Today is August 1st, and that means that the N-Strike Elite line has officially launched! The new blasters (Retaliator, Rampage, and Hail-Fire) can now be purchased in-store in most major retailers. Today I went on a quest to find out where they’re available, and here’s what I found.
Thought I’d whip up a little bed-time story for you. Enjoy!
Imagine… you are nestled under a shallow ledge outside one of the buildings on campus. Large, overgrown flowers, weeds and vines hang over the edges, making your hideout dark and cavelike, and another building towers nearby, making your territory a very narrow alleyway. This is your lair, your… feeding grounds. You can only see up to peoples knees when they walk past you, but you have a clear view of a small plaza that adjoins directly with your alleyway.
A wiry smile curls around your face as your hear the bell, tolling the end of class. People will be heading to their next lesson soon. You’ve been waiting for half an hour for this, and you’re so ready for fresh meat. Your ears twitch as a door nearby opens. Your legs tense, ready to spring… but it’s only a girl, no armband in sight. She’s with several others, all non-players, and they chat away with silly girl banter as they walk past you. You roll your eyes as you hear one of them ask how many countries will be on their next geography test, and another answers “Just one, Europe”.
The girls prance away in their ignorant delight, and just as your resettle yourself into your den, a flood of people starts washing past you. It’s like a river, thousands of students file through, two at a time, through the narrow passage. It would be perfect, if only you could see their shoulders. You curse the low-hanging ledge above your head and try to look out into the plaza, but you can hardly see anything past the million streaming legs. You force yourself to sit and wait for the flood to subside. By the time the millipede of people has gone, and you can once again see into the plaza, no one seems interested in your alleyway anymore. You sulk, and send a text to your friend hiding in an identical spot on the other side of the building. She’s had the same luck. You begin to get up, frustrated and bored of this spot that offers too little visibility.
And then you hear it… in the quieting stillness that always follows the rush between classes… footsteps. They sound frantic, out of place amidst the calm. You curiously edge nearer the border of your shadowy enclosure, and your eyes light up at what you see. It’s a boy, probably a freshman. He looks lost and scared, his eyes quickly darting between the tall buildings, trying to make out their names. You would think he was just trying to make it to class on time, simple as that, if it weren’t for one thing… a Maverick. The boy clutches a small, yellow and black blaster, a revolver notoriously known for jamming. And he has an armband too. You grin and think about rushing him… “Should I? it would be so easy” you think to yourself.
And then your heart plummets. Out of nowhere a tall muscly brute of a human strides up to the boy. He carries a Hail-Fire, the pinnacle of human weaponry. The blue blaster boasts 8 clips out of it’s belly, all drum clips of some kind. You know not to approach this blaster, you’d meet a wall of foam aimed directly at your head the second it poked out from behind the vines. You scowl at the brute from behind the safety of your shadows and strain to listen to what the two say. You can’t make it out, but then something else unexpected happens. Rather than accompany his savior, the small boy looks toward an alleyway and smiles with relief. The brute playfully pats him on the head and waves goodbye, then stalks away. The boy starts walking… towards YOUR alleyway!
You practically dance as he draws nearer, trying hard to hold your breath and not make a sound. Your muscles itch with excitement and you get ready to pounce. The boy seems to have spotted a door and is heading towards it, his guard totally down. He smiles and lets his maverick swing freely. “This… is… perfect!” you think to yourself. Five feet… four feet… three feet…
Your phone dings…
“AAAAAGGH!!!” The boy screams and fires a round at the ground, instinctively pulling the trigger. You barely have time to hear him cock the pistol before you make your move!
It’s not ideal, but it will have to do! You yell as you lunge at your victim! You feel the wind brush your arm as another dart whistles past it. You wrap your arms around the boys knees and practically drag him into your cave! “AAAAGH!! AAGHH!!!” The boy yells and whips his arms around wildly, firing darts in every direction but your own. You surround the boy in an infecting bear hug and suppress his movements until he calms down.
