Since the first Halo launched on Xbox, I’ve always thought it would be a riot to drive a Warthog. In fact, when Volkswagen unveiled its Concept T, which had an uncanny resemblance to the famed Halo vehicle, I scoured the Web for an estimated street date so I could take one for a test drive. Well, years have come and gone since then, and I’ve still not gotten my hands on the real-life steering wheel. However, toy manufacturer NKOK recently released a radio-controlled Warthog and an R/C Mongoose, giving me a somewhat more-tangible taste of what it’s like to drive (and crash) them on the street rather than the TV screen.
NKOK’s R/C Warthog is based on Halo: Reach, making the toy incredibly timely, and it’s the Rocket Warthog rather than the chaingun version, making it seem more powerful. Well, as powerful as an R/C car driving 7 MPH off the curb can seem. The package also includes two 2.5-inch figures, Noble Six and Carter, both of whom are scaled to the vehicle (which is 8 inches long and 5 inches tall) and can be posed either behind the steering wheel or behind the Rocket Launcher. Having two characters is a nice feature because they can be played with independently of the Warthog. It’s also nice to have two poseable characters because it means two kids have the opportunity to take turns driving/controlling it — presuming they’re able to share.
If they’re not able to share, pick up NKOK’s R/C Arctic Mongoose, which was designed using the original CGI models from Halo 3 and has a Warthog-competitive top speed of about 6 MPH. Included with the Mongoose is Master Chief himself, who’s much more substantial than Noble Six and Carter. This is because the Mongoose is eight inches long, just like the Warthog, but is a smaller vehicle “in real life.” Consequently, the poseable Master Chief is about 6.5 inches tall and much thicker, giving NKOK more of an opportunity to provide better detail compared to the much smaller Noble Six and Carter toys included with the Warthog. In fact, the same thing goes for the vehicle itself; because the Mongoose is larger in scale, there’s an extra level of detail on the Mogoose that the Warthog just doesn’t quite have.
The actual control for both vehicles reinforces the toys’ recommended age restriction (8+) by being a bit too large for younger hands to hold. The control is conversely too small to be comfortable for adults, but for anyone between 8 and 13 it’s just fine. I will admit some surprise at the controls not including thumsticks like the controls for every other R/C vehicle I’ve owned. Instead, the forward/reverse and left/right mechanisms resemble D-pads on an Xbox 360 controller, meaning you’re either going full-bore in the desired direction or not going at all. It’s not a refined setup for seasoned R/C vets, but since the vehicles each retail for $25, there’s no reason to complain too loud, particularly since the Warthog and Mongoose are probably going to be a kid’s first foray into the realm of radio-controlled vehicles.
That $25 price point is also a nice feature because both vehicles are powered by six AA batteries, four for the main vehicle and two for the controller. That’s a lot of batteries. They don’t seem to drain too quickly, but I would definitely recommend buying some rechargeable batteries to go with each. If you don’t, you’ll need all that saved money to fund your need for alkaline.
Batteries aside, the R/C Rocket Warthog and R/C Arctic Mongoose from NKOK are surprisingly good Halo tie-ins, incredibly well-priced devices and the perfect entree for Halo-loving pre-teens into the world of radio-controlled vehicles. In spite of my fascination with the warthog, my personal favorite of the two is the Mongoose due to its level of detail and scale. But, if your kids are Halo fans and you’re looking for an affordable Halo-themed gift for the holidays, you should definitely give these toys a test drive.
— Jonas Allen