COBRA H.I.S.S. w/ Night Creeper

Toy name: COBRA H.I.S.S. w/ Night Creeper
Assortment: Direct to Consumer Bravo Vehicle
Price: MSRP $14.99
Availability: September, 2005

Key Features

- Night Creeper figure included
- Canopy Opens”
- Removable launchers fire missiles
- Pivoting gun turret
- Open Sides to Access Transport Area

Wow. Are they finally getting it? Is Hasbro getting a good idea of what we're looking for in a vehicle, after all these years (well, since 2000, anyway). Vehicle selection has been such a crapshoot since the new sculpt relaunch began, that you never really knew what to expect with the next assortment. You might get something amazing (the Ice Sabre) or something flat out strange (the Battle Hornet). Now, as I look forward to the next few vehicle offerings for the Direct To Consumer line, every one of them is an absolute home run...and we start off with this new HISS. No more of that Strike HISS/HISS IV more HISS imitators. We have a fantastic successor to what is arguably COBRA's most popular vehicle, and it improves the original in almost every way.

Design and Playability

Vehicle design is critical to the HISS's success, quite frankly. It's always been a very distinctive tank, and something who's design elements you just didn't want to mess with. The sharp, angular, sloped body armor...the distinctive shape of the treads...that is what the HISS is, and when you take that stuff away, it can drastically effect how the HISS looks and operates.
Thankfully, this new HISS has all of the classic design elements in spades, and still finds room to add a wealth of new features to make the vehicle interesting...some of it is very successful, some not so much.

First of all, the overall shape, as I've said, is very reminiscent of the original HISS, but Hasbro has added some nice bulk to it. The sloped front now has some ridges where the headlights are that are actually slanted and quite menacing. The reinforced canopy looks great, bringing some added toughness to the normal glass covered cockpit, which was very much needed. I love the twin machine guns underneath the aforementioned cockpit, they look dangerous, and they also come off for use by foot troops. How cool is that?

The opening troop compartment is very cool conceptually, but it does provide some small problems. The compartment is actually pretty small, and doesn't fit many troops easily. It works well enough, I guess, but cramming it in here has made for little extra room. I do commend them for at least working it in, though. The opening in the back is permenant, but that is a minor problem, and doesn't bother me that much. Design wise, my only major issue with the HISS is the rocket launching turret.

I've always loved the HISS when it has it's multi-barreled powerhouse cannon...the first HISS, the HISS was a crucial componant of the vehicle design. The rocket launchers might provide as much firepower, but they just don't LOOK as imposing. If this HISS had huge, long, multi-barrelled cannons on top of the turret? would be darn near perfect. As it is, I love the design, but it falls a little short there.

Playability is pretty mixed. There are some features, like firing missiles, removable machine guns, and of course the troop compartment. Besides that, it's pretty much rolling the tank along making "vroom vroom" noises. But hey, it was good enough in '84, it's good enough now!

Figure and Accessories

I've heard a lot of complaints about the Night Creeper, and I can appreciate that stance. What does a ninja know about driving a tank? Well, I can at least understand the LOOK of the figure. Hasbro was obviously going for a resemblance to the original HISS Driver with the stark red uniform and silver trim. Ultimately, I'm not sure how successful it is. I think the Night Creeper looks kinda neat in this paint scheme, but we've got a metric ton of new sculpt Night Creepers in various colors of the rainbow already, and the red and silver doesn't really do anything that any of those others don't do.

Personally, I think this would have been the perfect chance for a COILS repaint. I know we've already got a few of them, too, and they look more like motorcycle troops, but I think they make some pretty neat vehicle operators, and I'd certainly see using them with this thing more than a semi-armored ninja trooper.

Final Comments

This HISS looks bad ASS. A fantastic homage to the original with thicker, updated armor, a vast wealth of added accessories and features...and the new front side just looks nasty. I would be VERY scared seeing this thing driving down a road or jungle path at me, that's for sure. I'm not wild about the turret-mounted weapons, and ultimately I think both that and the troop compartment works much better on the HISS II. I love this vehicle a LOT, but I still think the second rendition remains my favorite version of the HISS. Like this one, it took all of the elements from the first one and just cranked them all up. But there are a few added bonuses to that one that this one doesn't have.

That's not to say that this HISS isn't a respectible COBRA vehicle, though. Quite honestly, it's probably the single best new sculpt COBRA vehicle to be released since the 90's. But there were just a few minor changes that would have made it even better. Still don't hesitate to buy at least one if not a is a great vehicle and a perfect addition to your COBRA armory.

Ratings (out of 10)

Presentation: 10
Design: 9.5
Playability: 9.5
Value: 9
Overall score (not an average): 9.5

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