LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
23rd Sep 2006 | 09:47
WHERE TO START? Well, let's just get this off our chests to begin with shall we? THIS IS THE BEST DAMN STAR WARS GAME EVER MADE AND YOU'D BE CRAZY NOT TO BUY A COPY. There, that feels better. Now, let's crack on with telling you why.
First up, you know the story, who doesn't? It's a classic tale of good versus evil, and one so parodied and copied you probably wonder how the hell Traveller's Tales could put a fresh twist on it. But put a twist on the age-old story it does, and with such incredible, delicious imagination it'll feel like experiencing the whole damn shebang from the get-go.
Like the exceptional first LEGO Star Wars, the sequel is crammed with humour, blink-and-you'll-miss-èem visual gags and knowing winks, but this time around, it's so much easier to relate to. We all know the Original Trilogy, so we can all relate to the expert parodying. There are simply too many of them to cover in one review, but when Darth flaps a polaroid of a pregnant Padme and Anakin in front of Luke to convince him of his parentage you know you're onto a good thing.
So, the gameplay? Well, having played through all three chapters and discovering we'd only actually completed about a quarter of the game properly, it's safe to say there's plenty going on here. There are locked doors that can only be opened by obscure characters that get unlocked after a 10th play-thru, and secret walls that we still don't know how to break open. The Force doesn't do it, nor does a Dewback headbutt, so answers on a postcard please. In fact, the entire game is a labyrinth of discoverable treats and unlockable goodness. There are 99 of these blocks to collect, half a dozen of these aliens to find, a scattering of mechanical parts and a baker's dozen of shimmering pods to unearth. You'll feel like Time Team, traipsing about the place. We'd hate to imagine how long it would take to complete the whole thing, but we're guessing it's somewhere in the realm of light years.
Like the first LEGO Star Wars game before it, The Original Trilogy (George insists we cap that up every time we say it) is as much a Star Wars game as it is a LEGO game, blending the two perfectly (and humourously don't forget) to great effect. So, when Luke arrives in Bespin, he has to dismantle a part of his X-Wing to èForce build' a bridge to an adjoining platform. When he's in Dagohbah, to prevent himself falling in the swamp, he has to use the force to pull out various objects such as shopping trolleys and old washing machines, then reconstruct them into something useful. But it isn't all just bridge building and what have you. LEGO is the world's most loved toy brand remember, and that's because you can build whole damned theme parks from the stuff. Like a Warner Bros cartoon, we're called upon to build a door out of LEGO in a detention block then escape through the hole, or piece together a Scout Walker bit by bit until we've got enough to blast a battalion of Storm Troopers to bits. Natty!
Even when we're not marvelling at this marriage of plastic blocks and Death Stars, there's something incredible going on in this game, and it's all in the little details. The way John Williams' score kicks in at precisely the correct moments, the way faux-plastic moulding seams along large vehicles and creatures, and the way just about everything moveable has the dinky LEGO nodules on it. But it's also the way Traveller's Tales has imbued everything with personality that also helps as well. Scout Walkers don't just fall over when shot, they sort of trip-stumble like a toddler then wiggle a bit on the ground. There's hardly time to appreciate what's going on here, but at a subliminal, almost unconscious level, you can hear your inner geek nudging you in the ribs and shouting, "You see what they did there? You f*cking see that?!" Which leads us onto the vehicles.
Traveller's Tales promised that this LEGO game would allow us greater freedom with vehicles, and that it has done. The Death Star trench run is cracking, the battle for Hoth even better, and the Millenium Falcon's asteroid belt run has to be one of the most enjoyable parts of any game we've played since, well.... since we can't even remember. The vehicles control a little like remote controlled cars (apt, no?), but they're perfect. To see these dinky Star Wars ships all bombing about the place, shooting the screen up, or lumbering over the horizion is a marvellous thing indeed.
Normally at this point in a review we'd go into the èbad bits' - you know, picking holes for the sake of it, being smart-arsed game journos thinking we know everything, but there's nothing bad to say about this game other than why the hell didn't this come out sooner? Honestly, it's just ridiculously playable and immensely entertaining from beginning to end, and that is all you ever want from a video game, surely?
This is the first game we can't review properly (well, some of you lot would disagree there, but you get our drift). The only thing left to be said is that you just have to play it. If we had our way these four pages would be filled with èbuy this, buy this', like something out The Shining. What more recommendation can you ask for? Go buy it already and stop wasting your time!