Review: 8822 Gargoyle Bridge
Posted 15 June 2009 - 08:49 PM
Hello, friends! Time for my first review as a teacher in the Reviewers' Academy. As such, I decided it would be great to include some short videos to demonstrate the play features. And no, don't worry, I don't just flick some flick-fire missiles a bunch of times because this set predates the "flick-fire invasion."
Title: Gargoyle Bridge
Set #: 8822
Theme: Knights' Kingdom II
Year of Release: 2006
Price at Release: USD $30
Buy it? Inventory? Bricklink Peeron
8822 was one of the final four sets in the Knights' Kingdom II line (rundown). LEGO was probably running out of steam with the story line, still using Vladek as the bad guy even though Jayko was now as old as King Mathias was in the first sets. I know, call me a freak for knowing too much about LEGO's plotlines. But really, how old could that Vladek guy get? And by this time, he'd enlisted bad knights in underwear! But I digress.
I shall try to hold off on slamming the absurd story line for a minute (yes, I do get back to it) because what you all really care about is the minifigures, the pieces, the splendor, the grandeur, the awesome power of… you know, the LEGO, not the made up part for kids (or kids at heart).
Before I even start reviewing what came in the box, I'd like to show how clouded in mystery this set was. Here's a picture of 8822 in a 2006 Holiday Shop at Home. Sorry about the glare, but it doesn't cover the interesting part. See the four silver bionicle pieces by the ax on the tower? Those are gold in the set. I find that odd.
But wait, there's more! Order now, and you'll get the Slapchop deluxe… oh. Anyway, this is the description of that set in the same catalog, but closer up. I'd like you to read it.
Ok, did you read it? It said that the knights had to cross the bridge. It also said Sir Adric had to get past the gargoyles. It also made it sound as if Karzon's battering ram was waiting for Sir Adric on the bridge.
Now let's see what Adric is actually doing.
Hmmm. It seems he's waiting on the bridge (not crossing it) between the sculpted gargoyles (not a threat) and actually waiting for Karzon to haul his battering ram over there. I see a big disconnect. Does it greatly affect the set? I guess not. But it means a few people at LEGO were confused about this set in the first place. In any case, I'll get over it…
I could use a box picture I found on Bricklink, but it turns out to be the wrong one! I don't know why, but there were actually two different boxes (maybe one was a prototype?) for both this set and 8821. Here is what was on the box that I got.
The back of the instruction have a nice display of three of the final KKII sets. It's also on the back of the instructions in 8821.
But wait, there are problems in this picture too! Can you find all six problems just in this close up? (check at bottom of review for answers)
A random page. Since this set is so big size-wise, each page gets one step. The color distinction in good.
Great! Now we're out of glich-in-pics zone, and into the set itself!
Here they are from the front. They are quite nice. The red armor piece on Sir Adric is lovely, and I can imagine many Castle MOC uses for it. Likewise, Karzon's (guy in center) armor piece is very nice, and the stock Rogue Knight has speckle copper and black armor, not silver and black. I think the copper and black armor is exclusive to this set. Light blue is also a nice color to get minifig legs in because it is not so common.
From the back, they are unremarkable. You still have to love that copper armor though!
Hats off, boys! Now you can better see what are minifig friends look like. Sir Adric's face was the only one that was new for the sets that had him. Now it has been reused as a regular crownie. Karzon's face is from the viking sets, and the Rogue Knight's head is one from Orient Expidition that was reused a million times.
Here are the minifigures with their friends from 8821. The minifigures are pretty similar, except in different colors. Maybe Karzon is yelling because he thinks wearing underwear was a stupid idea for his Rogue Knight brethren.
In sum, the minifigures are quite good in this set, for castle fans and castle builders anyway.
For what is a minifigure without a weapon? The shields are both lovely, although both of them kind of look evil. The spekley halbred is also a great weapon, and it mostly came in expensive sets, so this is a nice way to get it. The other weapons and accessories are nothing special, but they still decorate the set, which is good.
With their weapons, the minifigures are ready for battle!
Here I've picked out what I find to be the interesting part in this set. The mask on the left is from the Karzon action figure, and the axe is from the Sir Adric action figure. This set includes four marbled green and silvery BURPS (I think that's what they're called), which only appear in a few sets and are very neat. There are two gargoyle pieces, which are the head of the Vikings Fenris Wolf in pearl light grey, and two of those doors, which aren't that rare, but are still cool.
