Tuesday 29 January 2013

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" Sound FX Dalek

The Dalek Invasion of Earth Talking Dalek 01

While Character Options may have relegated the majority of their classic Doctor Who releases to Forbidden Planet exclusives, every so often a few slip through the net and manage to get a mass release. The 11 Doctors box set was one example, and now a wave of talking Dalek figures has been released.  The first wave features a total of six Daleks from various periods of the show's history, with representations from the following stories;
  • The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964)
  • Power of the Daleks (1966)
  • Planet of the Daleks (1973)
  • Death to the Daleks (1974)
  • Revelation of the Daleks (1985)
  • Bronze Dalek (2005 relaunch)
With my Dalek collection continuing to fill my room, I've chosen to only pick up the varities which are seeing release for the first time in this wave. First up is the The Dalek Invasion of Earth variant. While the Saucer commander and pilot ranks have been released in the past, this is the first time for the standard drone variant.

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The packaging is a fairly standard blister, but a nice little touch is that the backing card is in the shape of a Dalek dome/neck. There's a hole in the blister for the Dalek's "try-me" function, which is activated by pushing down on one of the skirt spheres. The talking feature can be turned off via a switch on the base once opened.

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While the Dalek design is very similar to the one seen in the race's debut story The Daleks, there are a number of aesthetic changes. The most obvious of all is the larger bumper which storywise was to make the Daleks more mobile on Earth's terrain (remember, they were pretty primitive back in the 60s). Smaller changes are the rounder, silver/black eyestalk and the dish on their backs (to draw in power from their saucers). Its a very unique design in that not only does it have elements that wouldn't be seen in the Daleks again, but its also from the story that cemented them as a reoccurring part of Doctor Who at the height of Dalekmania. As usual the level of articulation isn't much, but it has everything you'd expect from a Dalek - the head can rotate 360 degrees, the eye move up and down and appendages move about. An extendable plunger would be nice, but no Dalek toy in general has been managed to pull that off yet.

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But this is the important section, just how good is the voice? The packaging boasts that the Daleks have era-specific sound effects and speech, and as great as this sounds its only half true. While the Daleks do have era-specific speech, they aren't story specific and the lines have been re-recorded. There's no "We are the masters of Earth!" or "We are the masters of India!", but instead "Daleks conquer and destroy!", which is in fact from Power of the Daleks.

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While I appreciate the (somewhat half-assed) era-specific lines, the effect is completely lost without the original audio (or atleast something close to it). Not every Dalek speaks like they do now - the ones from Dalek Invasion of Earth, as well as the ones from Revelation of the Daleks, have very specific speech styles that could have easily been recreated. A video of the various voice clips can be viewed below (the Dalek also makes a gun SFX noise, but the toy just didn't want to make the noise on camera).

So the verdict? It's a great toy that lives up to Character Options usual standards, but the speech element leaves a lot to be desired. Without the proper voice or story-specific speech, the promise of era-specific voice clips is pretty empty. Regardless of this, its nice to see more Dalek variants released as Character Options draw ever closer to releasing them all.

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