Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Space Police III: Gold Heist

I got to check out the set 5971 "Gold Heist" which is the smallish medium sized set of the new Space Police III line-up, retailing for 19.99 U$D. As you can see from the image, it looks great. One thing that I'll say about the newer Space lines (and I suspect this is the influence of having done years and years of Star Wars sets); the design aesthetic has really improved. For comparison, I built my 6897 "Rebel Hunter" and 6984 "Galactic Mediator"; two space ships from the Space Police II line that I own, and they look really clunky and silly in comparison.

The other thing that became apparent shortly upon buying this; it's not a space ship. It looks like one at first glance, but these new Space Policemen don't wear oxygen tanks, or even a fully enclosed helmet, and the engines aren't rockets; they're VTOLs, very similar to the jet engines on some of the City theme airport sets, or other sets that feature jet engines, such as Agents or others. No, rather, this is the proverbial flying car; something equivalent to the speeders in which Anakin and Obiwan chased the bounty hunter in Attack of the Clones. Relative to earlier Space Police themes, this one also has a much more... well, much more "police-ish" look to it; the vehicle is white with black trim, has red and blue sirens, etc. This is kinda in line with the little flash movies that LEGO has put out on their homepage; for one of the sets, the Space Policeman is literally pulling over an alien for running a red light.

Anyway, that's the good. Here's the bad. Stickers. I know, I know; LEGO has fallen in love with stickers. I'm sure that it's cheaper for them than printing on the bricks, which they seem completely unwilling to do anymore. It sure does suck for the consumer though. I will not stop complaining about stickers. They bite. It's a pain to put them on, it's very difficult to get them straight and properly aligned, and they just don't even look nearly as good either. Also; this set lacks "swoopability." It looks like the kind of set that would be tons of fun to pick up and fly around through the air making "swooshing" sounds, but you actually can't do that very well. It's got too many moving parts. The canopy moves all over the place. The jet engines, front and rear, move all over the place. The safe that it's carrying in the arc in the back feels rickety. The little hot rod "space moped" that the alien is flying is tiny and kinda silly. (The alien himself is very cool, with a weird lizard like head and four arms. They did this by creating a very bizarrely cast "head" piece that is actually an additional torso section and head combined, and then has green "battle droid" or "skeleton" arms attached to this head piece. The rest of the body is regular minifig stuff.)

Still; those reservations aside, this is a promising ship, and the line itself is promising as well (for that matter, so was the Mars Mission line that relaunched LEGO Space a couple of years ago.) This bodes well for the future of my beloved Space theme, which I hope to see progress for some time to come.

Interestingly enough, the box refers to a LEGO Space video game for the Nintendo DS, which it says is "Now Available." Even though it's also rated "Rating Pending." Clearly the box art was approved some time ago, and the game has not managed to meet the schedule. Rumors are floating around the internet ever since this Space Police packaging started appearing promising what sounds like a fun video game... which isn't actually available after all. Including that it may be available for the Wii too.

I'm really curious to see this. I wonder if it'll revisit a lot of the other Space subthemes from past years, and even revisit classic favorite sets from the past? Here's hopin'. Since I've got boys who love most of the LEGO games to date (especially the ones done by Traveller's Tales and based on licensed properties; the Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Batman games) if this game is even at all good, I can almost guarantee that we'll get it.

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