REVIEW: NECA's BioShock Big Daddy (Bouncer)


Who's your daddy? Advance review on anticipated video game figure.

Combining fantastic steampunk design with claustrophobic underwater intrigue, BioShock quickly became one of my favorite video games. That's not even mentioning its rich story line and engaging game play. Simply put, BioShock hit all the right notes; a captivating title that swept me away for DAYS, cheerfully drowning me in the dystopian realm of Rapture.

Come February 9, 2010, fans, including this eager die-hard, will once again be able to return to the watery depths of 2K Games' masterpiece with the release of BioShock 2. To coincide with the anticipated title, NECA will be unleashing Rapture's many dangerous denizens as 7-inch scale action figures (CLICK HERE for the initial releases). However, one of those figures is a special "Sneak Preview" figure, a collectible to set the tone early and in a grand fashion: the Big Daddy (Bouncer). Scheduled to arrive in stores next month, this behemoth is NECA's "biggest and heaviest figure" ever produced in the 7-inch format. I prefer the term "meaty". Priced at a SRP of $20, it's slightly more than your typical NECA figure release, but then the Big Daddy isn't your typical NECA action figure.

PACKAGING: With all the talk about how heavy this fella was, I was half expecting a window box. Instead the Big Daddy comes packaged in a tremendous clam shell adorned with the BioShock 2 logo and an eye-popping graphic of the Big Daddy's multi-eyed head in the corner. What's cool about the latter is how the image wraps around the side giving the package intensity and depth. A sticker in the upper left hand corner proclaims this as a "Sneak Preview" figure.

The back panel sadly lacks a Big Daddy bio (fascinating stuff, read all about them HERE), but it does provide you with a good look at all the upcoming BioShock figures. The back panel insert also illustrates a windowed corridor of Rapture City, the perfect backdrop for the Big Daddy action figure.

SCULPT/PAINT: Standing a solid 8-inches tall (and nearly 7-inches wide), the Big Daddy oozes with retro-future originality. Resembling a turn of the century deep sea diving suit on steroids, the Big Daddy hunches over menacingly with a HUGE drill attachment for a right hand. NECA nails the steely drill, brass/copper piping and armor plating with extreme detail, the surfaces realistically portrayed with scuffs, nicks, and pockmarks. It's metal made of plastic, all brought to life by a very convincing paint job.

Equally nice is the textured clothing, the greens and browns playing nicely against the beast's coppery hide. A splash of red on the tank wheel and yellow "neutral" eyes add that final visual punch. This is one of those figures that actually looks better than its video game counterpart. The shadows have been lifted and the monster has been revealed, and boy does it look good.

Construction is also worth noting here. The Big Daddy packs some serious weight, and not from a heavy diet of ADAM mutagen. This is the "meaty" I referred to earlier, an extremely well-built action figure of dense hard plastics. What's extra cool is the care NECA went to creating the more fragile-looking pieces, such as the Big Daddy's face and body cage, as well as the tank valve and wheel. All these are cast of a more pliable plastic; not soft rubber flimsy and not bone brittle stiff. The plastic used provides just the right amount of leeway so that if you dropped this monster there's no real fear of breakage.

ARTICULATION: For such a large figure, you'd think articulation would be kept to a minimal. Wrong. The Big Daddy includes ample amounts articulation to better navigate his way through the corridors of the underwater city Rapture, including:

* Ball Jointed Shoulders

* Ball Jointed Thighs

* Ball Hinged Elbows

* Ball Hinged Wrists

* Ball Hinged Knees

* Ball Hinged Ankles

* Rotating Drill

All the cleverly concealed joints allow for a multitude of poses, from the Big Daddy's charging drill attack to standing idle waiting for his next move. The joints are solid too, each hinged appendage featuring an easy to manipulate "pop-and-lock" joint for dynamic display. And balance? This creature isn't ever capsizing.

VALUE & OVERALL IMPRESSION: The Big Daddy Bouncer, due to his size, weight, and slightly higher retail, is not planned to see release again with the core BioShock figure assortment next year. So if you're a fan of the design, now's the time to act. Compared to so many toys on the market today, $20 for the Big Daddy is a steal.

When BioShock first saw release in the summer of '07, a special bundle was offered that included a limited-edition Big Daddy figurine. At the time I regretted not purchasing that bundle when I had the opportunity, despite the figure's many reported shortcomings. I was late to the "game," so to speak, and my new found love for the game had me itching for an action figure. But $100 on eBay? Forgetaboutit.

That winter, NECA's Head of Product Development, Randy Falk mentioned to me how much he'd love to make a Big Daddy action figure and do it it right. My hope was rekindled. Two years later and here we are, that Big Daddy dream realized by NECA and by fans. And let me tell you, they got it right.

For tons of new images of the Big Daddy (Bouncer) action figure, CLICK HERE!

Review Sample Courtesy of NECA

Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor


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