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How the Star Wars Ultimate FX Lightsaber turned me to the Dark Side

It’s always nice when the daily delivery of mail brings something that isn’t junk catalogs, fliers, or (even worse) a bill, but no matter how early in the day it is, you can officially call it a win when the mailman brings you a lightsaber.

That’s what happened today when the mailman surprised me with a package from Hasbro containing their new Star Wars Ultimate FX Lightsaber. And it probably goes without saying that all productivity came to a screeching halt for the next hour or so.

On shelves now and priced at around $35, the Ultimate FX Lightsaber is an impressive piece of Star Wars swag intended for fans of all ages, but after spending a little time with it, I’d be willing to bet that the majority of its owners were around when The Empire Strikes Back first hit theaters.

That’s not to say it isn’t for young children (it’s recommended for ages 6 and up) — but rather that it’s a lot of fun for the young-at-heart crowd, too.

Out of its packaging, the lightsaber measures 34 inches from end to end, and manages to be light enough for even the smallest Jedi to wield without any trouble (or in the case of this Darth Vader model, the littlest Sith). Even so, it carries enough heft to feel like the real deal.

A button on the handle “ignites” the lightsaber, sending a red glow from the handle to the tip of the blade, and sounding off with the familiar “whoosh” of activation. A second press of the button sends the light retreating back into the handle with yet another sound that should be familiar to Star Wars fans.

While that’s all well and good, let’s face it — the real question on everyone’s minds is this: Can I have a lightsaber battle with anyone whose lack of faith I find… disturbing?

After some testing, the answer appears to be yes… and occasionally no.

To their immense credit, Hasbro’s Ultimate FX Lightsaber appears capable of withstanding an impressive beating. Let’s just say that the cushions on my couch, my office chair, and a countertop that jumped out at me without warning are now all intimately familiar with the power of the Dark Side.

Still, this lightsaber isn’t a Nerf toy, and the ability swing the glowing blade through the air while hearing that familiar hum and crash doesn’t come without some restrictions on what you can and cannot wail on with Midichlorian-fueled fury. That means that if you want to beat your housemate senseless for asking what the Klingons were up to during Return of the Jedi, you’re probably out of luck.

Along with activating, deactivating, and offering that soothing lightsaber hum, Hasbro’s new lightsaber also seems to have a more sensitive array of clashing, clanging, and whooshing noises that operate on both a motion-sensitive and impact basis. It’s a nice touch, giving you one type of sound when you swing the lightsaber, and a different sound when you hit something with it.

The lightsaber also comes with a “Force Tech” training DVD that gives you some pointers on how to properly wield the greatest weapon of a galaxy far, far away.

So move over, Star Wars Kid. I’ve got a lightsaber now, too.