Home | News | Reviews | Previews | Hardware
Lego Star Wars: The Video Game
Score: 95%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: Traveller's Tales
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Themed

Graphics & Sound:
Lego Star Wars brings the mini-figures and Lego models that have been coming out for years to life as they re-enact major battles and story-turning points from “Star Wars: Episodes I, II, and III.”

Practically everything in Lego Star Wars comes out of the line of toys that Lego has been producing for several years now. Each character, from Jar Jar Binks to Yoda to the Anakin Skywalker of “Revenge of the Sith,” looks just like their mini-figure counterpart, right down to the classic Lego hands and painted on faces. The vehicles are also straight out of the line of toys. You will see everything from STAPs (those droid army tanks) to the Republic Gun Ship to the Fett family’s Slave I. To put it simply, this game’s smooth animation and authentic-looking models makes it seem like the Legos are alive and actually participating in the Star Wars saga.

Like most Star Wars games, Lego Star Wars is above par with its music. Each track comes straight from the movies (if they weren’t, then they sounded so much like the big-screen audio version that I couldn’t tell). As for the voice acting... well, there isn’t any; instead of using words to push the story along, you get to watch the mini-figures act out the movies in slightly over-the-top, slap stick-like exaggerated emotions. This somewhat lighthearted approach definitely helps to remind you that above all, Lego Star Wars is a game designed for kids.

Lego Star Wars lets you go through the major battles and scenes of the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy, but in a manner that is more light-hearted and more attractive to the younglings than your typical Star Wars game. With each release of a “Star Wars” movie (since Episode I that is), Lego has released a series of models that coincide with characters and vehicles from that movie. In this game, you will get to play as or interact with pretty much all of these models in their “natural” environment. The game is broken up into 17 chapters. Episode I has six chapters, Attack of the Clones has five, and Revenge of the Sith has six. There is also an unlockable 18th chapter that will probably be one of the last things you will be able to do in the game since it involves practically mastering all of the other levels.

As you progress through the first three episodes of the “Star Wars” saga, you unlock and play as about 50 different characters. These characters can be broken up into two major groups: Force users (Jedi and Sith) or ranged fighters (like Padme and most droids). But there are also a wide variety of characters that transcend types or belong into a class all their own. The Jedi and Sith are essentially the same; they both wield lightsabers, and with a button press, they can alter or move objects in the level (provided that object is glowing). In fact, the only real difference is that Sith are the only characters that can affect “Dark Objects” like black pots or certain doors. Though the Force users each have their own look when executing their various attacks, for the most part, they all feel the same. Occasionally you run into characters that are more powerful than the other Jedi (like Yoda for example), but there isn’t really enough difference between a lot of them to make one Jedi more useful than another.

The ranged fighters, while not being able to use lightsabers or the Force, can shoot their blasters or (typically) grapple to different levels of the area. These characters seem to have a wider variety and gamers will probably find a lot more reasons to choose one over the rest (depending on your style, that is). Characters like Jango Fett have the added bonus of being able to hover, while droids like the Super Battle Droid or Destroyer Droid are tougher, yet slower.

Characters that don’t fit nicely into either of these groups include Jar Jar Binks (who is a high-jumper for the harder-to-reach items), General Grievous (who can’t use the Force but does have four lightsabers at his disposal), and the dynamic duo R2-D2 and C-3PO (for opening doors and walkways).

You unlock these characters in one of two ways, and both involve completing a chapter in Story mode. During a level, you have at least two characters under your control (one for you and one for the second player). Throughout the level, others may join your party or you can take over any of them at any time simply by facing them and pressing the necessary button. Once you complete the level, any new characters from your party are now unlocked. That’s how you gain access to the “good guys.” You can buy any new bad guys you beat in the level in the hub-world of Dex’s Diner.

Though the other mode, Free Play, doesn’t net you any new people, this is where you get to revisit the level with all of the characters you need to nab all of those hard-to-reach mini-kits, as well as gather enough studs (basically coins) to fill your Jedi Meter. Collecting all of the mini-kits in a level builds one of 17 Lego Star Wars toys. You will get everything from the Bongo to Count Dooku’s ship to the Wookiee CAT. These models are on display outside of Dex’s place. Filling up the Jedi Meter nets you another piece on a much larger SW model. You also use the studs to buy characters and various other goodies from Dex.

Though Lego Star Wars spans the three prequels, it doesn’t really go in-depth with the movies’ stories. If someone isn’t familiar with the movies, I can see them getting confused. But then again, if a person isn’t familiar with the classic space opera at this point, they probably won’t be interested in Lego Star Wars.

Lego Star Wars is fairly easy. You can probably run through all the missions in only a few hours. What will take the most time in the game is when you try to go back and collect enough studs to fill up your Jedi Meter or all of the mini-kits. There are plenty of times when you are able to see the mini-kit, but in order to get it, you have to activate two or three different switches, each by a different person either because the puzzle requires multiple people or the switch can only be reached or activated by a particular type of person.

For instance, you might have to have one character stand on a switch in order to lower a wall, but that wall only stays down while someone is standing on it. So now the other person has to get behind that wall and activate another switch. That second switch lets the first person leave and either gets the mini-kit or maybe even another switch. I think there are only a couple of cases where it is this complicated, but you will find plenty of occasions where you can only pull a level with the Force and one of the smaller characters (little Anakin or Boba Fett) are the only ones who can get to the newly opened area. Even these puzzles aren’t hard in Lego Star Wars; they just require a little more thought than the rest of the game.

Game Mechanics:
I think one of the most memorable mechanics built in to Lego Star Wars is the ability for a second player to just jump in (or out) at any point without forcing you to restart the level or game. Many games have a completely separate mode for the multi-player community; this game’s multi-player aspect is a nice touch that I hadn’t really seen in most console games (with the possible exception being fighting games). It’s also nice to see that several games that were showcased at E3 2005 are going to be using that feature.

Lego Star Wars is a good game for any big kid to have. Though there isn’t a lot of reason to go back to it after you’ve completed all the missions, unlocked all of the characters, and gotten all the goodies, I found there were a few occasions when me and my little brother would still boot it up and play through a couple of our favorite levels. Lego Star Wars is a fun title to play through many of the major scenes from the prequel movies. Unfortunately it is a quick play. It seems to me that there were a lot of other sequences from the movies that could have been added into the game in order to lengthen the overall play-time, but alas, we are given 17 short chapters to play through.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

This site best viewed in Internet Explorer 6 or higher or Firefox.