Thursday, January 15th, 2009 at 5:31pm by Yannick, BZPower Reporter
Seriously, do I need to say anything more?
Well, I guess I do. Enraptured though I was at the triumphant return of our beloved Stone color (last seen in 2002!), I had still planned on getting Gresh first, but then wound up with Vorox thanks to an early Christmas gift. And since I was perfectly delighted at such, I suppose I need to say whyÖ
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Iíd like to start by agreeing with DV how wonderful the elemental-colored backgrounds are. Iíve missed them for the past three years. They add a lot to the flair of the canisters, and of particular wonderfulness is that Voroxís background is BROWN. Itís delightfully bleak, and thereís just a hint of something monstrous lurking behind him Ė what seems to be a gigantic claw underneath his staff-arm. And of course, there are the signature stairs of 2009 winding away on the left.
The whole canister is simple, straightforward, and very aesthetically pleasing. The black canister and light-colored lid make for a dramatic contrast, much like we had with the Mistika Ė a combination Iím very fond of. The Glatorian canisters also have ďBIONICLEĒ prominently displayed across the top, another feature the Mistika reintroduced that we had been missing for a while. Itís good to have it back. Letís hope it stays.
The whole lower half is actually almost the same as that of the Mistika Ė itís virtually the same mold, only with alterations along one side and the top to accommodate the ridged Glatorian top instead of the Ignika-bearing Mistika version. Which is fine with me; itís a good canister shape. Though it could really be smaller; Voroxís pieces do not take up the full volume of the thing.
Now, the back.
The back sports images of Vorox and Zesk in two of the most horrendous poses I have ever seen from official CGI. By the way, this is a problem all the Glatorian and Agori have Ė the poses shown on the back are for the most part dreadful, with horrible lighting and posing that makes even the best of them (like Gresh) look nearly awful. One really has to wonder why this is.
Anyway, also featured are advertisements for the BIONICLE ACTION FIGURE GAME and the Thornax Launcher. And Voroxís web code. (Oh Bink. This is why we love you.)
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Before we build, letís look at the mess of pieces that come out when you pop open the canister (a thing much easier to do than it was on the Mistika, by the way).
The most prominent thing is that they are TAN. In case, you know, you hadnít noticed this already. If youíre a 2001-ite like me, you may have started hyperventilating at this point. Perhaps you spent time simply reveling in the long-desired, but completely unanticipated, existence of such things.
But letís contain ourselves for a little and actually do what weíre supposed to here.
Voroxís construction is unfortunately predictable, and will take long only if you are held up by the tremulous excitement induced by building a tan Bionicle set for the first time in six years or so. But weíll talk about this lack of originality more extensively later as well.
The only thing that may surprise you is the neck construction, which one canít really make out from the canister shots. It uses the Metru-forearm technique from Krika and Gorast rather than the new neck piece the rest of the Glatorian (minus Strakk) have, which is better for Voroxís stature but deprives us of that lovely new piece. Alas.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Now weíll talk about all those things we didnít above. First off, pieces:
Above, Voroxís pieces in their totality. Something you may notice is that 23 of them are new in some way, either a new mold or a recolor Ė almost half of the 51 total.
This is a very, very good thing.
Here we have those pieces that are completely new to Bionicle: Voroxís maskhelmethting and armor, and the Glatorian-generic head, hands, Thornax stuff, and life counter. (Technically that last oneís a recolored piece. Oops.)
Iíll talk about the Thornax launcher more when we go over its function, but for now letís just say that DVís got it perfectly. Small, simple, unobtrusive, and above all assemblable like the Zamor and Nynrah, but with much more modular pieces than either of those. Nice going with this.
Voroxís new armor piece, shared with Skrall, commands attention by being BROWN. Well, half-brown. Seriously, I nearly flipped out when I peered at the CGI image a month or so ago and saw that brown had returned, albeit only marginally. The physical blend is a bit of an ugly mottled color at the middle, where the brown and tan collide, and the piece overall is more tan rather than the half-and-half the canister image might lead you to believe.
