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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Clay's review of: Cybertron Scorponok

Name: Dark Scorponok (also referred to as "Zombie Scorpy")
Function: Abomination from beyond the grave
"Braaaaaiiiiinnnnnnsssssssss..."

...Dark Scorponok was once widely feared by Decepticons and Autobots alike, until his chassis was destroyed by Megatron. His mind and memory shattered, only partially operational and powered by the might of Unicron - some of which he managed to absorb - he hungers for a return to full functionality. Even in his partly destroyed state, his mech-venom sting and claws are a threat to all but the most powerful beings, and his return heralds a new era of fear for all who stand in his way.

The first bit of Cybertron filler, for the long gap between Jetfire/Scourge and whatever the big Vanguard toy is, is a retool of one of the most easily found Energon figures: Scorponok. That's an unfair wording that unduly maligns the figure, though. It's a neat figure! The problem with the Energon version seems to have been that entirely too many of them were made, but that mistake seems as if it's not been repeated this time around. When I found it on the top shelf of the aisle, it was the only one amidst plenty of the planes and dragons, so it seems to be in somewhat scant circulation so far.

As for the toy itself, the redecoration is a reference to an incredibly rare Japanese remolding of the original Scorponok, Black Zarak. It's not a verbatim reproduction, but the golds, reds, and dark greys/blacks are all very reminiscent of the G1 predecessor. The remolding is limited to the tail piece in order to accomodate the Force Chip gimmick, which is surprisingly bearable on this figure. Anyway, on with it!

Scorpion Mode:
A key distinction between this version and the Energon one is that the latter was supposed to be a scorpion-esque construction vehicle, whereas this new figure is advertised as a straight up scorpion to help marry it to Cybertron's planet schemes (Jungle Planet, in this case). Also, with incorporation of the new planet key gimmick, Scorponok become the one and only toy (so far) that can accomodate minicons, force chips, and energon chips simultaneously. Neat!

As for the beast mode itself, it's still pretty gosh darn fun. The original headmaster Scorpy wasn't particularly realistic in beast mode, so this recent version still has only a short hurdle to jump. And jump it it does! Among the posable claws, stinging tail, and swiveling mandibles, all the things that are actually important to a toy scorpion are present.

Jet Mode:
Scorponok as a jet from Cybertron. Tacked on, but fun. Next...

Zombie Robot:
Black Zarak's alive! Or living dead, anyway. Scorponok is one of the most underappreciated molds in recent years. The figure itself is, for the most part, outstanding. With tiny details scuplted everywhere, large amounts of articulation, G1 kickbacks with the adjustable visor, and those big fun scorpion claws, there are plenty of things to keep you busy. The only real drawbacks are that it is somewhat awkward looking, with long, lanky legs, huge forearms, and a tiny torso. But this is a robot, so human proportions are not applicable!

The critical drawback to Scorponok is as it was in Energon: size. It's a fantastic toy, but at $27, it just doesn't move. As mentioned before, Hasbro seems to have reconciled this by not making as many of the repaints as the original, and that seems to be an appropriate way to deal with it.

As for the background fiction, this version of Scorponok marks a first: a zombie robot. This isn't as far-fetched or corny as it sounds at first. The best analogy to explain it is probably "zombie robots are to robots what Windows is to computers." More believable now? I thought so.

Transformation: 9. Very straightforward, and this has to be one of the best transformer toys for "extra, unofficial modes". You too can create your own!
Durability: 10. An absolute brick. It doesn't even have any extra parts to lose!
Fun: This should be so obvious that I'm not even going to put a mark here.
Price: 8. Suggested retail price is around $27. Big figure, but hefty price for a main line figure (yes, I'm becoming progressively cheaper when it comes to toys).
Overall: X. This really depends on your perspective. There are certainly plenty of reasons to like it: if you liked the scorpion design that goes back all the way to the original G1 figure, or if you like obscure references to old/rare figures, or if you like this paint scheme better than the Energon/Superlink versions, or if you just like zombies, pick it up. If you think it was an unnecessary repaint of a figure that was a shelfwarmer to begin with, skip it.

I wasn't planning to get it myself, but I thought it was quite spiffy when I found it, so I picked it up. I've been subsequently pleased to have a second Scorponok around, but maybe that's just me. Take it with a grain of salt.
 
 
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