When the original Lego Star Wars was first mooted, it was widely considered to be a joke. Like pork flavoured ice cream or a Goth on a bouncy castle, it just seemed too incongruous to be genuine. As it became clear that it was actually happening, there were murmurings of discontent among the 'community', otherwise known as sweaty men on the Internet. How could their beloved Star Wars be cheapened in such a way? Reduced to the status of a plastic brick?
The old twats needn't have worried. For starters, it is only a film, despite the relentless cod mythologising that continues to surround it. And secondly, the game proved to be a stroke of genius. Exploring the Star Wars universe in new and inventive ways, it proved to be far more entertaining than virtually every other PS2 Star Wars game ever made.
Of far more interest is the fact that this one is based on the original trilogy, as opposed to the shit prequels. No Jar Jar Binks, no midichlorians, just proper vanilla Star Wars as nature intended. As such, it kicks off onboard Princess Leia's Blockade Runner and takes you on a rollercoaster ride through the films you know and love, as made entirely from plastic bricks that hurt when you tread on them. All the big scenes are there, either in playable form, or as a series of cut scenes.
And Lego doesn't speak, so you're even spared Lucas' clumsy dialogue. Not that you'll need it, with the cut scenes played out in a charmingly tongue-in-cheek fashion, while still remaining true to the movies. We'd even go as far as to call it art.
You're not here to watch though, and a variety of gameplay styles are employed to ease you through the trilogy. The basic running around, solving puzzles and shooting Stormtroopers is intact from the first game, and while the puzzles are rarely taxing, they are pleasingly inventive, often requiring you to build items out of Lego, a skill that no longer requires you to have The Force. Obviously, if you do have The Force, there's even more fun to be had, with Obi-Wan Kenobi tossing Stormtroopers around with gay abandon, for instance.
Structure-wise, you begin in the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is the Mos Eisley Cantina, with the option to dive in at the start of either film, and then revisit various chapters at your leisure with different characters. The bulk of the combat is fairly straightforward, although each character does have a uniquely different style, such as Han Solo's trademark swagger, or Chewbacca's habit of pulling Stormtroopers' arms out of their sockets.
There's far more variety this time round though, and while we'd never make claims for Lego Star Wars as a stealth game, there are sequences where you'll have to dress up as a
Stormtrooper to make progress. This provides one of the game's frequent moments of humour, with Chewbacca able to evade the Evil Empire with nothing more than an ill-fitting Stormtrooper helmet.
As before, only certain characters can access certain areas, and you can switch between them at the press of a button. And again, anyone can plug in a controller at any time for some cooperative play.
FEEL THE FORCE
Further improvements include being able to operate vehicles and animals, enabling you to leap atop a shaggy tauntaun, for instance. Did we say vehicles? The fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, anyone? Yep, for the first time ever, you'll be able to take the helm of a Lego Millennium Falcon, looping the loop, evading asteroid belts, and even flying into the mouth of that cave-dwelling beast from The Empire Strikes Back.