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Primer Course Pt. 3

Bionicle
by yo go re

Making no headway in their war against the Bohrok, the Toa decided to take the fight to them - to go underground and root out the Bohrok nests.

When the Toa are exposed to the strange energies of protodermis, they are transformed into the mighty Toa Nuva! With new powers, new armor, and new tools, the Toa believe they are ready for any threat to their island home.

For over a year now, Lego's Bionicle line has been going strong. We have heroes, we have villains, and we have a winner.

The Bionicle storyline has continued to change and grow, with updates on the daily lives of Matorans (those little villager guys) as they interacted with the Toa and clashed with the Bohrok swarms. Onu-Koro villager Nuparu engineered the Boxor in an effort to fight the beasts. The Toa, having collected the six Masks of Power from part 1, gained a new golden Kanohi that had all the powers of all six masks. They used these new masks to fight the Bohrok and collect all eight species of krana from part 2. The krana were used to unlock a secret vault underground, revealing the Exo-Toa, an ancient and powerful suit of armor.

They used the Exo-Toa to fight against the Bahrag - Cahdok and Gahdok - twin monsters that serve as "queen" Bohrok and have all their powers. They ditched the suits for one last assault, which brought down the cave in which they were fighting. Submerged in a substance known as protodermis, the Toa emerged as Toa Nuva, with new weapons and new powers.

Lego has managed to reshape the Bionicle line without having to go all the way back to the drawing board. The toys are basically the same build-it-yourself action figures, with slightly tweaked designs and new weapons. There are 36 new masks to collect, again available in (seemingly) affordable packages. And there's even a new enemy on the way.

The Toa packaging has also been redesigned. While the basic tube is still the same, the lid is shaped to store the eight krana that each of the Toa collected. The figures can again be combined into two larger robots, and each has its own gear-driven action feature.

For parents, this new line may seem redundant - it's the same six characters from last year. However, the story behind those characters is different, and kids will know who they want (pity the poor mom who tries to bring home a Lewa Nuva and brings a plain Lewa instead). In some cases this redesign could pique the interest in a character the collector didn't like before.

Lego has also begun to play upon its core strength - the modularity of its world. Bionicle's naysayers argued that a pre-packaged storyline would limit children's creativity. However, members of the Lego Club have been shown that the fun doesn't stop with the Toa and Bohrok. Lego has released instructions for a few of the animals that populate the world of Mata Nui, from tiny jungle birds to giant amphibians and insects. All quite cool.

Lego has created a complex world in Mata Nui, and they continue to draw in fans with each twist and innovation.

-- 11/26/02


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