Well, from a kid's standpoint you can't get much cooler than Snake Eyes. The featureless mask...the dark, brooding, mute attitude. Heck, he's even a ninja! In the world of G.I. Joe, Snake Eyes is pretty much "the man" and we're going to have to get used to that, because I think we're going to see an awful lot of Snake Eyes over the coming months. Between this version, the Dojo Training version, the Ninja Tracker Quad, and the parachute version, Snake Eyes is going to be 2007's version of Duke, when he was practically 2006's version of Duke!

That is unfortunate in some ways, because I actually found myself really enjoying a lot of the different variations on Duke last year, but the same couldn't necessarily be said of Snake Eyes. Duke is the consumate soldier and team leader, so he seems to have a bit more versatility...there are only so many ways you can do "mute, battle-scarred ninja commando". At least, I thought there were. I must admit, though "mute, battle-scarred ninja commando with helicopter backpack" hadn't exactly crossed my mind.

I'm not quite sure how Hasbro first approached the idea of Snake Eyes with a super-powered helicopter assault pack, since it really doesn't fit the character in the least. However, strange combination aside, you can't argue with the coolness of the gear, and any excuse to get Snake Eyes crammed this full of additional articulation is not going to be discouraged by me. When you step back and look at the set as a whole, it's kind of mind-boggling, but breaking these toys down into individual componants, you end up with a somewhat more enjoyable outlook.

Let's look at the figure first.

Original prototype shots of Windblade Snake Eyes showed him to be a pretty bright, almost silvery shade of very light blue and gray. It meshed pretty well with the grayish armored backpack, but didn't give off a very "Snake Eyes" vibe. For whatever reason the color pallet was toned down heavily before production release, and I find myself fairly pleased that it was. While the grayish-blue made for a nice different color, considering this Snake Eyes was being made with all of this additional articulation, I was pretty happy to see that he would at least be able to replace my current Snake Eyes as the default member of Sigma 6.

As everyone should be aware, this new version of Snake Eyes (as well as Storm Shadow) comes with additional "double-jointed" articulation in the elbows and knees. This allows for much more range of motion in those limbs. His ankles also seem to have more motion, and his wrists of alternating swivel points as well (one back and forth, one side to side) which allows for even more potential movement. All in all, Hasbro really went out of their way to make these ninjas more poseable than their standard soldier comrades.

What you end up with is a version of Snake Eyes that looks as if he could pass for a normal Sigma Suited Snake Eyes (even though his colors are somewhat darker). While this is somewhat less satisfying in that you end up with just another Snake Eyes figure, I end up being happy with it because he fits in with the regular Sigma 6 team, yet retains the additional articulation.

Another very minor addition is that this new Snake Eyes actually has treads on his boots. He still has the split-toe ninja-type boot thing going on, but he actually looks quite a bit better with the treaded feet. Looks like he's definitely better out in the field than he was with those little socky things.

But, of course, along with the souped up Snake Eyes, you get the helicopter backpack as well. It's confession time. I LOVE flightpacks. Love 'em. I was a huge fan of all of the different assorted jetpacks, copter packs, etc... in the regular Joe line, and my love for them continues here. The idea of having these guys whipping through the air with jet engines strapped to their backs just seems very cool to me. And I end up being exceedingly happy with the production values of the helicopter backpack included in this set.

First of all, the way the body armor and the helicopter interact is nearly flawless. You can put the armor on Snake Eyes all on it's own, though the way it fits is somewhat a toss up. Sometimes it fits well, sometimes it tends to "rise up". I actually don't mind the "risen up" look (as in the picture above) because it gives him a very armored appearence, with the tall collar and the visor. Once you decide to strap the copter pack on, though, it ends up fitting very, very nicely.

Two lower straps come up around and hook into the two pegs on the front of the chest armor, and there are two holes that slide easily over two pegs on the back of the chest armor. I did have some issues with the back pegs, where they kept bending and made it kind of tough to get the pack secure, but ultimately they ended up fitting pretty well. Once the pegs are hooked and the straps are hooked, the copter pack fits very tight, very snug, and very well. I like it a ton.

The blades fold in or fold out, and they can rotate down to be perched on Snake Eyes' back, or simply be straight up in the air to allow for free flight. The big honking lever on the pack can be pressed in and released to make the blades spin, and that functionality works very well, even though it leaves a huge black lever permenantly sticking out of the backpack. Another nice little feature of the pack is a drop down door with two little bombs in it that apparently are designed to drop on COBRA's heads as the Windblade copter pack is spinning up overhead.

Of course, Snake Eyes comes with other gear as well. His armor and visor are pretty nice all told. I like the extended shoulder pads and the very tech oriented visor/goggles as well. But that's kind of where my enjoyment ends.

Snake Eyes comes with two tonfa swords (and one sheath), which is all well and good, but we've seen them a hundred times before. His last accessory is...well...I don't even know how to describe it. It's some weird knife-gun. That's right...it's a knife. And it's a gun. It's a knifegun.

It comes with some weird rotating cylinder that doesn't seem to serve a purpose, and there's a lever that slides out a small blade from the front of the weapon. I have no idea what it's for, but there it is. Do with it what you will, just don't put an eye out.

While ultimately I'm not sure where Hasbro was coming from in combining Snake Eyes with high-tech helicopter backpack, I can appreciate the coolness of both parts of the equation. Even in a very familiar deco, I'm quite pleased with the additional articulation on Snake Eyes, and the copter pack itself is quite awesome as well. It's tough to go wrong with this particular set, even if you've already got a dozen Snake Eyes figures like I do. The extra double joints makes a big difference, and it's almost like having a totally new figure.

Add that to the neat armor and Windblade helicopter, and you end up with a pretty darn enjoyable set overall. I definitely recommend giving this one a try.














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