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LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy

Block-busting sequel a force to be reckoned with

WHERE TO START? Well, let's just get this off our chests to begin with shall we? THIS IS THE BEST DAMN STAR WARS GAME EVER MADE AND YOU'D BE CRAZY NOT TO BUY A COPY. There, that feels better. Now, let's crack on with telling you why.

First up, you know the story, who doesn't? It's a classic tale of good versus evil, and one so parodied and copied you probably wonder how the hell Traveller's Tales could put a fresh twist on it. But put a twist on the age-old story it does, and with such incredible, delicious imagination it'll feel like experiencing the whole damn shebang from the get-go.

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Like the exceptional first LEGO Star Wars, the sequel is crammed with humour, blink-and-you'll-miss-čem visual gags and knowing winks, but this time around, it's so much easier to relate to. We all know the Original Trilogy, so we can all relate to the expert parodying. There are simply too many of them to cover in one review, but when Darth flaps a polaroid of a pregnant Padme and Anakin in front of Luke to convince him of his parentage you know you're onto a good thing.

So, the gameplay? Well, having played through all three chapters and discovering we'd only actually completed about a quarter of the game properly, it's safe to say there's plenty going on here. There are locked doors that can only be opened by obscure characters that get unlocked after a 10th play-thru, and secret walls that we still don't know how to break open. The Force doesn't do it, nor does a Dewback headbutt, so answers on a postcard please. In fact, the entire game is a labyrinth of discoverable treats and unlockable goodness. There are 99 of these blocks to collect, half a dozen of these aliens to find, a scattering of mechanical parts and a baker's dozen of shimmering pods to unearth. You'll feel like Time Team, traipsing about the place. We'd hate to imagine how long it would take to complete the whole thing, but we're guessing it's somewhere in the realm of light years.

Like the first LEGO Star Wars game before it, The Original Trilogy (George insists we cap that up every time we say it) is as much a Star Wars game as it is a LEGO game, blending the two perfectly (and humourously don't forget) to great effect. So, when Luke arrives in Bespin, he has to dismantle a part of his X-Wing to čForce build' a bridge to an adjoining platform. When he's in Dagohbah, to prevent himself falling in the swamp, he has to use the force to pull out various objects such as shopping trolleys and old washing machines, then reconstruct them into something useful. But it isn't all just bridge building and what have you. LEGO is the world's most loved toy brand remember, and that's because you can build whole damned theme parks from the stuff. Like a Warner Bros cartoon, we're called upon to build a door out of LEGO in a detention block then escape through the hole, or piece together a Scout Walker bit by bit until we've got enough to blast a battalion of Storm Troopers to bits. Natty!

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Even when we're not marvelling at this marriage of plastic blocks and Death Stars, there's something incredible going on in this game, and it's all in the little details. The way John Williams' score kicks in at precisely the correct moments, the way faux-plastic moulding seams along large vehicles and creatures, and the way just about everything moveable has the dinky LEGO nodules on it. But it's also the way Traveller's Tales has imbued everything with personality that also helps as well. Scout Walkers don't just fall over when shot, they sort of trip-stumble like a toddler then wiggle a bit on the ground. There's hardly time to appreciate what's going on here, but at a subliminal, almost unconscious level, you can hear your inner geek nudging you in the ribs and shouting, "You see what they did there? You f*cking see that?!" Which leads us onto the vehicles.

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