A combination of franchising and cutesy graphics sounded a bit worrying at first - however Lego Star Wars is starting to look very promising and perhaps even a game for all ages. Firstly, Lego Star Wars covers only the prequel trilogy and you will get to play-out various scenes of the three prequels--The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and the upcoming Revenge of the Sith and the game will cast you as a number of prominent characters, both good and bad, from all three films. A huge number, in fact, as it’s said there will be at least 30 playable characters available once you’ve explored the entire game. At first previews - the levels range from the Trade Federation ship at the beginning of Episode I to the Kamino cloning platform in Episode II, and even a brief glimpse of the Wookiee planet Kashyyyk, which will be featured in the upcoming third movie.
As can be expected for a children’s toy range inspired game - the action in Lego Star Wars is extremely easy to get a handle on. Each playable character has a basic attack, a jump, and a special move. The Jedi, for instance, have lightsabers that they can swing and use to deflect blaster bolts, and they can use the Force as their special power to manipulate items in the environment in a lot of interesting ways. You’ll often have to use the Force to stack objects on top of each other to reach new heights, for instance, and you can use it to push enemies around, too. Other characters have their own special powers. Amidala has a grappling hook she can use to get to high places, the destroyer droid can use its force field to ward off attacks, and everyone’s favourite source of comic relief, Jar Jar Binks, can jump higher than most characters.
Each level will see you fighting alongside an AI companion, and a second human player can join in at any time to help out with the fighting (or to duel you, which can lead to some amusing scenarios in the middle of a famous movie scene). There are also situations where two people are required to work together to solve puzzles and it appears that the AI knows what to do and will help you out without hesitation.
Lego Star Wars really has a great look that’s consistent with both the Star Wars movies and the Lego milieu. The characters look just like little Lego people, with blocky legs and feet and amusingly blank expressions on their faces (hilarious for multiplayer duels). The real star of the visuals, though, is the animation, which brings the characters to life in a hilarious manner during cutscenes and actual gameplay. The game features no dialogue, so all the communication will take place through the wildly overdone character animation, goofy facial expressions, and so on.
Also word on the street indicates that the final game will feature dozens of unlockable characters taken from all three movies, and we purchased such favorites as the battle droid, Darth Maul, and the famous “gonk” droid from the original Star Wars as we played through the Episode I section. You can then take these characters into the free play mode, which lets you play through any level you’ve already completed to hunt for secrets and just have fun. All the playable characters are available at the same time, and you can cycle through every single one of them as quickly as you can press a button. We had lots of fun trying out the different abilities of each character - especially the hilarious Lego Darth Maul wielding his legendary dual-bladed lightsaber with stubby legs flying everywhere.
The beauty of Lego Star Wars is its simplicity and the balance between a kids game and a generally entertaining game to all ages. When you die, your only penalty is a loss of some of the money you’ve picked up and a three-second delay before you’re right back in the action with full health. Yep - unlimited lives. Therefore, one of the joys of the game is being able to stop what you’re doing and just start fighting with your own characters, which can actually get pretty heated when it’s two Jedi going at it. The game is still challenging thanks to the hordes of enemies that come at you and the various puzzles scattered throughout each level, but we appreciate that the game doesn’t punish you for getting killed. Furthermore there are levels where you get to pilot and race famous vehicles from the Star Wars franchise including pod racers from the first episode.
The Mac version of this game is not scheduled for release until August 2005.
- Play the most memorable and exciting scenes from Episode l: The Phantom Menace, Episode II Attack of the Clones and the forthcoming Episode III Revenge of the Sith.
- Massive array of vehicles including Naboo fighters, pod racers, speeder bikes, and yet-to-be-unveiled vehicles from Episode III Revenge of the Sith.
- Use The Force to manipulate environments and objects in order to solve puzzles.
- Over 30 playable characters.
- Two-player drop in, drop out mode
- Free-play mode where unlocked characters can be played in different scenarios to the films.