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Dog Alien (8-bit)

Alien 3
by yo go re

I still have yet to find the Alien³ Dog Alien anywhere, but now I can stop looking.

The Aliens are fast, spit acid and are right behind you! The motion tracker is your only warning. No time to think, no time to catch your breath... run!

Can't see very far ahead in these air ducts. Hard to breathe. Face-huggers can be anywhere. You have the firepower... blast the Aliens with your machine gun, flame thrower and grenade launcher. You know what you have to do... rescue the trapped prisoners and end this nightmare!

Just keep telling yourself, "this isn't really happening. It's only an action figure!!!"

This is, clearly, NECA's next entry in their line of 8-bit repaint figures. Take an existing mold, throw some simple, stylized paint on it, and milk that property for all it's worth. It may sound like we're hating on the idea, but we're really not: as long as the new design is well-conceived and artistic, what's not to like? This one absolutely fits that description.

Rather than being based on the game sprites (which were pretty plain), this deco seems to be based on the level loading screen. Said screen featured a close-up of the Alien peeking around a corner, done up in 1993's best approximation of a cool lighting effect: half its face is drawn in orange and brown pixels, and half is done in blue and white. You can definitely see what they were going for, and NECA opted to copy it in the smartest way imaginable.

The left side of all the toy's parts is painted brown. The right side of all the parts is painted blue. Now, notice that we said each "side" of the parts, not each part: that means, for instance, that the right arm is not painted solid blue; the outer edge is blue, but the inner edge is, again, brown. So if you look at the Dog Alien from the side, you only see one color - but look at it head on, and you get a really cool blend of the two.

The sculpt is identical to the plain release, and surprisingly, it's accentuated just as well by this blocky paint as it was by the real paint. Well, other than the areas that are solid black, but it's a matte black rather than gloss, so you can still make out the details if you look closely.

One area that is different is the head. The dome on top is no longer clear, but is instead solid black (with the appropriate left/right highlights painted on, of course). You can remove it, with some work, and while the cool ridges are still underneath, they're not painted. His mouth opens, and the inner jaw extends. And yes, it's also painted brown and blue.

The articulation is unchanged from the Series 3 release: balljoint mid-neck, hinge at the base of the neck, peg/hinge shoulders, double-peg/hinge elbows, peg/hinge wrists, balljointed chest, peg and hinge hips, peg thighs, double-​hinge knees, peg/hinge ankles, peg/hinge mid-foot, a peg joint at the base of the tail, and a wire through the length of the tail for maximum bendiness. All the joints move perfectly, though the little piece of "under chin" that fits into the jaw to make it seamless when it's closed sticks a little, so it can be hard to open the mouth.

The figure also includes the clear disc base and hinged C-clamp to help support him in squatty poses.

As usual, the figure is sold in a fifth-panel window box designed to look like the vintage videogame packaging, complete with faux shelf-wear along the edges. Open up the front panel, and you can see the figure inside (honestly, dropping the shrink-wrap on these boxes was a smart move). This time we get something a little extra, though. Since the Alien looks different based on which side you view it from, there's a packaging variation: one with the brown side facing out, and the other with the blue! Clever move, guys - surely there are people out there who will buy two now instead of just one.

The videogame figures that are just one flat color don't impress us, but something as artistic as this Alien? Oh, absolutely! Creating a movie-accurate toy takes skill, but creating something like this takes vision.

-- 07/11/15

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