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Retro Sci-Fi costume pack for Champions Online
Retro Sci-Fi Costume Pack
One of the nice things about Champions Online is that there are various ways in which you can unlock new costume pieces to outfit your Hero character. Some of these can be acquired by defeating enemies or completing challenges (called Perks), but a few very good costume sets can be unlocked by buying them from the Cryptic Store with Cryptic Points.
Because Cryptic Points are most often obtained by buying them with real money, it pays to have a little research on what costume packs there are, whether they look good and possibly match other sets you may already own. For this purpose I began a series of reviews on costume packs, starting with theRetro Sci-Fi power armor.
The Retro Sci-Fi costume pack is available at the Cryptic Store.
What's in the pack?
You will get a full set of armor, including chest, leg and arm pieces, shoulder pieces and boots. All of these are friendly and round like the armor worn by Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story. The gloves feature a round glass bubble through which you can see the hand - which can be either humanoid or robotic.
There are bracers included with the set, which either feature an opaque "window" or a pop-up device. This is a great addition for gadgeteer characters, who have a lot of powers that have the animation of tapping a wrist computer to activate them.
Hats and Helmets
The helmets deserve a special mentioning; they are available in large pointy or round domes or smaller bubbles which connect directly to the selected chest piece. The dome can be see-through (allowing you to select a variety of Human, Alien or Monstrous heads) or opaque.
For those of us who don't want a large bubbly dome, there is also the option to select a skullcap (like Buzz's) or a large visor that covers the top part of the face.
Because this armor set is mostly worn by the Elder Worms in-game, this costume pack also unlocks an Alien Worm head-type which you can use for your characters. It also meshes well with the floating brain type of head which comes out of the standard variety of head types.
Skinning and palette options
The armor sets can be made matte or shiny, and come with their own custom "glossy metal" options to make them look like polished polymers and ceramic coating. As an extra feature, each of the armor plates from this set can be made to look like it has engraving and panels on it.
By choosing a suitable "neon" color for the white portions that make up the engraved panels, you can create the impression that they are like bright LEDs or "power conduits".
There are several weapons included in this pack for ranged characters, ranging from typical golden age sci-fi pistols featuring a coil around the muzzle to rayguns for rifle/submachine gun powers.
Bugs and graphic errors
Like with any costume sets there are minor errors and bugs, as well as some minor irritations that make a prospective hero-builder cringe. Thing is, the more free-hand you can mix and match pieces, the more stringent the fit has to be between pieces from various costume sets. You can either test thousands of combinations, or you can put some restrictions in place to prevent the most erroneous combos. Cryptic opted to do the latter.
Lack of heads in the helmets
The bubble helmets are great, but there could be more options for heads that fit them. Currently the various animal and Human heads fit well, as do the worms and floating brains. But the insect heads are generally too large to fit (which is a shame since a retro sci-fi Qu'larr would be awesome). This could've been fixed by moving the head a little back if it's an insect head, so that it wouldn't clash with the glass. Alas, it isn't available as an option at all.
Because the helmet has a fit with the chest that is rather large, and the chest piece itself is rather "manly barrel chest" in size, any chest emblems you apply are partially drowned out. While the idea of putting a large sign or emblem on the armor would be great, it doesn't actually look good because of the clipping.
Clipping of back items
Almost all items a character can fit on the back are clipped by the huge dome helm. This includes almost all jetpacks, backpacks and weapons. The various cloaks and wraps work out fine, as does the Steampunk Cyborg back part. It's a shame that this precludes the use of many of the basic jetpacks, but the fact that the boot itself has muzzles for rocket boots more than makes up for it.
Other costume packs that match with this one
The following costume packs are compatible with Retro Sci-fi, and can be combined well:
* Retro Jetpacks (Cryptic Store): the classic fluted jetpack looks good, although you may want to combine it with a small bubble helm or skullcap instead of the big helms, which may clip through it.
* Variety Pack (Cryptic Store, free for Gold members): Has many sci-fi and alien head items which work well with this set.
* Art Deco Pack (Available to people with a lifetime subscription): Has a nice mask that goes with the armor.
With a twist
If you enjoy twisting the concept of the "retro space ranger", consider using parts from the Swamp Lord costume set (Available from the Cryptic Store) to denote an infected hero who is struggling against an alien parasite while fighting injustice. This is a great feature for Pestilence/Scourge type heroes who use disease and poison as weapons.
To achieve this effect, use the Retro Sci-fi armor for most of your looks, replacing it with Vine on one shoulder, bracer and foot. Mix and match the pieces between left and right to get the desired effect. Use the Vine back to simulate a parasitic creature bursting from the back section, and give your character vine tendrils for a mouth.
Color the armor bright white with another color for accents, to play up the "defender of justice" angle, while making the vine parts dark grey with green or purple. This way the difference between the two features becomes immediately (and shockingly) apparent.
Is it worth it?
Definitely it is, yes.
If you are into golden age science fiction or want to give it a twist, this set gives good value for money and plays nice with a lot of other costume sets.
Whether you are building a space-exploring do-gooder or an alien telepath, this pack allows for a wide variety of character types. As such, it provides plenty of necessary variation as it can be used for any of your characters.
Personally I have used this pack for a space-elf Telepath, a confederate space-era medic and several alien designs.