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Chrysalis Alien

Aliens vs. Predator (Arcade)
by yo go re

My Alien collection has now reached a similar point to my Batman collection: there are so many of them, I really need something that's going to stand out from the crowd.

Terror grips the city of San Drad as it is overwhelmed by a mysterious outbreak of aliens. The cybernetically-enhanced Major Dutch Schaefer and Lieutenant Linn Kurosawa of the United States Colonial Marine Corps are surrounded by a swarm of Xenomorph drones when a pair of unlikely allies - Predators - appear and offer a temporary alliance. Now it's a battle to end them all as human and Predator join forces against unending waves of deadly Xenomorphs!

The Chrysalis Alien is the first level boss in the Alien vs. Predator arcade game. The name really does nothing to describe them - you just first see them gestating inside a large pod in the background of the stage, which is where the name comes from. A better name might have been the "Rolling Alien" (from its distinctive mode of attack) or "Armored Alien" (in honor of its extra, bony carapace).

The majority of the body comes to us courtesy the same molds previously used for the exclusive Sewer Mutation Alien - in other words, the AvP (movie) Warrior, which is a suitable choice for an AvP (videogame) alien. Why? Well, it's not like Capcom's game sprites had a super-specific set of details NECA needed to follow, so really any xenomorph body would have been fine; but because they're fans as well as licensees, they chose one that would already have an existing "versus" connection, and that's cool.

But don't worry about this just being a case of new paint or something (the way the arcade Preds from a few years ago were) - this toy has lots of new pieces, starting with the feet and their huge toenails, moving up to the extra-long tail that ends in a bony blade, then the forearms with their thick bone sleeves, and finally two nifty little backpackish add-on pieces that sit on his shoulder blades. This is definitely something other than what we've had before. And that's all before we even look at the head.

The Chrysalis Alien has a broad bone frill covering the entire top of their head, making them look like an intermediate step between a normal Alien and a Queen. A spiny ridge runs along the top, and the front has a bit of a bump that looks like a proto-horn, ready to bash its way through barriers.

If that's all there was, the head would be a cool design, possibly a little too far off the beaten "Alien" path, but still neat to look at. However, the game gave it another feature, and NECA has followed suit: taking the xenomorph's extendable inner jaw to a (somewhat) logical extreme, the head itself can shoot forward from beneath the bone plate, revealing its somewhat "Deadite" styled face. They do still have the inner jaw, and it extends about twice as far as usual. This is an Alien with some reach!

Pulling the head out is easy enough, but something inside seems to stick on mine, so getting it to retract again is harder. The jaw is hinged, they get swivel/hinges for the neck, shoulders, upepr elbows, wrists, hips, and upper knees, a balljointed chest and ankles, hinges for the fingers, toes, and lower elbows and knees, and swivels for the forearms, thighs, and - weirdly - two swivel joints at the base of the bendy tail. Seriously: there's one right up against the body, and then another half an inch below that. What on earth was the point of that? It adds nothing other than confusion about which side of the piece is "up."

The figure's paint is a bit stylized, but not to the extent of painting pixels on him, or even going for strong highlights; the only direct nod to the game is the cardboard backdrop, which shows one of the game's backgrounds in all its pixelated glory. But that simply means this Chrysalis Alien can stand alongside the rest of your xenomorph hive without looking out of place, deserving a space just as much as any of the Kenner homages do. Heck, imagine that extending head as a spring-loaded action feature, and this almost feels like a forgotten '90s figure being updated to modern standards - a lot of fun. Actually, since NECA is going to be making 5" Kenner-style Predators and Prometheus toys, it would be interesting to see them "downgrade" the Chrysalis Alien as well.

-- 10/03/19

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