Franchises on this blog always seem to shoot themselves in the foot by the third outing. That’s just what Sammy Steel did in Series 3 (the square sets), which decided to include built-in sound effects. Maybe this was an attempt to make Sammy Steel different from Mighty Max; in reality all it did was hurt an already less-than-mediocre franchise. The toys come off like they’re aimed at a much younger demographic who would be easily amused by such a feature. And as a result of the inclusion of electronics, there are only three sets in the series — one fewer than the other two — and a near-lack of accessories apart from Sammy and the villain-of-the-day.
Electronic parts also means going even cheaper with the sets themselves: tons of goofy decals fill in details where paint would normally be applied. Indeed paint is mainly reserved for Sammy and very sparsely used otherwise. Speaking of Sammy, look at the makeover they gave him! He’s even bigger and resembles Macaulay Culkin!
This series is easily the worst of the three, and it’s lucky I’m dignifying it with its own blog post. They did at least come with comics on the cardbacks, but there’s nothing to connect the sets to one another chronologically this time. So I’ll list them in an order that made sense to me, with the most boring set acting as an intermission in the middle.
EPISODE 1: SUBMARINE SANDWICH
Once again we start with an aquatic theme and a playset that’s laid out flat. The batteries died in mine recently (and leaked slightly) so I can’t give a recent update on the sound effects — I believe they include a submarine “dive” alarm, a sonar blip, and a torpedo firing. As you can see, the set is pretty bare apart from Sammy, an Atlantean reject, and a periscope. Doesn’t bode well for the rest of the series, does it? The fish dude is rather neat though.
EPISODE 2: TOMB OF TERROR
Once again, here’s me being a completist, or I wouldn’t have bothered with the “intermission” set. Our accessories this time are a moving cemetery gate and a sarcophagus lid which covers up a lame skeleton sticker. This is just pathetic, to be perfectly frank: at the very least, the upper half of the compact should’ve been the graveyard, so the bulkier lower half could be the inside of a spooky tomb. And a black cat? Really? Why not a skeleton that fits inside the coffin? The sounds are generic Halloween stock: two wolf howls (one accompanied by cackling witch), a yowling cat, and a stone coffin opening followed by screamy creature leaping out.
EPISODE 3: CHASING THE MOB’S MISSILE
Anything is better than the ‘Tomb playset, so here we at least get to end things with a bang. We get two accessories this time: a robot and a big ol’ missile that Sammy can stand in for whatever reason. We also get a badass alien guard with a phaser and natty dreads. The sounds include a Star Trek door noise, two laser blasts (one accompanied by snarly alien), and a beepy-boopy robot saying “danger!”.
Sammy Steel didn’t see a fourth series, and if this was the direction he was going in, I’m grateful. Despite the goofiness and cheapness of this toy line, I still enjoyed it, and it’s too bad it had to go with such a whimper.