Monday, November 20, 2006

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Evel Knievel Deluxe Dare Devil Stunt Set

What did you do last Friday night? Did you watch Children in Need? Maybe go drinking and dancing? Or perhaps you went for a meal with some old friends? In my case I spent my Friday evening hurtling a toy Evel Knievel across ramps, through a ring of fire and straight through a solid brick wall.

This was all down to “Evel Knievel’s Deluxe Dare Devil Stunt set” and deluxe it is too. Coming in a surprisingly big box it includes everything you need to make your own stunts and tricks for Evel to perform. Not only is this toy a revival of a cult hero it’s also a revival of a cult toy, which has been recreated using the exact same Evel model as the original toy did in the 1970s. Need proof? Well there’s a certificate of authenticity and if that’s not enough the rather odd womanly red lips and nylon fabric on the Evel doll should be more than enough to convince you of 70’s manufacturing superirority!

Keeping that authenticity going is a small booklet including photos of Evel and the many toys he has put his name to over the years. There’s also a short biography, quotes and even an inscription from the mans grave stone (although I thought he was still alive…).

One of the best bits about the Evel doll is that it’s not made from hard plastic which means it bends, not to the extent of a stretch Armstrong, but just enough so that you can disfigure Evel after each and every crash you perform. Despite this ability to absorb damage Evel does come packaged in a separate box and he’s even covered in a sheet of plastic, hardly how you’d expect a daredevil to travel, even one 10cms tall.

Setting up your stunt arena won’t take long and at the heart of everything there’s a launcher which shoots the bike over your ramps and straight in to a brick wall. You simply place the bike on the ramp, turn a handle for about 5-10 seconds and then release. When charging the bike makes an insane amount of motorcycle noise, which is great for adults playing with the toy themselves but not so great in the hands of a small child who will no doubt rev the motorbike’s engine day and night, over and over again. You have been warned!

Either way this toy is far too much fun for kids (although if you have kids it’s good for those ages 5 and up) and requires a bit of attention in order to get Evel to go over the ramps. To be fair part of its charm is that you’ll rarely get Evel over the ramp on the first attempt, often you’ll have to reposition ramps, and charge up for a different amount of time before you can get the bike to make a jump. This means when you do make a jump you’ll be jumping for joy - if they’d made Evel make the jumps every time you’d really have nothing to root for – and part of the fun is those few seconds of anticipation before glorious success or bitter failure.

Maybe I’m being overdramatic but you really have to spend a Friday night holding your breath while a 10cm tall figure makes a small jump to really see what I’m on about. It may even take your breath away….

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