LEGO Atlantis Review: Gateway of the Squid (8061)

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Three Atlantean sets in and the actual ruins of Atlantis haven’t even made an appearance yet. But this set finally fixes the problem and brings you as close to getting a LEGO C’thulhu minifigure you’ll ever get.

Unlock the Gateway of the Squid…if you dare! The Deep Salvage Crew divers have found their first big clue to the location of Atlantis: an ancient underwater temple with gates that automatically open at the turn of a treasure key! Inside are traps, treasures and mighty guardians, including an octopus prison cage, a fearsome Squid Warrior, and a monstrous giant squid with flailing tentacles and massive snapping jaws. Can the divers reach the golden treasure chest at the heart of the temple, or will they be captured for daring to trespass in this deep-sea domain?

The seabed and its sunken ruins have finally been reached by the divers and this set changes everything. Like Axel Storm and Captain Ace Speedman, the two divers in this set are identical except for the heads. They’re both sporting gray and lime green suits that have fantastically detailed torsos. They’ve both got black harpoon guns, lime green flippers and the fantastically designed air tank helmet combos with bright green visors.

The first mate on this adventure is Lance Spears. His face is scruffy and if you removed the stubble, you’d be left with the classic LEGO smiling face. Turn his head and you’ve got his second face of him looking like he just peed his pants. His eyebrows are raised, his mouth is quivering like Draco Malfoy’s and it really shows how much expression can be had in a single LEGO face.

The lady in this pack is Professor Sam Rhodes who is trying to crack the mysteries of Atlantis. Her face is the same as the Queen’s in the 2010 Kingdoms Advent Calendar, but a change of scenery makes her feel like a completely different figure. Her first face is a standard looking female LEGO face that’s smiling. The lip stick and augmented beauty mark may be a tad over the top since I don’t think a girl would be putting on makeup during an undersea exploration. Her other face is one looking downright pissed. Her brow is furrowed and she looks like she’d be willing to use the harpoon gun she comes with. Oddly, there’s no extra hair piece included in the pack so if you take off Ms. Rhodes’ helmet, she’ll be bald.

On the side of Atlantis is a single minifigure that absolutely blows my mind. The Squid Warrior takes the ideas of the Manta Warrior and Shark Warrior and takes them to a whole new level. Instead of the traditional LEGO minifigure legs, the Squid Warrior gets a brand new tentacle piece that reminds me a lot of the LEGO octopi. It has six legs, four of which have holes for him to attach to pegs with. The color is a gorgeous dark crimson.

The “helmet” continues the squid theme with a dash of Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean. His tentacles look almost like hair, while his yellow suckers look like ornamental gear. On the forehead is the same triangular symbol of Atlantis. For a weapon, the Squid warrior is clutching a golden trident.

The mask allows the eyes painted on the figure’s head to show through too. It’s almost a shame that this head is covered up because words can barely describe it:

It is a monstrous visage with rage filled, blood shot eyes that stare into your soul. His cephalopod mouth is inhuman and lined with fangs. Even his torso looks freakish with the overlaying colors of black, gold and crimson. He is a fantastic looking figure.

The albino octopus doubles as a prison. His alabaster tentacles can easily close around an unsuspecting victim. His construction is unique too because he’s basically done upside down as a LEGO build with his top being the bottom of the bricks. To display him, he attaches to the ruins via a single rod allowing him to float indefinitely.

But the albino octopus is nothing when compared to the giant squid in this set. Measuring close to a foot in length, this beast is downright massive in the LEGO scale. While he incorrectly only has four tentacles and two arms, it looks like a squid and I don’t really look for biological accuracy in my construction sets. Plus the Squid Warrior threw biology out of the window already.

Each of the tentacles is articulated in three points allowing the squid to bring prey into his beak. His arms are some unique LEGO piece made of rubber that look like they’re covered in suction cups. The squid’s translucent red eyes and black pupils look demonic on both sides of his head. His beak is surrounded by eight fangs that spin when the brick on the top of his head is turned.

The head/body of the squid is black and green and is colored by three stickers that show off his Atlantean designs. What they mean still hasn’t been explained, but it’s an easy way of saying this is more than just some every day giant squid. At the top of the temple is a single peg that the squid can mount to be displayed from.

The temple ruins are about a food long and mostly colored in sand and dark sand LEGO bricks. The remains of some entrance are at the far end where the giant squid resides. A staircase leads up to a rocky ruin where the Squid Key can be inserted. When you turn the key, the golden gates ahead of it spin open, clearing the way. The gates are built using rubber bands that makes them less than perfect, but I imagine any mechanism that’s been underwater for centuries may not work perfectly anyway.

A second staircase leads up to a golden treasure chest containing four LEGO gems – a ruby, emerald, sapphire and diamond. But the chest is located on a trap door that opens up when the knob in the back is spun. The whole display is covered in seaweed and looks great with its drab gray and sandy colored bricks, occasionally embellished with golden accents. For ease of moving and building, the gate can easily be separated from the base of the ruins.

Originally this set retailed for $40, and at that price it’s pretty average for a LEGO set. But I ended up finding it on clearance for 50% off and at $20, this set is downright fantastic. The divers look great and the multiple faces add a lot to their characters. The albino octopus is a fine sea creature and the squid is downright enormous. But it’s the Squid Warrior that stole the show for me with his terrifying visage. If you can find it for less and like squids, this is an easy recommendation.

LEGO Atlantis

Manta Warrior | Monster Crab Clash | Wreck Raider
Gateway of the Squid | Portal of Atlantis
Seabed Strider | Angler Attack

Written by jestergoblin

January 11th, 2011 at 12:00 am

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