Introduction:
It comes as no surprise when I discovered this gem of a toy in the toy section at the local Wal-Mart that I'd fall in love with them when considering my infatuation of small toys. I have hundreds of little Micro Machines and Basic Fun toys under my bed. Hanging on the metal bracket was an entire array of Mighty Max playsets.

I was hooked from this very moment. I knew nothing of the franchise, but it didn't take much to persuade my impressionable mind. I grabbed the most intriguing of the playsets I found, Wolfship 7. I begged and pleaded my mom to purchase it. We were on our way to her job for take-your-son-to-work day, so she agreed because she knew it would occupy me for the rest of the day. Needless to say, I started collecting these toys right away.

This article is an attempt as a resource for these toys, more specifically the Doom Zones Mighty Max toy line. These were the most popular of all the "head" toys from the franchise. To go along with this line, sets such as the Horror Heads, Monster Heads, Dread Heads, and Shrunken Heads were produced. These were generally much smaller than the Doom Zone heads. I didn't play with these as much because they were basically just the head (case), a single monster, and a small Max figurine. Not much to play with in a small play area. Hence, my close observations for just the Doom Zones in this article.

Horror Heads

Monster Heads

Hairy Heads

Shrunken Heads



I plan on giving a short critique of each one of the playsets, as well as some memories of them. Think of it as a review using my opinions and thoughts. You don't have to agree with me and I will completely understand that. Though, I'll do my best to bring in the best pictures I can find and give you some of the key components of each. And I'll apologize right now for the length of the article. It's not so bad if you just read my bullets and look at the pictures. The whole point here is to reminisce.


Before I get this article going I'd like to thank these websites for the information and pictures. If I honestly had every single playset, I would proudly present them in this article. Sadly I don't, so I'll try to compile as many pictures as possible for each Doom Zone from the web. I strongly suggest heading over to these sites to see some other cool stuff that I didn't put in this article, like the show itself (let's not forget that it was a GREAT show) and some other toys they released for the franchise.

http://www.spectrumisgreen.com/Playsets/Mighty_Max/mighty_max.html

http://the-mighty-one.tripod.com/toys.html

http://www.virtualtoychest.com/mightymax/mightymax.html

http://www.mighty-max.de/

http://www.mightymharduk.altervista.org/home.htm

http://z11.invisionfree.com/Mighty_Max_Archives/index.php?showforum=13





Series 1 - 1992


Like I said before, this was the one that started it all for me. This is something right out of a James Cameron movie; more notably are the aliens themselves. The outer appearance is pretty cool, but nothing to write home about. What pops color wise is that highlighter orange.

The removable pieces are the two aliens, Max, and the glider ship. There's also a gun in the rear that pivots like a hinge joint and two wings that are fixated, but still move. The basic setup is like most of the Doom Zones with a floor and then a back wall. I would pretend that Max either had to get to the top of the back wall or the bottom. The scenarios that I'd run in my head were pretty much like the last challenge from the TV game show Legends of the Hidden Temple. Max would run around searching for stuff and then battle his enemies. Anyways, I used the hole underneath the gun in the back as a vat of acid where Max would throw the aliens in to evade their diabolical schemes. A lot of memories with this one.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* 2 Aliens
* Glider
Special Features
* Extending wings
* Pivoting gun






I'm not sure when I got this one, but it was a pretty cool one to have. The whole look of the outside is pretty impressive with the amount of painting detail. The coiled snake's rattle is the tail of the scorpion which ties pretty well together. One thing you'll see with all of the Doom Zones is the amount of thought in design that had to be put into these toys.

The giant snake head on the outside plays a part in the fun on the inside. In my Mighty Max adventures this was the main bad guy in this set. Along with this were the mummy pharaoh and the scorpion. The basic theme on the inside is 'snakes'. There's a ton of them painted on the ground. The design is pretty cool with the back wall, the floor, and then the snake head (not to mention the vine). Inside the snakes mouth is treasure which was the prize my Max was after. The amazing thing with this playset was the hidden features. The mummy tomb opens to reveal a hidden room and an Egyptian chest on the floor slides open to reveal more treasure. I love the gold paint used on some of the sculptures in this playset. This toy is really a high mark in the Mighty Max line.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* Mummy Pharaoh
* Scorpion
Special Features
* Hidden mummy tomb
* Opening chest
* Snake head opens
* Vine






This playset is my favorite in my collection and I played with it the most. The outside is not what impressed me the most with this one, it was the stuff inside. Looking back on how the outside looks I wonder what the red bars are for. I know they are for a jail inside, but what medical deformity did this skull have to have boney additions from the brow to cheek?

