Friday, September 28th, 2007 at 7:53pm by Robert, BZPower Reporter
As part of our ongoing (and soon ending!) 2007 set coverage, Smeagol4 brings you his exclusive review of the glowing beastie underneath the sea. But wait, there's more! As is Smeagol's forte, this review comes in both video and text format, so read the word-filled wonder as you download the magical moving pictures!
Note: this review was written and filmed much earlier this year, but was delayed drastically due to serious technical difficulties, egregiously busy schedules, and inexcusable procrastination. Consequently, it will seem rather dated. The author apologizes profusely.
Before I launch into my detailed textual review, allow me to provide a link to the accompanying video review I created for this. Right-click on the link and save the file to your computer (please do not stream the video).
While the movie is downloading, you can read the written review.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Enveloped in an epidermis pigmented a vibrant “lime-green” and blue that is bright enough to be an argon-filled electric sign (with a bit of mercury, of course, which fits as this fellow is aquatic), the imposing Nocturn leaps from his box at prospective buyers, not begging but demanding they purchase him. Roaring with defiant fury, brandishing his multifarious weapons, and hurtling a tangerine mollusk at the poor viewer’s face, this sadistic cephalopod’s box art is one of the most imposing Bionicle packages to date. It lacks the elegance of early-2006’s blanched styling, but effectively replaces it with a striking underwater scene and well-posed monstrosity that should capture anyone’s attention even more than the low price of fifteen US Dollars does. Adding to the power of Nocturn’s visage is the organized, mostly uncluttered front that keeps necessary logos and piece counts small and to the sides. The only breach of this etiquette is an advertisement for another tantalizing aspect of the set: its capability to glow in the dark.
The process of opening the box is standard; simply punch open two perforated tabs and spill out the contents. Included are the generic plastic bags and an instruction booklet. No advertisements for the Lego club or other products are included; I find myself wondering if these have been phased out.
If you are fond of the color “lime-green” and are dissatisfied with your lack of applicable Lego pieces in that pigment, you will exhort in ecstasy upon opening Nocturn’s box. Pieces such as Inika and Metru legs, Viking horns, Piraka feet, and Metru hips are all included in this color. Alongside them are translucent, glow-in-the-dark blue pieces and translucent “ice-blue” hipjoints.
New pieces of interest include a trans-“GITD”-blue Carpar head as well as Barraki limb armor and Ehlek spines in that same color. A silver Kalmah tentacle, much more useful than the bright orange ones, is also present, and more of the hum-drum Lewa Nuva katana all Bionicle fans are outrageously bored with.
At this point I must reiterate my now four-year-long frustration with the bright, primary blue half plus-rod, half friction-pins that replaced the old black ones, and iterate my identical irritation with these new red #2 plus-rods. The Nocturn set, luckily, is partially blue, so the blue friction pins are not noticeable, and the red rods are covered up, but on other new sets, the jarring and obvious pins and axles upset the color scheme and lower the aesthetic quality of the products. The bright crimson worked perfectly in the gums of the 2006 set Vezon & Fenrakk, but on other sets, it looks sickeningly out-of-place. I implore the Lego Corporation to return to the unobtrusive black connectors.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The experience of building the Nocturn set is nearly perfect. The design is innovative enough and the construction takes long enough that it is enjoyable, but it does not drag and is simple enough that younger children will not require parental assistance. Nocturn exhibits the “happy medium” in his building just as he does with his price.
Obligatorily, I must mention that there apparently was a slight error in the instruction manual. While on the box Nocturn is shown to keep squid ammunition strapped to his side like twin revolvers, the manual makes no mention of creating this accessorial adaptation. The pieces required to do so are included however, so I added the feature to my Nocturn. I surmise that the idea may have been developed by the set designers after the instructions were already sent to be printed
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
As mentioned in the previous section, Nocturn’s design is nicely original and inventive. His four arms are standard fare, but his legs are rather intricate in addition to being very sturdy thanks to those stiff pistons and elephantine feet. The most interestingly innovative aspect of Nocturn’s structure, however is his torso. It is thin as fried calamari and it pieced together in a way I never would have envisioned. One does not notice the narrowness of the body once the product is fully constructed due to the menacing head and well-placed spines. Nocturn’s construction cobbles together a freakishly frightening monster ready to rend the limbs of his opponents. He is every bit as imposing and incredible as he appears to be on the box.
