Toy Soldiers

Mythology-expanding marketing is far from a fresh concept in Hollywood. From toys and comic books to clothing and fast food tie-ins, there’s rarely a shortage of peripheral products supporting-and often sullying-big screen blockbusters. And while aging geeks likes myself have been eating this stuff up ever since Kenner released their successful Star Wars toy line in the 70’s, this universe-building approach is relatively new to the mainstream video game world. Recent entries, such as comics and DVDs complementing titles like Dead Space and Mass Effect– even Call of Duty and Halo-branded energy drinks – have proven the gamepad-clutching masses crave more than just a disc to spin in their consoles. As someone who still regrets selling his Death Star Station at a yard sale for ten bucks (for those under 30, a yard sale is like eBay for oldies), I’ve been especially taken by some of the new collectibles spawned from my favorite pastime. NECA Toys and DC Unlimited have begun turning some of our more popular polygon stars into slick action figures, so here’s a look at the coolest pixel-to-plastic people currently vying for a spot on our bookshelves

Big Daddy (BioShock 2)
Codenamed Subject Delta, this towering Splicer-slaying sculpt is based on the new playable Protector from BioShock 2. Sporting some sweet details, such as air hoses and a removable oxygen tank, Delta effectively captures the cool/creepy vibe of the game. I’m not sure what’s up with the baton on his belt (perhaps he was a Keystone cop before stumbling into the Atlantic and discovering Rapture), but his drill-arm is all sorts of bad-ass. The blood-letting appendage can be positioned for full menacing effect, so have fun with it and stick it up in the grill of an old toy you’re now embarrassed you own; in fact, it’d totally be worth searching out a cheap Jar Jar Binks action figure for this very purpose. Just don’t place Delta near the Big Daddy statue you may have gotten with the original game’s Special Edition-Delta is much bigger, and embarrassing drill-envy could lead to an ugly battle on your bookshelf.

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Little Sister (BioShock 2)
Just like BioShock 2‘s terrifying little tykes, this sculpt will shoot chills up the spine and set those back-of-neck hairs standing at attention toot sweet. From her blank eyes to her no-nonsense grip on that ADAM-siphoning needle, she makes ghostly girl Alma from the F.E.A.R. games look like a Thin Mint-peddling girl scout. The blood splatter on her bare feet-which I’m guessing spilled from some unfortunate Splicer’s midsection-is also a nice touch, ensuring my young daughter will one day ask “Why is Alice in Wonderland so scary, daddy?” Until then though, I’ll proudly display Little Sis with syringe tipped towards her mouth for full creepy-as-hell and accurate ADAM-guzzling effect.

Big Sister (BioShock 2)
Dive suits and deadly appendages aren’t just for Big Daddies in BioShock 2 – Big Sisters, the most buzzed about new addition to Rapture’s roster of crazies, serve as chief antagonists during your return trip to the soggy city. As awesome as they are though, their blink-and-you’ll-miss-it agility keep you from getting a good look at these lethal ladies. Thankfully this sculpt, featuring accurate touches such as their tightly corseted torsos and arm needles you never want to be on the business end of, allows you to soak up all of their deadly details. Even cooler, Big Sis is packaged with a Little Sister that fits inside her red bow-decorated shoulder basket. Cute, in a totally creepy way.

Salem and Rios (Army of Two: The 40th Day)
No longer content to only conquer the console space, Army of Two: The 40th Day‘s masked mercenaries are now looking to infiltrate our desks, shelves, and office cubicles. Even as tiny plastic playthings, the intricately detailed-check out the facial scars and tattoos-death dealing duo deliver all the ass-kicking and attitude of their in-game counterparts. Removable masks and enough high-tech weaponry to crane the necks of Modern Warfare‘s well-equipped soldiers round out their blister packs. Sadly, these two don’t include a battery powered fist-bump action, but you may be able to squeeze some testosterone from their molded plastic facades if you allow them to cross the turf of your displayed Master Chief action figure.

Dante (Dante’s Inferno)
If a literary classic can be turned into a video game, there’s certainly no reason why it can’t get the toy-line treatment too. Based on the demon-slaying, hell-bound hero from Electronic Art’s Dante’s Inferno, this figure includes his bone scythe (which he acquires by bitch-slapping the Reaper himself in the game), real fabric arm bands, and a crucifix sewn into his chest-dude means business! But even cooler than these rich details is his pained expression; the fire in his eyes and frown on his face effectively convey his thirst for vengeance and his heartbreak over his lost love Beatrice. If Salem and Rios are bullying Little Sister-they can be a-holes like that-Dante’s the guy to call when Big Daddy’s too busy introducing his drill to a Splicer’s spine.

Ratchet and Clank (Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack In Time)
Adorable and always ready for action, Ratchet is a perfect fit for a game-to-toy makeover. The lovable Lombax would look right at home in a serious collector’s display case or in a toddler’s toy box. And just like any responsible action figure, he comes packaged with cool accessories: two over-the-top tools of destruction – a pistol and his trusty wrench – fit snuggly in his hands (paws?) and his mini metallic robo-buddy Clank, who folds up and attaches to his back. Just don’t place this one too close to anything breakable, as Ratchet’s continuous quest for bolts could prove fatal to your more fragile valuables. Captain Qwark, Dr. Nefarious, and Armored Ratchet sets are also on the way.

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