Reviewed: May 25, 2005
Released: April 2, 2005
Ahh... LEGOs, what wondrous little toys these are. You can make an entire island and sail off with your pirate ship for carpeted adventure! You can craft a mighty castle, resolute against all plastic invaders! Or, you can mimic a universe created by a certain Mr. Lucas, and thus we have LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game. Backed by legendary Eidos, the less known Travellerís Taleís brings us a very cute homage, to a cinematic legend. Letís see if this ďkids gameĒ can hack it.
Oddly enough you donít start off in a star port or raging battle intro, but rather the sparse little Dexterís Diner. It reminds me of the portal/painting system used in the recent Mario games, where there are numerous doors to enter that launch you on your path. Itís a nice interactive system in place of a static menu, something that fitís perfectly into the gameís offbeat style.
You will spend a lot of time here rotating through all 30 playable characters- from Anakin to General Grievous- the major characters from all 3 episodes are all here. A key element to unlock all the hidden gems is the free play mode. In this mode you can go back through any complete mission with any character, using their special abilities to find unknown areas or breeze through tough fights.
Another neat system is that of the Lego Studs, or the currency of this bizarre Lego world. These are essential in unlocking free-play mode, as well as allowing purchase of whole Lego kits that you can view being assembled. There also is no real threat of death in this game, only that every time you buy the Lego Farm, you lose precious Lego Studs.
Besides the action sequences (from pod racing to side-shooters), this game is replete with puzzles, albeit simple ones. Most consist of activating switches, but itís the combination of utilizing multiple characters that is key to solving some of the more memorable puzzles. Itís almost a bit like The Lost Vikings of mid-90s console fame, whereby each character did their specific part to advance the party. Controls are steady, but the lack of mouse use is pretty foreign these days; you may want to bust out that control pad for this one.
Lastly, and perhaps most intriguing, you can play Lego: Star Wars with a buddy-right next to you! Yes folks, talk about old school, I had visions of Oregon Trail from my younger daysÖ ďIíll aim the hunter, you shoot with the space bar- RABBIT RABBIT!!!, Fire Fire!Ē Oh Apple 2 how I loved you soÖ I had my girlfriend test this co-op mode out and she and I had a blast ripping up the universe together. Donít worry if you fear being stuck with Yoda for an entire mission, both users can switch back and forth on the fly. A nice addition, and something simple for the kiddies to enjoy, rather than the complexities of online play.
Graphically, this is one distinct title suffice to say. Most if not ALL of the characters are composed entirely of Legos, heads down to their feet. And they fly apart real nice too when swatted by sabers or laser fire, especially the droids. In todayís world of smooth textures and greater realism, this game has fun with its style and has a sort of gimmicky feel to it.
You may think with having such blocky features these Jedi canít get down and funky, but after few brief encounters with enemies, you realize how flexible these plastic knights can be. The painted on faces are sheer hilarity as well, hard to imagine that one of them could turn into Darth Vader with such a silly grin.
You will also recognize many of the vehicles being spot on replications of the store-bought creations, and best of all you donít have to put them together! Sadly though, the environments themselves arenít as Lego friendly as the characters; most places look devoid of Legos, aside from a few special interactive areas. Overall, a real treat for the eyes and something original for a change.
No worries here, its Star Wars after all, so sit back and enjoy the orchestral forte of John Williamís immortal pieces. Sound effects also mimic the movies to a T, the whooshing of light sabers, the zip-zap of blasters and the roar of space combat all bring you right into the world of Star Wars.
Strangely though, there is no voice acting whatsoever, but that may not be a bad thing considering how horrendous the lines were in much of Georgeís epic pre-quells, sans Obi and Qui-Gon of course - if you speak with an ORIGINAL British/Scottish accent you are golden. The main culprits were Amidala and AnakinÖand our favorite Gungan, Jar-Jar Binks, all of whom are much better represented as mimes.
While most veteran gamers will blaze through the game in less than a day or two, younger Padawans should take a bit longer. But donít forget about the unlockable content, namely the free-play mode with the wealth of character combinations and co-op play. The latter should take at least a few weeks to master. It also has a leg up on itís console brethren with the ability to patch and mod for the game, but as of yet no major plans are in the works. This PC version is also a tad cheaper than the consoles at a $30 price tag.
We have an interesting game here indeed, one that will be make fans in both the adult and childrenís realm of gaming, not to mention appeasing those rabid Star Wars fans out there. It wonít be a hog on any machine, has creative beauty, great replicated action and the ability to go at it with a friend. Along with the decent price, LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game is worth a look - [waves hand] ďYou will try this gameÖĒ