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Emperor's Shadow Guard

SW: The Force Unleashed
by yo go re

As cool as new Stormtrooper variations are, The Force Unleashed had something even better to offer: a new kind of Royal Guard!

Each one of these elite guards is specially chosen by Palpatine for his exceptional loyalty to the Emperor, and for his ability to use the Force. Each carries a pike that can be ignited to use as a lightsaber-like blade.

The idea of a black-suited Imperial guardsman isn't exactly new. After all, who can forget the future Emperor Carnor Jax? I guess he copied the idea from these guys, although no one ever heard of them until just now. Keeping track of the Imperial ranks is like measuring power levels in Dragon Ball Z: every time someone is declared to be at the top, and even more powerful bracket comes along; the Royal Guards are supposed to be the best of the best, security-wise, but then the Emperor's Shadow Guard is even better than them. And there are also Imperial Sovereign Protectors, who might just be even better than these guys.

The Emperor's Shadow Guard is so elite that only three of them exist: they worked solo (though apparently in command of squadrons of Stormtroopers - both regular and Shadow varieties), and showed up in Bespin, Kashyyyk and the original Death Star before being summarily dispatched by Galen Marek. That's what they get for going up against the main character in a videogame.

This figure is a repaint of the Episode III Royal Guard - you remember, the one who was available in either blue or red? Yeah, that. That means he's wearing interlocking armor plates under his cloth robe, and has balljoints at the neck, shoulders and knees, plus swivel elbows, gloves, waist and hips. The articulation is a bit lacking by current standards, but it's not terrible.

The Shadow Guard has two weapons: a dinky little pistol that holsters on his hip, and a lightsaber pike. The pike is nearly as tall as the guard himself, and that's even without the blade attached! The blade itself is nearly 3" long, but it's perfectly smooth and has a taper - allegedly the pike's blade is supposed to be fatter and shorter than a normal lightsaber's, but that's definitely not the case here. Still a cool accessory, though.

Not a lot of work went into designing the Emperor's Shadow Guard - he's just a Royal Guard toy with the colors reversed. Of course, that's basically all he was in the game, as well. Yes, the armor he wore under his cloak was different, but that's a minor thing. If you already got the previous uses of this mold, you know what to expect: a decent figure, not great, but one that's nicely playable and will add a lot to your tiny plastic battles, even if it's just to show up and immediately die.

-- 03/22/09


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