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April 27, 2005
Lego Star Wars - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
22/4/2005AtariTraveller's Tales1-2G8+Easy
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
202KBDolby PLIIYesNoNoneNo

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The lego moves better then Hayden.
Who ever would have thought that Lego and Star Wars would make the almost perfect video game. I certainly didn't. Sure I had my hopes, but it more of a "yar that could be cool" kind of thing. What I have discovered is that Lego Star Wars is one of the coolest, most enjoyable titles in recent times. Although it's certainly aimed at the younger market this is a game that almost anyone interested in Star Wars will enjoy - at least for a while.

Lego Star Wars recreates the six of the most pivotal moments from each of the three prequel movies - The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and the forthcoming Revenge of the Sith. These include pod racing on Mos Espa, the repelling of the droid onslaught in the Genosian arena and Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gonís fatal fight with Darth Maul. In fact it's the inclusion of so many major moments from Episode III that is the biggest surprise give that the movie is still a month away. It's going to take some willpower to not play through these missions given the games addictiveness, and you'll certainly see some big spoiler moments from the movie!

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The graphics are pretty neat.
During the game you have the opportunity to play as many of the main characters including Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Anakin Skywalker and R2-D2. In all the game includes well over 30 characters including characters from the Dark Side such as Jango Fett, Darth Maul and Count Dooku are unlocked when defeated. Even more impressive is how each of the characters has abilities equal to those in the movies. A perfects example is Anakin Skywalker. Young Anakin has no force powers, nor light saber, but has the ability to slip through small spaces making him invaluable on some missions. Older Anakin of course has weapons and Force Powers. These force powers can be used by any Jedi in the game and are crucial to moving objects, turning on switches or creating new pathways. The Force Push is also available to push enemies into each other, or walls, to inflict damage. R2- D2 and C3PO are useful in that they can unlock doors and break security codes.

In each of the missions at least two characters will be available, if you have a second controller the game supports 2-players. Each of the levels often your party reaches five characters. On many occasions it will be necessary to use certain characters to complete tasks in order for your group to proceed. Perhaps R2-D2 will need to fly over a large area to reach a switch, or perhaps Queen Amidela will need to use a grappling hook to reach a high ledge.

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A Viewpoint inspired level.
Not all of the game is platforming however. In Episode I you'll come across a re-creation of the Pod Race sequence on Mos Espa where you, as a young Anakin, must pilot the pod racer to victory. It's pretty good fun actually, not as pretty as Star Wars: Racer Revenge, but no slouch either. Perhaps even more exciting was the Viewpoint (anyone remember the classic shooter?) inspired level from Episode II. It's really a shame that this level is over so quickly, you could easily turn this into a much bigger component of the title, or even a separate game.

To be honest I think the developers made a critical error in their design of this game. They obviously believed it would be aimed at a young market and as a result made it so easy - especially with unlimited continues - that they totally neglected the older gamer. The game is also pretty short with a completion time of about 5 hours - but unlocking all the extras and then Jedi levels will take many times this. Perhaps if events from the Original Trilogy were included it would have boosted the longevity immeasurably. As it is Lego Star Wars is far too easy. Still, anyone under 10 or so will probably absolutely love it due to this.

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Yet more battles.
The biggest problem with this title is that it's way to easy. With unlimited continues the game is basically a simple walk through from start to finish. Surely the developers could have made some more difficulty levels. Compounding this is the fact that the came is very short with only 18 levels in all (excluding some bonus levels). Surely the developers could, or should, have continued the game with Episodes IV, V and VI which would have at least doubled the play time to closer to 10 hours, rather then the 5-6 on offer here. One consolation however is that this game is littered with hidden areas and items to collect. This certainly expands the longevity of the title by many hours as you find the right characters to reach the bonuses.

Although the graphics in Lego Star Wars look simplistic they really are quite wonderful. The Lego characters all move as you expect and when destroyed shatter into smaller pieces. The game, obviously not pushing the PS2 to its limits, retains a solid frame rate often with dozens of characters on screen at once. The layout of Dexter's Diner where you can select episodes, hints and unlockable items is quite superb with unlocked characters walking around, and credits to collect. Certainly a highlight of the game graphically are the cut scenes. Rather then use video footage from the movies the developers have re-created many scenes using the Lego characters. On several occasions the developers have created little scenes that didn't appear in the movies - most of them are quite humorous. In one scene Anakin's light saber fails to work while Qui-Gon Jinn kills all the enemies. If there's one negative with the graphics it's that the camera is fixed with no manual control. On more then one occasion I was falling off a ledge simply because I couldn't see how close I was due to how far into the distance I was located.

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Graphics really look nice.
As expected sound in Lego Star Wars is dominated by John Williams' wonderful Star Wars music. It's amazing how this music never gets tired no matter how many times you hear it be it in the movie or video games. Skywalker Sound have also provided the sound effects for the game ensuring their quality is second to none. One aspect which is a little surprising is that the game contains no speech at all. No original actors providing voices, not even poor reproductions. This game instead relies on the facial expressions of the characters to convey their thoughts and feelings. Strangely this lack of speech doesn't affect the game at all.

It's such a surprise that George Lucas would allow this game to be released 4 weeks prior to Revenge of the Sith hitting the cinemas especially as it shows many of the moments in the final movie. Fortunately this part of the game can be easily skipped until a later date. Lego Star Wars is a wonderful title which, while aimed at youngsters, is certainly entertaining for older gamers. My only wish would be that it was longer, it's over way to quickly. Still, Lego Star Wars is a great purchase.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version)
GRAPHICSIt may look a bit average, but it actually looks quite special.
SOUNDNo voice but they aren't missed. Music and effects are awesome.
GAMEPLAYA lot more entertaining then you would think. Force powers rock!
VALUEWay to easy, and way too short. Should have included original trilogy.
OVERALLIf this game was double in length thenLego Star Wars would have scored closer to 90%. Unfortunately for older gamers it's over way too soon. Still, this game is so much more then anyone could have hoped and youngsters will absolutely love it. Let's hope they make a bigger sequel soon.

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