Mega Man 
Diorama Playsets

Toy companies have long been in love with video games. This is due in part to all the geeks that work at toy companies, and the fact that 80% of their personal time is spent playing video games. But it's also due to the overall popularity of the games themselves, and how well many of their stars translate to 3-D.

Mega Man is a hit series of games from Capcom. Like any great video game, intent on taking over the world, there's also a cartoon series. And also like any great world dominating video game, there's plenty of toy tie ins, from plush to pvc's to action figures.

Jazwares picked up the license awhile back, and has just released some spiffy little playsets with two 1.5" PVC figures included. There are two playsets, both identical in sculpt but different in color - and danger.

Since Mega Man games are side scrolling games (predominately, although there were some variations), it makes sense that these small sets are scenes from a side scrolling situation. They've thrown in moving parts and some magnets to add to the play value, and each set retails for about $8. I have some suggestions for picking them up at the end of the review.

Packaging - **1/2
The sets come in window boxes, with peg hanger extensions on the top of the boxes. You can see the set easily, and there's a reasonable amount of text and graphics. These are very traditional mass market packages, nothing surprising, but intended to do the basic job.

Sculpting - ***
Mega Man isn't a source material that lends itself to lots of detail, but what the figure designs lack has been made up for in the sets themselves.

There's a nice crosshatching and dimpling on the 'sheet metal' sections, giving them a very realistic machine shop appearance.  Some of the other pieces are a tad plain, such as the ladders, but overall it's above average work.

Each of the figures is sculpted in a stance of course, since there's no articulation.  They all stand fine on their own even without the nifty magnets, and the fighting stances fit in nicely with both the characters and the sets.

Paint - ***
The paint ops are pretty consistent in what we've seen from the other Jazware Mega Man stuff.  There's not a huge amount of super small detail, but even large areas start looking like small detail in this scale.

Both sets are fairly colorful, yet retain some industrial feel.  The paint work on the PVC's themselves is neat and clean, and pretty consistent with other figures in this scale and style on the market these days.

Articulation - Figures: Bupkis; Sets: ***
The small figures are simply PVC's, so it should be no huge surprise that they aren't articulated. However, the set comes with several moving features.

The gear attached to the back of each set turns, as do the conveyor belts. The belts were a little tough to turn, and might cause frustration for small children, but with a little patience (or help from you) they'll get the hang of it.

The large rock or spiked plate hanging from the chain can be lifted and lowered, crushing any slow moving character between the belts. And if you've ever been crushed between the belts, you know it's not pleasant. This feature works pretty well, and kids should have a great time with it.

Accessories - **1/2
It's really just the ladders, although you could count the figures themselves if you were of a mind. I'm not, but you might be.

The ladders are a tad over scaled, but since this is a video game based toy, who's to say they shouldn't be that big? The magnets work well as mentioned earlier, but the basic design of the ladders is, well, basic.

Action Feature - ***1/2
Since I already discussed the various moving parts in the articulation section, I'm only counting the magnets as the action feature here. Magnets are always cool - I don't think I've ever seen them used in a toy that wasn't a good idea. This time is no different, and the figures can attach to the walls and ladders, and the ladder can attach to the wall, at multiple points. The magnets are nice and sturdy too, allowing kids to come up with all kinds of creative positions.

Fun Factor - ****
This is the kind of toy that I usually give away once I'm done reviewing it. Why? Well, I'm not a huge fan, so I like to see someone who is end up with this stuff.

But these two sets won't be going anyway. Not since my four year old son saw them. He snagged on to them, and plays with them regularly. He has no idea who Mega Man is, but the action feature and moving parts of the set allow him to get very creative in various battles, which is all he cares about.

These are definitely winners when it comes to fun, and any kid who is still at the age where play acting through action figures is a regular past time should really enjoy these.  This is going to factor in pretty heavily to the overall score, since fun is the number one priority with these sets.

Value - ***1/2
Retail on these is around eight bucks. That's a damn good value for two pvc's, a playset with moving parts, and a bunch of magnets thrown in for good measure.

Things to watch out for - 
Not a thing!

Overall -  ***
These aren't high end statues for the collector market - they are fun playsets designed for kids.  They have some great movement based action in the gear, chain and conveyor belts, and the magnets add another dimension of fun.  Kids who enjoy the games and are still in the general age bracket for playing with this style of toy are going to love these - hey, my kids have no idea who Mega Man is and they enjoyed them!

That doesn't mean collectors should over look them though, as they are pretty nifty on the shelf.  The magnets allow for some unique battle set ups, and the playset makes for a nice backdrop.  If your a major fan of the character, you'll want to give these a second look, especially at the extremely reasonable price point.

Packaging - **1/2
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - Figures: Bupkis; Sets: ***
Accessories - **1/2
Action Feature - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ***1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy - 
These are popping up at Big Lots right now, and I'm betting we see them soon at other retailers, like Toys R Us, that regularly carry Mega Man merchandise.

Related Links:
I haven't reviewed a lot of Mega Man stuff myself, but I do have some guest reviews:

- here's a guest review of the Mega Man NT Virus Attack wave, and the regular Mega Man NT Warriors.

- and over at Movie Poop Shoot, I did review the Mega Man NT X and Nightshade figures.

- if you're looking for a good general info site on Mega Man, I suggest the Mega Man Network

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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