I am a big Star Wars fan; whenever I could lay my hands on one of the games, I bought it. I then played it until I could save the galaxy with my eyes closed, and went onto other things. The Rebel Alliance, The Empire, it didn't matter as long as they needed another willing space cadet or ground pounder.
And then came Lego Star Wars.
It has to be said that Legos are a lot of fun; for a sum of money that is linked to the complexity of the set in question the buyer can fight an invading army from within stout castle walls, race at a professional race track or, and most exciting and risky, navigate the baggage claim at an airport. All of these, however, pale beside the most ambitious Lego set ever attempted in the history of the series: saving the galaxy. Take -that-, Playmobile.
The last game allowed players to play through a variety of areas and events from the prequels while being able to use thirty different character models in game. The game was well designed, but what was impressive on the big screen becomes almost laughably comedic when seen in as a collection of small claw handed people who talk in untranslatable gibberish. But we had fun, didn't we? Oh yes, we most certainly did.
Well, it had to happen sometime!
The next release, which has no doubt been downloaded more times then anyone can be expected to think about, will cover the rest of the movies in the Star Wars series. The game starts the player off by dropping C-3PO, R2-D2, Obi-Wan, and Luke into Mos Eisely space port on Tatooine. An introductory animation shows them speeding along the dessert sands in Luke's speeder, at such a speed that it causes R2 to fall off, deterring the questions of the hapless stormtrooper, and humorously colliding with a Jawa.
As you make your way along the spaceport road, it'll become plainly clear the amount of things you can do in the game for bonuses or just to amuse yourself. Each of the four characters you are initially given have unique things they can do..well, except Luke. Obi Wan can use the force to move objects, push or move various objects, and also addle the minds of various NPCs for a moment. There was a point where I was fighting a group of stromtroopers and I used The Force on one of them; his helmet rotated around and he was out of action while he struggled to face it the other way. Both of the organic characters can build whatever Lego pieces are lying around into various structures or vehicles which earns them a cash bonus.
I guess they cleaned it up for this game.
As for the droids..well, they're abilities are a lot more limited. R2-D2 can give enemies an electric shock and open certain doors while C-3PO can also open doors meant for him and..well..he can dance. Droids of any sort, though, can't construct Lego blocks together or drive vehicles; they're basically there to maintain the feel and to open doors for you. Actually, that's pretty much what they did in the movie too.
If you look past the intended silliness of the game's design, though, if is a very pretty game to look at it. The buildings and environments look very good and carry a much more realistic look then the characters who walk in and out of them. The music, too, is excellent as it has been taken directly from the original movie musical score.
There is, however, one place where the game does not quite measure up and it is in the control scheme. The game provides the potential player with two types of controls: one set uses the arrow keys for movement and then the other uses the A,W,S, and D keys to get you around. The other key functions such as action, jump, or special are also changed. Sadly, though, in execution they can be quite clunky and awkward to use. The character has to be aimed just so at a stormtrooper to hit him with your lightsaber or to shoot at him with a blaster pistol. Due to the fixed camera, jumping can become an equally big hassle for the player. It doesn't do much for the accuracy either as the character can be aimed in the general direction of the stormy but you won't actually hit him.
Apart from that, though Lego Star Wars II has the potential to be a funny and entertaining sequel to the original. Let's just hope that it doesn't take a turn toward the Dark Side.
Camelot! Camelot! It's only a animation. Shh!
-Nick McCavitt, August 12, 2006.