Thursday, 28 January 2021

Bring on the Bad Guys: Marvel Crisis Protocol Round-Up

Hello, once again, and welcome to Bring on the Bad Guys.

Sort of.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ll be aware of that whole ‘pandemic’ thing that’s going on at the moment, so it’s not actually possible for me, your host as always, Brad Harmer-Barnes, and my constant compatriots Ian and Dave to get together to make an episode of your favourite superhero themed tabletop gaming show. It’s a sad time, but the time when we can get back together gets closer every day.

However, that’s not stopping Atomic Mass Games, Knight Models and the producers of all the other wonderful games we play from releasing all sorts of wonderful new stuff for us to play with. We’ve decided that the best thing to do it let you guys know all about it, here, and then get them on the table for a test drive and a gameplay video as soon as government guidelines allow. So, here we go.

VENOM

The sticky, manipulative, multi-fanged Venom has been a fan favourite since his introduction in 1988, and the work of artist Todd McFarlane was largely responsible for making him so recognisable. The symbiote suit has been worn by a few different characters over the years, but it always makes the person it bonds with stronger, faster, more resilient, and slightly more insane.

All Marvel: Crisis Protocol sculpts are incredibly detailed, and this one is no exception. The musculature on the suit looks great, and the level of detail on the teeth and facial sculpt is insane. With a bit of effort on the paint job, this is going to look great on the tabletop alongside the rest of your team…or preparing to eat the brains of your enemy.

There are a couple of nice, narrative touches in the powers and upgrades, which – obviously – we’re huge fans of. There’s “Uneasy Allies”, which allows a team featuring Spider-Man and Venom to enhance each other’s fighting abilities, making Venom more of the anti-hero he’s become in recent years. Another nice touch is in “Symbiotic Instinct”, which stops your enemy from being able to modify or enhance their defence dice against Venom’s attacks, nicely representing Venom’s ability to bypass Spider-Man’s spider-sense.

This is a great figure, and they’ve really done a great job of making him feel like Venom. The ability to have him run as either a Sinister Syndicate villain or a nicer “Agent Venom” type is a really good touch.

GREEN GOBLIN

Possibly Spider-Man’s most famous long-running nemesis, Norman Osborn has arrived in Crisis Protocol, complete with the Goblin Glider and an array of pumpkin bombs. This model kit has absolutely astonishing levels of detail, and – in a nice change from Atomic Mass Games’ normal approach – it looks like it won’t actually be that much of a pain to put together.

“Blind Obsession” is a fantastic skill, allowing you to get an attack bonus after declaring an enemy character to be one that the Green Goblin is “obsessed” with, but it is something of a double-edged sword. The focus comes at the cost of making him more susceptible to be attacked and blind-sided by other characters in his single-minded quest for destruction.

“Well Laid Plans” allows for some great tag-teaming if you’re smart enough to put him in a team with Doctor Octopus, and I think it’s fair to say the temptation to run a lot of Sinister Syndicate teams in the near future is going to be pretty hard to avoid.

SHE-HULK

The newest release comes in the form of single female lawyer Jennifer Walters, who can turn into the mean, green smashing machine She-Hulk! I have to say that this is the first Marvel: Crisis Protocol sculpt that I’ve been a little disappointed by. It’s not bad by any stretch. In fact, it’s perfectly fine…but the rest of the series has been so outstanding it’s just making it look a little lacklustre by comparison. It’s just a little basic and uninspired. The pose and costume aren’t anything you haven’t seen before on a hundred Heroclix. Heroclixes. Herocli.

On the table, however, I think she’s going to be another absolute tank, on the same level as Hulk and goddamn it when are we getting Red Hulk and Abomination I want to have big smashy smashy fest…Sorry. There is a card in here which allows you to form an impromptu team up of Hulk and She-Hulk, with all the vehicle and building throwing that that entails. Time to invest in some new terrain.

Actually, you know, She-Hulk doesn’t just look like she’s going to be a tank. I’d go so far as to say that it looks like she’s going to be a tank destroyer. She has several abilities that are built to fight against larger and heavier enemies, so Black Dwarf or MODOK could find themselves taking a pasting if they’re not too careful.

There’s also now an A-Force faction, which is the biggest faction available so far, comprising twelve characters (at time of writing). Maybe that’ll help balance out the Sinister Syndicate a tiny bit.

Join us shortly for more quickfire superhero reviews!

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Brad Harmer-Barnes is a writer and comedian who has been into tabletop gaming since he was eight years old. He is the host of Fire When Ready on Emotionally14.com, co-host of Talk Star Wars, and a frequent guest on The E14 GameCast. His latest novel Fog of War is available now in paperback, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @RealBradHB using the buttons below!




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