When it comes to Nerf blasters, the term “unique” gets thrown around quite a bit. Whether it is in regards to the style of blaster, additional features that may not be seen in other lines, or simply new design elements that may have been placed to enhance the traditional Nerf gun image, there are plenty of blasters that can be coined unique.
That said, when you combine the aesthetics of a special Nerf line with a breed of blaster that you rarely find on the shelves, that is when you get something that is truly special for almost any Nerf enthusiast.
One of these products is the Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt.
With all of the striking design aspects of the Zombie Strike series and the body of a crossbow (trust us, the firing mechanism on this product will completely take you by surprise), the Dreadbolt is certainly something you have never seen before.
But does it perform as well as it looks like it should?
If you have the Dreadbolt in your sights, let’s take a closer look at this unique blaster and find out exactly how well it performs.
Style and Design
If you’re used to blasters in the Nerf Zombie Strike series, you are accustomed to that gritty dark green and orange color scheme that makes any scene feel truly apocalyptic.
While the Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt doesn’t stray away from the traditional colors, it is a bit lighter, which can make it feel a little bit more easy-going for fans of the series who aren’t too into the seriousness brought upon by the many design aspects that have set the tone for the series.
That said, it truly packs a punch in the looks department with its crossbow body. Featuring a tangle of mechanical elements that pop and a large orange bow at the front of the blaster, this gun is hard to miss and can be quite intimidating to other enemies on the battlefield.
While we won’t dive too deep into what else is featured on the body at the risk of jumping the gun before the other sections, we are quite happy overall with the body and how well it fits in with the other blasters that can be found in the Nerf Zombie Strike series
Although there are some Nerf weapons out there that use darts with blasters that have crossbow designs, you aren’t going to find this on the Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt.
Instead, the Dreadbolt uses actual Nerf arrows equipped with whistling tips for further intimidation on the battlefield. Armed with five Nerf arrows, you are certainly going to make an impact on the competition.
Firing Style and Range
This is yet another area where the Dreadbolt stands out from other weapons. Instead of using real crossbow priming action (which, we know, may take away the fun for some Nerf players who were looking forward to using a crossbow), the Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt uses lever-action priming to prepare your arrows for their journey.
Simply pull the lever all the way back, and push the lever all the way forward to prepare your blaster. Then, slide the arrow into its slot at the top of the gun and fire at will.
Once fired, it is said to be able to fire a reasonable 40 feet (although some sources extend this to a generous 85 feet if it is angled properly).
This may be a disadvantage given the speed with which this loads and the number of arrows you are given, but we will discuss this in the sections below.
We always love a Nerf gun that has something more to offer, especially if it improves the overall functionality of the blaster. In the case of the Dreadbolt, it comes with two extra features.
The first is a detachable scope that can help you find your target and operate your gun more efficiently. The second is the storage space located on top of the blaster, which allows you to hold all five of your arrows at once.
Because the gun is so large and the arrows are far more difficult to carry than traditional Nerf darts, this feature is an excellent choice and one that we commend.
What We Like
- Unique Design- It’s extremely hard to find bows and crossbows in the Nerf universe, especially ones that are known to perform as advertised.
Fortunately, we get a functional crossbow with this offering and one that falls into the extraordinary realm of the Nerf Zombie Strike line. For its massive, intimidating body, we are very happy with the Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt.
- Real Nerf Arrows- There’s something more satisfying about shooting off Nerf arrows. Whether it is the buildup that is required to get to the actual shot or the additional fear factor that is provided as it flies through the air towards your enemy, these whistler arrows are excellent at both scaring your opponents and taking them down!
- Lever-Action Priming- It is clear that Nerf went out of their way to make the Dreadbolt a unique weapon. The lever-action priming mechanism is the cherry on top of it all.
Easy to use and a great way to prepare your weapon before arming it so that your arrow doesn’t fall out during use, this is another smart feature that will make your experience better in the long run.
- Storage Space Included- The more difficult a blaster is to use, the less likely you are going to want to carry it into battle.
Although the Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt is by no means a primary weapon, the added storage space does make it a more reasonable option to bring onto the field if you need it. Once you’ve found more arrows, simply place them into the notches above the weapon and you are ready to go.
What We Don’t Like
- Difficult to Load- People either hate or love the Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt. Why? The answer can be found in the loading process. The first problem begins at the lever-action firing mechanism.
Like pump-action, lever-action firing is very accurate and you must push and pull your lever all the way in order to prime the weapon. The next issue lies in the position of the arrow. If you do not line your arrow directly into place, you are not going to be able to fire it.
For some, this can be a pressure point and one that makes them abandon the blaster entirely. If you are able to prime, load, and fire the weapon quickly (and have the patience to do so), chances are that you are really going to like this weapon.
If this does not sound like your cup of tea, the process is going to be time-consuming and unenjoyable. Keep this in mind before you make your purchase.
Although 40 feet can sound relatively close, you have to remember that you have to go through the loading process above, and this is best done farther away from the target you are shooting at. If you are far enough away and can load your weapon in time, you have to learn how your blaster works in order to get accurate shots.
Overall, the Dreadbolt is certainly a learning experience. It is not a weapon designed for those who want to take it out of the box and begin using it against their Nerf enemies immediately.
When you are expected to use one of your hands to prepare your lever and properly place your arrow in the notch while maintaining the balance of the weapon with your other hand, things can become tricky quite easily.
Additionally, you are not going to want to tip your blaster forward as this puts you at risk of dropping your arrow, but you will not want to tilt it backward as this will make it harder to load as well.
If you aren’t a larger Nerf enthusiast or if you are shopping for someone who is far younger, this isn’t going to be the best option.
Don’t get us wrong, the Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt is still a good weapon. From the classic zombie shooting crossbow design to the features that we wish every blaster would have, this is a unique weapon that will make a great addition to any collection.
That said, this is also a Nerf gun that needs to be understood in order to make it a great investment. If you don’t have the time or the patience to work with the gun (or if you simply can’t hold and use it), it is not going to be worth purchasing.
If you can work it, then you are going to really enjoy using the Dreadbolt in your next battle!