Lego Star Wars
The majority of my youth was split pretty evenly between playing with videogames, Star Wars toys, and Legos. Between the ages of 4 and 14 (at probably beyond), it’s safe to say that I played with at least one of those three things every single day. To say that I was predisposed to like a videogame named Lego Star Wars goes without saying. That being said, what follows is my fair, unbiased, un-fanboyish review of this game.
OH MY GOD THIS GAME RULES!
In Lego Star Wars, one or two players can play their way through the new trilogy of Star Wars films, Episodes I, II, and III. From the sandy dunes of Tattooine to the raging seas of Kamino and the bustling skies of Coruscant, Lego Star Wars takes you chronologically through all three newer Star Wars films, including the as-of-yet unreleased Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. While this review contains no spoilers, be warned that the game itself does.
Players begin the game in Episode I, Level I, with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. In one player mode you can choose one or the other (and swap between them freely), and in two-player mode everybody gets to play. With these characters you’ll learn the basic controls. You can jump, draw your weapon/attack, put away your weapon, switch between characters, and use the Force. Items that can be Force-controlled will glow when you approach them. Throughout the game you’ll need to move objects around to build bridges, flip switches and levers, and do all perform various other tasks. The Force can also be used to shake down trees, planters, and other objects throughout the game to find hidden “studs”. Studs (Star Wars Lego coins) are collected throughout the game and can be used to purchase items in between levels (everything from fake moustaches for your characters to invincibility). In Lego Star Wars you get infinite lives, but every time you die you lose all your studs.
There are three basic types of characters – Jedi (who have lightsabers and can use the Force), Shooters (who have blasters and can use grappling hooks), and Other (droids who can open doors, for example). Many of the puzzles presented throughout the game involve simply figuring out which character to use in a particular situation. For example, you may need to use a Jedi’s Force power to build a ladder out of Legos, and then climb the ladder with a shooter to shoot a bull’s eye target, which in turn reveals a keypad that R2-D2 can use to open a portcullis. The puzzles rarely take more than a minute or two to figure out.
As you play through the game you’ll collect not only studs but Lego figures as well. You get to keep each character you encounter throughout story mode, so before long you’ll have a little drawer full of Lego people. In Story mode the game decides which characters you get to use, but if you go into free play mode you can pick any character from your stable and use them anywhere in the game (you’ll need to do this later if you plan on completing the game 100% — man can that Jar Jar jump!).
Graphics and sound are superb. All the ships, people, and objects you’ll see throughout the game are completely made of Legos. Take one too many shots from a Battle Droid and your character will explode into a pile of Lego pieces. Playing with Legos has never looked, sounded and felt so good. For the record, I own the Xbox version and rented the PS2 version and found any differences between the two negligible.
The biggest fault with Lego Star Wars is its length. With unlimited lives and simple puzzles, it shouldn’t take an adult most than an afternoon of gaming to beat the game. Completing it to 100% may take slightly more time, like say a weekend. Kids may get a bit more length out of it due to the puzzles and a few difficult jumps. My 3-year-old son has played through over half of the game so far and has had no difficulty in figuring out the controls. One really nice feature for parents is the drop-in/drop-out mode, which allows you to not only join a game by pressing start on a second controller, but also allowing you to unjoin a game and return control over to the game. This comes in handy when your kids need a quick hand in solving a puzzle or beating the blasted Pod Race and you don’t want to spend all afternoon tagging along behind them.
Despite its short length and simplistic controls, Lego Star Wars is one of the most enjoyable games I’ve picked up in quite a while. Although I was able to waltz through the entire game over a weekend, I still haven’t collected 100% of everything in the game. I highly recommend Lego Star Wars to all fans (however remote) of Legos, Star Wars, or platformers in general.