2004 Venom Striker ATV

2004 Venom Striker ATV

If you’d believe it, at one point in my life I felt really bummed out that I didn’t pay more attention to the Spy Troops and Valor vs Venom figures. When I started in on 25th Joes in 2007, I discovered the Dollar General single cards that were still floating around, and went around picking up a small collection of those to play with. They weren’t as good as 25th Joes, but for $3 a piece, I was willing to lower my standards. Checking the net, I saw what seemed like a plethora of vehicles that had by then vacated retail, to my regret. The Venom Striker ATV was something that stood out to me, in particular.

Cobra C.L.A.W.S. Venom Striker ATV Valor vs Venom 2004 GI joe vehicle

Yet, I’m not here to tell you about how this was a lost era of great vehicles, actually the opposite: this thing is lame. Kind of. A common argument you see against the 6-inch scale is “But at that size, you can’t have any fun vehicles!”, which I find funny since Hasbro’s hardly produced a handful of decent designs since ARAH died in ‘94. The Venom Striker ATV is a good example of what I mean, as while the design is relatively simple, it’s also inferior in almost every way to a simple retool of the Ferret from twenty years prior.

The two vehicles are similar in a lot of ways, right down to having almost the same profile, at least when you ignore the gunner station of the back of the Venom Striker. I feel this invites more unflattering comparisons than you’d see for something like the Quick Strike, as while that vehicle had a similar design philosophy, it’s also more unique, so it’s harder to point to something from ARAH to show the 2000‘s design’s inferiority.

Many basic features on the Venom Striker ATV seem to be sacrificed in favor of spring loaded nonsense, sound boxes and missile launchers. At the very least one thing I wouldn’t call the vehicle is cheap, as they loaded down with little gimmicks that certainly cost some money. It’s just that the gimmicks compromise almost every aspect of the vehicle. It’s sound box for example, is problematic in multiple ways: One, is that they put a delicate electronic in a vehicle that’s inherently built around outdoorsy play. ATV’s are something I associate with rolling fast through mud and rivers; something probably damaging to the toy’s electronics. Secondly, the underbody of the vehicle is almost a total square: The cool and aerodynamic frame of an ATV is completely bowdlerized here, represented as something that probably has the ground clearance of a forklift. Thirdly, the wheels don’t turn, and there’s no functioning suspension. The vehicle can only roll straight forward, and due to it’s weight, it can’t even roll very fast. Although it’s much more robust than the Ferret, this one quality alone makes the Venom Striker an embarrassing showing.

It gets worse: The gun station in the back is spring-loaded, and can’t even be aimed freely on it’s horizontal axis. It’s also fairly flimsy, and the top half off the guns pop off just while posing a figure on it. Another big flaw is the size of the handle-bars: they’re huge! Even the included Cobra CLAWs can barely hold onto either set of handle-bars, and turret controls are also stupidly far apart on top of that. I was shocked when I first obtained the Venom Striker years ago at just how poorly done the turret is, as it feels like it’s the highlight of the vehicle in terms of design, yet it’s also almost deliberately hampered in such strange ways. Playing with this vehicle is like having a corporate suit standing over your shoulder, micromanaging every aspect of how you use it.

Still, I never knew any of how bad this thing is until just a few years ago. I didn’t pay attention to GI Joe when it came out, and a few years after it was gone, I had only crumby photos on a few sites to judge it by. From that, it looked great, and it jived well with a mind that had played a few too many shooter games featuring fantasy ATV’s with big gun turrets in the back. ATV’s seemed like they were really trendy around the time this came out, which really only further calls into question why the quality here is so poor.

So what’s the Venom Striker ATV worth? What’s it “worth” indeed… You can get a BIN with no trouble for $10, though that’s almost always missing the Cobra CLAWs that came with it. It should probably be worth less than that, but auctions are far and few between. Still, this is a shabby vehicle; I enjoy having it as it brings me a since of closure from a curiosity I had years ago, but otherwise it’s probably one of the crappiest 2000‘s vehicles I’ve handled.

