Saturday, December 3, 2011

Twelve Months, Sixty Dollars and a GameBoy Advance: November

LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game
by Eidos

LEGO's can somehow make anything easier to swallow, even abominations like the series of films created by George Lucas which are in no way related to, despite having a common main title, Star Wars.  That is to say, when I bought this, I did not realize what I was getting.  Fool that I am, I thought I was buying a GBA version of LEGO Star Wars: The Original Trilogy, like I have, and love, for the Gamecube.  Fool.  That is not what LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game turns out to be.  Instead it turns out to be about those other movies. Naturally, I was disheartened because I love Star Wars, but I was not to be defeated.  Subject matter aside, this was a GBA game, it was $5, and I bought it for those reasons.  I was going to play it.

Turns out my thesis was pretty much right: LEGO's can somehow make anything easier to swallow (except the LEGO's themselves, remember kids: not for swallowing).  So far I have not met a LEGO game I could not enjoy.  LEGO Batman, LEGO Indiana Jones (the original, not the one with the other levels that have nothing to do with the THREE films that comprise the ENTIRE body of Indiana Jones films), LEGO Star Wars: The Original Trilogy, the list goes on and on.  While this game, LSW, was not going to be as thrilling as those previously mentioned, I held out hope that the LEGO action could save the day; and it did.

Thanks to the general silliness of LEGO games, there is a lot of fun to be had here, mostly in the form of mowing down enemies as a tiny LEGO Darth Maul in Free Play Mode. Yes kids that is the entire reason to play this game and play through the Story Mode.  Darth Maul (one of the only cool things to come from these films) is a LEGO badass and can take down just about anyone with little effort.  Plus he looks cool with his double lightsaber slashing around. Plus, you get that always anticipated Darth Maul v. Darth Maul showdown at the end of the first chapter!  If you must play this game, unlock DM and then go apeshit.

The rest of the game is pretty standard LEGO goodness, which if you are unfamiliar, means wandering through a themed world as a character, building things out of LEGOs to help you traverse the level, solve puzzles, or rack up bonus points (in the form of LEGOs), and fighting enemies, also made of LEGOs. The game overall is pretty short, you can take it out in about 5 hours, but there is still plenty of challenge.  Some levels require great care in how you take out the enemies and if you just blunder in expecting to wreck general mayhem, chances are good you will be blown to pieces.  It is for this reason that the Jedi characters are your best to use.  They can use their lightsabers to deflect enemy laser fire either harmlessly away, or back at the source.  Characters armed the blasters can attack long range, but they also have no defense.  This makes for some sticky situations if you are not careful in how you tackle a level.  The levels aren't as deep as they would be on a console, but that is to be expected.  They are, however, just long enough to be fun to play through.

Since the films that this game is based on are pretty forgettable, I have no real idea if the game follows the plot very closely; I assume it does.  You play in various settings including a space ship, a factory of some kind, a volcano area and a forest (I know this to be the Wookie homeworld only by name), but none of them really strike me as significant like those rich settings from the original films.  There are short cut scenes that move the story along, but much like the source material, lack the charm and heart that is characteristic of most LEGO movie adaptations.  You know something is wrong when you think the scene depicting Shmi Skywalker's death is kind of hilarious.

Overall, though, I have to admit, I had $5 worth of fun from LEGO Star Wars.  It wasn't a game I was excited to play, but it was fun enough to burn a few hours on, based entirely on my enjoyment of LEGO-styled games.  I would not buy this game on purpose, nor would I ever consider paying more than $5, but for what it is you could do worse, somehow.

Next month, our final installment


the announcement of 2012's exciting monthly feature, it is going to be cool!

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