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Primer Course Pt. 5

Bionicle
by yo go re

With the Mask of Light movie, the first chapter of the Bionicle story has come to a close. The island of Mata Nui was besieged by Makuta and his dark forces. The heroic Toa appeared mysteriously to face this threat and eventually triumphed over a variety of foes. With Makuta defeated and Mata Nui reawakened, the story came to an end.

But Lego isn't about to close up shop on their most successful original concept to date. While the story cannot move forward, it can go back. Back to a time before time, when there was no island of Mata Nui. Back to the time of Metru Nui.

Metru Nui is a vast city bustling with industry and home to Matoran of all backgrounds and professions. It houses a grand and complex transportation system, responsible for carrying not only Matoran to and from their destinations, but also the endless supply of goods and materials vital to the city's inhabitants. However, a threat is growing... a dark, twisted plant, the Morbuzakh, is appearing throughout the city, wrapping its crushing vines around buildings and transport tubes. Under the relentless pressure of the creeping menace, even the most powerful structures of Metru Nui crumble and fall. Efforts to strike the plant at its roots have met with failure - and each day, more and more of the city is lost to the spread of the Morbuzakh.

So right from the beginning, we have a threat to face. While the first line started off with nothing more than the six Toa and the barest outline of story, this version already has an enemy built in.

Of course, there are going to be heroes to defend the citizens. Six talented Matoran were summoned to the great temple in Ga Metru and gifted with the powers of the Toa, becoming Toa Metru to shoulder the responsibility of stopping the Morbuzakh and to save the inhabitants of the City.

Metru Nui is one large city, suspiciously the same (approximate) size and shape as Mata Nui. Just as Mata Nui was divided into six villages - one for each Toa - Metru Nui is also sectioned off. Since it's one big city, they can't be villages - maybe they're just neighborhoods.

Lego continues to strive to make sure their Bionicle packaging has more than one use, like the ToY-award winning Bohrok nests or the Rahkshi displays. In this case, the domed lids of the Toa Metru canisters can be snapped together in pairs to form large (3⅝" diameter) spheres. It's not really clear what these balls are then supposed to do: are they storage? Transportation? Target practice?

Unlike the first stage of the story, which focused on collecting masks of power, the Toa Metru have to collect six legendary Great Kanoka Disks. Metru Matoran commonly use Kanoka Disks for sport and defense but, according to legend, only the combined power of the six Great Disks hidden throughout the city can defeat the king root of the Morbuzakh and save the city.

kanoka Location codes

1. Ta-Metru
2. Ga-Metru
3. Po-Metru
4. Ko-Metru
5. Le-Metru
6. Onu-Metru


Power codes

1. reconstitutes at random
2. freezes
3. weakens
4. removes poison
5. enlarges
6. shrinks
7. regenerates
8. teleports

The disks, 1½" in diameter, are a throwback (no pun intended) to the Roboriders and Throwbots which were the Bionicles' toy ancestors. The kanoka are sold in blind packs just like the kanohi masks, krana and kraata were for previous lines. Each disk pack offers one color-coded launcher and two disks, packed randomly. Each disc is marked with a three-digit number: the first digit tells where the disk was made; the second digit reveals what power the disc has; the final digit represents the disc's power level (1-8, with 9 reserved for the six Toa Metru). A quick bit of math reveals that there are 390 possible combinations of numbers, so this is going to be one heck of a big collection.

The six Toa Metru - based, as always, on the six elements of fire, water, stone, earth, air and ice - will be familiar to long-time Bionicle fans: Vakama, Nokama, Onewa, Whenua, Matau and Nuju were the six Turaga (the high priests/sidekicks) from the very first series in 2001. It seems the reason the Turaga could help the Toa on Mata Nui was that they had all been Toa themselves, thousands of years before. Just like your grampa, it seems they shrank as they got old.

The Morbuzakh plant is not the only problem facing the fledgling Toa Metru. They still are mastering their new powers and the conflicts between them run deep. Six Matoran hold the key to defeating the plant threat, but one of them plans to betray the others... and all six have disappeared!

The new heroes do not know that a dark power has plans of its own for the Matoran, and will stop at nothing to prevent the Toa Metru from finding what they seek. A mystery lies at the heart of Metru Nui - one that will entangle the mighty Toa Metru in a web of danger, and lead them to make the most critical decision of their lives. At stake are the future of Metru Nui and the fate of all Matoran...

Story-wise, it seems like Metru Nui is gearing up to be a blast.

-- 01/28/04


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