Editorial | 10/3/2009 at 12:20 AM

Co-Op Casual Friday: Halo Wars Mega Bloks

You're probably thinking, hey, what's this?  A toy?  Isn't this a column about kid and family friendly video games?  Well, yes, it is.  But is there any thing more kid friendly than a toy?  Certainly there is not, especially when the toy is based on a fantastic video game.  As soon as we learned about the existence of Halo Wars Mega Bloks, it was a foregone conclusion that we'd own them.  Building our own Halo vehicles, with adorable little soldiers inside, is a lot of fun, and was certainly a cooperative effort!

Long time readers of the site might recall my youngest boy's love of Halo, particularly Master Chief.  Just before school started back up, a friend showed him a tiny, cute, but highly detailed and well articulated Spartan, about two inches tall.  We tried to find them, checking several stores, but even the always reliable Toys R Us let us down.  They weren't even available online for a while.  When I went to pick up my copy of Halo 3 ODST there, though, not only were they back in stock, but on sale, buy two get one free.  Figuring it'd be a good time to stock up, I walked out with two armfuls of Halo stuff.


The first product we opened was the Battle Unit.  This pack didn't include any building blocks at all.  Instead, it's a set of eight little figures.  There are two Spartans, and two Flame Marines, one each of green and blue.  The "bad guys" are two purple Covenant Elites, and two Grunts.  I was very surprised at the quality of this set.  The figures are very nicely detailed, and sport excellent paint jobs.  They are similar to LEGO figures, but they don't share a common mold; each figure has a unique sculpt and is more realistic.  (For imaginary soldiers and aliens from a video game, that is.)  The Elites have hooked legs, and the Grunts are tiny and ugly.  They even have some itty bitty weapons to wield against each other.  Being so small, these little figures fit right in a pocket for some action on the go.

My son had a great mid quarter report card, so as a reward, I dug out the UNSC Warthog set and gave it to him.  The Warthog is his favorite vehicle in the game, and he was quite excited.  We opened up the box and looked at the contents, and the first thing we said to each other: "Wow, that's a lot of parts!"  Truly, it would take a team effort to complete this set.

After opening all the bags, we made a decision, like good little co-op fans, to work together.  We started with the Covenant Turret, and I found the parts, and Connor put them together according to the instructions.  It was a very nice moment for this slightly sappy dad, since it reminded me of the hours I spent with LEGOs as a kid.  Sharing it with my son was even better than simple nostalgia.  After what must have seemed like an eternity in his eight year old mind, we had a fully revolving, adjustable Turret, with an Elite inside, ready to mow down some UNSC troops. 

The Warthog was quite a bit more complicated.  After about half an hour of battling to keep the cat off the table, we took a break for dinner.  With full bellies, we finished up the Warthog, and it turned out great.  We left off the stickers for now but it still looks cool.  Forgive the quality of the video.  The change in lighting makes it look bad, but it too is nicely detailed.  I especially like the color of the green plastic.  There are swirls and bits of brown, pale green, and other colors, giving it a sort of camo look. 

The Warthog set came with some figures, too.  Two green Spartans, one to drive, the other to shoot, plus a blue Elite for the turret.  Mysteriously, there were some extra parts left over.  I'm hoping they were included intentionally as spares!  I am quite pleased with the Halo Wars Mega Bloks sets.  Even with just a couple of them, we can set up a nice little battle scene. 

I'm really looking forward to opening up the massive Scorpion, but I'm sure it'll take most of an afternoon to put together.  Plus, there's the Hornet set, the UNSC Turret, and even a Covenant Ghost, too.  I'm looking for another good sale, since I didn't purchase the Aerial Ambush set, packed to the gills with a sweet looking Hawk, a Banshee (hopefully there is a tiny Gravity Hammer to go with this one), and even a different Covenant Turret.

If you are a fan of the Halo series, you really should try to hunt down at least one of the Halo Wars Mega Bloks sets.  They are fun to put together, and would look cool on your desk or a bookshelf.  If I were to pick just one to recommend, it'd be the Battle Unit, which has eight little dudes for $12.  That's a decent price for some really well designed action figures.  I wouldn't suggest going to the extreme that my son did.  Right now, the Warthog, packed full of three Spartans, is tucked neatly into bed with him.  I just hope he doesn't wake up with little Mega Blok pieces broken all over!