September 20, 2006
The Squarest Game Ever
A princess walks onto a starship. Hair piles up on her head in two symmetrical buns. Men in white suits shoot laser blasts at her. She shoots them back or, in the alternate, slaps them to death. Slapity-slap.
She is made of Legos.
This is a long while ago, in a galaxy made of people who are made of toy blocks. You know the story. It's the tale of "Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" — all bundled up under the umbrella title, "Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy."
All the iconic "Star Wars" stuff is here. The canteen. Droids. The coolest weapons ever (light sabers). The dorkiest pets ever (Ewoks). What's funny about "Lego Star Wars II" is everything.
Hear Darth Vader's voice! Coming out of a bunch of black Lego blocks with a round helmet on top.
See the Millennium Falcon! Sprouting Lego bumps all over it.
Reason A for LucasArts to create a second "Star Wars" game out of Legos is money. Let's not fool ourselves. It's one more "Star Wars" product. But Reason B is less cynical and also true: it is the cutest little thing.
"Lego" lets gamers take an entire journey through three Star Wars movies. It adds scenes so the game lasts even longer. It's even more ambitious than the first "Lego Star Wars," and it's pretty fun.
There are three small problems. One: Legos don't talk, apparently. The only voices you hear resemble "Huh. Hu-hoo-huh." Two: Even on the powerful Xbox 360, visuals aren't much splashier than they are on the PS 2. Three: It's harder than I want it to be.
It's truly somewhat challenging. I made Obi Wan Kenobi sneak into an area he wasn't supposed to jump into yet — a desert town with walking garbage pales — and I got stuck for an hour. Normally, I smack a game that's made purposely too hard. But in this case, I fear this is my fault.
What I'm saying is, here I am capable of slaughtering entire Nazi armies in war games, and wiggling my fanny the correct way in a female beach volleyball game, but I'm a "Lego Star Wars" moron. I can't make Lego Luke Skywalker work for me. Who knew? I never thought I'd get angry with Legos.
This is a great game for kids. Violence is bloodless. A ton of critical thinking decisions need to be made. You play as all the characters. Each have special missions to do. Droids crack open doors. Obi Wan uses The Force to make scatterings of Legos turn into bridges and other infrastructures.
It's a little too wonky for me, but not fatally. I like to slice things to bits. But if your kid likes Ewoks, Princess Leia's hair and Han Solo's flying house, this is a winner. I bet your kids will save the universe better than I could.
("Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy" for Xbox, PS 2, GCube, PSP, DS — Plays fun. Looks good. Moderately challenging. It's rated "E 10+" for cartoon violence and crude humor. Three stars out of four.)