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Mind in the Gutter:
...a quick and dirty review.
I really need to get into the habit of reviewing things more regularly. I've got a whole spindle I mean SHELF, I have a whole Legally Purchased SHELF of movies that deserve to be reviewed (or destroyed so that they can't kill again) and a cabinet filled with what can only be described as "Miscellaneous." I've reviewed a few of these mysterious things over the years, and admittedly most of them find a way over to the Blog. But Attacktix? They're special...there's too much to say and share for just a blog entry. Since I moved about a month or so ago, the damn things found their way to my attention, like that discolored growth on my shoulder. Instead of going to a doctor and getting it removed, I figured I'd try to get back into the masochistic swing of things and review the damn thing.
So what is Attacktix? Let me walk you through my own introduction to the little anomaly just so you get the full effect.
I'm walking through a department store's toy section. By "toy section" I really just mean a couple dirty shelves filled with discount crap that no one wanted for 3 Christmases in a row. Hiding behind a "pretend to be Anakin Skywalker as he repairs a droid" playset, I found....this:
If you can fully comprehend what Attacktix is by that picture alone, I salute you. When I picked this up a couple of red flags showed up: The packaging is explained in no less than a dozen languages. That wasn't the big one though. Something seemed "wrong" with these superheroes. I couldn't quite put my finger on it....
Sweet mother of God, Spiderman's been infected with goatse hands. That's...amazing. And check out the size of the Green Goblins fist right there. What the heck is this? Why am I looking at malformed heroes? And, more importantly, why did I shell out 4 bucks for this thing?
Oh, that's right, because I have issues. Let's open up the rulebook, shall we?
Attacktix is a game for ages 6 and up, meaning that I'm a grown manchild reviewing something for folks almost a fifth my own age. The game revolves around using spring-loaded toys to knock over other spring-loaded toys. Remember how you'd get that action figure who could shoot a rocket from his back or something? Every piece in Attacktix is like that...so that little game we all played when we were little and kept trying to knock over army men (or "Happy Funtime Patriots"...I'm not sure what army men are called these days) is pretty much what Hasbro has tapped into. The game itself is pretty fun in a "holy crap this is for little kids?" kind of way. And yet....things get weird when you look more closely at this. I don't use the term abomination flippantly, so let me try to illuminate what's going on here.
Attacktix came out originally in 2005 to promote the final nail in the Star Wars Franchise, Revenge of the Sith. If that doesn't lay the groundwork for something entirely unholy, I don't know what would.
This? This isn't so bad. The figure has a big spring-loaded gun that he can fire to knock over the other player's pieces. Sure, the gun's oversized, but that's what you have to do to make the toy work.
That last bit of rationalization is exactly why I think the Attacktix line was created by a psychotic employee of Hasbro...most likely someone on the toy design team that just wanted the hurting to stop.
Most toy designs based on specific characters have the same basic rules:
1. They have to look like the character.
2. Don't give them genitalia.
3. Seriously, Steve, stop trying to give them all the Pokemon junk.
4. If you want the toy to have a gimmick, make it work with the character, not the other way around.
If someone wanted to make a Spiderman toy that could shoot webs, they might end up with something like this:
Sure, he's got holes in his palms Jesus-Style, but it's very clear what they're for and, besides that, he doesn't look like he needs to be rushed to a radiation/in-breeding treatment facility.
If someone wanted to make an Attacktix Spiderman that shot webs, they'd make him like this:
Let's take the salad bowl projectile away for a moment and get a good look at him.
While I can't get the goatse image out of my head, perhaps we should worry about the fact that Spiderman's arms have fused together, creating some sort of nightmarish orifice of nefarious purpose. (If someone out there starts a band named "Orifice of Nefarious Purpose", know that you've got my support.)
So, yeah. Attacktix is a toy line where the toymakers made the toy and then mutated the character around it so that it would work. It's common with a lot of toys that come with hamburgers... a kid's gonna be more excited that the robot's missile can shoot his sister in the face than he is distraught at the robot's social ostracism for having one arm five times larger than the other. But Function before Character? That doesn't sound bad and when you think about it, it might be pretty advanced toy theory right there. The downside....these aren't generic robots. A lot of these characters are pretty well-known and....check it out:
People should not have an arm big enough for them to crawl inside in case they become frightened. Personally I think the Green Goblin needs to start doing something else in the gym...that left arm is pretty much ready for whatever arm-wrestling championship he was shooting for.
So let me just walk you through some highlights from the toy line, and I'll let you make up your own mind about these toys of yesteryear (Yes, 2005-2007 counts as yesteryear). By "make up your own mind" I, of course, really mean tolerate my crude sex jokes. Because something is wrong with me.
How did I know a guy who keeps a big red phallus in his sleeve would sign his checks with the name "Fisto"?
Sith do it with both hands. Apparently.
(And somehow with way too many fingers.)
Here we see "Overcompensating" Boba Fett, relaxing between battles.
Now this isn't too terrible a figure...so what could I make fun of here?
