Street Fighter verses Mortal Kombat, some rivalries just never seem to die. But while both licenses have enjoyed
significant success as video games, their forays into the action figure market has been less than impressive. But with Sota
Toys' seeming success with their Street Fighter line perhaps the time has come for Mortal Kombat as well. That seems to be
what Jazwares is hoping as they release their first wave of figures based on the Mortal Kombat Deception video game.
Packaging - 3/10I'll give Jazwares credit for trying to do something new and interesting with the packaging for this line. But the results are rather lackluster. The cards are shaped like a keyhole with the round dragon logo at the top and a bubble on the lower portion. Aside from the shape, the bubbles and poses of the figures are quite nondescript. The figures are left in the most basic, standing pose with their accessories posed around them. The back of the card is very dull. The MK logo is repeated at the top above small photos of the four figures and the legal fine print which takes up almost a third of the card. Reusing the logo just as it appears on the front is a waste of space that could have been used to show off the figures or give some background information about the characters. Ironically, they produced an exceedingly generic card to use for the entire wave, and then printed unique cards with different UPCs for each figure. While the design leaves a bit to be desired, the poor quality of the card stock really disappointed me. The card itself is extremely thin and prone to warping.
Sculpting - 2/10The sculpting on these figures is bad, there just isn't a way around that. To start with, all four figures share the same body and upper arms and legs. Its a sculpt that works better for Baraka and Scorpion than Raiden or Sub-Zero where the pants shouldn't be so baggy. The feet are problematic for all of the figures. All of them are too bulky, almost as if all of the figures are wearing snow boots. Raiden's feet also cause the figure to be prone to falling over since they are sculpted to lean backwards ever so slightly. Sub-Zero's feet also have a slight backward slant, but it is not as bad. The armor for the figures is close, but there are a few noticeable differences such as the side of Sub-Zero's belt buckle and the design of Raiden's shoulder pads which don't quite match up to the game designs. Baraka has the best armor of the four. But his head sculpt is one of if not THE worst sculpt I have seen on a mass market action figure. The basic elements are there, but the details just don't come through. The deep ridges on his brow and the large sharp teeth just don't come through. I'm sure there are a lot of details that I've missed as I'm not the biggest fan of Mortal Kombat. But overall, all of the sculpts have a very rough look to them. The lines just aren't as clean and straight as they should be. The contours don't quite flow as well as you would expect from a mass market figure. The sculpts are better than most custom figures, but not by much.
Paint - 5/10All four figures have quite detailed paint schemes. Jazwares put in a considerable amount of effort to the paint work. Some of the details such as the patterns on Baraka's chest or the dragons on Sub-Zero's legs are quite intricate. But the end results don't live up to Jazwares attempts. Across the board the lines are not as sharp as they should be and there are inconsistencies throughout the figures in the paint coverage.
Articulation - 5/10The articulation is one area where these figures almost turned out well. But while the basic design of the articulation is pretty good, as with just about every other aspect of the figures there are some serious quality issues. Since all of the figures share the same body, naturally they have the same articulation:
Accessories - Raiden 0/10, Scorpion & Sub-Zero 3/10, Baraka 5/10Before I talk about the actual accessories, it should be noted that there are two different versions of the four figures. The figures I bought were intended for mass market stores and leave out most of the accessories to cut down on the price. There are also specialty market versions which come with quite a few more accessories, though the figures are the same. This version of Raiden comes with no accessories. There really aren't any needed for the character but it would have been nice to get a stand for him due to the problems with the feet causing him to tilt backwards. Scorpion and Sub-Zero both come with a single sword. For Scorpion it is a simple katana style sword. Sub-Zero has a ice sword cast in translucent blue plastic. The swords are ok, but Scorpion should really have come with his grappling hook instead as it is more important to the character. (The specialty market version does have a grappling hook.) Baraka has the most important of his accessories, the two blades to attach to his forearms. They plug into holes in each fore arm. There isn't anything remarkable about them, but some credit is due to Jazwares simply for using a stiffer material for the blades to avoid warping issues.
Value - 3/10I'm not sure what the expected retail price on the mass market versions is but I believe it is supposed to be under $10. I paid $5.99 each at liquidator chain. Even at that price, it is hard to justify buying figures with so many problems and rough spots. Fans of the Mortal Kombat license will undoubtedly want to pick these up if only for the license. But simply as action figures, these are best left for clearance fodder.
Happy Hunting:I picked my set up from Big Lots which seems to have a large selection of all of Jazwares various products for the holiday season. I haven't heard reports of any other stores carrying the mass market version. KB Toys is another likely candidate as they have carried some of Jazwares other lines including their Street Fighter figures. There are quite a few online options, but it isn't always clear which version of the figures you are buying. Big Bad Toy Store.com and Action Figure Express have a set of the four figures for $30 which seems to be the going rate for a set. Action Figure Express also has a promotion going on where you can get a set of the figures as well as the exclusive figures with a qualifying purchase.