BUILD - Karzon's Battering Ram
Karzon's battering ram is the first thing to build. After four steps, who knows what that is?
At eight steps, it's starting to shape up. I applaud LEGO's use of the tower piece and the ram part going through it. I think that's the most ingenious thing about the set (which isn't saying too much, unfortunately).
At twelve steps, the mask from the big Karzon action figure has been added to the front, as well as the battering mechanism, which is just the gear turning against the plate with teeth (video coming up!)
SET - Karzon's Battering Ram
I decided it would make the most logical sense to show off Karzon's battering ram right now because I just went through its build. I shall follow the same order for the bridge.
This is the ram in an angled view. I like the structure very much because it looks medieval, and the front part with its spikes and evil mask are quite menacing.
Coming straight at you, it looks like it could knock your house down.
Side left. I like how the colors of brown to dark bley are consistent on the vehicle and the ram itself.
Back. Not much to note here, except that the ram is pretty skinny, which is good for easy transporting.
Above-ish. Now it kind of looks puny, but we already know it looks tough straight on from the front.
And now, my first video! Here we take a look at how well the mechanism of turning the gear works for the ram. Will Karzon break through the bridge gates, or will the gates prove to be the winner? Click to find out!
Hmmm. I guess kids should probably smash the ram through the gates with their hands instead of sitting there and turning the gear. I stamp this play feature with a FAIL. Maybe LEGO will make up for it with the other play features in this set.
BUILD - The Bridge
As I said above, I will first show the build, then talk about the model, and after that I'll talk more about the set as a whole.
So here we go. At four step we've already connected two of the lovely dark green plates with a gaggle of bley in light and dark varieties.
Eight steps, and two of the lovely BURPS have been added. It's bridge-like already.
Twelve steps, and the other BURPS have been connected via big bley arches, and the gated area is getting a floor.
Sixteen steps. Now the floor of the bridge has been added with its dropping mechanism.
Twenty steps. More things making it look like a bridge.
Twenty-four steps. The tower is being built up and the gold triangles have been added.
Twenty-eight steps. Now the tower is getting a floor.
Thirty-two steps. Now the floor of the tower is complete with railings to keep Sir Adric from falling down, and what will become the axe-dropping mechanism is being built.
Thirty-six steps. The axe-dropping mechanism is complete, and fires have been added.
SET - The Bridge
The bridge in its angled view of glory! It's a nice looking bridge, rising up from dark green marshes to grey stone, and the gatehouse looks good too.
A side view. It's good and long (that's not what anybody said), like a bridge should be, but at the same time it does look kind of too straight and plain. The use of the long black pieces as the ramps is ok, but some interesting steps would have been much better.
Front view. From this angle, you can hardly tell what you're looking at.
Back view. Now you can't even tell there is a bridge.
Top view. You can see that there is a bridge from this angle, and you can see the top of the tower. But do you notice those holes between the planks…
Those holes aren't helpful for clumsy knights.
In every review I do, I just make up whatever random headings I feel like. Is that good or bad? I don't know.
First let's look at the details that aren't play features, starting out with a key part of the set that gave it its name: the gargoyles. They're two wolf heads, and I guess they're nice, but they're just stuck on. If LEGO had made some cool gargoyle minifigures that look like statues or something that's playable, that would have been much cooler. But as it is, LEGO couldn't just name it Bridge, so they had to think of something.
On each side of the gatehouse there are fires, which I suppose Adric could take down and hurl at the enemy. LEGO liked their fire in black tree thingy, they used it in 8821 also.
Now, I don't care what the catalog said because this is clearly Adric's outpost, decorated with a spear flying his color and the color of Sir Kentis (except that the green flag is regular green, not dark green, which has always puzzled me).
You know what this means… video time!
Even with those few details, this bridge would be a boring grey blob without some patented LEGO play features! I already showed the battering feature above, so here I'll display the falling axes and dropping bridge.
First, the falling axes. Will Adric be able to defeat his enemy with two axes that must weigh a ton? Or will they fail of miserably and leave him helpless to the Rogue Knight swarm? Click to find out!
Second, the collapsing bridge. Can Adric collapse the bridge to keep his enemies away? Or will he need some Godly intervention if he is to be saved? Click to find out!
Well, as you saw, Adric was able to defeat his enemy with two axes that must weigh a ton. The only problem with that feature is that the axes are heavy and sometimes fall down by themselves, but that doesn't happen too often. The axes get a PASS.
