Written/Created by: Matt
Posted on 3.28.03.

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Given my preoccupation with toy slime and a strong liking of the Harry Potter films, it seemed only natural to purchase the 'Slime Chamber Playset,' especially now that it's available at clearance prices. The Potter toyline was certainly inspired, but I think it suffered a bit from sheer oversaturation. One stroll through any kiddie store should prove that - there's Harryish stuff all over the place, even though a good portion of the wares are over two years old.

As much as I like the movies, and despite the line's attention to detail, I'd have to admit that there's only so much Potter a person can take. Actually, anything with a tie to Robbie Coltrane is best served in moderation. The line extended well past mere action figures - there's candy kits, costumes, hundred-dollar 'limited edition' statues, and even a battery-operated broomstick that made waves on the Internet for being much more reminiscent of a sexy vibrator than a kid's toy. Fans of the series have reason to rejoice: virtually everything having to do with Harry Potter is practically being given away at this point, liquidated for a song. I'm a sucker for the clearance stickers - I'd buy horse crap if the red tag claimed it was on sale for 60% off. Still, I've kept my spending desires in check while on the hunt for one very particular Potter item, finally managing to find the damn thing last night. I wanted something that you'd be able to appreciate even if you're a Potter hater. I think I've found it...

Harry Potter's Slime Chamber Playset, complete with a 'giant slime-oozing snake' and the 'glow-in-the-dark slime compound.' For ten bucks, seemed like a dream come true. As cool as the toy is, its original cost of 20-25 bucks does seem a little steep. Essentially, it's just a lightweight platform shaped like an evil snake. I can't imagine that being worth much more than any of the figures, so unless that magical slime compound has liquid gold on its list of nontoxic ingredients, Mattel went a little too far with their suggested retail price. Even with the 50% markdown, I didn't exactly feel privy to the world's greatest secret sale.

That said, it's certainly interesting. I can't imagine many kids who wouldn't absolutely adore this thing, which goes back to my theory about the iconic child desire to play with snot without feeling guilty about it. Today's article gives you a way too in-depth look at the Slime Chamber playset, with a special guest star from the Land Down Under. No, not Paul Hogan. It's someone even better!

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There's the playset pieces, strapped into the box with those annoying twisty-tie things which provide proof that God let Satan handle the small stuff. It's a fairly basic toy with only five separate pieces, but the bitch combines to form something truly amazing. Something that both looks menacing and affords you the chance to cover Harry Potter action figures with alien upchuck. If the local grocery store would stop selling 12-packs of Coke so cheap, I'd call this the best ten bucks I've ever spent. It's still pretty close, though.

The playset is rather obviously based on one of Mattel's older entrees, the 'Slime Pit' from the Masters of the Universe series. It's not uncommon for toy companies to do this -- almost every vehicle and playset from lines like Robin Hood and Swamp Thing were directly lifted from the molds of old Star Wars toys. If you've got a good formula, ya stick with it I guess. What's odd about this toy is that they didn't use the same mold, instead opting to use the original as a template as they sculpted from scratch. It's strange when you remember that virtually no one who played with He-Man toys was still of the right age to want Harry Potter playsets over a decade and a half later. They could've easily reused the mold and saved on some expenses.

I'm just upset because the new version doesn't include a giant bony hand that holds the figures in place by the crotch. By the way, see the bricks that connect the two pictures up there? I did that. Ain't it neat? I'm the champ.

And there's the star of the show - the slime. Trust me, this is reason enough to buy the playset. Mattel's no stranger to slime, and one of the most heralded toys of the modern era was a little dilly they offered in the 70s - a simple green plastic canister of slimy gook, cleverly titled 'Slime.' The vomit included with Harry's toy is the exact same kind of goop they sold thirty years back, giving you the chance to relive the majesty without frivolously spending a boatload of money on a 'collectible' that's assuredly gonna be dried-out anyway.