But itís brown, and we are not complaining about it.
The piece itself is a fairly original shape, and it will be interesting to see what MOCists do with it. I could easily imagine a bunch of them overlapping to create the appearance of scales, if one had enough of them.
You have heard many things about these hands by now. I feel the opposite way as DV and dear Smťag; I had thought they looked overlong in the CGI, but I think they look fine in person. However you feel about the length, they do look rather nifty holding something like Voroxís staff, having fingers to grip things with and all that.
Iím pretty ambivalent to them on the whole. They look cool, but I always thought the old socket-hands looked fine. Notable faults are that they lack the extra connection point the old sockets had, and they look rather goofy when they arenít holding something. The most recent comic proved that a bit painfully.
I AM IRON MAN
(yes we are going to do this every review, move along)
Ahem. As youíve heard, the biggest problem about this otherwise welcome piece is that itís really small. The 2003-2008 masks look awkward on it; the 2009 maskthings are too compact to fit onto pre-2009 heads. Sigh.
One thing Iíve discovered is that putting Voroxís face onto the head backwards results in an interesting helmet appearance, which MOCists might desire to take advantage of. It looks rather exotic.
The first thing to say about Voroxís mask/face/thing is that itís a lot smaller than I had expected it to be. Seriously, itís barely larger than his foot Ė the box had made me think it was more the size of the other type of Piraka foot (the wide, two-toed one).
Itís a very interesting mold, and a striking departure from past designs. Itís a thinner plastic than anything Iíve seen before in Bionicle, and much more stylized as well. His name, for the record, comes from the Latin word for 'hungry' (vorax), and this certainly lives up to that.
But it works very well with the rest of his design. The ridged texture along the edges is echoed through the rest of Voroxís body, in the Metru legs and the toes of his feet and even the Avotoran arm in his tail. Lego wins some excellent aesthetic points right there.
And last, the life counter for the ACTION FIGURE GAME. (Do not question the capitals.) Well, itís a commendable use of an otherwise-intended Technic piece. Itís unobtrusive, which is a good thing. It gets us a tan Metru chest piece, which is a very good thing.
Iíd like to note that, whether by design or chance, the counter fits into the Metru chest in such a way that thereís resistence when you move it from one number to the next. This is nice, because it keeps the counter from spinning all over the place accidentally.
This also leads me to the part of Vorox that really interests me:
Eleven, count Ďem, eleven pieces recolored to the long-missed Stone color of old. The best part is that these were completely unexpected.
Die-hard 2001-ites went into euphoric shock when they saw this. We vowed to buy Vorox in plural and hoard our beloved tan, so long thought to have vanished even more thoroughly than brown. Weíre all hoping Vorox and Zesk sell well, so Lego keeps making tan sets.
And speaking of 2001-ites, please excuse me for a moment:
TAN TOA FOOT OH GODS YES
It is so nice to see the original Toa feet being made in more colors. First orange, now tan and yellow-orange and dark blue. Please do keep this up, Lego. Youíre making the old crowd very happy.
Now, Vorox as a whole is disappointingly unoriginal in design. The tail does add a spark of interest to the design, and the animalistic look it affords makes the basic (and yet, for three years now, unremedied) disproportionalities of the Inika template Ė wide shoulders, flat chest, long arms Ė not as pronounced.
Still, his build is exactly the same thing weíve had for the past three years. And we can hardly fail to remark that his tool is the same as Hewkii Mahriís Ė and many othersí since.
But letís talk about this.
Seriously, Lego, if youíre going to re-use the same design for four years, Vorox is the way to do it.
Twenty-three new pieces in a fifty-one piece set, out of which eleven are old pieces released in a new color Ė and a previously rather rare color at that. Nearly half the set is new. Itís an old frame, but everything on the frame Ė and some parts of the frame (Metru legs and hips) Ė is brand new. The result is that Vorox looks dramatically different from any other Inika-clone set, even if he lacks innovation structurally.
