2022 is nearly in the books. As we countdown the final hours and minutes until 2023, it feels good to say that the new year will begin with no further Loot Crate obligations. That’s because after a delay of more than a year, the second crate in Loot Crate’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series of crates is finally here. It may be the second crate, but it’s arriving fourth due to…who knows? Loot Crate basically went silent to start 2022 and stopped providing updates on where things were. This crate was supposedly ready to rock 10 months ago, but obviously that wasn’t the case. I ranted and raved a bit in the other crate reviews so if you want more background info I’d say go give those a peek, but let’s relax and be happy that it’s all over now.
If you’re new to the scam, each crate in a series of four is based on a different pillar of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles media empire: comics, movies, television, and video games. This final crate is the video game one, which in the first series was themed around Turtles in Time. The same could be said for NECA’s line of action figures released to comic shops, but this one is a mix of two different video games: Turtles in Time and Tournament Fighters. Like past crates, you get a bunch of junk and a t-shirt with the real selling point being an exclusive action figure from NECA. And in this one it’s Armaggon from Tournament Fighters, a character that I’m not particularly attached to, but I know a lot of other collectors out there who are really excited to get this one. And not because they’re huge fans of Tournament Fighters, but because Armaggon was a character in the Archie comics. He’s basically a mutant shark from the future and he’s quite the badass. The Armaggon from the video game was a mostly faithful adaptation of the comic character making this figure a pretty faithful adaptation of the same. Well, except for that pixel deco NECA uses for its video game line.
Before we get to the main event though, we should probably talk about the junk. As I mentioned in the prior paragraph, some of this is from Turtles in Time and some from Tournament Fighters. From Turtles in Time, we get a pair of socks. They have some graphics on them from the game (turtles on one sock, villains on the other) and…they’re socks. They’re fine. We also get a pin, as every crate has included a pin so far. This one features Leatherhead’s head and…it’s fine. We also get a boxed set of two glasses featuring Tokka and Rahzar from the game. When I picked the box up and saw the image of the glassware inside, I assumed they were shot glasses, but they’re actually bigger. I guess these are whiskey glasses? Bourbon glass? Loot Crate calls them juice glasses. Either way, the graphics are more like decals so if you decide to use these you will want to hand wash them because a dishwasher will likely obliterate the images. Some of the decals on mine are crooked, which is a shame. At least the images look, in a running theme for this crate so far, fine.
Tournament Fighters, in case you forgot, was a TMNT fighting game released exclusively for consoles. It’s odd that it wasn’t released to arcades, but maybe that’s how late it was to arrive. It’s also a Konami fighter, and now that I think about it, Konami really didn’t tackle the genre much and I can’t think of a single Konami fighting game released in arcades (Martial Champion, anyone?). They mostly specialized in brawlers, but I guess they felt they could not ignore the hype generated by the likes of Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat. The game was released for the Super Nintendo, Genesis, and Nintendo Entertainment System. In what is an example of a bygone era for game development, each version of the game was completely different from the other. The Super Nintendo one is the version that featured Armaggon, so it’s from that game that the theme for the t-shirt is pulled. In what can only be described as a Christmas miracle (I got my crate before Christmas), Loot Crate actually sent me the proper sized shirt. The shirt itself is just black with the turtles fighting Shredder with some very 90s colors in the background. It’s…fine. Lastly, and it’s not really from any game, is a Krang stress ball. He has more of a toon look to him, but a licensing art toon look. It’s pretty fun though, I’ll give it that. We also get a summary card of the stuff in the crate, something the last one omitted.
So yeah, the junk in this crate is all fine. Nothing is terrible, nothing is really a surprise, and nothing is really all that welcomed. I guess it’s nice to have another shirt, and I definitely prefer it to the apron from the last crate, and I’ll wear it and probably the socks because why not? I’ll find a home for the silly stress ball, and the rest will probably end up in a drawer or behind my bar. In comparison with the other crates, it’s way better simply by virtue of getting the shirt size correct, but it’s still a bunch of stuff I never would have purchased individually. The real attraction is and always has been the action figure. And in order to get the bonus figure of Scrag in the last crate, I had to get all of them. If I could have picked and choosed what crates I wanted and still got Scrag I may have passed on Armaggon. Nothing against him, I just have no affection for Tournament Fighters. It was a middling fighting game that was also brutally difficult and I wasted a rental on it as a kid. It wasn’t one of my worst rental decisions, but it was a game I never contemplated renting again or actually buying. And if I’m going to get an Armaggon, I’d prefer a true comic one. That said, I was still curious about this figure. I could tell from early solicitations that it was going to reuse some components from Bebop and Rocksteady, but it was also hard to tell just how much. And to a lesser extent, I was curious how the figure would be packaged and if NECA was intending to do more from the game.
Armaggon comes bundled in a box that is essentially the same shape as the other Loot Crate figures. The graphics on it though are tailored to the Tournament Fighters SNES game and they did a really good job. Almost too good considering this isn’t a figure that will show up on shelves at a store near you. The box graphics are designed to mimic the packaging of a Super Nintendo game and NECA even put it’s own logo on there in the same style as the Nintendo logo of old. There’s shots of the arcade Donatello on it designed to emulate the same posings from the artwork of the Tournament Fighters game and they whited out the eyes on him and updated the figure to look a bit more like the Donatello from the game. He doesn’t look quite like the source though since those sprites were designed to resemble the 1990 movie suits. It would have been interesting to see NECA try to do the same just to see how that figure would have looked, but eh, it’s fine.
