Snake Eyes (1993)
Looking back at the 80s and 90s GI Joe figures, I’m amazed at the number of different versions of Snake Eyes offered in those years. Toy marketing was obviously different back then, as the core characters weren’t always included each new assortment. But Snake Eyes seemed to get a refreshed place on the shelves every couple of years.
I was surprised at the time that Snakes didn’t make it into the first series of Ninja Force figures, being the Joes’ most prominent ninja. Instead, Storm Shadow had the limelight that first year.
I was genuinely excited to see what the new version of Snake Eyes would look like, particularly as a follow-up to the 1991 version, one of my all-time favorites. I was not disappointed by the design. It was a fresh take on the character, obviously more influenced by his ninja background than his commando aspect. I was less excited in the choice of the action feature. He’s equipped with the Kenner Super Powers style ‘squeezy-legs swingy-arms’ action.
I’m not normally against action features in toys. When they’re integrated well, they can enhance playability and add a little bit of extra fun to an action figure. But when a basic element of a toyline is sacrificed, the end result can be disappointing. In this case, it’s downright frustrating. I love so many things about this figure, yet it’s hindered by the departure from the normal GI Joe articulation. This Snake Eyes cries out for customization into the fully articulated standard body. I wonder if anyone has attempted that?
As a complete redesign of Snake Eyes, the figure has quite a few unique elements that set it apart from previous versions. The usual visor is gone, replaced a mask with eye-holes. There’s some intricate texture to the arms and torso, and the various straps are detailed as well. Overall, it’s a more decorative look than the utilitarian outfits he normally wears. The two color paint apps of silver and blue are a nice contrast, if you can accept electric blue on a ninja. I know I can.