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BOOMco Rapid Madness

£37.75
build quality
fun
design
longevity

4.3

5

Overall

The BOOMco Rapid Madness blaster is a very solid entry-level, mid performance weapon. Certainly not flawless, it still has a lot of attractive features that mean you should take it seriously. Great for terrifying adults!

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Sam Applegate

16th September 2014

By Sam Applegate

I like bacon sandwiches.


The BOOMco Rapid Madness Blaster is one of the range of projectile-spewing shooters that Mattel have developed to square off with Habro's line of Nerf products, and by and large it does a pretty good job. It's probably not going to convert hardcore Nerf fans to the BOOMco cause -many of whom will have already spent plenty of money on all sorts of Nerf-specific accessories- in part because the ammunition isn't compatible with Nerf guns. But for those who want to join the party and like to do things their own way, it's great fun and competes well on price whilst still providing respectable performance.

Let battle be joined.

A New Force Rises

For smaller kids, the Rapid Madness blaster will seem enormous, even though it's by no means the largest on the market. Like all toy blasters, it's constructed from plastic -mainly red and grey in this case- and the design strongly evokes the styles you see in the Warhammer or Alien universes, all bulk and machismo. If you're familiar with the tropes and memes of these sci-fi staples, it's very hard to resist the temptation not to slip into character! Despite its chunkiness, it's not especially heavy, but small children may struggle to handle it and to use the pump because of its relative size. It feels fairly sturdy and well built for playtime rough and tumble.

Other build features to mention include a couple of tactical rails (I'm not sure if these fit with Nerf accessories at this stage) and an optional shield that you can position on the gun barrel. As well as sheltering you from incoming fire, this will retain incoming BOOMco darts that hit it so that you have more ammunition to wade your through long skirmishes. Of course, if you're fighting Nerfsters, it won't do you as much good. To be honest the shield is probably more ungainly than useful most of the time, but if you get into the right position then it can be just the trick.

Pump Action Power

The BOOMco Rapid Madness Blaster is no battery-powered weapon of war, but instead operates off good old fashioned pneumatic pressure. Depending on the conflict you're fighting, that could either be a strength or a weakness. There's no doubt, for example, that reloading the blaster is a bit laborious, and you'll need to use the pump action eighteen times in order to get it up to full force. You needn't fear about overdoing it, as excess pressure will be released automatically.

On the other hand, once you've got it ready to roll you can fire it instantly. There's no noisy flywheel operating it that's going to blow the element of surprise as you sneak up on your friends (enemies!). So if your plan is to launch a surprise attack and win the battle in one swoop, this will do the job. For more protracted firefights, you might want to have another weapon close to hand, lest you be caught helpless whilst reloading.

That pneumatic action gives you the power the rip through the magazine of twenty darts in five or six seconds and the blaster produces a very satisfying machine gun sound as you loose off. Kids and adults alike will love it. A downside, however, is that single shots are surprisingly difficult to execute, meaning that you'll probably end up using more darts than you want to. That's frustrating.

Dakka-Dakka!

The BOOMco Rapid Madness Blaster comes with thirty darts, which helps to avoid the inevitable frustration of when you lose some. The darts themselves aren't made from foam like Nerf's, but instead are hollow plastic with sticky tips.

It's worth stating that you'll almost certainly want to purchase additional magazine clips if you're buying this as a present for one of your offspring, as otherwise their combat experience will be limited to extremely short bursts, and that's if they're very accurate. Mattel have, though, at least provided a useful sticky target as part of the package that will allow you to hone your skills to perfection before taking them to the battlefield.

This new dart technology that BOOMco blasters use has some significant advantages and disadvantages. Firstly, you have to be slightly concerned that if you step on one of the darts then it's going to be permanently put out of action. Whereas foam ammunition will return to its original shape, these could well be made redundant. On the other hand, they're extremely sticky and will attach themselves to various surfaces as a testament to your marksmanship; this tends to make collecting them after the battle is over a bit easier. But that same stickiness means that you'll need to clean them pretty often, as they're an absolute magnet for dust, hair and fur.

Battle Hardened

So what about the blaster's performance? Well, as we've already mentioned, it does fire very rapidly. The BOOMco Rapid Madness blaster doesn't have a great range though and manages about about thirty feet indoors, less outside. If you're taking on buddies with rangier beasts, you're going to have to figure out how to get close to them! The rapid fire spread isn't too bad, which means that it's reasonably accurate. The darts aren't especially powerful or indeed painful, so unless you take one right in the eye then you needn't worry about getting hurt. Pets will still be extremely wary though!

To conclude, then, BOOMco haven't stolen Nerf's thunder, but nor can they be taken lightly. This isn't the best automatic blaster out there by a long way, but it's good enough to get you into the game. After all, it's the person with the blaster who matters more than the tool itself.

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To read more on this model, check out the BOOMco Rapid Madness homepage here (opens new window).

Images

  • Air-powered, no batteries!
  • Unloads 20 darts in seconds!
  • Removable, transforming blaster shields!
  • 30 Smart Stick darts and 20-dart clip
  • Smart Stick target included

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