Golden Guardian (Limited Gold Edition)
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
-- WARNING --
According to the manufacturer, this product is not recommended for children under the age of 7 years as it contains many small parts which a child could potentially choke on.
This toy contains a spring-powered rubber projectile that can shoot over six (6) feet (2m) across a flat surface- Supervision by a Responsible Adult is Suggested during play. Toy should not hit, be thrown at, or shot at people or objects as it may cause damage or personal injury.
On the Sentai Mountain, humans work side-by-side with intelligent robots in mines. They use large excavation machines to dig out, gather, and transport mined rock to the surface. Unfortunately, an error occurred in one of the machines, and it sparked a vicious rebellion. Robots turned on their human masters, and through the fighting a series of mysterious explosions blasted the mountain into two halves. The robots were eventually driven deep into the newly-formed canyon far below.
Peace was restored, and the humans began building long bridges to span the two halves of the tall mountain. But deep underground, the robots came together again, and grew quietly; rebuilding their mining machines into powerful Battle Machines with armor and weapons. Their surprise return ignited another furious war, which allowed them to take control of half of Sentai Mountain. The robots were about to take on the second half when they were halted by a secret human project: Exo-Force. The humans had quickly assembled a team of warriors, and built their own Battle Machines to counter the robots.
After a chaotic and desperate battle on the very doorstep of Sentai Fortress- the last surviving pocket of humanity on Sentai Mountain- against the robot army’s onslaught of innumerable Battle Machines and their ultimate Striking Venom project, Exo-Force was just able to drive back their inhuman enemy. But at a cost... With heavy losses in manpower and Battle Machine hardware, Sentai Fortress was now more vulnerable than ever to a second wave. While the robots are licking their wounds on their own side of the mountain, Exo-Force’s sensei Keiken ordered a small scout mission to an unspecified location at the top of the mountain. Uncertain of what they would encounter, the Exo-Force pilots came across the lost Golden City- a stone-walled fortress with highly-advanced technology accessible through the computer system in the tall & ornamental Golden Tower at its center. Hearing of their success, Keiken ordered all of Sentai Fortress to evacuate to the legendary city above them until they could rebuild themselves and prepare a proper counterattack against their mindless, mechanical creations... unaware that the robots also already know about the lost Golden City.
After the scout mission had reported back that the Golden City was indeed real and secure, all of Sentai Fortress was evacuated. Hayato who had been ordered to stay behind flew escort in the White Lightning for the refugees until they all reached the Golden City. Once they were safe, the computer in the Golden Tower at the heart of the ancient fortress began giving coordinates to find other lost codes that would allow Exo-Force to access more of its secrets. With Hikaru, Takeshi, and Ryo out looking for the codes in their new Battle Machines, Hayato was once more relegated to defensive duties around the city. With the robots holding back their forces for now, and new novice Battle Machine pilots now working light guard duty, this gave Hayato plenty of time to wander. As he came to the Golden Tower, he met Hitomi, sensei Keiken’s proud & confident granddaughter and grudging guard of the Tower. Together, they explored until they found schematics in the computer that revealed that there was an entire hangar bay full of heavy Battle Machines directly beneath the Tower!
The Golden Guardian is a representation of the best that any Battle Machine can offer. Thick resistive armor, a strong power generator, accurate yet easy-to-use sensors & communications, fast drive motors to move the parts of its body quickly, and, of course, powerful weapons that extend to multiple ranges from melee all the way out to miles away. The dominant weapon was dubbed a “mega cannon” by one of the refugee technicians from Exo-Force, and the name stuck. Perhaps the most powerful weapon seen on the battlefield alongside the plasma cannon on the robots’ Thunder Fury, the mega cannon mounted to the right arm releases a pressurized stream of high-energy particles continuously the diameter of a telephone booth out to a mile away. And as it dissipates beyond this, the particles begin to scatter and create a hazy fog which interferes with all electronic circuits, making for an effective long-range deterrent. The only downside to this is the long recharge time needed between shots, as the mega cannon must completely discharge before the next round can be energized. To compensate for this, a smaller-scale plasma launcher- which shoots small condensed fireballs of high-energy particles- is used, though it too can cause massive damage. A single heavy concussion missile rounds out the armament of the three weapons- and that’s all on just the right arm! Two homing missiles- one attached to either shoulder- easily track and destroy air targets, rounding off its offensive weapons. The shoulders themselves are huge radiator vents for the high amounts of heat and excessive energy build-up that the Golden Guardian can put out in the heat of battle. For defense, the Golden Guardian’s left arm mounts a large broad shield covered in blazing gold and razor-sharp edges for slashing through Battle Machines that get too close. The anti-beam coating on the shield also adds to the resistance the mecha can offer up. After its discovery, lead Exo-Force technician Ryo actually upgraded the already-impressive Battle Machine with a set of leg-mounted jump thrusters to carry it short distances through the air! It was only through a hurried game of Rock, Paper, Scissors that Hayato won the honor of piloting this powerful centurion away from Hitomi. So far, eight Golden Guardians have been found beneath just the Golden Tower, though more may be found elsewhere inside the Golden City. Though primarily used as a heavy defense unit within the walls of the fortress or just outside the gates, it can certainly take the fight to the robots just as easily! Like Exo-Force’s Battle Machines, the Golden Guardian uses a similar control system which mimics the movements of its pilot, so it was easy for Hayato to adapt to the advanced design.
