Nerf is at its best when it’s being silly. Those of us that grew up in the 1990s don’t remember Nerf for long distance dart blasting. Instead, those fond memories are reserved for things like Ballzookas and Arrowstorms. We fired large ammo at opponents not because it was the most effective thing around, but because it was fun.
With the new Mega XL line, Nerf sees a true return to form. And the Boomdozer, as it turns out, is not only large and silly, but effective as well. It’s the most fun I’ve had with a Hasbro blaster all year, and I can’t think of a better way to launch a new blaster line.
Author’s note: Dart Zone did send a free sample for review; they’re also sponsoring a free giveaway. Thanks, guys!
As excited as I was to get the Dart Zone Pro MkIII, having it for a week now and using it at a war leaves me conflicted. All the ingredients are there for greatness; hitting high velocities on just AA batteries, the ability to swap for rechargeable battery packs, select fire, and more are in the package. Using full and short darts makes for even more versatility. But issues with magazine compatibility and dart feeding taint what would otherwise be a great blaster on paper. For the person entering the realm of high speed dart blasting, it’s an attractive (if flawed) blaster. For those already in the hobby who know how to modify a blaster off the store shelf (retail or thrift), it might not be as appealing. Either way, it’s still not a blaster to dismiss. Just know that, for now, this rose has a few thorns.
Author’s note: Thanks to Dart Zone for sending the free sample to review!
As I noted on social media, my sample Dart Zone Pro MkIII arrived Monday afternoon – realistically, too late to make a real review happen before the Wednesday embargo. Such is current shipping. In the meantime, before I take it to a war for better judgement, or attempt to feed multitudes of darts through it…let’s peek inside the MkIII and see what makes it tick!
Holding onto classic designs is nothing new – for example, the Nerf NStrike elite Strongarm came out in 2013, but it is still sold is some stores (and even has Amazon exclusive variants release in late 2018 / early 2019). Dart Zone has its own holdovers from the previous “design generation”, including the Quickfire 8. The original version of this, the Renegade, released on ToysRUs shelves under the Air Zone brand. When I reviewed it then, it was good compared to other pistols on shelves. Now, however, it seems antiquated, especially when Dart Zone has superior revolvers readily available. Is it still useful? Yes. Are the weaknesses more apparent? Also yes.
Here’s a fun virtual roundtable to watch! This coming Friday at 7pm EST, there’s going to be a lovely discussion about the future of HvZ on college campuses. Having an actual pandemic (and no zombies) wasn’t fun at all, and things will have to change, for clubs at private and public schools, both old and new.
While we’re on the topic of improved blasters, let’s peek at the Adventure Force Sentry X2. It was recently massively discounted on Walmart’s website (though it can still be found on shelves), and I grabbed a large box of them. Since the original review, Dart Zone has improved the blaster, both in performance and feeding. It took some time, but now the Sentry X2 is a worthy Kronos alternative!
A magazine-fed, auto loading, bow style blaster? That’s a new and novel idea, compared to past examples. Nerf had the Stratobow, which advanced a large clip. Hobbyists have made magazine-fed bow blasters in the past, but they required a separate action to load a dart. Buzz Bee, however, has found a novel way to do it, by essentially putting a slam-fire mechanism on the plunger/breech assembly. Once that flies forward and loads a dart, you just have to release the handle to fire.
It’s a system that works quite well, far better than I expected. Let’s dive in!