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Samus Aran Joy Ride Studios, 2003

Samus Aran Review Capsule
In 2003, Joy Ride Studios released Samus Aran from Metroid to an eager public. Even though the figure seems to have been produced on the cheap, its price tag didn't exactly match. Still, as the only known Samus Aran action figure, it's worth tracking down. Originally sold for roughly $10-$12, and at that price, is well worth it.
WARNING/GUARANTEE
This item is presented for review and entertainment purposes only. It is not for sale. Please search eBay, Google, or your favorite source of collectibles to determine if you can purchase this item.

Introduction

With nearly two decades of gaming history behind it, Metroid has been fairly low-key as far as Nintendo's big titles have gone, with half the franchise's games having been released in the past couple of years. With the revival of the character, it seemed that someone finally got the clue and decided to release Samus Aran in plastic.

She has a removable, interchangable head and fairly limited articulation, but she's all Samus.

There's a lot to like about this figure, but most of it is about the character.

Figure

As a statue, it's a nice piece. As a toy, it starts to fall apart.

The figure has limited detail on her suit, and limited articulation. Oh, and limited paint applications. In short, the figure really doesn't seem worthy of the $13 or so most game store were charging for her upon her release, but as of now, she goes for a little bit more on the secondary market.

The choices of colors and the overall look of the figure is adequate, and for roughly 10 years ago, would have been really something. Between McFarlane and so many other companies, though, we've come such a long way that a figure of this quality doesn't seem nearly as impressive. They did make sure to paint some details that might have gone missed, like the grey at her shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and for this I am quite happy.

Samus' articulation clocks in at 12 points, although some are hindered. Her neck cannot turn, and the ball joints at her shoulders are restricted by the large shoulder armor. Her elbows are given a good range of motion, as are her ankles, knees, and hips. Her hips are completely unrestricted, which is nice but really won't help you find a pose that's all that much better than the default one. Also, it's worth noting that the articulation is fairly well hidden, a detail the folks at Joy Ride seem to do quite well.

There are some decent grooves, vents, and plates sculpted on the power suit, but on the whole, it doesn't really "wow" as much as it could. Of course, once you take into account that this is the only real Metroid toy on the market today, you can get past these faults very quickly.

Accessories & Gimmicks

This figure includes an interchangable head to show Samus unmasked.

One head pops out, and the other pops in. This reveals a hollow torso which, again, makes the figure seem cheap. The unmasked head seems to be fairly well done in terms of production values, but let's face it, it really doesn't look like any of the artwork for the character. Admittedly, official shots of Samus unmasked are far and few between, but the end result here isn't exactly impressive. Odds are Joy Ride would have been better off axing this spare head in favor of another accessory. Perhaps, oh I don't know... an actual Metroid.

The head can be swapped out without a hitch, and it performs its function as expected. As such, it's not a total failure, but for a character like Samus, odds are many fans will have expected a little something more.

Packaging

While our sample's packaging was lost to the ages, it came on a large, colorful blister card sporting a "Nintendo Power" logo, the same as the long-running magazine. The package had velcro on the back which opened up to reveal Metroid gaming tips, which at this stage in the game seemed like an odd choice that only added cost to the already pricey figure. Still, there has been far worse, and it performed its function admirably.

Fin

Fans of Metroid probably already have this, and passive fans of the series probably won't care. Samus Aran is one of Nintendo's great classic heroes, and it's great to see that she finally made it to the third dimension. Unfortunately, the quality may not be up to snuff for some fans, but for those that just wanted something that was fairly priced, nicely sized, and of a quality far beyond that of the Metroid Prime bobblehead, this is the toy for you.

Reviewed and photographed by Adam Pawlus
Sample purchased from a local GameStop for roughly $11.99 in 2003
Reviewed on February 17, 2004.

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