And Iíll trade a unique weapon for that any day, if we canít have a truly new design. Why havenít you done something like this before?
Now, with that significant issue out of the way, there are a couple other desings I find fault with:
All four of Voroxís arm and leg armor pieces attach with blue 3-long pins. Why? Why is this? I cannot find any reason for it. Not only does the armor attach just fine with only a 2-long pin (look at Skrall), but because the 3-pins are now blue, this means Vorox has four more utterly unnecessary spots of blue on his limbs. And since there arenít Kaita any more, that rules out the 3-pin being needed on some combiner. How puzzling.
Also, his shoulders are a bit lacking. I think a little more ephasis to them would really not hurt at all Ė as it is thereís this continuous downward slope from his neck to Ö well Ö the bottom of his arms. His arm armor, as a rough diamond shape, doesnít really do much to affect this. And the result is a bit boring.
And I can hardly fail to comment on the choice of his staffthing. Yes, itís Hewkiiís Aqua Warblade and has been a primary weapon to four sets since him, but it seriously looks perfectly swell on Vorox and seems to fit him quite nicely, so it is at least aesthetic, if perhaps disappointing.
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?
Well, thereís not much to say. He has all the posability of any other Inika clone, but his armor does gets in the way of his shoulder movement slightly. But, the edges are thin and bendable enough that this is more of an annoyance than a real problem.
Itís also a little difficult to pose him to look good. As I said earlier, his head is rather small, so that takes a little getting used to. His neck is also very thin, meaning that it really looks good only when itís hidden. Do not ever leave his neck straight up. It will look terrible. And thereís the shoulder slouch problem I mentioned earlier, too, but one can compensate for that.
The angle between the Metru leg and the spike in his tail looks a bit strange, since it disrupts the curve of the scorpion-tail slightly, but itís not awful.
Now, the only thing Vorox really does besides radiate his tan glory is shoot Thornax. Thornaxes. Thornaces. Something like that. (Or we could just call them Madu Cabolo and simplify everything.)
And he shoots them very well. The Thornax launcher is definitely one of the best, second only to the Zamor in, well, just about everything. The launcher is small (unlike many weíve had), guaranteed to fire (also unlike many), and it shoots a respectable distance if you squeeze hard and fast enough. The Thornax is also entertainingly bouncy thanks to the rubber spikes.
I suppose the most dramatic playability comes from the BIONICLE ACTION FIGURE GAME, as well advertised all over everything. The back of the instruction booklet instructs how to play it, and it seems Ö well Ö quite frankly rather unimaginative.
But, in all seriousness, I think I might find the feature rather fun if I were still ten years old or so. Damage counters are often quite useful in battles.
At any rate, itís neither obtrusive nor difficult to get rid of, so if you really dislike it that much itís quite easy to ignore.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- lots and lots of recolored pieces
- nearly half the set is new in some way or other
- nice, simple, effective launcher
- great aesthetics and texture
What's not to like?
- same build weíve had for three years now
- no unique tool (but I think the recolors make up for this)
- complicatingly small head
- what the heck are those blue pins doing in his limbs
Somehow I always end up discussing this last. Vorox is, unfortunately, still $13. And Iíd have to say that I donít really think 51 pieces are worth $13. Though the tan almost makes up for it. Should you buy him anyway? Well, Iíve enjoyed him. A lot.
The tan is a large part of it. He may be little more than an Inika clone in construction, but goodness that tan is wonderful to see again. It only helps that heís an extremely aesthetic set, with the texture from his mask all over his body and some very good color distribution. Even the perennial flaws of the Inika frame arenít bad on him.
And because Iím a self-proclaimed nostalgic 2001-ite, Iím going to tell you all to buy Vorox so we might possibly get some more sets in this delightful color. Shame on me.
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