Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 at 6:22am by Jason, BZPower Reporter
Pharaohís Quest is one of the new LEGO themes coming out in 2011, but many of the sets were available this December, and I managed to get a hold of one to review for you. In this set, Jake Raines and Helena Tova are after the Golden Scarab Shield, but they have to first face the Mummy Snake Charmer and the cobra statue that is very much alive. Will they succeed, and is this a set worth owning? I hope to answer those questions in this review!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
When you see this box in stores, the first thing that jumps out at you is undoubtedly the cobra. Sure, Jake and Helena are putting up a fight, and the snake charmer is egging it on, but the cobra demands you full attention. Behind him, you have an excellent Egyptian background, and above him is the new Pharaohís Quest logo. To the side you can see some details about the set, like the age recommendation and piece count. I donít quite fit within the age recommendation anymore, but luckily my inner kid does. And the 213 piece count isnít bad for this set. It may be a bit skim for a $29.99 USD set, but Iíll get to that later.
The back of the box features another scene of Jake and Helena verses the cobra statue. Jake managed to grab the shield, but heís apparently unaware of what is about to strike him from behind. In addition to this scene, there is an image showing how the cobra can attach to the temple. There is also a chart showing the six treasures Jake and the others have to find. The Scarab shield is the fourth, so they must be pretty far along at this point.
If you're wondering where all the legal disclaimers are, fear not, they still made it on the box. Rather, they're located on the sides, which also sport images of the minifigures and the Scarab shield in its "actual size." (This time, it's actually very accurate.)
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
When you rip opened the box, you reveal four bags full of new parts, the cobraís hood piece, a sticker sheet, and the instruction booklet. And you know that you just canít wait to start building!
The first thing to construct is the new truck. Itís a simple, yet very sturdy and satisfying build, reminiscent of some of the old Adventurerís vehicles from the past. Itís certainly not the main selling point, but it offers Jake and Helena a quick method of transportation.
The next thing you construct is the temple for the Golden Scarab Shield. Again, itís a very straightforward construction, but the slopes really give it a smooth look. Sadly, all the decals are from stickers, and arenít printed on the bricks. I normally donít use my stickers, but the temple seemed lacking without them.
Then you have the cobra. If you were expecting a lot of complexity here, youíll be disappointed. The cobra is made out of different body sections connected via ball and socket joints. With the exception of the head, none of it is complex at all. The coolest part of the cobra is the hood, which is attached to the head and the first body piece. Itís large, but it uses the space well, and certainly gives the cobra its flair.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
This set comes with 213 pieces. I think itís a decent amount for the price, although I donít usually buy too many expensive sets. Thereís a lot of tan and dark tan pieces, as well as dark blue, dark red, burnt orange, and, of course, pearly gold. Nothing is super exciting, but thereís more than enough to make it worthwhile.
These are a couple of pieces that stand out in the collection. I originally thought the Cobra Hood Piece was going to be a cloth piece, like the minifigure capes. But instead itís more of a laminated plastic, and itís a great piece that makes the Cobra look super scary. The new Snake Charmer headdress and dark tan Cobra head also have cool designs printed on them. Other pieces, like the dark red vehicle seats, black brick with socket, burnt orange 2x1 tile, and gold arch brick, are all new recolored pieces, and this set comes with enough of them to make parts collector happy.
The only brand new mold Iím aware of is the Golden Scarab Shield, which can be attached to a pin (like on the temple) or held by a minifigure. The shield piece appears in other Pharaohís Quest sets, but this is the only one where itís pearly gold.
I must admit, the main thing that attracted me to this set was the minifigures. Weíve got three this time; the Mummy Snake Charmer, adventurer extraordinaire Jake Raines, and his former-rival-turned-ally Helena Tova (or as her online Bio says, Helena Skvalling). Jake appears to be the main protagonist of this theme. And he looks ready for trouble, judging by the ammunition he has strapped on. Helena also features a similar outfit, minus the ammunition, and with a necklace instead. As a minifig collector, I can see potential in using her torso for many other female figs. She also had burnt orange hair (another new color for that piece) and a smiling face with a few dimples. The snake charmer mummy looks to be like most of the other generic mummies, except with snakes in his hands (and the new headdress).