Let's talk about the inside. This is something from a Scooby Doo show. Great design was done here because no kid can find this toy boring. The removable pieces are Dr. Frankenstein, his monster, Max, and the electrodes (I guess they didn't fit when the case closed so they had to make them removable). The thing that makes this one cool is the moveable pieces. You got a table for the monster to get him on his feet, a switch to start the "It's alive" sequence, an escape hatch on the floor, a balcony with steps, and a secret bookcase that leads to a torture chamber. Max's purpose in this one, to me, was to try to escape out the front door while stopping Frankenstein. He often found himself hiding behind the chair on the top floor. This was pretty much the only Doom Zone to garner a complete overall theme not expressed in the TV show, and it worked. Thumbs up on this one.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* Dr. Frankenstein
* His Monster
* 2 Electrodes
Special Features
* Secret bookcase
* Lifting table
* Switch
* Escape door






This outer design scared me when I was little, but it looks great. Far better looking than some other ones. The colors are what pop to me. They make you think about being frigid and cold. The complex forehead design is really cool and different. From the inside it looks like an awe inspiring window. The alien's tongue is actually an alien you play with on the inside.

I really can't say much about the inside of this Doom Zone. You have Max, a robot, an alien, and two heads of these aliens that are fixated on the floor of the playset. The robot's design is pretty cool, almost Mr. Freeze inspired, and so are the aliens', but I don't see any usage for the two alien heads. If they can't chase after Max, I have no need for 'em. The moveable parts are few and far between. Really, there's only one. There's a platform that folds down and looks pretty close to The Enterprise from Star Trek. I got this one and probably played with it for about 15 minutes and then threw it into my toybox. I like the ice, but poor design.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* Robot
* Ice Alien
* 2 Ice Alien heads
Special Features
* 2 moving alien heads
* Folding platform






The outside of this Doom Zone doesn't grab my attention, but because of the fact that it looks like something from a Hot Wheels race track makes me like it. It has a gruesome quality to it with the blood on the teeth. It's very boxy, but looking inside you can see why.

The key word to the inside of this playset is 'depth'. There are plenty of features inside to make some great playing time. Right off the bat you notice the giant cave on the floor level to house the green dragon. There's also a bridge and a vine. The back wall is pretty nifty. There's a library at the top level (don't know what its purpose is) and a pool of lava in the next. The floor level has a pretty cool pit with lots of stuff to look at. Other than the dragon, you have a hooded guy to rule this cave-like world. I liked playing with this one. It's pretty much the most quintessential Doom Zone out there.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* Dragon
* Shrouded Man
* Chain/vine
Special Features
* Dragon cave
* Vine
* Bridge






This is the only Doom Zone I don't own from Series 1. I think I didn't like it because it looks too plain and is painted with too many vibrant colors. The spider has a purple egg sac in tow that winds up being the spinning genetics machine inside. The outer spider's legs are the big spider sculpture's legs from the inside.

The thing that jumps out to me is the blood on the floor level. That's something these toy makers were not scared of, a lot of blood. The removable pieces are Max, the big spider, and a mutated man/spider. The large spider is well sculpted and is one of the biggest enemies from the series. There's a small cage in the front of the playset. I'd hate to say it, but I'm glad I didn't have this one. It looks dull, but it is still Mighty Max related.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* Spider
* Man-spider
Special Features
* Spinning genetics machine
* Web trap





Series 2 - 1993


One of the best from Series 2. A lot of stuff to do with this one. The outside is very impressive. From the dinosaur tail used as the triceratops' horn, the volcano from the inside used as the other horn, the pterodactyl head used as the final horn, the great detail in the paint job, to the bumpy scales. I love this one.