Darts rain down on your back, dozens of them. You hear a “clu-clink” of a reload and the onslaught continues. You also hear the yell of the brute that had run back at the sound of your tag. You roll off the boy, laughing. You lie on the ground next to him and grin as a dart thumps against your safety glasses. You bask in your now-stunned victory, and let the brute waste as many darts as he likes. You’ve done your work. You smile at the boy and, as you stand, reach out a hand to help him up. He clasps it, shaking, and looks up at you. You pat him on the shoulder and say “Welcome to the hoard brother!” ;D
Mr. K and Mr. S of AFON have DEFINITELY delivered this time. As many of you know, they were two of the guys invited to the N-Stike Elite launch party that occurred in New York this past weekend. They took footage of the highlights at the launch, and now they’ve edited it all together to show you all the Nerfy goodness that went down. Pictures are great, but video is even better! Check out their hour long special below. It’s certainly worth the watch.
Summary – Ladies and gentlemen, we have dart hoses
Alright, So if you’ve ever wanted to burn through 25 darts in 4 seconds, AFON is about to make you very VERY happy. Matt and Travis were able to get their hands on all the new blasters, and they got plenty of video to show them off to you. Not only were there great shots of the Retaliator and Rampage, but they give us an exclusive look at the Hail-fire and even give us a demo of the Pyragon.
First up on the Hail-Fire; the guys show us the clear (and very open) jam door. I really think the clear idea was a great one by the Nerf engineers, because it just oozes practicality. Now players won’t have to wonder if they have a jam or are just out of ammo. They can easily see a jammed dart, and that makes for faster fixes and reloads.
Next they show us the clip carousel. It can store up to eight straight clips, or two 25 dart drums with straits placed in between. No word yet on how many 18 round drums or 35 round drums it can store yet, but they do give their thoughts on the subject. They also coined the idea of putting eight 18 round quick-reload clips into one Hail-Fire, using flip-clip attachments to mount eight MORE 18 round quick-reload clips, and then attaching ANOTHER Hail-Fire onto that! Pretty cool idea, except that the blasters would be trying to spin the clips in opposite directions. :p
And then they showed the rate of fire. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the video. That thing CHEWS through ammo! The guys loaded one up with a couple 25 dart Rampage drums, some standard 6 round clips, and maybe I saw an 18 round reload clip, and that thing is a HOSE! The Hail-Fire empties a 6 dart clip in just over a second, an 18 rounder in about three, and a 25 dart drum in just over four seconds. Believe me when I say the darts were practically touching tip to tail when they left the blaster. It looks like whatever new flywheel tech the Hail-fire offers keeps the motors from slowing down after each dart. There’s also a massive firing bar that helps with the propulsion.
Next up was the Pyragon. Mr. K and Mr. S didn’t delve too much into it, but we got a very nice shot of Mr. K emptying the 40 round clip in six seconds. *whispers* I think Mr. S can beat ‘im. *winks in Mr. S’s direction*. The drum the Pyragon uses to store it’s ammo is comprised of four smaller clips that rotate within it. Mr. K showed us that we don’t have to manually switch to another inner-clip when one is emptied. It’s all automatic.
All in all, AFON is friggin’ awesome for getting us this footage and giving their very well educated opinions on them. Check their blog out. They definitely deserve it.
The Nerf N-Strike Elite launch party gave us some great photos of the new gear! There were the expected things, like that awesome new Hail-Fire, but there were new things too! The pictures show us everything from kickin’ shades to fluorescent clips, so read on, get pumped, and don’t let the party die! 😉
First up is the Retaliator. This picture gives us a close-up look at the blasters profile (side-view). We can now see that the new clear clip has the N-Strike Elite logo printed on it, along with a reminder to only load 12 darts in it. Those new features will help solve the problem of not knowing how many darts you have loaded, and then crumpling your darts when you try to put too many in. The new clips are also great for mid-battle ammo-checks.
