REVIEW: THE FORCE UNLEASHED SITH & IMPERIALS FIVE-PACK
I've had to confess, more than a few times over the course of my reviews, that I am really pretty lousy at video games. It's probably why I don't play them very often. I know, supposedly, "Practice makes perfect", but for me, it seems, practice only seems to increase the body count. And I don't mean that of my opponents. Master Chief, Ryu, Sora, Johnny Cage -- one gets to the point where you start to feel sorry for them, as they get shot, beaten, stabbed, killed, blown up, or otherwise dispatched through one's own incompetence.
The reason I've felt it necessary to mention this is because while I may not be especially proficient at video games, that hasn't necessarily stopped me from collecting cool action figures based on video game concepts, or becoming reasonably familiar with the concepts behind those video games.
And so, I have no shortage of figures based on any number of these various concepts, even if their electronic counterparts are within worlds where we're all probably better off if I don't set foot.
And then we come to Star Wars. Easily one of the most popular pop culture concepts of all time. Movies, animated series, comic books, novels, action figures, cookie jars, Lego sets, and for all I know, auto parts and bath accessories -- and video games. And no, I've never played a Star Wars video game. I'd probably end up killing Anakin Skywalker when he was a little kid during the Pod Races and then I'd really feel lousy.
There's certainly been no shortage of Star Wars video games over the years, and some of them have been fortunate enough to transition into the action figure realm from time to time. One particularly notable game, called "Force Unleashed", saw a special set of action figures released to Toys "R" Us, that featured the lead character, known as "Starkiller", a Sith by the name of Darth Phobos, and three very interesting Imperial Troopers. I'm always prepared to add Clone Troopers and Stormtroopers and the like to my collection, especially if they're more distinctive than most, and as such, this set certainly qualified.
Let's consider the background of the "Force Unleashed" video game, and then have a look at the characters and their respective figures.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, also known as The Force Unleashed, is a LucasArts video game and part of the The Force Unleashed project; other The Force Unleashed project developers and publishers include Dark Horse Comics, Lego, Hasbro, and Del Rey Books.. The Force Unleashed was initially developed for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360 consoles and on the iOS, second-generation N-Gage, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, and Java-equipped mobile phone handhelds.
Pretty well covered all the basis, didn't they? The sequel, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, was announced at the 2009 Spike Video Game Awards, and has since proven similarly popular.
The original game was released in North America on September 16, 2008, in Australia and Southeast Asia on September 17, and in Europe on September 19. LucasArts has released downloadable content for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles. An Ultimate Sith Edition of the game, containing new and all previously released expanded content, was released in November 2009, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition also expanded the game's presence to the Microsoft Windows and Mac OS platforms.
The project bridges the two Star Wars trilogies and introduces a new protagonist, code named "Starkiller", as Darth Vader's secret apprentice. Reviews offered mixed response, praising The Force Unleashed for its compelling story, robust physics, impressive art and soundtrack, but also citing frustrating gameplay. (I swear, it wasn't me who said that -- but then I've been known to find "Sonic the Hedgehog" frustrating.) Despite these mixed reviews, the game was a bestseller in the United States and Australia, with over one million copies sold its debut month. The game has sold over seven million copies, and it is the fastest-selling Star Wars video game.
Two weeks after the game's release, LucasArts announced development on two downloadable expansion packs for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game. The first expansion added "skins" that allow the player's character to appear as Star Wars figures other than Starkiller, such as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Qui-Gon Jinn, Jango Fett, C-3PO, Luke Skywalker, Darth Maul, Darth Sion, Mace Windu, Plo Koon, Kit Fisto and Ki-Adi-Mundi. The skins chosen to be part of the expansion were based in part on fans' feedback. The second expansion pack added a new mission that expands on Starkiller's background.
Although a moment in the game's main story was considered as a "jumping off point" for the expansion, LucasArts decided instead to make the new mission instantly accessible to players. The mission's location — the Jedi Temple on Coruscant — appears in the Wii, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable versions of The Force Unleashed, but was cut during planning from the PS3 and Xbox 360 platforms.
The Tatooine Downloadable Content, released August 27, 2009, is the first of two expansions that occur in an "Infinities" storyline, an alternate history in which Starkiller kills Vader and becomes Palpatine's apprentice. The second Infinities expansion, which takes place on Hoth, was originally only available as part of the Ultimate Sith Edition, which also includes all previous downloadable content. However, the Hoth expansion was later made available for download on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.
