Monday, February 21, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe: Pursuit of Cobra - Desert Battle Snake Eyes

Desert Battle Snake Eyes | Produced by Hasbro | Released: January 2011

Snake Eyes is the G.I. Joe team's Ninja Commando and Martial Arts master. As the team fights Cobra forces in the desert, Snake Eyes slips behind enemy lines to blow-up Cobra fortifications. He is armed with a pistol, submachine gun and swords to battle anyone who tries to stop him from reaching his target.

Read on as That Figures continues to explore the world of the GI Joe...

Desert Battle Snake Eyes comes in the standard GI Joe single-figure packaging, namely the card-mounted blister-pack.

As you can see, the blister-pack does an excellent job of showing-off the pack's contents, with Snake Eyes' equipment (of which there's a lot!) having its own place in the retaining tray and being displayed well. The rear of the pack includes the Clip and Collect character profile and some information on the Desert Battle campaign, plus a nicely-rendered piece of artwork depicting the conflict.

Perhaps it's because I'm new to the line but one thing I wish they'd do is label the figures in a clearer manner. I'm calling this the ''Desert Battle Snake Eyes'' figure because the campaign is mentioned on the back of the pack and not because his packaging refers to him as ''Desert Battle Snake Eyes.'' Maybe he's not even called that. But given that there are multiple versions of each figure and each Wave includes a mix of settings, it would be nice if Hasbro were a little more explicit with their naming conventions.

The packaging itself is sealed with glue around the blister-pack, meaning it has to be torn-free of the card to access the figure, which - along with his equipment - is seated within this blister-pack in a retaining tray. The figure and pieces fit snuggly here, which is nice.

What of the figure?

Snake Eyes

Snake Eyes is a well-sculpted figure, with a design that sits well between his commando and Ninja background - his roll-neck sweater and combat fatigues evoke the military side of his persona with his swords and mask giving him that Ninja flavour. I like the visual design of the figure a lot. The only part I'm not sure about are the elastic straps between his legs. I don't see what purpose they serve and as an agile infiltrator, should he really have something like that dangling around he could trip-over? It's an odd detail indeed.

As you can see, he's bristling with weapons. Although it's covered below in the Extras section, I'll just point out now that he has way more with him than the ''pistol, submachine gun and swords'' mentioned in the intro. It's possible to dress Snake Eyes with virtually all of his equipment - thanks to the use of various ports, pockets and slots on his costume - if you're selective as to which weapons he holds and which are sheathed/holstered. I say ''virtually'' because even with the most equipment-effective set-up, you'll still be left with a spare head and one pistol. It's a shame Hasbro didn't include just one more holster, as it would then have been possible to fully-load Snake Eyes, thus reducing the chances of losing his extra equipment. Oh well.

Articulation-wise the figure is what you'd expect from a GI Joe and has a good overall range of movement. I find some of the elbow joints on the GI Joe toys to be sometimes a little restrictive and Snake Eyes is no exception. The joints seem a little stiff but that's not really that big a problem and I'd certainly favour that over having loose joints.

There are unfortunately a couple of piece of his equipment that don't fit too-well into his hands. His Ninjato swords tend to be a little loose (similar to Zartan's blades) and his assault rifle can be a little awkward for him to grip. That aside though there are no problems here.

For a figure clad in black, there's not much going-on in terms of paint but the insignia on his shoulders and grey, steely knee-pads contribute significantly to produce a nice-looking figure. And given how detailed his sculpt is, with pockets, textured materials and folds, the figure does a good job creating its own highlights high/low-lights without the need for paint.

Indeed, the sculpt is possibly one of the most detailed I've seen on a figure of this scale. Literally every millimetre has something going-on, be it a crease or a costume detail. It looks superb and the more you study it, the more you see. It's an excellent piece of work that looks realistic without being dull, interesting without becoming outlandish and I like it a lot.

I thought Zartan had a lot of equipment, but he's barely-dressed compared to Snake Eyes.

Here's the complete list of what's in the pack:

Snake Eyes Figure
Variant Head
Battle Tunic
Two Ninjato Swords  (with Sheaths)
Two (Unique) Pistols
Two Silencers
Explosives Shoulder Pack
Two Combat Knives
Combat Knife Sheath
Uzi-Style Machine Pistol
Assault Rifle
Arashikage Clan Sword (I assume)
Figure Stand
Colour Catalogue

As I said above, Snake Eyes can be dressed with almost every piece of equipment he comes with, which is definitely a plus. It's just a shame that head and pistol are left over...!

Final Thoughts
This is the second Pursuit of Cobra figure I've Reviewed and I have to say that the good-impression Zartan made has been upheld by Desert Battle Snake Eyes.

Like Zartan, the figure's strength lies in the way the ordinary is made interesting. As a black-clad commando, he could have been an incredibly dull figure, yet the amount of detail on his costume coupled with some well though-out equipment and - just as important - storage places on the figure make for a very nice toy.

What's I like is that Snake Eyes works both as a poseable, collectable figure and as a toy. Strip-off the more delicate equipment and a child could spend hours staging mock battles with him. Dress him in all his gear and he makes a nice shelf-piece. I like that approach a lot.

I wish Hasbro had just put another 1% of thought into the way the equipment is stored, though. It seems such an oversight to me to include a pistol he can't carry when he's fully-loaded and the addition of one extra holster would have made all the difference. 

But that minor issue aside, this is an excellent figure.

Production QualityA-
Final ScoreA-

Image Gallery


  1. Just the sheer amount of extras makes this figure worth picking up. But i already have two Snake Eyes so i will pass on him.

  2. I believe this is the 56th Snake Eyes produced at this scale. :D

    I also have the Tornado Kick Jungle Assault Snake Eyes in my collection, sitting ready for Review...

  3. I think Snake Eyes has to be one of the most redone characters in toy history if not he has to dang close to it lol.

    1. Batman is probably the most redone. But Snake Eyes has been done a lot in comparison to the other Joes.

    2. Personally, I love this guy. The extra pistol can simply be put in his vest, and he can even put the uzi in one of the straps on his back. The elastic bands make it so much more easy to remove the vest/harness than most Joes. I really, really like this figure. I don't think I'll ever buy another Snake Eyes unless it's really really unique.

  4. I read somewhere that people like his ''blankness'' because they can project anything they want onto it...


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