Recently, we were doing our daily scroll through Twitter when we came across a retweet of a Japanese user, showing a toy from the new Lightyear Hyperspeed Speed Series, based on the recent Pixar movie starring Buzz Lightyear himself.
Normally, we'd pay it no mind, but for the fact, it looked suspiciously like the iconic Vic Viper featured in Konami's Gradius series of games.
Okay, we will admit there are some modifications from the Viper, for sure. The outer shell is more compact and 'kid-like', and lacks laser cannons on either side, but the resemblance is definitely there – and we're not the only ones to notice, either.
Looking at the Shmups forums, we found a user named Sturmvogel Prime who seems to have spotted the connection before anyone else, and according to them, it's not the only figure in the range to borrow from an already iconic source.
Just as the XL-07 appears to borrow elements of its design from the Vic Viper, the XL-01 appears similar to a repainted Lord British from Salamander / Life Force. The XL-15 also has an uncanny resemblance to the Ranger-1 from the animated space western The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. And then there's the Zyclop Pods, which are reminiscent of Covenant Drop Pods from Halo.
So what exactly is going on here? Is someone from Mattel or Disney sneaking references into their latest toy ranges? Or is it just a case of parallel thinking? Let us know what you think below!