Set in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope,Darth Vader is sent by the Emperor to destroy a Jedi Survivor of Order 66 and goes to Kashyyk with a unit of the 501st Legion. The Force Unleashed begins with the player controlling Darth Vader as he searches Kashyyyk for a surviving Jedi. After defeating the Jedi in battle, Vader discovers a child who is strong in the Force and raises him to become his apprentice, unknown to Emperor Palpatine for at least several years. When the apprentice (known in the game as "Starkiller", and whom the player now controls) reaches adulthood, Vader sends him to kill the remaining Jedi as training for his ultimate goal: assassinating the Emperor so Vader and Starkiller can rule the galaxy together.
However, the Emperor discovers Starkiller's existence and forces Vader to kill the apprentice; Vader hurls Starkiller into space, but secretly dispatches droids to retrieve and revive him. Vader sends his apprentice to foster a rebellion among those who resist the Empire, distracting the Emperor so Vader can make his move. Breaking into various Imperial facilities, Starkiller rescues Rogue Shadow pilot Juno Eclipse, Jedi Master Rahm Kota, Princess Leia Organa, and Senator Bail Organa. In the process, Starkiller learns from Kota about the Jedi way, ultimately sparing Jedi apprentice Maris Brood. Starkiller travels between missions aboard the Rogue Shadow, whose crew develops a close relationship.
Senators Organa, Mon Mothma, and Garm Bel Iblis meet to plan a rebellion against the Empire, but are interrupted when Darth Vader arrests them and Kota. Vader attacks Starkiller and reveals that Starkiller was never meant to overthrow the Emperor; from the beginning, he was the Emperor's tool to expose his enemies, and that Vader's plans to overthrow the Emperor did not include Starkiller. Surviving Vader's attack, Starkiller uses the Force to ascertain the senators' and Kota's location: the Death Star. Inside the station, Starkiller duels Darth Vader. Kota attempts to fight the Emperor, but is wounded by the Emperor's Force lightning.
At this point, the player chooses to either seek revenge on Vader or save Kota from Emperor Palpatine:
If the player attacks and kills Vader, the Emperor offers to let Starkiller take Vader's place as his apprentice if Starkiller proves himself by killing Kota. Starkiller instead attacks the Emperor, who crushes Starkiller with the Rogue Shadow and kills Kota and all his allies. The story ends with Starkiller's broken body being grafted with armor, turning him into a Sith Stalker so he can serve as the Emperor's assassin until Palpatine finds a new apprentice. The game ends with Palpatine assuring Starkiller that he, like Vader, will be cast aside when he finds a new apprentice. He instructs the droids to finish the procedure on Starkiller. The Infinities expansion content builds on this ending.
If the player attacks and defeats Emperor Palpatine, Kota prevents Starkiller from killing Palpatine in hatred. Starkiller dies while absorbing the Emperor's renewed attack, but Kota and the senators escape. The Emperor and Vader look over Starkiller's corpse, concerned that he has become a martyr to inspire the newly formed Rebel Alliance. Senator Organa and the others agree to proceed with their rebellion and Leia decides to use Starkiller's family crest as the Rebellion's symbol. Outside, Juno talks to Kota, who tells her that among Starkiller's dark thoughts, Juno herself was one bright spot that he held onto right until his death. This is the canonical ending.
The Force Unleashed set includes Starkiller, of course. Let's consider his backstory, and then the figure:
Galen Marek was a powerful Force-user born on Kashyyyk during the Dark Times to Jedi survivors Mallie and Kento Marek. His mother died defending her family from Trandoshan slavers, and his father was executed by Darth Vader after they were discovered. Marek himself was abducted by the Dark Lord and taken on as his secret apprentice.
Given the code name Starkiller by Vader, Marek forgot his life with his parents, his earliest memories being his tutoring under Vader. The Sith Lord's brutal training regime forged Starkiller into a powerful Force-sensitive, and Starkiller was utilized by Vader as an assassin, dispatching the Dark Lord's rivals and enemies.
As Starkiller's training neared completion, Vader set him with his first test; to hunt down and kill the Jedi survivor Rahm Kota. He also acquainted himself with his new pilot, Captain Juno Eclipse. While Starkiller defeated Kota, he failed to kill him, though Starkiller concealed this from Vader.
