Let’s keep the video game figure ball rolling with another treasure reclaimed from my closet of totes. Ever heard of Resaurus? If you’ve been an action figure collector for a while, you probably have. While I distinctly remember seeing some of their products on the pegs in Toys R Us and the KB Toys Outlet, most of their wares seemed to be peddled online or at indie comic shops. Nonetheless, there was a time when it looked like this upstart little toy company was going to go places. They had an awesome website that I used to have loads of fun perusing, which featured all sorts of cool video game related figures from Street Fighter to Quake to Sonic the Hedgehog and Crash Bandicoot. They also involved the fans in their process by showing off prototypes and talking up future waves and generally encouraging fan input at a time before the now established Internet Q&A sessions. Then Resaurus closed down, never to be heard from again. Seriously, it seemed to happen overnight, and a lot of their planned figures sadly never saw production.
It seems almost morbidly fitting that one of the game franchises Resaurus got hold of was Duke Nukem, another name that fell on hard times and disappeared into the past. The story behind Duke Nukem’s decline from video game icon to washed up has-been as far more tortured than I can go into here, but feel free to insert your favorite double entendre using the title of his last planned game, Duke Nukem Forever. Either way, just keep in mind, these figures came out back when Duke was still a big name in video games. He had conquered the computer, going from shareware sidescroller to king of the First Person Shooter, and was in the process of invading the game consoles. It was a time when the king and queen of video games was Duke Nukem and Lara Croft. But this was before the poor guy went out with a wimper. Death by eternal release delays of Duke Nukem Forever.
Anywho, I ordered the entire initial assortment of Duke Nukem figures when they were first available. They were delicate as all hell, and sadly, few of them survived unscathed to this day. Keep in mind these figures spent their lives standing on display shelves or wrapped in plastic in a secure roughneck tote. They haven’t exactly been stressed with the rigors of play and yet when I unwrapped Duke today to talk about him, the trigger guard on one of his guns promptly crumbled to dust in my hand. No shit. Imagine if kids actually played with these things! The other figures didn’t fare much better. Long ago, both arms fell off my Pig Cop, and my Battlelord figure took a swan dive off the shelf onto a carpeted floor and literally shattered. In retrospect, I wish I had just glued them back together, but in a fit of rage I tossed them. I didn’t even save their weapons. I had the Octabrain too, but I have no idea what happened to it. I suspect it might have vaporized while in storage.
But Duke survived, and he is a pretty decent figure, so long as you don’t plan on rough housing with him in the sandbox. The sculpt is pretty good. The detail isn’t overwhelming, but his muscles are well defined and you can even see the tendons bulging in his manly arms. His outfit is a simple sculpt and mainly detailed with paint apps for his blue trousers and black boots. He has a soft plastic harness and belt combo, which I’m surprised has lasted this long without crumbling away. The harness straps have molded shotgun shells and ammo pouches and his trademark Nuke symbol beltbuckle. His head sculpt is pretty much spot on, complete with trademark sneer, sculpted on shades and blonde flattop buzzcut. Its definitely Duke, alright.
The articulation isn’t the best, but it is an older figure and it doesn’t reflect the vast improvements that the industry has since seen. Duke’s head turns, his arms rotate at the shoulders and his legs rotate at the hips. He has swivel cuts in his forearms and wrists and his knees are hinged. He’s nowhere near as bad as some of the statues that pass for video game figures, even today.
Duke does come with a number of accessories. He has a large double barreled weapon called The Devastator. He holds it in each hand and it can be pegged to his back like a backpack. He has two smaller SMG’s, one of which, as noted above, is now missing a trigger guard. He’s also got a blood splattered combat knife. The SMG’s and the combat knife are all pegged and can clip onto holes on the sides of his legs, which is admittedly a really nice touch.
Like I said, I really wish I had attempted to save the other figures. Even if glueing them meant nullifying their articulation, I still would have liked to have had them for display as they were all really great looking figures. I can’t really recommend hunting these figures down, because they’re surprisingly scarce on Ebay, probably because they were so prone to breakage. The Duke figures are actually easiest and cheapest to scrounge up, especially the repaint variant, Night Strike Duke, but the aliens will require some pretty signifcant wallet diving for figures that tend to break if you look at them funny. If you do hunt them down, my recommendation would be to leave them mint on card.