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Street Fighter
by Shocka

Before I begin the review of this excellent toy - and indeed it is an excellent toy - I need to get initial anger and disappointment out of the way. This will be the only Street Fighter Revolutions figure I'm reviewing for OAFE because the others all had the misfortune of breaking before I got them out of their boxes, so there's no way I can possibly give them a proper review (at least, one that isn't laced with four letter words) due to some crappy, crappy QC on behalf of SOTA Toys. Yes, across their phenomenal Street Fighter range - a line which combined excellent sculpts with an abundance of fun, playable, poseable articulation - there was occasionally a breakage, which might have been expected due to the mass of movement and the many interchangeable parts, but they remained quite durable, no matter how many tumbles they took. So why is it that two of my favourite characters have to fall apart just because I had the audacity to look at them?

While Mother Russia has declined in power, Zangief has grown in his. He is the best wrestler ever to emerge from its soils, and he proves this every time he takes on the native Russian grizzly bears for sport. Zangief enters originally to defend the proud name of the USSR but watches the country splintering into a Commonwealth of Independent States before his very eyes. Displeased at the world thinking Russia has collapsed, he enters the Street Fighter tournament in an effort to bring glory back to his country. He is highly amused at the antics of the American fighter Ken and looks forward to crushing the puny little man. Woe to any opponent who gets in Zangief's clutches! His grappling techniques are unparalleled, and none can withstand his Final Atomic Buster super attack! Blanka is another World Warrior he looks forward to defeating, because he reminds him of the bears he wrestles in Russia.

Zangief is one of the beloved Street Fighter characters finally seeing glorious figure form, and although his sculpt here is a slight deviation from the attempted realism of Street Fighter II, it is dead-on for his appearances in the Alpha games. At nearly 8" tall, he's a hulking mass of man, a beefcake '80s-style wrestler that would put Mickey Roarke's hopefully-Oscar-winning bod to shame. His sculpt is layered with muscles, scars and detailed with the occasional vein, all complemented by an effective paint job that uses shading to accentuate his ridiculous build. (Check out that crotch bulge!) The only drawbacks are his dark-brown-on-black hair, a small tuft which sits in between his ridiculous nipples, pokes out of his boots, and then mohawks his head and protects his mouth in a ridiculous beard.

Keeping in line with the rest of SOTA's Street Fighters, Zangief is loaded with articulation, featuring balljoints at the head, shoulders and legs, then jointed elbows, wrists, knees, feet, midsection and waist. You can get him into all kinds of awesome poses, though I suspect aside from a general fighting stance, the main pose enthusiasts will find him in is performing his Spinning Lariat, a move cribbed from everyone's favourite wrestling mayor, Mike Haggar. (Please, please someone make a Final Fight series of toys in this scale!)

Probably because of his size, Zangief lacks a great deal of accessories, featuring only interchangeable hands. You can either have them bunched up into a fist, or open, or any combination thereof! Curiously lacking, however, is an additional head; although his facial sculpt sits happily inbetween menace and pure crazy, which is again dead-on for Alpha, it would have been nice to have seen a more normal-looking facial expression to replace this frenzied look.

Nevertheless, Zangief is still an excellent figure, and probably the best of the "Street Fighter Revolutions" because the bugger doesn't break like every-other-freakin'-figure does. If all of the figures were this good, it'd be a great swan song for the SOTA line; instead, it feels like a let down. Let's see if NECA can do any better. (A: No.)

Dhalsim | E. Honda | R. Mika | Zangief

-- 01/31/09

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