November 29th, 2001 saw the release of one of the most controversial video game sequels ever: Metal Gear Solid 2. It was the long awaited followup to the smash hit on the PS1, and Konami was gonna rock your ****ing socks off!...well, some of us. Most people just wound up pissed because it starred this guy.
Also back in 2001, before the only videogames apparently worthy of Mr.McFarlane's (artist of Spawn and Marvel characters such as Venom) were Halo and Assassin's Creed, he made some Metal Gear Solid action figures. But here's the thing. It's been 13 years. Yeah, that's right, MGS2 is 13 years old. Feel old yet? Good, cus so do I, and you have to suffer too. So the question is, after over a decade is there any reason besides pure nostalgia to own any of these figures? The answer is a resounding "Maaaaaaaybe...."
This series is, like most figures of the time, carded. So I had to mutilate most of this nice artwork to get it open, and that sucks. Through the bubble you can get a decent look at Raiden, but he has 2 accessories you cannot see. Namely, he has a maskless head that is kept behind the word card at the bottom so that store patrons who hadn't played the game yet wouldn't have Raiden's identity spoiled for them.
So the first thing I have to say is that the actual sculptwork has withstood the test of time phenomenally for the most part. the skullsuit looks amazing and has tons of little painted and sculpted details. My only complaint here is that on the mask, the oxygen cartridges and hair is made of rubber and rubber is a very poor choice of material to use on an action figure as it degrades over time. when it comes to the unmasked head sculpt, though, things get a little sketchy...namely because it doesn't really look like Raiden at all. In fact, it looks like Owen Wilson.
Owe-er, Raiden comes with an M4 carbine that has a nice, kind of semi-weathered look to it. It's got a decent amount of details for an accessory, but gain I have to complain about the use of rubber. There is a strap than can be used to place the gun on Raiden's shoulder. I can tell that this piece was one semi-elastic, but not it feels kind of fragile and I'm a little worried I'm going to snap it.
A handgun is also included in the form of the MGS favorite SOCOM. The pistol is less detailed than the rifle, but it still looks nice all things considered. The coolest thing about this gun is how Raiden's finger fits around the trigger perfectly...actually, I take the back, the coolest thing is the fully functioning SOCOM holster sculpted into Raiden's side.
Raiden of course includes the signature high frequency blade, which is actually pretty bland, but there's only so much you can with a ninjato I guess. Also included is a smaller ninjato, but I'm not sure why as it is never seen in the game. The second blade is pretty useless in my opinion.
Articulation is the real downfall of this figure. The head is just on a cut joint, so it can look left and right, but not up and down. The shoulders also have cut joints, but at least get decent range. The elbows however will always be stuck in pretty much the same position and turning the cut joints there too much breaks up the sculpt. Raiden has a surprisingly nice abdominal joint, but things just get their worst at his hips. There is a cut joint here on both sides extending from his crotch to his waist and they are utterly useless, cutting up the sculpt ridiculously if improvised. The knees have hinges at least, but double joints would be of great benefit, especially since they could be so easily covered with the knee pads. Lastly, we get cut joints on each foot at the toes that are of literally no use. Even for 2001, this was pretty bogus. Raiden is more of less a statue with some slight customization options. He can't really interact with anything, aim at other figures, or do anything other than stand in a hunched sneaking position while holding some weapons.
If you love Metal Gear Solid as much as I do, then regardless of everything I have just pointed out this figure probably still seems kind of cool to you. I'm in that same boat, but I'd have to thing long and hard before really recommending this to someone. They've become collector's items at this point and the figures are going to cost you $35 at minimum, either boxed or open. There doesn't seem to be any really market standard though, so maybe you'll luck out. Raiden comes with a build-a-figure part for Metal Gear Ray, which I will hopefully be able to complete and review in the future.
Oh, the times do change, don't they?
+really attentive detailing
+skullsuit and mask are awesome
+Weapons are great
-Owen Wilson face
-CUT JOINTS. CUT JOINTS EVERYWHERE.
-articulation is mostly moot