This is one of the good ones... The Golden Guardian (back) has nearly a hundred more parts to it for an equally-sized biped Battle Machine set (267 parts VS. the Blade Titan’s 162), but they are used mostly for intricate details and features. The legs are extra thick thanks to the additional panels used to bulk them up; the feet, as well, are bigger than any other before it. While it looks cool and the larger feet help stabilize it in some poses, the only disadvantage would be that the legs are always splayed and cannot be brought into parallel straight/vertical positions. (Whether-or-not the panels are the jump thrusters that Ryo added, I cannot say for certain, as video only shows it jumping from a distance. Either way, they are not really designed to be removed to resemble the ‘original’ version.) The right arm is just plain nasty-! The long barrel of the mega cannon is usually used as a support column, but here, it is rounded off with some smaller parts. Same with the plasma launcher just above it, though it looks more like a sensor than a powerful cannon. The only real ‘special feature’ aside from its looks in this set is the spring-loaded missile launcher hanging on the inside of the right arm. The trigger points downwards, and sometimes when posing it, you tend to accidentally bump it, and it goes flying. The missile itself is a refined version from the ones throughout the LEGO system, spotting a slightly smaller black rubber head that flexes better on impact than the original domed version [of various colors]. However, this also reduced its weight enough that the launcher now can propel it out to nearly double the distance that the original did! Whether by design or not, there is a Technic peg sticking out of the bottom of the mega cannon. Though the instructions do not say this, the missile can be clipped on there for storage, which is where I usually keep it. The left arm is much less glamorous, but more articulate than the right. It uses two ball-&-socket joints for the shoulder and elbow, which gives it good range of motion, but doesn’t support it as well as it could with the heavy shield on the end. This mirrors their frequent and popular use in the “Bionicle™” line which continues successfully to this day. This also becomes a well-known, if little-advertised, problem as LEGO’s ball-&-socket joints are known for wearing out quickly when used a lot and aren’t the greatest for supporting heavy loads. (I’ve become aware of this over time since I used to collect “Bionicle” sets too, and so I’ve become somewhat paranoid of ball-&-socket joints in new LEGO sets.) The shield itself also has a single-axis free-rotation joint, and so can pivot up and down almost 180-degrees. The torso is of typical design, and the cockpit is open-air once more... with one exception. While the robots’ Sonic Phantom, Sentry, and Bridge Walker all had controls of some kind that could be gripped by the minfigs’ claws, only the Exo-Force Uplink had any such controls for Ryo to hang on to. The Golden Guardian also has control sticks which pivot horizontally into the cockpit from outside of it for Hayato to grab onto. The shoulders are mounted on single ball-&-socket joints just behind the canopy joint. The missiles on each can detach though they’re not really designed to; they’re just supposed to sit there.
Lego Set #7714 comes with a new version of the Hayato minifig (LEGO spells it as “Ha-Ya-To”) different from the previous year’s: a new ‘flight suit’ which adds gold to the original white and blue, and he has the same two separate facial expressions (one painted on either side of his head) and red spiky hairstyle piece introduced in the “Exo-Force” line, which adds to the Japanese anime style of the series. When the head and hair are flipped around, Hayato either displays a determined face, or a battle-cry expression, both with his confident, quirky smile. (This double-face design originated in the LEGO “Spider-Man™” minifigs from 2001 and 2003, but is now becoming more commonplace in themed lines like “City”, “Star Wars™” and “Batman™”.)
Normally, when a Lego set needs specific details on a part, such as a control panel or flag, the image is printed or painted directly onto specific parts. “Exo-Force” continues on by using stick-on decals; something that was rarely ever used in the past. There is a small sticker sheet which provides allegiance markings, warning symbols & notices, and names- some of them written in Japanese text! Translations of the Japanese text are given on the sticker sheet, but do not go on the parts. This allows for a wider range of piece marking without Lego having to create a completely different piece each time, and merges the “Exo-Force” and Japanese toy influence closer together. It does, however, have a small downside- because of the design of the decals, some of them cover places where other Lego pieces can go, which limits how a decal-applied piece can be used or taken apart. There are no conflicts in Set#7714.
The common gimmick of the debut 2006 line was- aside from them all being giant robots (!)- the introduction of the LEGO light brick with clear fiber-optic cable, though this was seen through almost all of the sets. They also had instructions for building an alternate set with the same parts on their homepage. Alas, neither of these returns in 2007. Instead, LEGO brings us a pivotal part of the storyline: the EXO Codes. When entered into the computer in the Golden Tower, they allow the refugees inside the Golden City to access a special feature within the ancient technological fortress. Each 2007 “Exo-Force” sets has at least one exclusive EXO Code located on a flat 1x2 plate placed somewhere on the Battle Machine’s body. When entered into the Code Brick Central area of Exo-Force’s homepage, it gives you special access to new things online like exclusive background info on the set, stickers & wallpaper for your computer’s desktop, images to be used for real shirt iron-ons, IM avatars, and more! (Not to spoil anything, but the only really unique thing for each set you get access to is a 10-sec silent video clip of your set in action on the site!)
This set has a bit more of the anime influence in it with the larger legs & feet. I thought that the back of the legs were rather barren compared to the rest of it; a flaw found in most Battle Machine sets. The mega cannon on the right arm is pretty cool, as is the missile launcher, but if they had included a light brick in this set, then they could have had the barrel glow! Again with the ball-&-socket joints on the left arm... For as heavy as that shield is, it’s really annoying to have the arm drooping all the time! Same with the shoulder armor- they could have had those fixed in place instead of pitching all over. The set was surprisingly front heavy even when in a neutral pose, which took me by surprise and wasn't all that obvious. Oh, BTW, why was this set designated a “Limited Gold Edition” when there’s gold-colored parts and decals on the other sets as well...? Only thing different about this set was that it was a Toys-R-Us exclusive release. Overall, it looks good, but there were just a few things that I would like to have seen improved. But I think that the Golden Guardian is worth picking up.
|Posted 21 July, 2007 - 03:33 by EVA_Unit_4A|