Dispatched on a variety of other Jedi hunting missions by the Dark Lord, Starkiller completed them with brutal efficiency, all the while growing closer to Juno Eclipse. Finally, Starkiller was summoned by Vader to fulfill his purpose; help Darth Vader assassinate Emperor Palpatine, Vader's own Sith Master. However, it was in truth a ruse; Palpatine had discovered Starkiller's existence and ordered Vader to execute him. Starkiller was impaled and spaced, though his body was collected by Vader's droids.
Starkiller was taken to Vader's science vessel, the Empirical, his body revived and rebuilt. During this period, Starkiller was known as Subject Zeta or Subject 1138. Awakening from six months of unconsciousness, he was given a new mission by Darth Vader; to create an alliance of Imperial dissidents and rebels to distract the Emperor, allowing Vader and Starkiller to catch him unaware.
Starkiller escaped the Empirical, rescuing Juno Eclipse while at it, she having been branded a traitor due to her association with Starkiller. Starkiller kept Juno in the dark as to his reason for gathering the rebels, though she became a full participant in its completion. Their first action was to retrieve Rahm Kota, to obtain his contacts and connections. The now depressed Kota, having been blinded during his duel with Starkiller, didn't recognize him, and joined his entourage. As they went about creating the Rebel Alliance, Starkiller became conflicted, growing close to his allies while becoming increasingly disillusioned with the Empire, and he began to consider earnestly leading the Rebels against the Empire, abandoning the Sith. However, before he could take any such action, Vader sprang his trap.
When the Rebel leaders were gathered on Corellia to officially declare rebellion against the Empire, Darth Vader arrived with the Imperial Military at his heel and captured all the major players. He revealed to Starkiller that his entire mission had been a sham; nothing more than a tactic to gather all the rebels in one place so as to bring them down quickly. Vader also revealed that he had no intention of using Starkiller to assassinate the Emperor, and moved to execute him.
Starkiller escaped, and declared that he was finished with the Sith and the Empire. Retaking his birth name, Galen Marek decided to rescue the rebel leaders, using the Force to track them to the incomplete Death Star I. Battling his way to the Emperor's observation dome where the rebels were being held, Galen engaged Darth Vader in a Lightsaber duel, defeating the Sith Lord. Palpatine gleefully offered Marek the chance to execute Vader and replace him as Palpatine's apprentice. While Marek struggled with the decision, Kota escaped from the guards, stole Palpatine's lightsaber and attacked the Emperor, though Palpatine easily fended him off. However, this prompted Marek to attack Palpatine. Marek refused Palpatine's command to execute him, and give in to his own darker nature, instead sacrificing his life to save the rebels, who were extracted by Juno.
Galen Marek died in a massive explosion of Force energy brought on by his battle with Palpatine. The severely injured Vader and Palpatine found his body, lamenting that his sacrifice had made him a martyr to the Rebel Alliance. In honor of his sacrifice, the Alliance took on Marek's family crest as their emblem. Darth Vader, now aware of Palpatine's desire to replace him with a more able apprentice, collected Galen Marek's body and cloned him, creating numerous aberrant monstrosities and two stable clones, Starkiller and the Dark Apprentice.
So, how's the figure? Quite interesting, really. I tend to be of the opinion that this is what Darth Vader himself might have looked like if the newly-minted Sith hadn't lost his lightsaber duel to Obi-Wan Kenobi on the planet Mustafar at the end of "Revenge of the Sith" and needed some serious rebuilding as a result. Seems to be the Star Wars universe could have benefited from the Klingon proverb from Star Trek: "Only a fool fights in a burning house" -- or a whole planet of lava, for that matter.
The name "Starkiller" is also interesting in and of itself. When George Lucas was first working out the Star Wars concept, "Starkiller" was an early proposed name for the hero who would eventually become the more agreeably named Luke Skywalker. Obviously the name "Starkiller" has since become known among the Star Wars fan base, and it does seem to fit a Sith, even a conflicted one, somewhat better.
The figure's headsculpt is relatively ordinary. Starkiller is a standard human, with short-cropped brown hair and eyebrows. He is dressed in an outfit that is reminiscent of Darth Vader's own, but without all the life-support equipment. He is wearing a dark gray tunic that extends into a long robe that hangs nearly to his ankles. Starkiller has silver armor near the top of his chest, and his shoulders. He has a black belt around his waist with silver details. His arms and legs are sheathed in black, which I suspect is intended to be leather. The robe is flexible enough so that it doesn't hinder the figure's leg articulation too much. The interior of the robe is red.
Starkiller is also wearing a removable hood and cape, giving him something of a resemblance to the Emperor in this regard. As with the robe, the hood and cape are black on the outside, but red on the inside.