Lots of great gems in this one. The back wall features a prison cell for the red raptor, a laboratory, and an array of ladders. I had a lot of fun walking Max up to the very top. The floor level has a volcano that flips open to unveil a weapon and more contraptions. The removable figures are Max, a mad scientist, a pterodactyl, and a raptor. It's an understatement to say this Doom Zone is cool.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* Scientist
* Raptor
* Pterodactyl
Special Features
* Raptor cage
* Opening volcano






Effin sweet. I could marry this toy, that's how good it looks. The outer design was the prized piece in my collection. Who doesn't like sharks at that age? The black eyes, blood stained teeth, ropes and harpoons stabbing into the shark's body that continue into the inside, and pure menacing appeal are what made this the greatest looking Doom Zone. Unfortunately, I was less than impressed with the inside.

There are some cool things going on in here, but they don't mesh that well together. You open the thing up and see this huge submarine-like thing that takes up too much space. I hated this. I felt like just ripping this thing out, but that would ruin its value. Underneath this machine are plenty of story inspiring things like dead sailors, treasures, and old weapons. The back wall is pretty much pointless only to give the feeling that the adventures that unfold are really held inside a shark. I tend to not like these types of Doom Zones. The removable pieces are actually fun to play with. There's Max, the little squid dude, two squids that double as the shark's pectoral fins, and a manta ray that doubles as the shark's dorsal fin. There is one thing that I like about the inside. It meshes the qualities of technology and biology. The ray is a prime example of this. It has mechanical appendages added to it. In closing, great playset that falls just short of greatness because of that submarine.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* Squid Dude
* 2 Squids
* Ray
Special Features
* Submarine






The flowing hair is easily seen on this perturbed looking sabertooth cat. It's very simple in design, which I tend to like the most. I'm not a big fan of the asymmetrical and "busy" designs. The bloody teeth (always a must) are warm from this cat's last kill. These are the mastodon's tusks from inside the case. The whole mouth section is well planned. You have the mastodon tusks, a mandible that folds down, some spikes from the inside that double as the lower teeth, and the upper teeth that belong to the whole face. Many parts involved, but it works.

I think there's too much lavender at work on the inside. When I think of a caveman's lair I think of dark colors and dank and dirty settings. Granted, this is a kid's toy. The most unique quality to this Doom Zone is that there are two folding flaps on the back wall to give us a little bit more playing room. There are all sorts of skeletons painted everywhere; just unfortunately they are a lime green color. The removable pieces are Max, the spectacular mammoth, and a caveman. I would just stare at the caveman when I was little. I was drawn in by the brutality of the rock he heralded above his head. So much blood. The only relevant moveable piece is the teeth trap in the front. Very enjoyable playset, but I wish there was more to do.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* Caveman
* Mastodon
Special Features
* Folding side extenders
* Teeth trap
* Vine






I regrettably did not own this one. The ugly nature of the outer facade caused me to overlook this one. I was turned off by how gross it looks, but in all honesty, kids love gross stuff. The cyclops is in great detail. The teeth are just vile with the eyeball's tentacles extruding out like a group of maggots. Yuck!

The treasures with this Doom Zone are the features inside. Upon first glance you notice the oodles, yes oodles, of torture tools. Very gorish. There's a guillotine on the back wall and a torture table, but the star of the show is the sick iron maiden. This is specifically designed for our hero, Max, and is a great thing to play around with. The playset comes with a blue dome cage to trap Max into another pickle. Near the back on the floor level is a chamber filled with bones and blood that is guarded by a demonic gate. On the back wall is a cool set of stone stairs that make their way up to the top level that houses a chair for the main enemy. This guy is one of the coolest looking of all the evil geniuses. Along with him you get a giant eyeball (doubles as the cyclops' eye) and a Mighty Max. I wish I could have a closer look at this one.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* Armored Enemy
* Giant Eyeball
* Blue Cage
Special Features
* Iron Maiden
* Demon Chamber
* Cage






The outside of this one looks more like a Beast Wars action figure than a Mighty Max Doom Zone. I didn't like playing with this one, and you'll soon find out. It looks impressive from the outside, almost enough to get your hopes up.