If you're new to the world of toy slime, don't be too sure that you know what this brand is like. It's far different and much cooler than the shit you'd pull out of a vending machine. The slime is much more fluid and stretchy, enabling you to create lots of great effects while exfoliating your skin at the same time. They give you plenty of it, too. Over five ounces. I don't know the ounce weight of anything to compare it to, but the canister itself is of a similar size to the one you'd get when buying a hundred live worms from a tackle shop. Again, the package claims that it's nontoxic, but I'm already writing about tackle shop worms to illustrate size comparisons between plastic containers. Tread carefully, and wear gloves.

The whole point of the playset is to cover an action figure victim with slime, but I don't own any Harry Potter figures. I don't find that particularly embarrassing because I've got to be almost 40 by now. Instead, we'll use Betty the Kangaroo to demonstrate its power. I'm not sure how she feels about it, but because of her missing arms and half-eaten feet, she's unable to run away in protest. Poor kangaroo.

Here's how it works: the playset is topped off by a large snake head with a retractable jaw. After piling the slime into the little hole on top, you hit a button to make the snake's mouth drop open. The slime then trickles down ominously to the delight of all. Harry Potter rocks. It's hard to find a problem with something so clearly glorious, but if pressed, I would say that there's a little too much slime to actually fit in the snake's head. I could only get around 60% of the stuff in there, while the remaining 40% had to be piled atop him in the same way people arrange their hair when dyeing it. It'd make more sense if the snake had hair, but right now he just looks silly.

Finally, I hit the button and watched with marvel as the snake casually threw up green sludge all over Betty the Kangaroo. Take a look...

That's got to be the most depressed kangaroo on the planet, and will remain as such until someone straps another kangaroo to a chair and forces it to watch every episode of The Jetsons where the story revolves around Judy. Notice that some of the slime is whiter than the rest - temperature plays a big part in its consistency. The warmer the slime gets, the more drippy it becomes. Since this crud has sat untouched on a cold bottom shelf and allowed to stagnate for so long, there's a large area of whiter slime that's a little tougher and a lot more puss-like. I kinda like it. Gives the stuff a two-tone effect.

Things were even more interesting for kids who collected the Harry Potter figures. There was a full set of 'em available, each coming with their own jar of slime in various colors. Hermione had orange, Harry had blue, Ron had red, and Griphook had deep purple because that's his favorite band. This gave you the chance to mix the assorted slimes together, creating multicolored megaslimes which turned you into an instant playground hero. Having rainbow slime is an even faster ticket to popularity than giving out Airheads candy to all your classmates. I'm pretty sure there's been a study to support that claim.

Look at that. Marvelous. If only we could come up with some way to consider the Slime Chamber 'educational,' this could've been one of the greatest toys ever. As it stands now, it's just a cool plastic snake face that spits snot. Not the greatest toy ever, but it'd certainly surpass the hula hoop if it could somehow teach kids arithmetic.

Before & After. Notice how poor Betty eventually fell victim to being trapped in a slime cocoon. I wonder if she'll metamorphose. Into a turtle.

All in all, Harry Potter's 'Slime Chamber' playset passes the test. It's well-made, nice looking, and lots of fun. It'd be a perfect woman, if it was a woman and not a vomiting snake toy. I'm sure kids would get bored with the thing after a day or so, but really, that could be said for virtually anything you give a kid. Besides, it's toy slime. Toy slime gets all over everything. Furniture, clothes, hair, pets - anything it touches, it ruins. It's probably for the best if kids grow disinterested with the Slime Chamber as quickly as possible. Especially when you consider this one little problem...

The cleanup process is extremely long. It took me a good fifteen minutes to gather up all the slime and get it back into its holy semi-translucent plastic urn. Somehow, I don't think many kids would pay the same attention to cleaning up after playtime. This stuff just screams 'mess.' It's the toy parents bought for someone else's kids - never their own. Still, lots of fun otherwise and the kind of thing that makes me interested in seeing what else Mattel and Harry Potter had to offer. I seem to recall one playset that involved making edible candy shaped like worms which swum around in chocolate dirt.

You know, I really don't think this is what J. K. Rowling had in mind.



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