The figure is very neatly painted, and well articulation, fully poseable at the head, arms, elbows (including a swivel), wrists, waist, legs, knees (including a swivel) and ankles. He comes with a red-bladed lightsaber, which I am sure he is proficient at using.
Now let's consider the other individual character in the set, and brother, is she an interesting-looking one -- Darth Phobos.
Darth Phobos was a female Theelin Sith Lord born on the ancestral Sith burial-world of Korriban eons before the Clone Wars. Phobos was a manipulative individual who developed her mental powers, using the Force to control the minds of the weak and forcing them to obey her commands. Phobos murdered many of her rivals in her quest for power. Eventually, the Sith turned on her and destroyed her starship while it was in low-orbit over Korriban. Phobos was presumed dead, but she had in fact survived and gone into hiding.
During the course of the several decades that followed, Phobos assembled a fanatical cult devoted exclusively to her. She dispatched her acolytes across the galaxy to recruit others and to assassinate both Jedi and Sith leaders indiscriminately. Eventually, the Sith began to suspect that Phobos had somehow returned from the dead and began to refer to her as "The Hidden Fear."
Both factions recognized Phobos and her cult as a major threat to the galaxy and grudgingly joined forces to stop her.
Okay, you get the Sith anbd the Jedi to team up against you, you've really managed to tick some people off...
Phobos was eventually killed in a battle against Jedi and Sith warriors, but her cult remained active for a long time afterward, disappearing only around the time of the Fourth Great Schism in 2,000 BBY.
Rumors of Phobos' survival persisted for many centuries, and "The Hidden Fear" eventually became a subject of ghost stories that Jedi Padawans told each other. A visage of Darth Phobos also became a key part of the Jedi Trials that Padawans took in order to become full-fledged Jedi Knights. Appearing inside the Jedi Temple on the galactic capital of Coruscant, the Phobos simulation constituted the "Trial of Insight," meant to challenge Padawans to confront their deepest fears and to teach them to see clearly through deception. The Phobos simulation remained active even after Operation: Knightfall in 19 BBY, when the Jedi Temple was ransacked and left in ruins.
In 3 BBY, Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader's secret apprentice, Starkiller, visited the Jedi Temple as part of his Sith training. When he reached the lower Archives level of the abandoned Temple, Darth Phobos' simulacrum confronted him, appearing as Imperial Captain Juno Eclipse, one of the few people for whom Starkiller cared, and pretending to be in pain. When Starkiller approached her, Phobos attacked him, armed with a double-bladed lightsaber. During their duel, Phobos frequently duplicated and changed her appearance to that of Eclipse, sensing that the Captain's death was the thing Starkiller feared the most and that he would hesitate to attack her. Nevertheless, Starkiller defeated Phobos and, after hurling her throughout the Archives with the Force, was prepared to strike a final blow. Phobos changed her appearance to that of Eclipse for the final time, begging the Sith apprentice to spare her. However, Starkiller did not fall for the deception and stabbed Phobos through the back with his lightsaber, ending the simulation.
Keep in mind this is a character that appears in a video game. No doubt you have to go up against her over the course of the game. Good luck.
So, how's the figure? Very interesting, really. I'm not entirely sure what a "Theelin" is, apart from one of the many alien races that populate the Star Wars universe, but she's more or less humanoid -- until you get a look at the feet, which seem to be something along the lines of a cross between an elephant and a bird. Very weird.
Darth Phobos has pale blue skin, with intricate dark-blue tiger like stripes throughout her visible body, which is a fair portion, really, including her head, arms, portions of her upper body, and a few areas on her upper legs. I'm not sure if these are meant to be some sort of warpaint, tattoos, or natural coloration. I mean, look what Darth Maul did to himself.
Her hair is dark blue in color, and fairly long, and she has dark circles under her eyes. Her clothing -- hmm -- well, I'm going to have to draw a comparison from another concept here. Her outfit looks like it was tailored by the same person who outfitted Pythona, from the G.I. Joe animated movie in 1987 -- another decidedly mean lady as far as that goes.
Darth Phobos' outfit consists of a somewhat revealing top, high gloves, a tunic that hangs down almost to the ankles in the front and back, and leggings that have more holes in them than Swiss cheese. All of these articles of clothing are a dark purple, with these bulbous purple-pink globules on them -- hence the Pythona comparison.
There is some gray trim on the arms, torso, lower legs, hands, and belt, that is gray in color, and looks distinctly armored.