Once removed from his cardboard prison, Armaggon cuts a pretty intimidating pose on a shelf. He’s fairly tall coming in at a tick under 7″ (not counting his fin which puts him closer to 7.5″) or so which makes him one of the largest figures in the video game line. The first thing that jumps out though is the head. He looks pretty crazed with those red eyes and red gums to go with a lot of sharp teeth. It’s a nice sculpt and one that’s obviously all new. It sits on the torso of Bebop and I’m guessing the biceps and shoulders are recycled as well. The forearms needed to be re-tooled because Armaggon has some red fins there and they give his arms the added length they need. The hands are straight from the other release though as are the thighs which have the clothing wrinkles still sculpted in which is a bit annoying, but NECA did the same for the Triceratons so it’s hardly a surprise. The lower legs and the feet are all new since Armaggon has flippers. The other new part appears to be the crotch as his belt is part of the same piece. On the rear of the figure is a shark tail and that’s all new as well. To summarize, the only old parts are the torso, upper arm, hands, and thighs which is less than I expected.
What stands out with the figure is the paint and his cybernetic bits. The pixel deco is one of NECA’s best applications of it. There are parts of the figure, like the right thigh and shoulders, that really blend like a sprite should when viewing it from the shelf. It’s a neat effect, and while some don’t like it, at least it’s done well. The cybernetic stuff is basically all of the yellow around the head area. It’s sort of like a harness, I don’t really know the function of it, but it’s very intricately done. He has lots of tubes and straps and while they look good, it does give the figure a fragile appearance. And considering it’s a limited edition figure that’s not supposed to ever be sold at retail, it makes it even scarier to handle. He also has his missiles sculpted into his traps and they’re colored gray like the game. They don’t do anything, but it’s obviously something the character needed. Overall, I’d call the sculpt and paint pretty damn good all things considered. The reuse present is appropriate and there’s plenty of new stuff to justify the cost. Well, if we’re applying a cost of 25 bucks or so to the figure since the crate costs $50.
In terms of articulation, well, there isn’t a lot to talk about. As hinted at earlier, this guy is scary to pose. The head is locked down, but he does have a hinged jaw which is cool. The arms though are connected to those tubes and harness contraption and I hesitate to do much with them. They bend, but I can see them getting stressed and I personally will pose this guy in as unstressful a position as I can get. Which is probably straight up and down, but we’ll see. He does have hinged shoulders though and a biceps swivel. The elbows are double-jointed and the wrists swivel and hinge. There’s a torso joint that basically just provides a tiny bit of rotation and little else. If the waist does anything, I can’t tell. At the hips, we have ball and socket joints like the Triceratons which I am very happy about as I feared we’d get the old style Bebop and Rocksteady hips. There’s a slight thigh twist at the ball and the knees are double-jointed. The ankles hinge and have a rocker and move fine. The tail is on a ball peg, but it does very little. This guy is pretty stiff out of the box so be gentle. Maybe just be extra cautious and heat anything up that feels stuck. The lower half of the figure is the stronger part when it comes to articulation and it’s okay. I feel fine posing him down there. It’s the arms and upper torso that scare me the most, and really it’s the upper arm. The elbows and hands are fine. He’s not going to pose very well though, unfortunately.
As has been the case with basically all of the Loot Crate figures, the accessories are rather weak. In fairness, I don’t know that Armaggon needs anything from the game. Maybe an effect? He just has extra hands though and they’re all recycled from Bebop and Rocksteady. He has a set of fists and open hands plus a trigger finger right hand and a gripping left. He has nothing to grasp, but if you want to give him a gun or something at least you can. I’ll probably just go with the open, style posed, hands and leave it that way.
Well, that’s it! The second, and hopefully final, series of Loot Crates based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are history and it feels good to be done. I’ve had plenty of preorders over the past two years that went long so it’s not the delays that bothered me. It’s the lack of communication and the outright lying that came out of The Loot Company that ticked me off. Plus, we’re not talking about a preorder that took two years to be delivered. This was paid for back in early 2021 and it was supposed to ship in September of the same year! That’s nuts! At the end of 2021 they were saying it was going to ship imminently – there’s no way that was ever true! And they screwed up a ton of the orders, went really light on the stuff in crate 3, and just all around delivered a bad consumer experience. Hopefully, Loot Crate is allowed to die for good this time and never return, because if another round of these things is announced I’m staying away. Unless they change their business model to not require payment upfront, because this stuff felt super shady. If I’m allowed to ignore the consumer experience and just judge the whole thing on what we got, it still was a subpar experience. The Danny figure stunk, and there was nothing of value in 2 of the remaining three crates outside of the figures. At least those figures were done well enough, but why do they need to be sold this way? Collectors will happily just buy these figures from NECA direct and there’s really no character too obscure for release at this point. Now, it’s just my opinion, but I don’t think NECA liked the experience of partnering with Loot Crate either so it’s my hope that they have enough pull with their owner, who owns Loot Crate, to put an end to the partnership because it really hurt their brand more than it helped. For now, let’s just be happy it’s over and try to enjoy the figures we got. Here’s to a new year free of Loot Crate!
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