"Transformers Energon" Cruellock Toy Review


"Transformers Energon" Logo

General Information:
Release Year: February 2004
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $6.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 2
Accessories: Sword, Gun, Energon Star

Cruellock is proof that the Hasbro/Takara designers behind Energon are trying to have as much fun with this toy line as possible. While other Energon figures such as Prowl and Skyblast have visual homages to other Transformers, Cruellock is a visual homage to (of all things) Godzilla. No, we're not talking about the classic Godzilla most people grew up with. Rather, we're talking about the US 1998 version. However, the name "Cruellock" may ring some bells, not because it was used before, but because it is very similar to the name of another "dinosaur-based" Transformer: Grimlock who we last saw as a Wal-Mart exclusive toy last year. Whew!

Beast Mode:
As I mention above, Cruellock's beast mode is a robotic version of Godzilla (or for you purists, the "US-Godzilla-who-does-not-deserve-the-name"). This is most evident in the head design. He has the same huge chin that the 1998 Godzilla had, and he has the odd teeth on the upper and lower jaws sticking out on the outer parts of the jaws. He also has the semi-raptor like form that the 1998 Godzilla had rather than the more upright, big lower body version that is used in the Japanese films. He also has a long tail (as most Godzillas in history have had) and he has plates/spikes running down his back (another trademark Godzilla feature, though the shape of these are more spikey).

Godzi - I mean - Cruellock has some neat articulation happening in this mode. He has fourteen points of articulation, six of which are on ball joints. This is way above average for the typical Transformer we have seen in the past couple years, especially a basic sized one. Wha's nice to see is that these points of articulation aren't useless. They're focused in the arms and legs, allowing you to pose the toy nicely.

Cruellock's color scheme is an interesting mixture of light and dark colors. Most present is a dark, metallic flake blue green, which makes up the head, neck, back and tail. These parts are painted with a muted orange for added detail. On the jaws there is some silver which evokes the mechanical nature of the beast. The main body is made up of light gray plastic with some metallic light blue details painted on (more on that in the robot mode). The arms and legs are made up of aqua green and gray parts. The legs have a tiny bit of gold detail painted on as well.

Keeping to his role as a Terrorcon, many of the parts that Cruellock would use to do damage in this mode are made from translucent green plastic, which represents parts made of refined Energon (such as the Energon Star). These parts are: the claws on the hands, the claws on the feet and the lower and end sections of the tail. The shade of green used on these parts is brighter and sharper than the rather light green used on Battle Ravage's translucent pieces. I much prefer this shade of green as it comes out stronger.

Cruellock has an ultra-cool beast mode that's fun to play with and looks cool at the same time.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  2. Press the two hip pieces together. This activates a semi-"auto transform" where the shoulders/chest will expand out sideways and the beast mode head will flip back.
  3. Rotate the robot head around to face forward.
  4. Detach the Energon weapons from his tail and place them in his fists.

Robot Mode:
Much of the beast mode is already the robot mode, just in different positions, so there aren't a whole bundle of surprises here. However, what you get is still a fun robot.

The transformation gimmick is rather clever, sort of "magically" giving him new bulk on his upper body. This gives him a stronger appearance than he would have otherwise if his upper body had remained thin and sunken in at the sides. The chest piece is sculpted to include a bit of detail, but not an overwhelming amount. His Decepticon symbol/crystal is at the center of his chest. The face design is unique. Rather than a mouthplate or a mouth, he has four triangles protruding from what could be a mouthplate. He even has a crest on the top of his head that, for some strange reason, reminds me a lot of Skyquake, the G1 robot jet (recently released as the Transformers Universe "King Atlas" toy).

The shoulders/arms are really nicely done. I like how the shoulder armor sweeps up a bit at an angle, and the "spikes" on his arms really add cool looking detail. Cruellock adds one point of articulation in this mode (his head) for a total of fifteen points of articulation. This is the type of articulation I loved from Beast Wars, and it's great to see it making a comeback.

Cruellock's weapons are a load of fun. First is his big, big sword. It's literally about the same height as the figure itself! The sword can be held in his hand, but since his claws sort of get in the way of the hands holding the sword upright, it looks a bit odd. However, to correct this, you can take his gun, attach it to the peg handle on the sword, and have him hold that, which allows him to hold the sword with the blade facing forward. The sword has a Powerlinx point on it that you can use to attach to Mini-Con Powerlinx pegs. The gun also has this, but it also has a Powerlinx peg as well, making it doubly useful!

Cruellock is a really fun little toy. He fits in with the Terrorcon theme perfectly, and he's a cute homage to another Japanese franchise. Highly recommended.

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