Both the mummy and Helena have two sided heads, to give them different expressions. If he feels like it, the mummy can turn into a Cyclops (as if being a snake charming mummy wasnít enough). Helena can express her concern of the matter with a new shocked face. Jake, on the other hand, doesnít have another expression. You see, nothing shocks Jake Raines.
Of course, when I first heard of the Pharaohís Quest theme, I thought back to the good old Johnny Thunder Egyptian theme. So I must pull out my Johnny Thunder figs for comparison. The two females are quite similar (although I think Helenaís expression is nicer). Jake, however, just doesnít seem to compare to Johnny. Is it because he has an ammunition strap instead of a scarf? Is it that he has a chin-beard instead of a mustache? Nope, itís clearly his lack of a fedora. Sorry Jake, but while you may be one tough adventurer, youíre not The Adventurer.
But enough of the past; letís move onto the present. After all, Jake and Helena still have to get past the Cobra.
Jake and Helena drive up to the temple, expecting the Scarab Shield to be a quick grab. But whatís that? The snake statue is actually alive? Their job just got a lot harder.
As I mentioned earlier, the truck has a decent yet simplistic design, much like the vehicles in the old Adventurers sets. And it has nice big wheels that allow it to roll across the desert with ease. Strangely, the steering wheel is on the right side as opposed to the left; I guess this means Jake isnít planning on driving this in the United States. And at first I though Jake was being mean by forcing Helena to sit in the back rather that the seat next to him. But this isnít him being rude; between Helenaís hair and shoulder bag, she just canít fit into the seat. Itís the curse of female accessories, I guess.
The Cobra is an effective design, and I think it works well for being a snake. It has plenty of mobility thanks to 8 ball and socket joints. But it has the falling of most snake models; itís hard to pose. Sure, you can get this guy to rear up, but you need to work out his pose so that his center of gravity keeps him balanced. Otherwise, heís going to topple over. But if you work with him, you can get some interesting poses.
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?
This set doesnít come with many special features. The truck moves like any LEGO vehicle, but thatís to be expected. The cobra can open his jaw a bit, but nothing too exciting. And, sadly, the temple doesnít even feature any hidden chambers or ejection platforms. (Which is a shame; I wouldíve liked to have a way to send that mummy snake charmer flying.)
The best function I can come up with is connecting the cobra to the temple. The connection is simple, and not very strong, but serves its purpose. And after that, you can wrap the cobra around the temple and put it in a few more poses, while temple helps support it. Itís not much, but itís something.
The best part of this set is obviously the role playing. Youíve got plenty of characters on both ends. Jake and Helena have their truck, stocked with guns, dynamite, and a shovel. Meanwhile, the mummy has snakes, both large and small, and that cobra can easily thwart Jake and Helenaís attempts to get the scarab shield.
The cobra is not intimidated by a truck. Not at all.
"Oh, hello. Is this your temple?"
"The power of the Golden Scarab Shield will protect me."
"Oh great, there goes our ride."
Even in the grip of the cobraís jaws, Jake has a determined look on his face.
A Hero Factory representative arrives to battle the cobra.
As Evo goes down, itís up to Pohatu to save the day.
With the temple pinning the cobra down, Jake and Helena make their getaway with the treasure.
The snake charmer comforts his pet in its time of need.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Great selection of pieces; includes lots of new recolored elements
- Minifigures are awesome, especially Helena
- Truck very reminiscent of older Adventurers theme
- Cobra looks very menacing
- Great set for role playing
What's not to like?
- Cobra is difficult to pose
- Temple has no special features
- Jake Raines is no Johnny Thunder
When all is said and done, I think this is a fun set in terms of pieces and designs. The cobra isnít the best creature design ever, but itís more than good enough to be a great opponent for Jake and Helena. The price of $29.99 USD is a little steep, so if you are looking for this set, Iíd suggest waiting to get it on sale. (I got mine with a 15% off coupon.) In the end, itís a worthy set, and if all Pharaohís Quest sets are this good, then itíll be a great theme.
Now get the Cursed Cobra Statue... before it gets you!
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