On the other hand, Adric needed some Godly intervention if he was to be saved by the collapsing bridge. Honestly LEGO, you must have known by then that LEGO bricks have a lot of friction and aren't just going to slide against each other! I hope whoever designed that feature has been moved into the DUPLO design department. Ok, not really, but I'd never seen LEGO come up with such a terrible trapdoor. They never did something as bad again though, so that's a plus! Anyway, the collapsing bridge gets an EPIC FAIL.
Since only one play feature got a pass from me (and how many times can you drop some axes?), I had to come up with a play idea. This time, I'm actually following the catalog description, even though everything about the set points against it.
Sir Adric is strolling along, when he sees Karzon and a Rogue Knight behind him. Quickly, he dashes for the bridge!
But once he's at the foot of the bridge, he pauses to look up. He sees the evil gargoyles and huge-as-megablocks axes, and a fear creeps over him.
He then looks at the bottom of the bridge. He sees it's only some green marshes, so…
This set can easily be combined with 8821 (my review here) for a bit more fun. That set has a lot more playability.
Time to wrap it up. The ram is nice looking, with a good color scheme and parts choice and whatnot, but the battering feature pretty much sucks. Who's going to sit there and turn that gear anyway? The bridge is big and bridge-like, but it looks a bit plain. Some plants, headlight bricks with cheese slopes (like in another bridge set, hint hint), or some kind of other details would have made it a better model. The dropping axes are a nice play feature because at least they actually work, but an additional catapult or flick-fire crossbow (like in another bridge set, hint hint) would have made the playability level better. I can see this bridge in a castle layout or a Morcia diorama, but as its own thing this set is lacking. The best part are the minifigures, and I'd definitely suggest trying to get some speckle copper armor.
Minifigures: 9/10 - They're nice, but some torso printing could have helped, and a different face for the Rogue Knight too.
Parts: 7.5/10 - 250 for $30 isn't so bad, but there aren't very many interesting parts, and most of them are bley.
Build: 7/10 - It's mostly just building a bridge, which isn't too repetitive, but isn't exciting either.
Price: 7/10 - This was tough. It isn't the wrong price for 250 pieces, but I don't know why you'd want to pay $30 for a bland bridge.
Playability: 5.5/10 - There isn't a whole lot to do, and if you try to use what LEGO gave you, you get annoyed.
Overall: 7/10 - In my book, that is not a good rating. If this set was out now, I'd advise you against buying it. See if you can score some copper armor on Bricklink though!
I hope you enjoyed my second KK2 review, and I hope to be back soon for another review with videos of another bridge (maybe with a comparison to this one)!
(*answers to pic with six problems, not in any specific order: 1. Adric's hands are red. 2. Adric has a viking axe. 3. Adric's shield is grey instead of pearl gold. 4. Karzon has a halberd instead of a mace. 5. The part of the bridge going down is clipped to a blue piece, which should be black. 6. Those Bionicle pieces by the axes are still silver.)
Posted 15 June 2009 - 09:04 PM
Posted 15 June 2009 - 09:50 PM
Posted 15 June 2009 - 10:03 PM
This may just be me, but it seems like your ratings don't match your feelings for the set. Do you consider an 8/10 to be mediocre? At a glance, 7.7/10 would make me think you liked the set more than you said you did.
Posted 15 June 2009 - 10:13 PM
Well, I consider in the 9s to be an A, 8s to be a B, 7s C, 6s D, 5s and below F. In less technical terms, 9s are Great!, 8s are Not Bad - Not Great, 7s are Mediocre, 6s are Bad, 5s are Don't Even Think About It. However, I can see that others who are used to different grading systems may not think a 7.7 is as "meh" as I see it to be. I think I'll tweak the ratings a little to bring the overall down.
Posted 15 June 2009 - 11:06 PM
Posted 16 June 2009 - 02:09 PM
Posted 16 June 2009 - 05:43 PM
no victory without suffering,
no freedom without sacrifice.
Posted 16 June 2009 - 05:49 PM
I like the gates and general bridge. I loath the huge axe however.
Whats that all about?
Edited by alex12, 16 June 2009 - 05:50 PM.
Posted 16 June 2009 - 06:35 PM
Review was really good, I like how you start it. Can't wait for your next review!
Avalonian Orc Commander
Posted 16 June 2009 - 10:31 PM
I think that helmet would be really cool in a cyberpunk running man gladiatorial thingy, but not in Castle.
Posted 17 June 2009 - 12:13 AM
1969 Dodge Charger RT
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