LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (Gamecube) Review
When LEGO Star Wars was released last year the game was met with much acclaim, being a Star Wars game that broke away from the generic formula, providing an experience that was simple and easy to play and had a lot going for it in terms of fun factor. Now we bear witness to LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, and as the name suggests this sequel focuses on the last three movies in the Star Wars film series, which are Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. LEGO Star Wars II achieves everything that the first game did and give players a chance to have a light-hearted run through the star wars universe with the added enjoyment of the choice to play by yourself or a with a mate in co-op.
First and foremost, the presentation of the LEGO Star Wars II game is excellent, even though everything in the game world is built and constructed of Lego. The game authentically recreates the scenes from the movies as well as the likeness of the characters. Cut scenes also maintain the same fade to blacks and swipe transfers as well. Overall the game boasts some pretty neat visual effects. The light sabers have very nice looking lighting effects and you should feel confident that the GameCube version has some of the best graphics of the bunch.
Couple with this the fact that it’s the cheapest version is an additional sweetener. Also, you’ll be happy to know that the game features 60hz mode and Widescreen, something rarely seen in third-party GameCube games and kudos to Travelers Tales for that. As one would expect with a Star Wars game, the game’s soundtrack is right up there with that of the movies. With full access to the entire original score, Lego Star Wars perfectly recreates the sound track as well as new ditties for the more comical parts of the game. Sound effects are also clear as crystal and authentically tailored from the movies, with Light Sabers, blasters, ships and droids all sounding like they should. The only thing sound wise that could be considered to detract from this generally high standard is the lack of voice acting. While full-blown voiceovers may perhaps have been too much, I do think it needed a bit more other then just grunting and murmuring would have provided a better experience. However that being said, the miming the characters do and their body language during cut scenes does somewhat fill the gap left by the lack of voices.
LEGO Star Wars II for the most part is a action game. You perform the usual assortment of tricks such as jump, attack, defend, and depending on who you are playing as you have a different unique skill. Jedi have force powers, “Blaster” characters such as Han Solo and Chewbacca have a grappling hook, and RD-D2 has his hover jet (even though he shouldn’t if you follow the movies) coupled with a small attack, and shares the ability to open certain doors along with C-3P0. Also, it’s not just every level that you control someone different. During the course of a level you can be controlling anywhere from 2 players to 6, and with an assortment of character types changing characters is simple and only requires a tap on the Y button ro execute.
Another great feature of LEGO Star Wars II is the Co-Op mode, where your friends can drop in and out any time they wish. It feels very Arcady in a way as the “Press Start” display is located up in the top right hand side when the second player is not active, enticing you to come and play. When playing in Co-Op mode you can split up the workload between players and get through puzzles easier. Of course the co-op mode in its design is slightly flawed since you share a screen, so subsequently as soon as one character tries to leave or get a certain distance away it causes the second player to be dragged. This will often lead to you falling down chasms or getting stuck on walls. Communication is key to avoiding this, and since you’re in the same room this shouldn’t pose much of a problem. Both Players can control any of the other characters in your squad that are currently not “possessed” already by a player. As an added bonus, if you have your Star Wars Lego 1 save game on a memory card you will activate the potential to unlock characters from the original title for use in free play mode.
Character customisation has also found its way into this game; it is Lego after all. You can create your own character from literally 1000’s of pieces Want Darth Vader to have Chewbacca’s body? It’s all there in the Mos Eisley cantina hub world. As just mentioned, the Mos Eisley cantina acts as a hub. Each episode (IV, V and VI) split up into stages around different scenes in the movie, with initially only A New Hope is being available for play. However, the more you play through the game, the more becomes unlocked. When you’re not enjoying the Co-Op mode, the AI of the game takes over, and for the most they do a good job of not getting in the way and helping you out. That said however, there are a few times they will play dumb. An example would be the Jabba’s Palace level, where you play as Leia and Luke is in your squad. When there are lots of the palace guards, you’ll find that Luke runs to them, activates his Light Sabre, but then never does anything. When taking on multiple targets this makes things a tad difficult and you’ll find yourself dieing on many occasion.
Fortunately the game doesn’t penalise you much for dieing; no checkpoints or restarting levels on this game. You just lose a few Lego Studs (which are collected through the whole game for unlocking bonus’s) and away you go. The game is definitely not all platforming though; gone are the on rails driving segments. In its place are free roaming space battles, and yes that means the trench run is in there too. Unfortunately with the Battle of Hoth you find yourself taking nearly 20 mins just to destroy all the AT-AT’s and while the tow cable can be fun it’s a bit over done. Although I’ve picked out a few issues with the game, it should be noted that it is a lot of good, classic fun, and I was really impressed with it. It’s up there with the some of the best movie tie in games and can definitely be regarded as one of the best Star Wars based games too. The addition of co-op mode really makes it even more fun, as you and a mate can blast through the original trilogy and get a whole different experience. For the $50 dollars this game costs on the GameCube it is exceptional value, as there is at least 5 or 6 hours in it for the first time through and a lot longer to collect and unlock everything. In closing, Lego Star Wars II is a great deal for the fun loving. Pick it up, or else some little kid somewhere will smash a Lego figurine.