can be slightly hindered by the shoulder spikes.
His arms can also swing into his thigh spikes too, if one is not too careful.
His weapons are sort of dual purpose, being either arm blades or shield. Unfortunately, in shield form, he is forced to hold it in such a way that I am sure a normal being's wrist would snap upon impact. It doesn't really fit well on his arm in a resting position, and gets in all sorts of the way when posing.
As for the "SUPER NEW ACTION FIGURE GAME"? LAME. You basically set two Glatorian up, across from one another next to their canisters. Take turns shooting Thornax at one another, and you get points based on whether you hit the other figure or the canister. These points are then subtracted from the opponent's life-points (counted using the life counter, conveniently enough!), until one hits 'SKULL'. This is dead.
Like I said, kind of lame. Apparently instructions on a multi-figure game are on-line, but I'm not interested, so I didn't check.
I don't feel like that's anyone's loss.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
And we'll take a cup oí kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
What's to like?
- Neat mask/helm/thing
- New parts
- Recolored parts
- VERY aesthetically AWESOME
- Better designed Inika build
- Small, simple launcher
- He's pretty
What's not to like?
- Hands are goofy
- Launchers still exist
- Still an Inika build
- New heads don't work well with old masks, not at all with 2001 and 2002 era masks
- Gappy design
- Still cost 13 USD, at the least
So, in the end, go for it. Gresh is awesome, he really is. I'm not the biggest fan of the Inika build, I find that it fast became boring and stale, but Gresh tends to overcome this by being absolutly lovely, colourwise, aesthetic-wise, and he allows me to make up lots of words in reviews. He's really a nice looking figure, and the Thornax are the best launchers that I feel we've seen yet. His mask is awesome, and he just oozes personality and character, and that is, I think, the biggest plus of them all. Get him. I don't think you'll be all that sorry. I really don't.
Be sure to thank Darth Vader for his review of Gresh, or else he'll force choke you. Hopefully you found it informative and insightful. We should have another 2009 review up in the next couple of days, so keep checking back for that and the latest Bionicle news!
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