Opening this toy up, I was truly disappointed when I was younger. It is nothing more than a small play area and a giant scorpion. I admit, I did play with this one a lot, but it was not as memorable as Skull Dungeon or Wolfship 7. Everything looks awesome inside, though, with great painting and attention to detail. The removable parts are Max, the giant scorpion, and the guy in the radiation suit (Scorpio). This guy is slowly losing his leg as it dissolves into the ground. Creepy. This is totally still worthy of checking out.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* Scorpio (man)
* Scorpion
Special Features
* Pinchers
* Folding platform






A snarling gorilla with blood on his teeth? Effin sweet! This Doom Zone draws you in and you instantly know where it's gonna take you. "Welcome to the jungle!" With his piercing red eyes, this playset is absolutely stunning to look at.

Yes, back to great looking innards. I love the overall theme and the colors. The greens, blacks, and purples work extremely well here. The thing I always noticed when I opened this one was the shrunken heads on the back wall. Great touch. With mossy vines twisting and covering everything, it is easy to get swept away into the whole motif. A lot of good stuff going on here. The tree platform that comes out is a nice way to extend the Doom Zone's area. The purple anaconda has a head that swivels and the two bloody skulls rotate. Some fun stuff to look at are the squished body underneath the big gorilla and the giant cauldron to cook captives. The removable pieces are Max, the giant ape, and the tribal man. The native is really funny looking. My thoughts on him were that he looked like one of the bad guys from the original Johnny Quest show. Bottom line, a very enjoyable set.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* Gorilla
* Tribal Man
Special Features
* Folding tree branches
* 2 rotating skulls
* Purple Serpent
* Cauldron





Series 3 - 1994


From here on I only owned one of these Doom Zones (Lashes Lizard). I was growing tired of the toyline at this point. Series 3 has some of the most intricate stylings and make use of more features. This one has a great futuristic look. The eyes are just freaking sweet. One has crosshairs while the other has a mechanical aperture. It's almost overwhelming looking at this thing. There are so many things to play with. Notice the two different versions of this Doom Zone. I think the one with the red Mighty Max logo is from the US and the blue one is from the UK.

On the inside, we notice a whole mess of stuff. It looks confusing, but the entire theme is technology. I suspect it to be confusing. There's a lot of moving pieces. The jaw moves, the black column with the orange cap folds down, and a dock forms from the ocular piece on the outside. Not to mention, there are plenty of removable pieces, too. Max, Cyberskull, this green brain that can be placed in numerous places, a black hovering vehicle, and some sort of boat/battering ram thing. I wish I could go more in depth with this one, but I don't have the time to describe every bionic quality of this playset.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* Cyberskull
* Brain
* Glider
* Battering Vehicle
Special Features
* Folding jaw
* Folding black column
* Ocular Platform






One of the most unique outer designs in all the Doom Zone line. This one is truly a great representation of what the toy creators were able to do. There is no other Doom Zone out there that doesn't have some sort of head or any human qualities than this one. The playset could be used as a fake zombie hand for a Halloween costume. I like the Mighty Max logo used as a ring. Pretty resourceful.

The inside harbors a lot of cool features, despite the cluttered feel. You can't go wrong with a graveyard in a kid's toy. It's just so freaking creepy that it's cool. The sight of dead corpses is a fun site to see, especially when they are climbing out of their graves. One of the easiest things to spot in this Doom Zone is the finger that turns into some sort of monster. Not only can this be used as a nemesis but also as a cool slide to use as an escape for Max. There's a corpse in a coffin that swings from side to side and a really neat mausoleum/tomb that opens up. Finally we see two graves for the ghoulish zombie and for Max. Very odd to think that a company okayed putting the main character into a coffin. A striking component of this playset is the giant hot pink tree. This is where the tree monster is stored, seen in the last picture. The removable pieces are Max, the zombie, and the tree monster. A definite buy for those Goosebumps fans out there.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* Zombie
* Tree Monster
Special Features
* Finger monster w/ slide
* Opening tomb
* Swinging corpse
* 2 graves
* Folding tree branches






This is another one where the outside is better than the inside. I love the orange color and the scaly texture. This is just one of those perennial Doom Zone designs. The lizard's tongue can flick out and the purple leg is actually one of the parasite enemies inside. Let's take a look under the hood.

