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Subject Delta

BioShock 2
by yo go re

It's easier for a good toy to overcome bad source material than for a bad toy to ride the coattails of good source material. Star Trek was awesome, but its toys are lingering at clearance prices as low as $1 apiece. BioShock, on the other hand, may be a good game, but the toys appeal even if you've never played it.

Subject Delta is a prototype from the initial line of Big Daddies, known as the Alpha Series. Delta was the first Big Daddy to be successfully bonded to a Little Sister, but in a traumatic event he was violently separated from her. After ten long years, Subject Delta has mysteriously reappeared and found himself with a unique trait among Big Daddies: free will. The Alpha Series is more streamlined and agile than later Big Daddy models, making Subject Delta one of the most powerful forces in Rapture. Wielding a hand-mounted drill and an extensive armory, Subject Delta has embarked on a single-minded quest to find his former Little Sister and be reunited with her.

Subject Delta (who is obviously the fourth attempt at the "Big Daddy" process) is the protagonist of BioShock 2, which is set eight years after the events of the first game. Like Big Daddies in the first game, he can work with Little Sisters to harvest ADAM, but he can also use the plasmids that gave Jack, the protagonist of the first installment, all those crazy powers. Best of both worlds!

The Alpha Series share a lot of the same visual characteristics as the other Big Daddies, just in a narrow, stripped-down form. Subject Delta is still wearing outdated diving gear, with a thick canvas suit, large diving helmet, the whole deal. There are leather patches and belts all about, and metal pads sculpted onto his knees and knuckles, and the tip of each finger has a metal cap. There's a port on his left arm, and a grating on the back of his left hand. Why? Because using the plasmids requires contact with the outside environment, so he can't be sealed in. He has a band of weights strapped around his waist, and another hanging by thick (sculpted) ropes from his chest. His boots are capped in thick metal, and a tube of blue goo runs down the inside of his left arm, though it is broken up by his elbow joint.

Which brings us to the articulation. All the joints are swivel/hinge combos, save the waist, which is a true balljoint. He otherwise moves at the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles. For some reason, the elbows bend the wrong way - not "backwards," but "to the inside." Yes, they can swivel to face front, but the sculpt of the arms makes it clear that when they're in the intended position (i.e., all the costume details match up properly), the hinge moves the lower arms in toward the body. Why is this? I mean, look at the right arm: there's clearly a hinged metal brace sculpted there, but if you have the arm bent naturally, the brace is broken in half and twisted 90° to the back; line the brace up, and all Subject Delta can do is rest his hand on his hip. Plus, since the wrists are oval rather than circular, turning them is tough. On the other hand, the kneepads are attached below the knee joint, so they'll look right no matter how you position the legs.

Unlike the Big Daddy Bouncer, Subject Delta's helmet is rather modern - rather than a large sphere with many tiny portholes, Delta's got a more "fitted" dome with a single viewport in the front. There are two lights at about the level of the clavicle, and a camera is mounted on the very top; someone's been spying on Delta! There are rivets along the seams, and the entire thing is held on by a series of wingnuts all around the lower edge.

Two thick hoses run from the sides of the helmet to the tanks mounted on his back. There's a large one on the left, a smaller one on the right, and two thinner vials in red and blue - most likely ADAM and EVE. His backpack has a bit of a frame at the bottom - is that where a Little Sister would ride?

Since Subject Delta can use the same drill as the Bouncers, the figure includes one. His right forearm can be removed at the elbow, and replaced by the drill. The replacement arm has the same sort of elbow joint as the normal one (though its hinge seems to run the right way), and a swivel "wrist" that allows the drill to turn. You can upgrade your weapons in the BioShock games, and the drill is no exception. This is just the basic version, but it's actually sculpted with all the spots where the upgrade would actually be attached. Nice!

Subject Delta is another good figure from NECA. All their BioShock figures have been excellent so far, and there's no sign that trend is stopping any time soon. You don't need to have played the game to enjoy the toys, which are a fine mix of top-notch sculpt and plentiful articulation. Plus, the fact that NECA toys are readily available at Toys Я Us makes Subject Delta a tempting buy.

-- 04/10/10

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