It took a long time for me to get this write up done, simply because I wasn't sure many people cared about it. I mean, it's essentially a two-pack of two figures already released with a DVD of a cartoon shown on Saturday morning 2-3 times already. Was this really worth a purchase? Even I wasn't sure, which is why it took so long to get this review done. I didn't want to go the mail-order route with this because with shipping, we'd be talking about a serious investment for two figures w/ accessories I already owned, and while I take pride in trying to make the re-issued figures into new characters in the Battle Files section, I didn't feel a need or desire to do that with these guys since they looked so much like the originals. But, of course, Hasbro went to lengths to at least make these figures somewhat different from the originals, and to try and make them worth a purchase...did Hasbro succeed? Kind of.

It's pretty easy to see that there are some drastic differences between these figures and the ones that have already hit store shelves. Snake Eyes has some much brighter accents, fingerless gloves, and cloth pants, while Storm Shadow has gray arms instead of the bare ones he had before. Each figure has some moderate success in different ways.

First of all, we'll tackle Storm Shadow.

The infamous COBRA Ninja actually has a variation here that makes sense...even though it doesn't really look it, this uniform designation could be called his "arctic" version because he wears it in the first episode of the cartoon as he defends the COBRA snow fortress against Snake Eyes and his ninja apprentices. The plain gray arms look pretty neat and make sense as skin-tight arm coverings (though I'm not sure why his ninja clan tattoo is visible on the surface). He still has his white martial arts pants and comes with a decent accessory compliment.

The mold is the same as Commando Wave 1, and works really well with the updated paint apps. Not only does he have the aforementioned gray arms, but he's got a black waist-sash and gray accents on his legs, too. The gray is light enough to still really work nicely as Storm Shadow, but adds some great variety to the mold, making it look like a nice update and something we haven't seen before. Red arm guards look great against the gray, and he still has his trusty red strap to hold weapons in place.

Speaking of weapons, he comes with a lot of the same gear he came with before. He doesn't have the foot claws, scabbard, or sword stand (and the staff that comes with him is now intended for Snake Eyes), but he does still have his long sword, short sword, sais, hand-claws, and nunchuks. Quite an impressive supply of extra ninja weapons, I must say. He can still hold the sais and long sword on his sheaths, although the long sword wobbles around somewhat in the holder without the scabbard. Even though it does wobble, though, it still stays pretty secure. Over all, a decent update for this figure, although it doesn't offer a whole lot of new stuff, it's got enough of the same older stuff to work pretty well, especially if you don't yet own the Commando version.

We'll cover Snake Eyes next, who has less sensible updates, but still some nice changes worth a mention.

First of all, the overall mold is the same, obviously, with the exception of the head sculpt. It would seem that Hasbro went with a completely new head with this version of Snake Eyes, which includes a molded on visor instead of the changable visor the original Commando version had. This gives me some mixed feelings, although no negatives big enough for me to care too much.

I LOVE the switchable visor on the first version, and the other stuff you can slap in place are all terrific. From night vision to gas mask, to the traditional visor we know and love, it works really, really well, and this new version just doesn't have that possibility. But that's not always a bad thing. I can understand the expense restrictions for this set, and I have no problems with the molded on visor, as it actually makes the figure more "playable". There's no risk of the visor popping off while the kids play with it, and the head sculpt still looks just as Snake Eyes should, and retains all of the character and design elements that make this guy who he is.

So, I do think the modified head works on certain levels, even if it isn't as functional and fun as the Commando version...but the real joy of this figure is the color alterations. Anyone who has read my reviews on my other site knows that I have an affinity for interesting color apps, and vibrant, bright, exciting pallets. Snake Eyes has had a certain level of boring to his figures because he traditionally uses dark, drab colors. This Snake Eyes, though, really sparks things with a bunch of bright white accents that really makes the figure come to life.

As it should be, the bulk of Snake Eyes' colors are black, but with accents in white instead of gray this figure is a lot brighter and a lot more exciting, in my opinion. While not quite as functional in an infiltration sense, it's just more fun to look at, I think, and works as a nice update to the figure. Another great touch, I think, are the fingerless gloves, which match this Snake Eyes up better with a lot of the other Sigma 6 figures, and bring another nice and different aspect to the character. Having his clan tattoo in his uniform, underneath his right arm, is also a neat touch and it stands out nicely against the white accent. I am a little bit disappointed that these white trim colors do not run on the legs as well, even though the baggy black pants cover that up anyway.

Speaking of the pants, this is another different path that Hasbro went on, and it works...moderately. I must admit that these black pants look somewhat baggy on ole Snakes, who's got a pretty thin mold, but they are still a different component to the figure and character, and I like 'em in some respects. First of all, it's just nice to HAVE some black pants out there to use for customs if need be, or just to have kicking around. On Snake Eyes, they don't look real smooth, but I can still dig them and they make him actually fit in with Storm Shadow pretty well.

As for the weapons...again, I'm surprised by just how much gear this figure comes with. While he doesn't have his familiar webgear, scabbards, or Uzi, he does have both Tonfa swords and his same short sword as he had in the Commando version, but then he inherits items from Storm Shadow to round off the selection. He has Stormy's old grappling hook and bo staff, and it works pretty well for the character, I think.

All in all, while this Snake Eyes will not appeal to everyone, I think it looks really nice (though he's not quite as functional) and makes for a neat component to this two-pack.

This Ninja Showdown pack is obviously designed as a "theme" and it's a theme that works nicely. Black and white seem to be the color scheme running through this entire 2-pack, being a main componant in both Storm Shadow's and Snake Eyes' paint applications, and each character comes with a nice assortment of accessories and gear. Cloth pants for both, and a modified head sculpt all add to the value...not to mention the DVD. It would have been nice to get maybe a few episodes on a DVD for this set, we just get one: Episode 6 - Race, but the DVD has some great presentation, there is a metric ton of ninja-themed gear, and two of the most popular characters in the Joe mythos all in one $20.00 set.

While this might not go over well with completist, older fans, I think it's a great alternative for kids, or for people who might not have bought the figures already. This set offers much of the same stuff you get with the two Commandos, and I think the design asthetics are nice enough to warrant a purchase. Twenty dollars might seem a little steep for two figures that are already released, and I can't whole-heartedly recommend that everyone run out and buy this thing. It has it's own positives and negatives, and is not necessary by any means, but that doesn't mean it isn't fun just the same. The figures look great, the accessories are awesome, and I think for $10.00 a pop, these two figures are worth some consideration, again, especially for kids, or those folks who don't have the Commandos or want extras for whatever reason.














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