11th Dec 2006 | 16:46
When we were young (a fair while ago now, we'll admit), Lego was about building crap-looking cars or the occasional pirate ship crewed by gender-confused mini-people with all the fully poseable action of a brick. Not anymore. Bionicle changes all that, and makes Lego cool again. Lego's the class nerd, Bionicle's taking his dinner cash.
Which brings us to this - Bionicle Heroes - Eidos's block building spin off franchise; made by Lego Star Wars coders Traveller's Tales, it sees you, a member of the heroic Toa Inika, battling the evil Piraka for control of the magical island of Voya Nui. Ahem. You travel the island battling creatures corrupted by the 'the mask of light' all the while collecting and harnessing the powers of various different Bionicle masks. Er, right.
From the very beginning comparisons to Lego Star Wars are inevitable - you can even utilise faux force powers, for example, to build various Lego constructs that will help you progress through the levels. These range from simple door mechanisms to hulking great giants and offer a blessed respite from the main game - auto-aiming, blasting, autoaiming, blasting - which, unfortunately, falls swiftly into repetition and monotony.
Yep, you guessed it: this has little in the way of challenge. Foes are dumb, eagerly seeking early death by throwing themselves merrily into your gun sights; an unnecessary gesture as your weapon automatically seeks them, anyway, handily eliminating the need to target enemies - or participate in the game at all. Worse than this, though, is the satanic camera angle. With the view locked over your shoulder, this is not so much a first-person shooter as a back seat driver, and combined with excessive use of blur, has all the benefits of car sickness to go with it.
Sure, Bionicle has a certain charm and fans of the toys will love it for its familiarity and its wealth of unlockable extras. But, Lego Star Wars worked - and had universal appeal - because it was about Star Wars. This is just
a game about building blocks - and not a very good one at that.