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Hero's Duty Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph
by yo go re

Why did the hero flush the toilet? Because it was his duty!

Ralph arrives in this new videogame world of Hero's Duty, determined to acquire that medal and become the hero.

Ralph would give anything to be the good guy - for once. So when he hears that the new FPS game Hero's Duty has a Medal of Heroes for the taking, he sets off on a quest to get his massive hands on it. Disguised as a soldier in the ranks under Sergeant Calhoun, Ralph attempts to take on deadly Cy-Bugs and finds he's in way over his head.

Hero's Duty is ostensibly a light-gun shooter on rails, since it's an arcade game, but the design clearly owes a lot more to Gears of War and its "let's wear half a car as armor" aesthetic. Ralph's armor is a giant obsidian slab of metal, all harsh angles and large hinges. The hands have the highest level of detail, though the stuff on his back is pretty impressive as well. It doesn't seem to serve any purpose, it just looks neat - but that may be smarter than we think. After all, in a squad-based FPS, what part of the character designs are you going to see most often? It's not the front of the armor, it's the back of whoever you're following through the levels - of course the programmers would put more detail back there!

If you look at the actual digital model of Ralph in his borrowed armor, there's a lot of detail that this toy ignored. We're not expecting every little crack and nick on the armor, but how about the honeycomb pattern on the inner-most layer of the armor? How about the many, many paint apps that could have brought the armor to life? Paint on some battle damage, the hazard stripes, the name of the guy Ralph took the armor from (it's Markowski, for the record), any of that. But no, all we get are the red lights on the gloves and over the shoulders.

Another thing we don't get? The mask on the helmet that allowed everybody to mistake him for Markowski. Yes, his face is nice - he actually looks happy and content on this toy, unlike the last version we reviewed - but Thinkway could have totally done a translucent orange bubble that was held in place by the edges of his helmet.

The paint might be underwhelming, but the articulation is not. Both Ralph and Felix were limited by their action features and their sculpts, but with this big chunky armor, that's no problem. Hero's Duty Ralph has a swivel neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, hinged shoulder armor, swivel/hinge elbows and wrists, swivel/hinge hips and knees, and hinged ankles. He's very poseable, which is a good thing, since otherwise it would be hard to find space for him. The figure's about 6¼" tall, but more than 6½" wide.

Ralph's play feature is found in his accessory. He's armed with a giant rifle (though not the same giant rifle seen in the movie - this one is much thinner and simpler) and when you push the button on the top rear, the barrel pops forward about ¼" for "firing action." There are two big pegs that plug into his left hand so he can hold the gun. He also comes with the Hero medal, dangling on a blue ribbon around his neck. Really, that's the main reason I got this figure: as much as he cares about winning the medal, it seemed wrong to not get one for him.

For all the talk about the racial implications of NECA's Django Unchained dolls, no one seems to notice the sexism inherent in Thinkway ignoring Sgt. Calhoun? Madness! The fact that we got Ralph in his armor - and that the figure is one of the best in the line - just makes her exclusion worse. Hero's Duty Ralph isn't as iconic as the other figure, so you may not want to pay full price, but don't overlook him entirely.

-- 01/20/13

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