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Master Chief/Cortana

Halo Minimates
by yo go re

As Rustin freely admits in his weekly Spoils posts, he'll gladly buy any Minimate that gets within arm's length of him. Me, I'm more picky, which is why it's taken until Series 4 to get my first Halo Minimates.

Abducted at the age of six, John was conscripted into the Spartan-II project, trained, and augmented to be a super-soldier. A hero and a legend, the Master Chief John-117 changed the course of human history and the universe.

<announcer voice>"In a world desperate for a hero, one man changed the course of human history... and the universe."</announcer voice> God, could Halo be any more of a pretentious wank fest? You're a shitty shooting game, Halo! The entire goal of your stupid story is to press X to shoot bullets at people who look different from me. It's like a $60 George Zimmerman simulator. Oh wait, I have an official title and I work for the government - it's more like an Officer Steven Hart simulator.

Master Chief is no stranger to the world of small block figures, but there's no mistaking this Minimate for his Kubrick cousin. For one thing, he's noticably less blocky. The armor is all done with sculpt, not paint - a fine choice, since Master Chief has always been in three dimensions. It's one thing when you've got comicbook characters, who only exist on the printed page, but this is a videogame, and there's never been an 8-bit Master Chief. The helmet, chestpiece, gloves, belt/codpiece, thigh armor and boots are all separate pieces, while the upper arms are new molds with the armor built right in. The pieces have small sculpted details, and just enough paint to make everything look awesome. And yes, you can remove his helmet to see the face beneath! Spoiler: Master Chief's face is a solid black tube! Gasp! Oh, and if you remove all his armor, you'll find a new kind of waist piece: it doesn't have the "belt area" at the top. Weird.

Young MC comes with two accessories (as long as you don't count all the armor bits). First is an MA5B Individual Combat Weapon System, because even the names of the damn guns in this game need to be as pretentious as ^&@%. The gun gets a really great sculpt, with just the right level of detail for the style of figure. His second accessory is a in-scale version of his plug-in girlfriend, Cortana. It's just a silver platter with a tiny, translucent blue Minimate standing on it. And hey, speaking of...

The artificial intelligence or "AI" Cortana was originally designed to infiltrate the Convenant and capture one of their Prophet leaders. This plan changed when the planet Reach fell, and Master Chief was entrusted with her safekeeping - the two developed a deep bond soon after.

Cortana blah blah blah based on the brain patterns of Dr. Catherine Elizabeth Halsey blah blah blah naked blue hologram. We've talked all about what makes Cortana interesting and what her role in the games is before, so it would silly of us to repeat all that here, when we could just give you a link to that review and make you visit two pages instead of just one. It's all part of a sinister plan to make you look at twice the number of blue boobs as you would have otherwise. We're monsters!

Cortana is of course molded in translucent blue plastic. In the original game she was purple, but she's gotten bluer (and more shapely) with each subsequent sequel. You can tell this one is based on Halo 3 or higher, because of the style of her hair (yes, holograms apparently get new haircuts), so we can say that the color is right.

She uses the standard Minimate body, of course, but she's still what passes for "feminine" in this line: i.e., she has painted breasts. All her naughty bits are covered by a combination of circuitry and cross-hatching - well, assuming you have a Victorian sensibility of the body, and your idea of "naughty parts" includes things like biceps and her entire back. There are a few anatomical details to be found as well, such as her exposed belly button. Yes, holograms apparently get belly buttons, too.

Cortana's accessory is more of a display base - or an accessory for a much bigger figure. She comes with a larger, more complex version of the memory card-looking thing Master Chief had; you know, a hologram projector or something. One end looks like a finger grip, and the other looks like gold-plated connectors. There's a hole in the middle into which you can plug the included "energy flare" disc, which itself has a footpeg so Cortana can stand on it. In other words, this set includes two versions of the same thing, in two different scales, and that's prett neat!

Master Chief's armor in this set is the Mark V, marking him as being from the original game, while Cortana's design pegs her as being later in the series. Despite that minor temporal disconnect, this is still a fine set of figures. If you're only going to care about two figures in the entire Halo line, it's going to be these two, so it's great that Art Asylum bundled them together instead of forcing us to buy two sets to get them.

-- 06/16/12

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