Unsurprisingly, there are no action features on Nocturn, gear-driven or otherwise, which is a bit of a disappointment. I still do not see why gear and joints have to be mutually exclusive. Fans have displayed the fact that both pose-ability and mechanical action features can exist in the same model with their own creations. One would think the professional builders could reach the same conclusion.
Nocturn comes with a plethora of useful bricks, such as a sea of hipjoints and ball-joins, as well as two more pistons, for which I am still trying to think of a new, creative use. MOCists will also like the older parts in new colors. Nocturn comes with no Kanohi mask, but his face is comprised of a Carapar head in “trans-GITD-blue.”
I do wish, though, that instead of two katana and a tentacle, Nocturn had been bestowed with one katana and two tentacles, so that those purchasing the set could have an even number of the new pieces. One tentacle is only good for a flagellum.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
As I mentioned previously, Nocturn has no gears, levers, or any mechanically-driven action function, so his “playability” is not astronomical. His half-dozen limbs and nineteen points or articulation make him fun to pose, so the people who are content with their “action figure’s” action being pose-ability.
The Bionicle set designers have in recent years developed a fetish for obscure projectile weapons. In 2004 the throwing disks from the defunct Throwbots line were resurrected as “Kanoka,” the following year every single set released had an amusingly entertaining “Rhotuka” spinner, and last year we were given a glut of green globes called “Zamor.” Now Lego has decided to promote form over function with the incredibly and comically brilliant, yet agonizingly difficult-to-fire “squid ammo.” After a careful study of the objects themselves and the photographs in the instruction manual, the user can conjecture that the squid are supposed to be fired by tucking the head into a launcher, yanking on the tail, and releasing the mollusk to fire forward. Unfortunately, this is very much an acquired skill. I have, after practice, managed to actually get the squids to fire, but it is decidedly tricky. Lego has had to resort to posting an online instructional video detailing methods that can aid in the firing of the projectiles. At present I am too lazy to watch it.
Despite this, they are so fun and different that they are by far and away my favorite Bionicle weapon to date.
Probably the most unique aspect of Nocturn is that many of his pieces glow with an eerie phosphorescence when the lights are darkened. When the pieces are well-charged with incandescent light, Nocutrn glows very brightly (unfortunately this is not displayed in the video; the pieces had been stuck in the dark box and were not able to “charge”). His “GITD” and trans-ice-blue pieces also react under a blacklight, turning Nocturn into something to go on a shelf between a lava lamp and plasma ball.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
The price is only fifteen dollars.
There are lots of pieces in new colors
It glows in the dark!
The finished product is very pose-able and looks imposing.
What's to like?
There is no action function.
The squid are very difficult to launch.
What's not to like?
For a variety of reasons, I would consider Nocturn the “must-have” set of 2007. Structure and priced affordably between a canister and titan set, he should please every crowd. MOCists will like the useful pieces in rarer colors such as lime. General Bionicle fans will be enraptured with the brutish, awesome character who looks every bit as nasty as he is supposed to. Collectors won’t want to miss this addition to their shelves. There’s little not to like about this set, and any of the qualms I presented about it are definitely outweighed by its good aspects. I can’t say any Bionicle set I have purchased since the Bahrag, Boxor, and Exo-Toa has been a better buy. If you only plan to purchase one Bionicle set in 2007, make it Nocturn.
Be sure to thank Smeagol4 for this review and keep checking back for more 2007 set coverage!
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