Cobra C.L.A.W.S. Venom Striker ATV Valor vs Venom 2004 GI joe vehicleCobra C.L.A.W.S. Venom Striker ATV Valor vs Venom 2004 GI joe vehicle

2004 Venom Striker ATV Links:

None… But if you have some cool photos of it somewhere, you can throw ’em in the comments.

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4 Responses to 2004 Venom Striker ATV

  1. Mike T. says:

    I found this on Christmas Eve of 2003 at my local Wal Mart. Joes were flying off the shelves so fast that many of the planned 2004 items that were meant for the Jan. reset got to retail shelves early.

    I bought it as it looked cool. And, I was going to do a write up on it since I had it early. But, I got some other figures for Christmas the next day that took my attention. I tried some photos, but none of them came out. And, this thing went into a box with the other crappy JvC era vehicles that I had bought in the insane quest to be a “completist” for all the figures. How I wish I’d spent all that retail money finishing up my vintage or fleshing out my international collection.

    It’s amazing to me that the Hasbro employees of the time didn’t want to do o-ring figures because working on 20 year old designs would hinder their resumes. But, at the same time, things like this were being produced. This is far more embarrassing than some repainted vintage toys.

    There were a couple of vehicles that finally did come out that were…OK. But, the sound attach and such was still a big problem. They finally got to a decent place for DTC. But, the three year learning curve had already killed the line at retail. I always wonder what the line would have done had the 2005 level quality debuted in 2002 and then improved from there. But, with the retail landscape of the time, I doubt the line would have lasted longer. We’d just might have gotten some cooler stuff, though.

  2. Sam says:

    Mike, what’s that thing about Hasbro folks not wanting to work on 80s era stuff bc they thought it was a resume killer? I had not heard that before. That true?

  3. HitandRun says:

    Great write-up Nekoman and another insightful comment by Mike T.

    I was all in on the new sculpt era myself. It was my first real foray into Joe hunting at retail. The experience and memories I had from my Joe Hunts during summers back home from college during those years is something I always look back on fondly. This era certainly had more misses than hits as it applies to vehicles. I agree with both assessments of this vehicle as I look back and can recall similar feelings. I initially thought this was a rightful successor to the Ferret that added additional functionality.

    Once in hand this vehicle was pretty “meh” to me. It wasn’t awful like the Hiss IV but more disappointing like the oversized Cobra Venom Cycle. Like most of my new sculpt era acquisitions this remained in my parents basement on my GI Joe shelf. 2006-2008 I was not paying much attention to my Joe collection so my guess is my nephews either got their hands on it or I sold it off as I purged alot of new sculpt stuff.

    I don’t want to sound to down on those 2002-2005 years as their were some really great figures and vehicles – the three humvees, the DTC Hiss, Quickstrike, Sky Sweeper, Night Attack chopper, Crimson Command Copter, Night Adder, Grizzly Tank Thunderwing jet and Ice Sabre were all representative of the better aspects of the new sculpt era.

  4. A-Man says:

    Nice photos of a bad vehicle.

    Can’t disagree with the review. The poor ground clearance was a peeve of mine about a lot of vehicles of the time. Leads to scraped up vehicle bottoms, too.

    New sculpt vehicles are either Tonka or Kenner in eyes, though there’s a fine line even until the end of the line (the ROCC is a mixed bag). Tonka being bad, chonky, kiddified and with a glossy finish. Venom Striker is a Tonka one, since it was a redress of the GI JOE Assault Quad.

    More Kenner style new sculpt vehicle would be the humvees, Sting Raider and DTC HISS. They clearly aren’t vintage Hasbro style, assemble it yourself designs. . But they aren’t tacky or stupid like the Tonka style ones (FANG 3, Sadn Razor, Smokescreen Transport). They are more like if Kenner made GI JOE (and it wasn’t bad like Extreme).

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