The Blaster In Question #0035: Atlas XVI-1200

ATLAS XVI-1200

RIVAL

Ok, listen, we all knew that Ethan is way better at this whole “staying on top of regularly scheduled content” thing, but I just moved so I think a little slack is due to be cut here. Anyway, to make it up to you, I’m reviewing yet another shotgun. I’m not sure how that makes sense, but it’s what I’m doing so take it or leave it. This week, I’m looking at the Atlas XVI-1200, named for the titan of Greek mythology, or maybe that one robot from Portal 2, cool guy either way. Cool blaster too. Lemme show you.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Altas XVI-1200 was released in 2016 in the second wave of Rival series blasters. One of the great things about Rival blasters is how unique they are from anything else, mechanically speaking. Inside and out, the Atlas is all original. It’s a big blaster, there’s no getting around the fact. It’s just about the same size as the Zeus, but it doesn’t feel like it’s meant to be a primary blaster. That might be due to the fact that it effectively only has 6 shots, each trigger-pull firing 2 rounds simultaneously, creating the shotgun effect. Like the Zeus, it uses the 12 round Rival magazines and in an in-line orientation, except instead of sitting in the middle of the blaster, the Atlas’ magazine lays along the top, loading in a very similar manner to the FN P90. The Atlas is spring powered and primed via the pump grip on the underneath of the blaster. As you would hope with any pump action shotgun style blaster, priming it makes a rather imposing ker-chunk sound. While the ability to fire two rounds at once is fun, it would have made the blaster a whole lot cooler if there was a switch or toggle that let you change it to single fire if you wanted. The Atlas has a short attachment rail on the top along with a front sight, but sadly, there isn’t a rear sight to go with it, so it’s a little useless. Of all things, the jam door on the Atlas is actually somewhat interesting for two reasons. First, it’s on the left side of the blaster which is odd for a side-mounted jam door, but also, the door isn’t connected to any locks. This means you can operate the blaster entirely with the jam door open if you want. It is cool to be able to see how the internals of the blaster work, but it does mean there’s a big gaping hole in the side of the blaster, and I hate big gaping holes in blasters. Unsurprisingly for the Rival line, the Atlas feels nice and solid in the hand, though the pistol grip is kind of small for a Rival blaster. This means it’s just normal sized instead of extra large like on the Apollo, so not really a problem, just odd. Performance is just a hair under what other Rival blasters achieve, but this is because all the others only have to deal with one round at a time. This is really negligible in the eyes of any younger siblings into who’s rooms you bust while wielding this thing, and the premise of getting hit twice adds another layer of intimidation. The Atlas XVI-1200 comes packaged with a 12 round magazine and 12 Rival rounds.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was really surprised when I found the Atlas actually in a store. I had seen it at Toy Fair and knew it was coming out but I wasn’t expecting to find it when I did. It was maybe one of the fastest purchases I’ve ever made since I guess at the time I was under the impression that they had only just come out and would be impossible to find for months like the Apollo. This turned out not to be the case, but I was still glad to have one.

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The Blaster In Question #0027: Zeus MXV-1200

ZEUS MXV-1200

RIVAL

You know what this page needs?  It needs more balls.  Like, just a little pile over there, like 2 cubic tons.  Ok, maybe not that many, more like just a few ounces.  And obviously, I’m talking about the Nerf Rival High-Impact Rounds.  What else could it be, you weirdo.  Yes, it’s another Rival review, and this time we’re looking at part 2 of the line’s debut release, named for the king of the gods himself, the Zeus MXV-1200.  Let’s check it out.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

