LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game
by Mark Isaacson
We all know Lego. Those round faced men and women who always seem to be smiling whether they are pirates, space aliens, race car drivers or aqua marine divers. The small brick pieces with their unique design, where only your imagination and the slight lack of curved blocks get in the way of what you want to make.
Lego and Star Wars have been brought together before of course, in a various range of toys over the years. Any fan would have also heard of the attempts at creating giant Yodaís, Death Stars and much more with the little pieces, normally resulting in rainbow planet of doom due to a lack of black blocks...
So now we go that one step further: the video game, based on the toy which is based on the movie franchise. The result? Far more then I originally expected, to be honest. Of course, this has been built with the kids in mind, but adults like myself and Star Wars fans in general will actually come to appreciate this little gem with itís unique spin on our beloved saga.
Lego Star Wars, developed by long time gurus Travellerís Tales, is set during the prequel trilogy, where you must play a variety of characters from the franchise in levels that re-create the adventure straight from the big screen, in a Lego type of way of course. You will use the moves of Jedi, Sith, Bounty Hunter and Droid, among many others, to fight your way through familiar locations and scenes from the movies.
Travellerís Tales have done an amazing job bringing the Lego characters to life. Every piece is detailed just the way they are in the boxes on store shelves, right down to the little holes underneath the characters feet. Everything is Lego! Whatís even better though is that each level, and the environments on display, are the perfect representation of the movies themselves. It really is a sight to behold when you run down the corridor of the Trade Federation battleship for the first time.
Thereís also plenty of humour in each of the characters, a very nice touch. It adds something else to the experience when you see Obi-Wan pull a face when he makes a mistake during the cut-scenes. I mean, can you imagine Ewan doing that? Well, maybe off cameraÖ
Being a game aimed at the younger audience, its very easy to get into. The controls are simple yet effective, allowing you to pull off all the moves of each character at the press of a button. So donít expect complex targeting or weapons aka Republic Commando here, this is simple and easy gameplay.
Thereís plenty to do here too. Thereís a fair number of levels to run through, along with a co-op mode so you can enjoy the experience with a second player. Levels themselves range from the usual platform fare to flight combat, even pod racing finds its way in here. Youíll also have the opportunity to collect special blocks during play, which will become your own personal Lego Star Wars creations. A nice touch, no doubt.
In terms of presentation, everything here runs perfectly. Graphics are bright, detailed and bug free, which is a welcome sight. Itís not Half-Life II, but itís just as effective in its own right. As you can expect, thereís plenty of Star Wars music and sound effects to add to the experience. No Star Wars game is complete without it.
A few things of note: PC gamers will not be able to use a mouse, this is keyboard only. I canít see people being annoyed by this, since it isnít a first person shooter, but if you have to get a gamepad to get the most out of the game. Secondly, thereís no Episode III music, but thatís just a minor gripe really, I wasnít really annoyed by that. Finally, and possibly a smart move by all, this only involves the prequel trilogy for content. While having all six movies in the game would have been the complete experience, it does leave it open for a very worthy sequel.
So yes, itís a kids game. But why should that stop you? Arguably, this is the best use of the Star Wars license Iíve seen for some time, beyond the usual KOTOR or Galaxies. It brings together two of the best things in the world, and does it so well you wonder whether the real LEGO Star Wars kits will sell even more just on the back of this game. If anything, Travellerís Tales should get right to work on Lego Star Wars II: The Classic Trilogy (if youíre reading guys Ö please, pretty please!)
Itís just a simple and fun experience for all, and I canít help but recommend it not only for kids but for adults to. Just get it out and enjoy the experience.