Best of Player Select: Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
I’m loving NECA right now. As much as I’ve enjoyed their products since my foray into toy collecting, right now is a very exciting time to be a fan. Gears 3 figures right around the corner? Articulated Rocky and Evil Dead 2 figures? Robocop? Yes, yes, and yes.
So what happens when an older figure—say, one from about 2007—is hitting the secondary market with prices as high as 80 to 100 dollars and fans are forced to pass? Why, NECA re-releases the thing under the banner Best of Player Select! Much like their re-release of Eric Draven , Raziel here has leapt from the past into my collection.
Wanna know the best part? He’s ten bucks. Suck it, Mattel.
I realized I forgot to mention previously that NECA’s re-released figures have been showing up in card and blister packs as opposed to their standard clamshells. I’m not one for keeping toys on packages, but it is an attractive cardback.
I have a suspicion that they’re taking their paper inserts from original releases and putting the exact same images on the card. The only reason I say that is because the back shows “Spectral Plane Raziel,” the translucent variant of the original figure. I’ve yet to hear of this figure being re-released, but if it gets out there, rest assured it will be on my shelf.
Package is your standard info and pics package, but with an unusually long bio. I can’t remember for sure (haven’t played the game since the 90’s) but this might be Raziel’s entire spiel from the opening of the game. My only beef with the packaging is that the graphics on the bubble cover up about half of his body, so if you’re a stickler for paint you’ll have some trouble checking his nethers.
Raziel is a very attractive figure, with an unusually soft color palette. He’s interesting to look at, and commands attention on your toy shelf.
Everything about the design and execution just demands you put down your GameBoy Color and look at him. Everything from the wash on the burlap arm wraps to the gradient purples on his wings is handled just beautifully.
Both sets of hands are equally well done and trade out easily. The standard set is designed to go with the Soul Reaver weapon, and keeps it locked firmly in place. The secondary set has poseable fingers and allows the torch to be attached in either hand.
Plus, you can mix and match to your heart’s content. I feel like a broken record talking about NECA’s work, but man they’re just doing it RIGHT. It’s hard to beat this kind of sculpted detail and paint at this price.
Every bit of Raziel is textured. There’s no softness to the sculpt at all. He looks exactly the way you’d expect if he walked out of your PlayStation 1 looking for a soul to steal. You see, he’s in a bind because he’s way behind and he’s looking to make a deal.
This was from 2007? Daaaaaaamn.
Let’s do it. Inverted ball and socket neck, swivel hinged shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, ball wrists, ball and socket torso, swivel hinged hips, swivel upper thighs, hinged knees, and swivel hinged ankles. Also, his extra hands have hinged first and second fingers and he features ball and socket wings on his back.
Wow. That’s bringing NECA’s TMNT articulation to a character that hadn’t had a game in years. That was a gamble that totally paid off. This is one of the most interesting Player Select figures they’ve put out and really puts their skills to the test in terms of design. I mean, how hard must it be to try and work out how to give basically an emaciated corpse well-hidden and useful articulation?
Removing his mantle thingy gives him better mobility in his arms and his broad, flat feet help to keep him balanced. They don’t have a great range of mobility due to the large boots, but they will give you some pivot and a little forward and back action. The joint is deigned well enough, it just doesn’t have the clearance to make much use of it.
All the joints on mine are very tight, so you’ll want to be careful posing. Remember, no matter what toy your fiddling with it’s better to grab the meatiest part of the axis and move. You never want to like grab the hand and pull to move a shoulder joint.
NECA usually had pretty outstanding range in their neck joints, but Raziel has no lower jaw, so his range is even better. Who says being an undead vampire zombie guy with a penchant for eating souls for snacks doesn’t have its advantages?
As mentioned, Raziel’s wings are on ball and socket joints, so you’ve got some options there also. He does look great in flight poses; though technically these are just membranes and don’t do much more than let him glide. Still, they look cool, give him presence, and let you choose how you want to display or play with him. Always a bonus.
Interesting fact: I’m guessing it’s to save space in the packaging, but Raziel’s wings are put on upside down when you first open him. I thought it might have been a mistake, but I’ve seen three more since I bought mine and they’re all the same. Just be careful swapping them back out. The wings themselves are very soft rubbery like plastic, but the connection points are much stiffer.
For me, Raziel represents everything I wish that the toy industry still was. He’s well-articulated, comes with a ton of accessories, and is only ten bucks. Plus, he’s not a well-known character these days. NECA had no way of knowing if this guy would sell in 2007, but they took a shot because they new he would make a great toy. They were not wrong.
I mean, just look at what you get with this guy! Two sets of hands (one set open and one set with pivoting fingers), the Soul Reaver energy sword, a torch, wings, a removable mantle, and an energy tendril that wraps up his arm (not pictured-oops).
Heck, at this price point he would make an excellent undead minion to haunt your 6” or 7” scale dungeon dios. Army build the crap outta them, I say!
I can’t recommend this guy enough. He’s a gorgeous looking figure with excellent detail, great articulation, and lots of accessories. At 15 bucks, Raziel would be completely worth it. At 10, it feels like you’re ripping someone off. I gave him a 9 in articulation just because of the restrictions in his feet, but I’m curving it up to 10 for being an outstanding toy. Great fun to look at and play with, NECA’s Raziel will not let you down.
I’ve wanted this figure ever since I knew about him, but couldn’t afford the secondary market price. Thanks to NECA, he’s displayed proudly on my shelf with my other Player Select figures. That kind of dedication to your fandom can earn nothing but praise and respect from me. Thanks again, NECA.
Thanks for reading and as always, it’s just a toy. Open the darned thing.