Turns out he attacks by firing that rocket strapped to his back...
...by bending over.
Boba Fett blasts you with his rocket by assuming the position.
Ummm. Ummmm. Sweet mother of GOD.
Jabba gobbles balls and spits them back at his enemies.
That is somehow so very wrong.
Even worse, check out the packaging. Ball Firing action? And below that pay close attention: This toy is a Choking Hazard. That's right kids, it's fine for you to stick your blue balls into Jabba's mouth, but if you put balls into your own mouth you might choke. There's nothing wrong with what I just typed...that's literally what this toy is telling us. God I love my job.
"As Hank McCoy, known as the Beast, entered the room, the other X-men began to suspect it was time he got off the internet and got himself a girlfriend."
What the hell is up with the goofy wanking claws/jumbo hands?
Turns out that besides spring-loaded projectiles, some of the Attacktix figures are masters of melee combat. Which is hilarious. If you're my age (or a little older, honestly) you'll recognize this:
This was the feature on all the old He-Man figures that meant when you twisted his body he'd spring back into place...punching any bad guy your held up next to him. It was a fun little thing but Attacktix makes this a legitimate game mechanic. It's so funny...this has been around for ages but Attacktix is the first game I've ever seen that tried to legitimize punching other toys with your toys. I'm explaining it poorly but it's amazing somehow. Innovative? I might be giving someone too much credit, but the more I think about this line the more I'm surprised no one thought of it earlier.
Here Cyclops takes a giant squid to the face...or attacks his enemies by birthing a giant jalapeno pepper from his face. I'm comfortable with either possibility.
There are no good pictures of Storm but you can tell this was designed with Halle Berry in mind. The key is realizing that she too has an arm that's bigger than her entire body. It's amazing what Hollywood can edit out with movie magic.
It's nice to know that the incredible Hulk is a fan of "Dick in a Box".
Or...barrel, in this case.
Here we see Hulk posing for his upcoming film "Passion of the Hulk".
Flying Skateboard, Skater safety equipment, ski mask...giant basketball.
I just don't get X-treme sports anymore.
Attacktix Colossus with Inseminating Action Smash.
Attacktix Spiderman with "Booger Flick" Action.
Here Jean Grey rides her diaphragm into battle.
You know, because she can.
And...I could really share these all day. The design for most of them is...creative, in a really uncreative way, if that makes any sense at all. No, I don't think it does. But we don't need to make sense. After all, we can have Optimus Prime beat up Darth Vader.
When you're a toy company with multiple licenses, it's never a bad idea to mix them. Not saying it's a good idea either. It is awesome nevertheless, with a Pirates Versus Ninja kind of charm.
Nothing says "holy crap how bad could this game have been?" like when one of the few expansions for it is themed after the terrible Nicholas Cage movie, Ghost Rider (click for my review of it). Not the comic book characters, but the movie characters...these are what they felt compelled to make into Attacktix figures. It's one thing to give the Attacktix to famous characters, but to adapt B-Movie stars into them just spells "we were contractually obligated to do this, or Mr. Cage would hunt us down."
Here's where I have to make a confession...and I think my downfall was actually playing the game and not just making fun of it from afar...
I had fun playing Attacktix.
If you can overcome your "I'm too old to play with this" instinct, you might enjoy these things. The starter set that I opened to review the game actually entertained us for a lot longer than it should have. I mean, I do have the maturity of a 7-year-old, so it makes sense. We ended up drinking a little and recording most of our first "game." Yes, it did devolve into us just using our hands to flick the damn things off the table...but that's best for you to see for yourself. EDIT: I just found out my video editing software got misplaced when we moved, I will give you a sneak peek while I sort out the videos.
Here I am with my giant hands getting increasingly frustrated at my inability to stab Sabretooth in the junk.
I also have to confess that I'm not proud of making erotic grunting noises whenever I got to load Spiderman's double-fisted orifice (of nefarious purpose). Still fun as all hell, though. The video will be available soon, no question.
Truth be told, Attacktix might have been a good idea for a game. It's not that it....err....
Once you've shoved blue balls into Jabba's mouth, there's no going back.
In fact, the more I think about it, the more disturbing this game gets.
I'm not sure why.
Bonus Confession: I was wrong!
When I originally wrote this article, I assumed that "Kung Fu Grip" actually referred to a spring-loaded karate chop that Hasbro put into the early G.I.Joe action figures. Turns out, Kung Fu Grip refers to Hasbro giving their dolls flexible plastic fingers so they could hold weapons and slide down ropes better. Thank you toy fanatics for writing in and setting me straight.
Copyright 2009 Jared von Hindman or maybe just Jared Hindman. It depends. Any images used that are not Jared's are used via Fair Use review purposes and belong to their respective owners....who are nice people that don't want to sue me. Special Thanks to ToyNewsInternational, MarvelousNews, and Hasbro. There aren't that many pictures of Attacktix on the net...and the official Attacktix gallery isn't even around anymore. If you're a fan of Attacktix, my apologies...though I do hope you're aware how retarded these look out of context.
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