Darth Phobos has a relatively human-looking face, color and markings notwithstanding, with a rather condescending expression. Sort of like, "Yes, I'm evil. As if I'm supposed to care about your opinion of that?" And she comes with a double-bladed red lightsaber.
The figure is very neatly painted, especially given the complexity of the paint job, and she is fully poseable at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, and knees, including swivels at various locations. Her rather odd feet make getting her to stand and stay standing something of a challenge, but it's not impossible.
Now, let's consider the Imperial troopers that come with this set, starting with the EVO Trooper!
The EVO Troopers (short for "Environmental") were among the Empire's most specialized stormtroopers.
Equipped with heavy enhanced armor with breathing tubes and undergoing special training, EVO troopers were able to survive and operate in the most hazardous of conditions such as extreme heat, acid rivers, and lightning. They were equipped with FA-3 flechette launchers, although some utilized T-21 light repeating blasters.
EVO troopers could be encountered wherever extreme environmental battlefield conditions existed and several were posted on the science ship ISS Empirical, Kashyyyk, Felucia, Raxus Prime, and even the unfinished Death Star. The bulk of EVO troopers were selected from groups of stormtroopers who expressed hatred towards non-humans, making them more aggressive toward the alien populace they encountered on harsh worlds. They were eventually succeeded by Hazard troopers.
Now, here's where the fantasy of Star Wars meets the reality of movie-making, and the fact that Episodes 4-6 of the Star Wars films were produced well before Episodes 1-3 -- with far more limited special effects capabilities and budgets.
According to Star Wars "in-universe" lore, when the Clone Troopers became Stormtroopers, the Empire did away with all of the various divisional and other specialized markings on their armors, outfitting them all in white, to signify the unity of the new Empire.
Of course, in reality, George Lucas came up with the Imperial Stormtroopers well before he came up with Clone Troopers, and certainly well before he could go ahead and computer animate the whole lot of them. He needed to make actual uniforms. As the movies progressed, we were introduced to Snowtroopers, Biker Scouts, but the diversity of Imperial armored troopers seemed to be rather limited.
Now, a modern video game with good computer animated graphics can go a lot of places that the original Star Wars movies couldn't, and introduce us to Imperial trooper divisions that we never previously knew existed. One of these is the EVO Troopers.
This is not the first time an EVO Trooper has been released as an action figure. He first came along a few years ago, around the time when the Force Unleashed video game was first -- well, unleashed. Along with an Imperial Jumptrooper, these two figures quickly became highly desired among Star Wars collectors, especially those who liked to "army-build" troopers of various sorts, and as such, became extremely hard to locate for everybody else.
So, how's the figure? Well, I'm glad he's back. I was able to get one of the original release, but I certainly have no problem owning another one. He's an extremely cool figure.
The basic design certain evokes the image of an Imperial Stormtrooper, but the overall design is also distinctly more complex. The eyepieces in the helmet are slightly larger, and there's a pair of hoses coming out of the base that connect to a special pack on the front of the chestplate. The armor, although still predominantly white over a black undersuit, is thicker looking, and more angular. It's clearly designed to be more protective to the wearer than standard Stormtrooper armor.
The shoulders have additional raised gray armor on them, as do the knees. There is more equipment attached to the armor, especially around the lower arms and legs. There's a thick gray strap attached to the upper right leg, and the waist and lower torso area are also more complex and detailed than usual.
One note about assembly -- there's a little gadget that fits into the back of the belt. It also pops out extremely easily, and I don't really think it's supposed to. It's the sort of thing that strikes me as being easily lost, and I highly recommend a few drops of carefully-placed glue.
One notable color difference between this EVO Trooper and the original. The original figure had a tan overspray applied to his boots, to simulate battlefield wear-and-tear. This EVO Trooper is nice and clean, thank you.
The EVO Trooper is wearing a large backpack, which can be removed, and carries a very large blaster rifle, with a strap. He is superbly articulated, and is fully poseable at the head, arms, elbows (including a swivel), wrists, waist, legs, knees (including a swivel), and ankles. Really an outstanding figure.
Finally, let's consider the IMPERIAL NAVY COMMANDO and COMMANDO OFFICER. According to Wookieepedia, which I've been using as an informational source for much of this review, the Imperial Navy commandos were specially trained sentinel troopers that fought for the Galactic Empire.
Navy commandos were lightly armored soldiers that were trained for patrol, guard and monitor duty. They were typically stationed at key Imperial facilities where they provided accurate covering fire for other units. Squads consisted of five to seven commandos and a sergeant, and sometimes an officer or a medic.
