Set Review: 8976 Metus
Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 at 8:14pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
Today we bring you a review from BZPower's sole Premier BS01 Reference Mod, Pekel. Don't ask me what that's supposed to mean, but I will give you a hint and say it may not be that for long. Anyway, today Pekel reviews the Agori villager Metus. Will this ice-themed set warm the heart of our reviewer? Read on!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The first impression of Metus is exciting, especially to those of us who miss the environments and elemental themes of the early Bionicle lore. White and pale blue, grasping a snowflake shield and standing against a background of ice, Metus looks absolutely frigid. As a particular fan of ice (Kopaka having been my first set, those eight long years ago) I reflexively snatched him off the shelf and coddled him as I looked at the rest of the new sets on display lest a horde of children scuttle off with the entire Metus stock while my back was turned.
I wish I had been a fan of this "canister" design the first time around, so that I might at least have something lingeringly good to say about it the second time around. But alas, if wishes were Ruki then Gali would be Toa of Fish. As it stands the stalactites and stalagmites actually resemble icicles on this package, and so fit quite well (in case you were wondering stalactites has a C and they hang from the Ceiling while stalagmites has a G and they rise from the Ground). The overall presentation, as I said earlier, exudes elemental fierceness and this is exactly what I want in my Bionicle sets. This effective box made sure Metus was mine. Shame that I wound up throwing away all of the packaging after opening it, since those plastic caps contributed to the hefty price tag. I would much prefer something like the old Toa and Nuva canisters, which had actual play value.
When curiosity finally dictated I flip over the package I was treated to warmer climes; Metus and the mouth-wateringly-icy Strakk striking poses in front of a 2001-esque stone temple (presumably an entrance to the gladiator pit which the Agori use as a sort of hands-on debate club). The Bio Code is written in some mumbo-jumbo moon robot language which the hip kids will no doubt insist spells "Metus" if the word were transcribed by an illiterate computer, but I will allow them to handle that business. Below the two characters is a giant block of tiny text which will have you scrabbling for your monocle, only to be disappointed by legal mumbo-jumbo instead of top-secret story information about Mata Nui's middle name. All well worth passing over without comment except that if you are reading this and are between the ages of 0 and 3 you best hand that toy back to mommy. Sorry, kid.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Since I never got any of the Av-Matoran I'll apologize in advance if I can't muster the appropriate cynicism and disdain to describe the building process. Suffice to say pretty much the only way you could build Metus wrong is by putting a leg on his neck socket or attaching his hands to his ankles. To avoid having your parental figures sternly point out your embarrassing error when you rush to show them your new toy, be safe and follow the instructions. Nothing will smother your smug all-knowing Lego Master grin faster than grandma asking why the robot is holding a sword with his foot.
Beyond that there's not much to say. Assembly should take somewhere between zero and two minutes. If you expected anything beyond this then you clearly didn't ogle the package well enough while on the checkout line.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Of the 14 parts, 6 are new (with 4 new molds).
Of the new parts, the hands are arguably the most notable. I'm not for or against hands on principle, but I do have a few complaints with this piece. First and most importantly, connectors cannot slide all the way through (same as a typical socket). This means we still have to deal with spears falling into two pieces as soon as the character decides to let go of them. Second is the length of the hand – the back of the hand is too long and the socket should have been closer to the fingers. Thirdly is the lack of a + connection point on the back of the hand. This would have been nice for MOCing and for simple things like slapping on shields.
Another and altogether more successful part is the head. I'm a big fan of translucence in all things and to see eye colors besides lime and orange truly touches me in a special magical way.
As I mentioned earlier from my armchair between sips of whiskey and puffs of pipe smoke, I am a Bionicle fan of the older class. Since Bionicle 2009 has often been likened to a "reboot" which "hearkens back to the original days" I'll try to keep this in mind when going over Metus. My first thought when I picked up good old Toa Kopaka after building him was "WHOA, he's huge!" and a slight feeling of dismay. I always liked smaller things. So compare Metus with Onua, then with an original Matoran. He scales up much better with the current enormous gangly action figures, though I don't mean that as a good thing. I strongly dislike this scale creep and wish LEGO had managed to work in articulation without making the toys ridiculously huge. This new line would have been a perfect time to revert to smaller models.
I have no problem with the apish hunch, since the original villagers were similarly posture-challenged. Word on the streets is that these Agori were the inspiration for the Matoran, so some similarity is a good thing.
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?
Metus has no action features. He has mediocre articulation and lacks projectiles with which you could, say, harass your pet cat. I am at a loss, then, to explain why I am enjoying him so much. Perhaps I'm too used to the old McToran, which were under the adorable impression that rotating feet constituted articulation. Or maybe I'm just relieved that this character isn't sporting a shiny silver jetpack. Regardless, I've been having a fine old time posing Metus and wondering how long he'd last before being torn to shreds by my brother's Vorox.
Metus is a good toy. I'm of the personal opinion that robotic turbo voice-activated laser motors and other similar features only detract from the main goal of stimulating imagination. I can't think of a single gimmick I'd have tacked onto Metus to enhance his playability, so he gets a perfect score in this area. Keep in mind however that I am approximately 86 years old (give or take a few) and so you may be of the new robo-bionic-sonic-compu-tastic generation and as such have your own opinions. I am here to tell you that I was here first and you are not entitled to your opinions until I am dead.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Neat, elemental appearance
- Trans-blue head
- Intriguing shield parts
What's not to like?
Do I recommend Metus? It really boils down to whether or not you like the look of him. If you don't want to grab him and embarrass your friends and distant relations by running to the nearest icy location with a Glatorian, skip him. If you're a fan of ice and all things that glow when held up to a light, give him a shot. It's really up to you and if you expect a conclusive personalized answer from your computer screen then you should tear off your tinfoil hat and quickly jog to the nearest head doctor. Happy shopping!
As always, I hope you found the review informative and insightful. Be sure to thank Pekel for taking the time to review the set, and keep checking back for even more 2009 set reviews right here on BZPower!
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