On the Retaliator itself we see the new sliding handle. The sawtooth top-grip will help players load their blaster quicker, and it will act as an attachment rail for any Nerf tactical rail accessory, including the Stampede shield. That grooved triangle behind the vent decals looks like a perfect thumb rest too, textured to give excellent grip while in the field. This blaster is symmetrical, so both righties and lefties will enjoy these features.
Here the Retaliator is in it’s 50-cal. pistol form. The barrel attachment is rifled, meaning that the tube the dart flies through has spiraling grooves molded into it. These grooves make the dart itself spiral, greatly increasing its accuracy (think of how straight a spinning football goes). This will help players get better grouping of their darts, and hit their target easier.
Next up is the Rampage, an upgraded form of the Raider. This blaster features a new 25 dart drum and is the only Elite blaster with built in Slam-fire capabilities. I really like the new drum; it’s a happy medium between the 18 round Alpha Trooper drum and the 35 round Raider drum. Also, because it’s symmetrical, I think it’ll get in the way less than the other drums, meaning faster, smoother operations of blasters using it. In the Rampage, it just seems to mesh better than the old Raider drum, and I think there will be less distraction on the player, because their blaster won’t keep trying to fall to the left.
The biggest of the blasters is the Hail-Fire, a semi-auto blaster with a dual flywheel propulsion system. It features a possible dart capacity of 144 darts when using 8 18 round quick reload clips and uses a rotating clip dome to lock new clips into place when others have emptied. This picture shows us that it is compatible with all N-Strike clips; the 6 round standard clip, the 12 round Retaliator clip, and the 18 round quick reload clip. Looks pretty cool with them loaded in that stair-step fashion, doesn’t it? 🙂
Here Vas the Stampede from FoamFromAbove shows off the new N-Strike Elite Tactical Vest. Notice how the orange on the blaster and the clear clip on his vest seem to glow under the black lights. Fluorescence baby, beautiful radiating, photon wavelength lengthening fluorescence!
All these blasters and gear were thoroughly tested out in an indoor arena, so much so that an arena wall fell down. So don’t worry about any “oh they won’t be as good as the hype makes them out to be” because they have definitely been put to the test, and they all passed with flying colors (blue and orange to be precise).
Mr. K and Mr. S of AdultFansofNerf were also invited to the party. They recorded their experience, and will be posting it soon. They posted on their blog that they even got their hands on the new Vortex Pyragon, so keep your eyes peeled for their documentation of the event. I’m sure it’ll be a blast.
Keep Nerfing everyone! And get your foam on!!
Nerf released these videos a couple days ago on the official Hasbro site, but the links (as I’m sure you noticed) weren’t functioning properly. In order to help get the word out on these great blasters and help generate hype for Nerf, I took a few screen recordings and have posted the videos here. I don’t own any part of these videos; I’m just helping to share the love. Enjoy!
Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire
The release date for the Hail-Fire is set for September 9th, 2012 at $39.99.
It’s lookin’ pretty sweet if you ask me. I just wonder how useful accessories will be with that handle right in front of them. You’d think it would block visibility from scopes, and I’m sure it would block some light if you attached a light onto the accessory rail. Hopefully I’m wrong, but hey, even if I’m not, it’s not really meant to be held like a rifle. So, I guess it’s not that big of a loss. Still looks sweet.
The rest of the Elite blaster videos are after the jump.
Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator
The release date for the Retaliator is scheduled for August 1st, 2012 at $24.99.
Strange, in the clip where the demonstrator attaches the assault grip, he puts it on with the little notch facing the back and uses it to lock his thumb into place. Yet in the next clip the assault grip is attached with that notch facing forwards. I wonder which way is correct. ?
Nerf N-Strike Elite Rampage
The release date for the Rampage is scheduled for August 1st, 2012, and will retail for $29.99.
The guy puts the darts into the clip the “wrong” way. I’m thinking it’s just a subtle reinforcement to the rumor that the foam is tougher in the new Elite darts. Can’t wait to test it out.