Friday, May 20, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe Rise of Cobra - City Strike Snake Eyes (AKA GI Joe: Resolute Snake Eyes)

Produced by Hasbro | Released 2009

Snake Eyes is a Ninja Master and military commando who trains the GI Joe team in hand-to-hand combat. He infiltrates a suspected Cobra lab located in a large Asian city, using an XN-2 ascension pack designed for ''silent night'' Ninja commando operations.

Rise of the Resolute Pursuit of What?
Before we proceed, it's worth explaining a little about this toy's background. A few months before the release of GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the Cartoon Network - in its Adult Swim late-night slot - aired a ''mature'' take on the original GI Joe universe in the form GI Joe: Resolute. Written by respected comicbook author Warren Ellis, the show took a darker, more realistic approach to the subject matter, with the Saturday Morning Cartoon feel being replaced with a more adult tale of global terrorism.

A number of figures were released to tie-in with this new animated series but when the GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra toys were announced, Hasbro phased-out the Resolute toys in favour of the movie tie-ins. 

Now this is where it gets more convoluted...

Following its less-than-stellar reception, Hasbro decided to replace The Rise of Cobra toys with a new line, entitled The Pursuit of Cobra. This line saw a move away from the actor-likeness figures of the Rise line and a shift back to the more established looks of earlier lines. The final Rise of Cobra releases - Collection 2's Wave 5 - are considered by many to be Pursuit of Cobra figures in all but name, as these toys saw Hasbro introducing the ''location-event'' prefixes used in the Pursuit line (i.e. City Strike, Desert Battle and so on.)

But to further complicate matters, one of these figures - the City Strike Snake Eyes - is based on the GI Joe: Resolute version of the character(!) and it's that figure we're looking at today...

Packaging Shots

Note: that's a price tag on the front of the packaging I couldn't get to come-off completely...

City Strike Snake Eyes
For many collectors, this is the definitive modern Snake Eyes (although some may argue that the Desert Battle Snake Eyes has the edge) and whilst he is an excellent figure, he's not without his faults.

The sculpt is superb. As part of the GI Joe: Resolute ethic, a lot of the cartoony elements of the characters was toned down and much of their equipment was based upon real world technology. This is evident in City Strike Snake Eyes' gear and body armour. It's much more lifelike and is very much like the body armour and equipment used by, say, the US Rangers or Delta Force troops. It's also an incredibly ''clean'' design, with the figure sporting tight-fitting clothing augmented with webbing, armour and packs. There's also a lot of detail on the core sculpt, such as buckles and pouch pockets that help give the figure an appealing look. 

The head sculpt features the ''visor-and-vents'' mask, rather than the ''horizontal slits'' mask. I'm personally a fan of both but I think the visor-and-vents mask works well with this figure's overall look: it's more believable and fits well with the other plated armour pieces he's wearing. Again, like the body sculpt it looks realistic and practical, as if somebody has designed the helmet using real-world equipment.

Articulation is good and pretty much as you'd expect from a modern Joe. A couple of things I'm not too keen on though are the head articulation (which is a swivel only with no tilt) and my City Strike Snake Eyes has slightly wobbly hip joints. He has no problems holding poses but when pick him up or change his pose, there's a very slight amount of give in his hips. That could simply be an issue with my figure though.

Paintwork is crisp and clean. I also like the use of muted tones (after all he's a Ninja!) and the grey and black colour scheme works well. The only real issue I have is that the ''ribbed'' fingers on his gloves aren't as neatly applied as the rest of his paintwork. However, details like the fasteners on his harness and his helmet trim are applied perfectly and look great. For a figure with such a limited palette and such muted tones, City Strike Snake Eyes really ''pops.''


The figure's basic sculpt is augmented with a webbing harness and belt (which may be removed.) I like the way these pieces sit on the figure, as they don't interfere with posing and the harness in particular is a very neat, snug fit. I also like the asymmetrical look of the belt and again, it's designed to not to get in the way too much.

The rear of the belt features a port into which the Katana sheath's peg may be fitted. I was disappointed to see the sheath only fits here, though - you can't put it on his back, as the peg simply isn't long enough. However, it's not that big a deal and given the figure comes with a backpack (well, two actually) it's not like he's going to have a visible hole in his back.

Speaking of backpacks, City Strike Snake Eyes even includes options here. Personally I prefer the smaller backpack I've used in the photos but there's also a pretty cool XN-2 Ascension Pack, as seen with the Arctic Assault Snake Eyes (and I believe the recently released Rock Viper.) Both work well though and are nice accessories. To further assist with his climbing, Snake Eyes includes a pair of clip-on climbing spikes/boots. They're a very good fit but they do tend to make him look as if he's wearing platform boots.

Weapon-wise, Snake Eyes comes with his Arashikage Katana, an assault rifle, an SMG, a pistol and a knife. Unfortunately though, he has very limited storage space. The Katana may be sheathed and the knife slots into the (large) backpack but beyond that he has to be posed with his gear in-hand. That's a shame, as I like to include as many pieces as possible when I display my toys.

The included stand also has a slight problem: the foot pegs and foot ports don't quite match and Snake Eyes can be a little loose on his base. It's not a massive issue but it's worth noting.

Overall then, there's a good selection of equipment, offering plenty of posing and dressing options.

Final Thoughts
I've Reviewed a lot of Snake Eyes figures since I started collecting GI Joes but I think I have to say that from them all - and there have been some very good ones - this is my personal favourite. I love the simplicity of the design, with his stripped-down look augmented with very practical-looking, lifelike equipment. The sculpt may not be the most ultra-detailed I've seen (although it's still very good) but it works superbly and looks great. I keep coming back to it, but it's the realism that works here. He really does look like he could be a real-world command/Special Ops trooper.

OK, so there are some issues with storing his gear and he may not be the most exciting-looking of Snake Eyes figures but that's not important. Pick out a couple of accessories and get him in a good pose and he looks absolutely awesome. The simple, stripped-down look works brilliantly and marks him out as the absolute highlight of the Rise of Cobra toy line.

I know we've had a lot of Snake Eyes figures (54 according to - and that doesn't include the latest Temple Guardian version) and I'm sure there are collectors who really don't fancy adding another to their collection. But trust me on this one: this is more than ''just another Snake Eyes'' - this is the definitive edition.

Production QualityA-
Final ScoreA

Image Gallery


  1. Ok Kev you sold me on him i just need to find one now so i better head to TJ Maxx lol.

  2. He's definitely worth tracking down - especially at a TJ Maxx-tastic $3.99!


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