Naval commandos wore roughly the same uniform as the Stormtroopers, though elements of the design were similar to that of the Scout troopers: their black body suit partially revealed and little leg armor shared the resemblance to the Scout troopers' own outfit. The Navy Commandos appeared to have temperature-controlled chestplates similar to that of Snowtroopers on their backplates, making them among the Empire's environmentally-specialized divisions of troopers. The helmets had wider visors than those of the Stormtrooper variant, similar to that of the Scout trooper, with comlink antennas attached to the right side of the helmet.
Depending on their rank, mission, profile, and training protocol, an Imperial Navy commando primarily wielded the E-11 blaster rifle which was the standard armament issued for many Imperial troops. However, some Navy commando sergeants carried laser-guided sniper rifles that were deadlier than the average weapon. Other commandos did not wield their rifles for the majority of their assignments; instead, these select troops manned blaster turrets stationed around the battleground.
Though they did not use them often in battle, Navy commandos also carried thermal detonators as part of their equipment.
Most Navy commando helmets were equipped with comlink antennae. Squad sergeants often wore orange shoulder pauldrons and multipurpose backpacks as well as their specialized helmets. Each commando was issued a small black ammunition pouch that was worn near the left shoulder; this pouch stored extra ammo for their blasters.
Numerous Naval commandos were present on the Imperial shipyards over Nar Shaddaa where they fought against members of Rahm Kota's militia. Those defending commandos were also killed by Galen Marek in order to maintain his secrecy as Darth Vader's apprentice. Later, the Empire stationed garrisons of Navy commandos on Coruscant at the Jedi Temple to prevent prying eyes from investigating the ruins; three entire garrisons were mowed down at the Temple by an unknown assailant, with most of the armored bodies sporting lightsaber gashes. Other garrisons were placed on Nar Shaddaa, Raxus Prime, and Felucia, where they were employed to patrol Imperial stations or cities.
The set includes one Commando, and one Commando Officer.
So, how are the figures? Extremely cool, especially since these are entirely new figures! They're not previous releases, like the EVO Trooper.
The description presented above is very accurate, as far as their uniforms are concerned. The Navy Commandos are not as heavily armored as the Stormtroopers, but some aspects of their armor are more specialized.
The helmets are similar to those of Stormtroopers, but the eyepieces are much larger, even more than those of the EVO trooper. Maybe that's why they're decent shots and can provide accurate covering fire. There's also an additional "flap" in the back that the average Stormtrooper helmet lacks. The Officer has an antenna on the side of his helmet, I assume representing a communications capability. I'm not sure if a second head had to be molded for this, or if they just drilled a hole and inserted the antenna as part of assembly.
The chestplate of the Navy Commando and Officer is distinctly thicker than that of the average Stormtrooper, and does indeed resemble that of a Snowtrooper. The abdominal region is not armored, showing the black undersuit. The Commando and Officer are wearing thick belts, and armored trunks. Hey -- that's a region I'd want protected in combat, wouldn't you?
The upper legs are not armored, but the Commando and Officer have armored boots that also have attached knee armor. They also have thick shoulder armor, unarmored upper arms, and their elbows, lower arms, and backs of their gloves are armored.
The Officer is further distinguished from the Commando by the presence of a shoulder pauldron, mostly black with a large dark red panel, and a different device or bit of equipment hanging from his belt.
Both figures are superbly articulated, and are poseable at the head, arms, elbows (including a swivel), mid torso -- with a considerable range of motion thanks to the separation point between the armor and undersuit -- legs, knees (including a swivel), and ankles.
Both figures also come with backpacks, which are identical, and standard blasters.
Any complaints about any of these? None. They are all superbly designed, well-articulated, and neatly painted. I was notably impressed with the paint work, since there have been times when that's been a little slipshod, especially on armored troops, painting the black undersuit details, but that's not at all the case here.
So, what's my final word? If you're a fan of the Force Unleashed video game, you will want this set. If you're looking for some new and interesting Imperial troopers to build your own Empire, you will want this set. If you're any sort of Star Wars action figure collector, you will want this set. All of the figures are very impressive, and extremely cool.
The STAR WARS: FORCE UNLEASHED FIVE-PACK featuring STARKILLER, DARTH PHOBOS, an EVO TROOPER, and an IMPERIAL NAVY COMMANDO and OFFICER definitely has my highest recommendation!