Gradion DX Web Knight
Review by JoshB
Takara's Web Diver series was one of the more innovative toy lines in recent memory, but that did not save the line from poor sales. The main idea of Web Diver is that Gradion, the train robot, is also a video game. You can plug him in to a TV set to get 16-bit video game fun. The buttons on the back act as a controller. If you transform Gradion while plugged in, the screen follows along, showing you and animated transformation sequence as you move the parts.
The video game is pretty rudimentary. In train mode, you drive a train through a slalom course that reminds me of Zaxxon. In robot mode, you fight an enemy from across a chasm. There are also a few puzzle games and assorted screens.
But wait, there's more! You can attach other DX Web Knights to the front of Gradion, and they become power-ups. The infra-red sensor on Gradion's chest detects the other toy, and then it materializes on screen. There is a huge WOW factor in this, but that quickly fades when you realize how repetitive the game play is.
Video game component aside, Gradion is still a cool transforming robot.
He is tall, about 12 inches or so. He is made of reasonably sturdy plastic with great chrome highlights. Articulation is really good, but the toy is top heavy. The designers realized this and gave small supports behind the legs, but they are not enough. Unless Gradion is standing straight up, he falls over.
In train mode, he is actually cooler looking, if that's possible. I've never seen a train like this though. Takara's famous attention to detail is in full effect here, with train wheels with the connected bars, just like a real train.
Gradion's biggest flaw, aside from the lame game play, is some weak structural points. The right arm joint has a tendency to snap right off. The toy can still be played with and transformed, but I have heard of many Gradion toys with this problem. Also, the screw that holds the battery compartment (under the head) tends to strip the plastic if you over-tighten it.
Gradion comes with a sword and shield, but the shield is kind of flimsy - you can't make the hand grip it tight enough to hold it into place. The sword does store neatly in both modes.
Is Gradion worth it? Well, if you like Transforming toys, or Train Robots; yes. But don't get it just for the video game aspect; you will be disappointed.
|Posted 12 August, 2005 - 11:27 by JoshB|