11th Dec 2006 | 12:25
This is what happens when good Lego goes bad. Forget the little blocks of joy that usually get stuck between your toes and replace them with Pirakas: snarling metal robots with glaring red eyes, big pointy weapons and a Tony Soprano emper. And now, they're terrorising the Bionicle universe and it's up to you, a young 'human' who has 'wandered' into the 'thick' of 'it', to stop their evil plans.
Thankfully, you don't just have to take 'em on with your fists. By equipping elemental masks (the usual line up: Fire, Ice, Water, Rock, Air and Earth) you can change your abilities and weapons - so you can walk over lava, rapidly melt ice, or clear out a room with a grenade. These masks can be upgraded as the game progresses, helping you learn new abilities as you go. And, of course, by learning new skills you can return to earlier levels and unlock additional areas - knocking up the game's longevity.
But there are problems. One key niggle is the camera. Fixed over the shoulder, it interferes with the view, making it hard to find enemies that attack from behind. Similarly, the auto-aim function locks onto one target and stays there until it's dead, meaning that boss battles involving multiple targets become frustrating, forcing you to miss vital windows of opportunity to blast the big bad guy when his shields are down.
The fact that this is a kid's game is obvious enough; advice on what to do next comes free and easy, and you can never die. You simply lose a mask that then respawns round the corner. However, the flipside is that the Pirakas have a little charisma. Despite being hell-bent on world domination, they have some amusing hand-eyecoordination issues and often drop things on their heads or lock themselves out of their lairs of doom. Meaning, at the very least, their cut-scene antics bring some personality to the game.