The NERF Rival Zeus is the original flywheel semi-automatic blaster in the rival line. The Rival Zeus is an interesting blaster using a bullpup design, which has interesting side effects around the way you load it.
Like all Rival blasters, they don’t shoot darts, they shoot these little yellow balls and it comes in 2 colors, red or blue, so take your pick (or see which one is cheaper and buy that!)
So how does this all stack up as a blaster, especially with newer designs like the Hera on the market?
- Good for close quarter combat
- Very good grouping
- Good ergonomics
- Good balance and weight distribution
- Ambidextrous design
- Over complicated and slow to load
- Those C batteries make it a bit heavy
- Not great FPS performance for a Rival blaster
- Well balanced
- Tricky to load
While well balanced, the weird design of the loading mechanism and average performance don’t endear it to me
If you want a semi-auto Rival blaster, get a Hera instead
Full NERF Rival Zeus MXV-1200 Review
The Rival Zeus is designed as a bullpup rifle, which is nicely balanced and ambidextrous while keeping the overall length down. It is also fly-wheel powered, needing 6 “C” batteries to operate. Besides the ambidextrous design, which is very neat, the blaster offers a semi-automatic mode.
Unlike the N-Strike Elite blasters, the Rival Zeus fires hi-impact balls rather than darts. These are designed to be more accurate and fire harder than their Elite counterparts.
So, let’s see how it all goes together and fires…
After unboxing you will find
- the blaster (which you can get in red or blue)
- a magazine and ammo
- two rails (which you have to attach manually)
- and of course the box also contains instructions.
Looking over the blaster, on the top there is a flip-up sight to the front and rear. Since you can shoulder this blaster, it might actually help you aim which is pretty impressive!
Then there is a tactical rail on the top and on both sides that you initially need to attach (they are not designed to be removed, this is a one-off job) These are Rival tactical rails so you can’t slide your N-Strike attachments on…although they will fit, if you sort of click them on there in a slightly different manner.
Getting down to the trigger area, it is a semi-automatic blaster so you have to pull the trigger every time you fire and then the lower button is the rev trigger. This is a battery-powered blaster it won’t work without the batteries and in order to rev up the flywheels, you have to hold down that rev trigger. After it’s been revving you pulls the trigger and then it launches the ball.
You need 6 “C” batteries to operate the blaster. On the back of the blaster, you can access the slide into which the batteries are inserted. Many blasters tend to be either front or back heavy, but thanks to the good distribution of weight the Rival Zeus is well balanced. This is a well thought through concept and evenly distributes the weight over the length of the blaster, so the blaster neither front nor back heavy.
On the other side there is a safety lever. This safety lever deactivates your ability to hit the rev switch so you can’t rev the blaster anymore and because of the existing locks that means you also cannot pull the trigger. Weirdly that switch is only on the one side for right-handed users, while everything else on this blaster is ambidextrous…
Moving back there is a sling mount and then this orange thing which is on both sides. This is the magazine release.
To load the magazine, which is mounted inside the body of the blaster, you need to pull down on this orange thing on both sides. While doing that you also need to apply force to the magazine from either side or it will kind of pop out, and you need a hand to catch the magazine! It is not the easiest of most slick mechanism…in fact, it is a pain in the rump!
After refilling the magazine you can insert it by first placing the front part of the magazine in the front part of the magazine bay and then pushing the back of the magazine in.
Unfortunately this is an overly complicated way to reload your blaster.
The Zeus magazine does work in the rival Apollo, but the rival Apollo magazine does not work with the Zeus. This is because it is too small and it won’t actually lock in the place it’ll just sort of sit there…until it falls out! But this one’s bigger why would you want to go lower cap so it doesn’t matter, but if you have an Apollo, you will probably want to upgrade to these mags.
If you hold the blaster in your hands, you will immediately notice how well done the ergonomics are. Especially for left-handed people, the ambidextrous design is interesting. Combined with the good distribution of weight you can comfortably use the blaster for extended periods of time.
FIRING & RANGE
Rival blasters are a little weird compared to Elite. The muzzle velocity is way faster, but the range is no better, presumably due to the aerodynamics of the hi-impact rounds.
You may wonder why bother, but the big advantage of Rival blasters is that they shoot super-fast and the grouping of these balls is super tight and consistent.
So if you are outdoors at about 70-80 feet away, it won’t be an advantage to use a rival blaster. But if you’re at close range that initial velocity these things shoot so fast right out of the barrel and go where you point them. It’s nice to see that in a Nerf blaster because most Nerf guns are horribly inaccurate with the Nerf elite darts.
On average the blaster fires with a velocity of 89 feet per second, which beats Elite blasters by almost 20 feet per second, but the Rival Apollo blaster I tried clocked up much nearer to 100 feet per second. So I was a bit underwhelmed if I am honest
Overall this is a good blaster, the ergonomics and weight distribution make it nice to use, even for extended periods of time. But when reloading is in order you might get a little annoyed. The process is overly complicated and the slide for the batteries shows that they could have done it better.
I do not understand why they didn’t just have a slot in the rear where you just slot a magazine and then you have a button on the side to eject it to the rear. That would be the most practical magazine for this design in my opinion.
The comfort of use might make up for that, though. The bullpup design looks cool and allows it to be shouldered nicely and the balance is great.
The Rival rounds allow for very good grouping of shots too, but the velocity does seem a bit weak
So overall it is almost great. If they gave it a bit more power and, most importantly, sorted out the loading mechanism. I would thoroughly recommend it. As it stands, it is worth looking at, rather than a must-buy