I don’t consider myself a gamer by any means but I go through stints where I get hooked on certain video games. Civilization is all I play these days, but I’ve lost many hours to Golden Eye, Mario Kart, Pikmin, and others over the years. My early childhood pre-dated Nintendo. I remember when Atari was all the rage. We never owned an Atari when we were kids but we had a Commodore 64 computer and we owned hundreds of games on floppy disks. My dad would swap games with guys he worked with so he regularly brought home new disks with loads of new games on them. They weren’t very complicated games mind you. Many of them were just slight variations of popular games like Centipede and Space Invaders.
When the first generation of Nintendo and Sega systems hit retail it was a pretty big deal. The console games blew the Commodore games out of the water. We never owned either of the first-gen system but we rented them regularly from the corner video store (remember when you could do that?). The first system I owned was the 16-bit Sega Genesis. I had a decent library of cartridges but my favorite game was probably Road Rash. If memory serves, Mortal Kombat debuted on the 16-bit systems. I never owned the original Mortal Kombat (I was more of a Street Fighter fan) but my best friend Greg did and we played it at his house a lot between Mario Kart binges. My favorite characters were the ninjas, Sub-Zero and Scorpion.
The first version of Mortal Kombat that I ever purchased for myself was for the Sega Saturn system. It was called Mortal Kombat Trilogy and it contained all of the arenas and characters from the original game and the 2 subsequent sequels. The cast of characters had gotten quite large by then. I still liked the ninjas best but the designers had lazily created a bunch more identical ninjas just in different color costumes, somewhat diluting the coolness of the first too. There was the green ninja Reptile, the gray ninja Smoke, and the all black ninja, Noob Saibot. Even though they all basically looked the same I suppose the appeal of them was that they all had unique moves. I was never able to pull-off any of their special moves before Greg wiped the floor with me so I never really gained an appreciation for the ninja knock-offs based on their “fatalities”. I usually used Baraka anyway.
My Mortal Kombat Saturn disc never really got much use. I bought it second hand because I liked to have a large library of games to choose from when my buddies came over to play but I much preferred the Virtua Fighter 2 game that came packaged with the system. I was pretty over Mortal Kombat after the novelty of the first one wore off; the characters didn’t really “speak to me” and the live-action movies didn’t help much to draw me back in.
So when I saw this figure at Toys R Us last year I don’t know why I bought it. I never cared much about Mortal Kombat in general and this character in particular holds little to no nostalgic value for me. I think I was just in the mood to spend some money that day and they didn’t have anything better. They had 2 different series of MK figures, one was based on the most recent PS3/X360 version of the game while the other was based on the “Klassic” cartridge version. I bought the modern Sub-Zero and the classic Noob Saibot. If memory serves the other 3 Klassic choices were Reptile(identical figure in green), Sub-Zero (blue), and Ermac (red). So why choose Noob over Reptile or Ermac? No particular reason.
Side note: I did a quick bit of Wikipedia reading on this guy before I started this review and I discovered that he’s actually Sub-Zero back from the dead. So while I thought I was buying 2 unique characters I actually bought the same dude twice. I also learned that Noob’s stupid name comes from the last names of two of the games designers; Boon and Tobias. Now you know.
As far as action figures go, this guy is pretty bland looking. It’s sculpted in black plastic and there’s a dark shade of gray painted on. There’s also a couple dabs of mauve paint for his eyes. The paint apps are definitely nothing to call home about but it’s pretty faithful to his video game look, where he was essentially just a black silhouette. The sculpt is relatively dull too. There are no fine details to be had; no wrinkles or muscle definition in his costume. But again, it’s pretty true to the source material. I actually find his simple design more visually appealing than the more detailed sculpt on the modern Sub-Zero figure. The articulation on this toy is more impressive than you might expect. Where many toy companies are reverting to 4” figures with 5 points of articulation Jazwares opted to load this guy up with 14 points of articulation; enough to rival a modern G.I. Joe. He’s got ball-jointed limbs, a ball-jointed head, swivel joints at his ankles and wrists, and a mid-torso joint too. He actually blends in pretty well with a squad of modern Joes.
Was this guy essential to my collection? No. Is he essential to yours? Maybe. It really is a nicely put together figure. If you’re a big Mortal Kombat fan I would think that you’d like to have this guy on your shelf. I’m glad I picked him up. Besides, he was under $10 which ain’t too shabby these days. 7 out of 10.