This playset is like the shark one. Instead of making the inside somewhat relatable to the outside (a snake with an Egyptian theme inside, or a gorilla with a jungle theme), the motif inside is just a continuation of the outside design. This one is the inside of a lizard with bones, intestines, and juices. I didn't play with this one much. It was basically just bought to extend my collection. There's not really an established rhyme or reason to this one. The features inside are present, but are kinda hard to play with. Notice the purple thing that is connecting the back wall and floor. I think it was meant to be a slide but is way too short to be fun. The rib cage is meant to trap Max, but it doesn't do it too well. I like the figures: Max and two parasites. The parasites are in such detail with great sculpting and paint. Very impressive.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* 2 Parasites
Special Features
* Extending tongue
* Rib cage trap
* Slide?






I'm not too excited when I look at this Doom Zone, but that's just because I don't like snails. The purples and oranges are cool and all. Ironically, unlike the previous playset, this one is bad on the outside and really cool on the inside.

Now, if you haven't noticed by now that I have a thing for cool back walls you should take note at this moment. This one has double the back walls because it opens differently than the other Doom Zones. Instead of a floor and a back wall this one has two walls and no floor. This leads to more fun replaying your adventures. Some attributes here are a hidden room located behind a wall, a lever that breaks down a wall, a laser to shoot the bad guys, a captain's chair to steer the vessel (the whole inside is the inner workings of the ship Nautilus), and some sort of wheel that looks like Axel from Twisted Metal. The figurines are Max, the huge shrimp-like creature (doubles as the snail outside), and some sort of walking dead man. A lot of fun stuff in a very different package.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* Zombie
* Shrimp Creature
* Duo-Wheel Vehicle
Special Features
* Hidden room
* Breakable wall
* Laser
* Captain's chair






Like the Scorpio Doom Zone, this looks like a Beast Wars toy. It's really nice with the multicolored sections; lots of clear parts in this one. The fly's eyes are pretty nifty with the compound look. Even the wings expand outward to show flight. Really great looking design.

What comes across most frequently in this Doom Zone is the word 'small'. There's not much room to do anything, which is this playset's only draw back, but the features and removable pieces are what make it unforgettable. In the rear is a giant web to trap our hero, Max, and a sweet cockpit in the head of the fly. The removable pieces are Max (always a given), a flying monster with the clear wings, a walking robot for Max to drive, and a little twerp of a mutated fly-man. The set itself is pretty cool and lends to a lot of playability, but the design on the inside isn't up to par with the rest of the Doom Zones. I'd want this one just for the detachable pieces.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* Fly-man
* Walking Robot
* Flying Monster
Special Features
* Opening cockpit
* Spider Web






Lady and the Tramp. That's what I think about when I see this Doom Zone. More specifically, the evil rat from the movie. That's what this one looks like. I like the cut on the head and the coagulated blood sealing it. Just your average head.

Starting at the top we see a computer board and a cage underneath it in the next level (obviously for Max). The floor of the toy has a sewer feel and portrays it better than the Arachnoid set. Not only that, but you get another big spider to play with. This one is just slightly less elaborated; like those spider rings you get on Halloween. This arachnid doubles as the outer rat's whiskers. The gold/red thing is some sort of vehicle that Max rides on and uses a laser as its only defense. The rat ears attach to this machine as scoops. We run into the main enemy who is a mutated (per usual) rat-man. He's really cool with his dark demeanor. Although I didn't have this one, I think my friend did. I sort of remember some of this stuff. Sorry for only having 2 pictures. This one was a hard one to find.

Figurines and Objects
* Max
* Rattus (man)
* Spider
* Vehicle w/ Gun
* 2 Ear Scoops
Special Features
* Opening cage




Conclusion:
Thanks for reading. Obviously there's a lot of things that can be discussed here, and please, do so. If I forgot anything let me know. I'm not perfect. Describe your memories about any of these great toys. As far as I know, Mighty Max Doom Zones were a very popular item back then; my friends and I played with them a lot. If you did not have these, I pity you. They were a great symbol of my childhood and I hope I explained them well for those who weren't as lucky as me. If you had them, express some of your feelings about these toys as a whole or the tiny intricacies that made each one special to you. I'll be looking forward to hearing y'alls thoughts. Until next time...

Laters!