Get to the Wayback Machine!...
Who'd have thought that a one-off show exclusive would balloon into a full-blown series? NECA's Friday the 13th Jason (1989 Video Game Appearance) action figure was so well received at Comic-Con 2013 that the company has pursued an entire line of retro 8-bit NES video game characters. These are games that many fans recall playing in the late '80s - for better or for worse. These are games that lured gamers with a killer license only to disappoint with shoddy, often frustrating game play. In other words, the stuff fond memories are made of. It helps too that NECA currently holds many of the killer licenses that sold these old games. In addition to Jason, fans of the series have been treated to NES versions of Freddy Krueger and Robocop, and soon will have the opportunity to own Predator. Arriving at retail soon priced at $19.99, Predator (Classic Video Game Appearance) continues to captivate collectors with nostalgic charm.
The thing that really sells this line is the brilliant retro-designed packaging. Styled to resemble the actual packaging used for the classic NES title, the fifth panel window boxes NECA's Classic Video Game Appearance figures come in are drop dead awesome. NECA's Predator pack appears pretty much as it did in 1989 on game store shelves, with a thermal image of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Dutch caught in the Predator's crosshairs. The NES Predator game wisely (deceptively?) used the same cool movie poster that attracted fans to the 1987 film.
Instead of the "Official Nintendo Seal" in the lower right-hand corner, NECA sneakily stamps their own seal of approval.
The back of the box continues the original game pack design, though the illusion is somewhat broken with photos of the figure's features instead of screenshots from the game (However it still looks great. I got a chuckle out of "Awesome Detail!"). A licensing issue, I am sure, as I don't think Nintendo is involved with these figures at all (there's a reason why NES is not mentioned). To complete the vintage feel, NECA "weathered" the edges of the box to appear as if it came from 1989 (the worn look is actually just part of the printed design - love it!).
The best is still to come. Lifting the front panel reveals not only a view of the figure (with player stats at the top!), but a hilarious quote and screen shot from the ending of the game. "'You are one ugly beast,' Schaefer says." F-U-N-N-Y!
At this point, many collectors will be content with just admiring the figure in pack. I'm one of those collectors, and that's coming from someone that *gasp* opens most all his toys. But wait! NECA is one step ahead of us, allowing you to remove the figure AND return it without damaging the box. Simply lift the top flap and slide out the Predator figure on his plastic tray. There's some tape at the top and a twisty tie to undo, but other than that it's all very collector friendly. There's even a cardboard insert that resembles a level of the game - great for display with the figure in or out of the box.
The Predator figure itself is the same new and improved 8-inch Jungle Hunter figure NECA released back in Series 8 (photos HERE). In other words, a hyper-articulated Predator figure with rotating plasma caster and retractable wrist claws.
The only difference is the blinding blue color scheme. Why is he blue, some of you youngins may ask? To resemble the 8-bit video game character art! Yeah, game graphics have come a long way, but back in '89 this was cutting edge stuff. NECA brilliantly pulls off the 8-bit look with a cell-shading effect they have so mastered on past figure designs, such as Borderlands. The NES Predator actually has loads of color, including light AND dark blues, some purple and even black. The end result is very cool - both as a retro 8-bit design and as a passable Predator concept. Aqua Predator? Some sort of active camo? Smurf slaying Yautja? Imagine what you will, but it looks wonderful. For some serious psychedelic fun, pose the NES Predator with Series 11's Thermal Vision Dutch. Alas, my NES Predator is being displayed in that incredible retro box.
Jason, Freddy, Robocop and Predator are just the beginning for the Classic Video Game Appearance line. NECA has already stated that more are planned. Think about the many licenses NECA currently has that were turned into 8-bit games back in the day. Rambo and The Terminator instantly spring to my mind as possible future figures. Time will tell, and I'm sure NECA has some surprises up their sleeve... just like when they unleashed Friday the 13th Jason (1989 Video Game Appearance) on the unsuspecting masses. Hang on to your NES Controller, it's gonna be a wild ride down memory lane.
All Photos by Jeff Saylor
Review Sample Courtesy of NECA
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