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Goro

Mortal Kombat
by yo go re

When it comes to the videogame icons of the '90s, there are few who can compete with a four-armed orange dude in a loincloth. What's that, you say? You have a blue hedgehog? And he can run fast? Well the half-dragon with the topknot just grabbed him and ripped his legs off. Who's fastest now, bitch!

More than two thousand years old, Goro is the Prince of the Shokan race, hailing from the Kuatan realm of Outworld. A General in Shao Khan's militia, Goro became Grand Champion of the Mortal Kombat tournament after defeating the Great Kung Lao. For 500 years, he reigned undefeated and helped Shang Tsung grow ever closer to achieving Shao Kahn's goal of domination over Earthrealm. In his tenth title defense, however, he faced Liu Kang, descendant of Kung Lao, who was able to finally topple the mighty warrior.

Goro even stood out in the ranks of the Mortal Kombatants - in a game full of "characters" created by taking photos of real people in funny hats, here was a giant, four-armed monster with two fingers on each hand. Holy crap! Imagine if you were playing Grand Theft Auto III and when you got to the final island, instead of pedestrians and real vehicles, you were met by anthropomorphic unicorns in those flying cars from The Jetsons. It's the same thing.

Obviously not a real person, Goro was a stop-motion puppet designed by Curt Chiarelli, which is why he looked so different from all the other cats. He hasn't really changed costumes over the years, but he has undergone a bit of a shift in appearance, and this figure reflects that.

Goro's look is so iconic and classic, if you get it wrong, everybody's going to know it right away. According to the card, the figure is based on Mortal Kombat: Deception, and the design matches that. What's different about this Goro than one based on the original MK? Well, he's lost the small "horn" bumps clustered on his forehead, and he has two sets of pecs to match up with his two sets of arms - the original only had one chest, with the extra arms seemingly sprouting from his armpits.

Jazwares' sculpt is decent, but nothing special. Surprisingly, it looks as if they actually tried to account for how thick the character should be, not just how wide - we've talked about this problem before, even from big companies, so good on Jazwares for at least making an effort. Goro's "costume" consists of little more than tape on his ankles, a loincloth held in place by a red sash, and golden bracers on each wrist. Three of his hands are open, while the top right one is curled into a fist. His mouth is open in a shout, and his little ears are appropriately pointy.

The paint is okay, but that mainly seems a function of the simple apps required, not any particular care in the process. The beige they chose for his skin is nice, but the gold on the bracers is thin and does't go all the way to the edges. There's an exceedingly faint wash on his ankle wraps, which works very well, and his nails are just slightly pinker than his skin. The black painted onto his hips is fairly awful, however, and you really need to watch out for the yin yang symbol on his belt - that can become an unsightly mess way too easily. His teeth are bright white outlined with black, and the rest of his mouth is the same red as his belt. The eyes are red, with yellow irises and red pupils.

Though you can't see it while the figure is on his card, the paint on his back is good, as well - Goro's back has always been fairly scaly, and this figure duplicates that with an olive drab airbrushing and darker speckles that really do a good job of matching the way he's generally been portrayed in the games.

Goro is more than 7" tall, and moves like the rest of the Mortal Kombat figures: hinged ankles, hinged knees, mid-thigh swivels, balljointed hips, swivel waist, peg wrists, hinged elbows, swivel biceps, balljointed shoulders, peg wrists, hinged elbows, swivel biceps, balljointed shoulders, and a balljointed neck. Yes, we know we listed the arms twice - he has two sets! The pegs that hold the arms onto the balljoints are very short and skinny, so the arms tend to pop off easily when you try to pose him - they're not broken, they just come off. Maybe it's supposed to be some kind of a battle damage play feature? Additionally, the head on my Goro was very loose and wobbly - I popped the head off, superglued the now-bare neck peg into the body better, and now the joint works the way it was meant to.

Goro was available at the San Diego Comic-Con for $20. That's not a bad price, as far as exclusives go, but it had to feel like a dagger in the back when the figure started to show up at KB stores in October, with a $12.98 pricetag - and had to feel even worse, when the figures actually rang up for less than $7. And yes, this is the same exact figure: the packaging insert even identifies it as the 2007 Exclusive. We're all for finding ways to make sure exclusives are eventually made available to fans who can't make it to a convention (pay attention, Transformers Collectors' Club!), but that's just a big, hearty "eff you" from Jazwares, isn't it?

Goro is a decent figure, and for $7, you may even feel like you got your money's worth; he's definitely a better toy than the big, solid statue from Palisades, and he's in a nicer scale than the GIJoe version. There are a few definite problems - the wobbly neck, the easy-off arms - but if you really want a Goro, this one shouldn't be too much of a letdown. Jazwares isn't going to be releasing any more Mortal Kombat figures, because Midway didn't want to renew the license. While it is kind of sad that there won't be any more Lin Kuei ninjas (we still needed Rain, Ermac and Chameleon), maybe a different company can pick up the license and get the Flawless Victory.

-- 12/26/07


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