Here’s a fun fact, the names of the Rival blasters are actually quite informative.  Let me break it down for you.  So far they all are named for a deity from the ancient Greek pantheon and that’s just to sound cool.  After that, if the first letter is an M, that stands for “motorized.”  If there’s no M, you can assume it’s spring powered.  The next letters are the Roman numerals for the last 2 digits of the blaster’s release year.  XV is 15, hence, the Zeus and Apollo came out in 2015.  Lastly, the number after the hyphen is the blaster’s initial magazine capacity multiplied by 100.  All clear?  Good, let’s move on.  As the name suggests, the Zeus is a semi-automatic flywheel powered blaster with a 12 round capacity using the included magazine.  The flywheel mechanism itself is nothing new, though it has been substantially beefed up to deliver the expected Rival performance.  The shell of the Zeus is completely original and features a unique in-line side loaded orientation for the magazine, using the magazine spring itself to feed rounds into the flywheels rather than some other pusher mechanism.  Exchanging magazines is a little tricky at first because of how unconventional the layout is, but with a little time you get used to it.  Something worth noting is that the Rival 12 round magazines are the only ones that will work with the Zeus.  The Zeus’s handling is pretty good, though I do have some minor gripes.  The blaster feels solid and rather hefty in the hand, but the housing for the motors sticks out kind of abruptly from the left side and can dig into your palm if you’re not holding it just right.  Also, the pistol grip feels a little slim and I might have preferred just a bit more there to hold onto.  There is a lever safety above the trigger that prevents the rev switch from being pressed when it’s engaged, but it’s got a lot of play before it actually clicks into place and feels like it was probably a last minute addition.  The Zeus sports 3 Rival attachment rails (not the standard Nerf rail, these are specific to Rival), one on each side and a longer one along the top of the blaster.  It also has flip-up sights to help with aiming but they sit a little low compared to the back end of the blaster so you have to really mash your face into the cheek rest to get a decent sight picture.  Functionally, the only complaint I have is that I wish inserting a magazine didn’t automatically make it push a round into the blaster.  Again, these are minor issues that I have and don’t affect my overall opinion of the blaster that much.  That’s because actually shooting the Zeus is a joy.  Unlike other flywheel dart blasters, the Zeus revs up with a sound I’ve often described as a bag of angry hornets, and that sound is very much understandable once you pull the trigger a few times.  It launches rounds on more or less a straight line trajectory for a good 50 feet before they exhibit any noticeable drop.  Rounds also hit hard, making indoor shooting kind of a bad idea if you don’t want to risk breaking anything.  The plus side of this is that usually, you don’t even need to shoot anything to freak out your sibling when you bust into their room.  Just rev the darn thing like a mother-something chainsaw (what?) and that’ll get your point across. The Zeus MXV-1200 requires 6 C batteries and comes packaged with 12 High-Impact Rounds and a 12 round magazine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Zeus isn’t perfect.  Almost no blasters out there are, but it’s easily in the top 10% and very much a force to be reckoned with.  It sounds like thunder when it revs up, buzzy, high pitched thunder.  It hits like lightning.  There might be some hyperbole in there but you get the point.  It seems “Zeus” is an appropriate name for this blaster.  It’s not much of a womanizer though, so I guess that’s probably a point in it’s favor.

The Blaster In Question #0015: Apollo XV-700

APOLLO XV-700

RIVAL

I don’t think there was ever a more anticipated Nerf release than there was for the 2015 debut of the Rival line of blasters.  The N-Strike Elite series was already considered to be the performance driven group of blasters with just a few gimmicks here and there.  Rival took that even further with entirely new hardware built from the ground up with zero gimmicks to provide what is likely the best out-of-the-box foam blaster performance available.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the two premier blasters from the Rival line, the Apollo XV-700.  Let’s get right into it.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Apollo hit retail in 2015 alongside the Zeus MXV-1200 to kick off the Rival brand.  I mentioned earlier that these blasters were entirely new and I meant entirely. They fire the golf-ball inspired High-Impact Rounds instead of traditional darts, which greatly contributes to their performance potential.  The magazines were also completely new, unsurprisingly, which in the case of the Apollo, meant we got the first magazine-fed Nerf blaster that loaded through the grip like a proper pistol.  Holding the Apollo in hand really gives away the fact that Nerf was really gearing these products toward an older demographic than their typical audience.  The grip is large and solidly made.  The priming handle on the top of the blaster requires a considerable amount of force to cycle it but it does make a very satisfying racking sound like cocking a shotgun, and it gives you a good idea of exactly how powerful the blaster is even before you fire it.  The Apollo has a short attachment rail at the front of the blaster for accessories, although it should be noted that it is a proprietary Rival rail and not the traditional Nerf rail found on dart- firing blasters.  The body of the Apollo extends a good ways behind the grip and can be effectively shouldered like a stock, which makes it odd in my opinion that the designers behind the blaster didn’t put one in.  That is one of my two very minor complaints about the Apollo, the other being that the priming handle prevents any kind of sighting along the top of the blaster unless you happen to have one of the awesome Rival Red Dot Sight attachments (sold separately) on hand.  Either way, these are petty complaints that do very little to sway my opinion of the blaster overall.  Being released alongside the Zeus, the Apollo definitely feels like it was intended as a sidearm and it can work as one of those if you should choose, but it can also hold its own as a primary if you feel like running it as one.  Reloading is super fast with the Rival magazines and with a little practice, you can fire off rounds in pretty rapid succession.  As with pretty much all Rival blasters, the Apollo is an outside blaster.  Shots travel fast and far and hit hard when they land.  Unless you have very very forgiving siblings, I would recommend not busting into their rooms and opening fire with this one.  It kinda speaks to the power of the blaster when Nerf feels the need to release full face masks for the Rival line.  The Apollo comes packaged with a 7-round magazine and 7 Rival High-Impact Rounds.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ll be completely honest, I was expecting this review to be one of those counterintuitive moments where the blaster is awesome but the review is kinda dull cause it’s just me going on and on about how great the thing is.  Hopefully I didn’t bore you too badly.  When Rival first started hitting shelves, they were just about impossible to find anywhere in my area.  My boy Ethan managed to pick up a Zeus for me fairly early on, but the Apollo took me a good month or so of regular Target, TRU, and Walmart stops to find one.  The whole ordeal was a major pain, but I gotta say, it was super worth it.