Review by Sour DieseL
"A long time ago, in a Lego galaxy far, far away..."
The Lego company's first foray into gaming in the Star Wars universe was met with critical acclaim. The result we got was an amazing sequel, not to mention the tons of other Lego games that have been released since, such as Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Batman, and Lego Rock Band. Everybody loves Lego's and almost everybody loves Star Wars. Since only half of the story was covered with the first game, they had to give fans the rest of the story and they delivered. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy was an instant success just as it's predecessor was and would go on to be included in Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, just to milk it a bit more because they knew fans would eat it up.
Story: 10/10: For those unfamiliar with the Star Wars franchise, or the original trilogy in particular, the story takes place in a galaxy far away from our own with a diverse arrangement of various alien species and even humans, though they don't hail from Earth. The setting for this game takes place within the original trilogy as denoted by the game's title. During this time, a vicious Empire rules over the galaxy and is run by an Emperor who is essentially a speciesist (racism towards alien races). The Empire dissolved the previous institution of government, a democratic one, slowly taking over the galaxy. The Empire would begin flexing it's militant muscle, sending squads and garrisons of their stormtroopers to almost every inhabited planet, and even uninhabited ones. In response to this, a rebel alliance was born to take down the Empire and restore peace to the galaxy.
At the beginning of the first movie (or game, in this case), Darth Vader, the Emperor's right hand man had been tracking down stolen construction plans for a new, massive weapon for the Empire known as the Death Star, a giant space station with enough firepower to destroy a planet. He's close when the Empire catches a rebel ship with the plans on-board. Princess Leia of Alderaan sneaks the plans away on two droids and sends them off to the nearby desert planet of Tattooine. A young farmer happens to pick up the droids with his uncle to help with the coming moisture harvest. However the boy dreams of getting away and joining the rebellion against the Empire. He lives with his Aunt and Uncle, himself being orphaned at a very young age. One of the droids sneaks away to find an old man named Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke follows the rogue droid and together they happen upon Kenobi, who saves them from a group of Tuskan Raiders (aka "Sand People"). Upon returning home, Luke finds the only family he's ever known dead. With no reason to stay on Tattooine, he decides to go on with Obi-Wan Kenobi to join the rebellion.
Game-play: 10/10: The game-play is fantastic. You start off in a central hub, in the case of this game, the Mos Eisley Canteena. You'll have to play the movies progressively, as only the first one is unlocked. Each movie is broken down into six chapters. Entering one of the doors with the appropriate number will thrust you into that chapter. In story mode you'll only have the characters who fit into that chapter from the movies playable in that chapter. If you're a Jedi, you'll be able to use the force to toss around your enemies. If a blue light encircles an object, and said object will often be shaking or rattling as well, you can hold down the Force button when it's highlighted to fix the broken structure. There are also some valves and openings that can be opened this way as well. Normal characters will have a blaster pistol that you can blow stuff up with. Also, the game features a series of fun ideas. For instance, you can go to a sort of "hat-dispenser" that gives you a stormtrooper helmet as well as many others. Some doors require you to be a storm trooper (or have the helmet) or a bounty hunter to open. Among the hats is also Indiana Jones' hat, which I often like to put on Han Solo, as Harrison Ford played both Han Solo and Indy. Beating a level will get you a gold brick. And upon killing enemies and blowing up things, they'll drop Lego studs which are used as currency. If you collect enough studs in one stage, you'll get True Jedi status, which lands you an extra gold brick for that chapter.
And then there's Free Play mode where you can select any type of character you want. Upon doing this, you'll be given at least one of each type of character. You'll be given a Jedi, a Sith (an evil Jedi and the only characters that can open or build certain force able objects), a bounty hunter, an imperial officer, R2D2, and C-3PO, so that everything in a stage will become accessible. Each level has a Lego mini-kit to build and upon completion of a mini-kit, you'll be given tons of studs, plus yet another gold brick. You'll also happen upon the rare red brick, which there is one of in each chapter. Collecting these will allow you to buy cheats in the Canteena. The cheats include invincibility and the ability to multiply the value of studs. And the multipliers stack. So once you buy all of the stud multiplier cheats and turn them on at the same time, you'll be rolling in the money and you'll never run out.
Graphics: 10/10: They did an amazing job with the graphics and level design. Absolutely EVERYTHING looks like it's built out of Lego's. From the characters to the Death Star and even the Star Destroyers. The programmers went in to add some pretty funny animations. For instance, when playing as Chewbacca, you can rip off an enemies arms with a humorous "Pop" sound. The graphics are all very smooth are detailed to a huge level. The visual effects are no less than pleasant and the lightsaber and laser effects are just fantastic. The game has an overall cartoony and campy feel to it so that gamers of all ages can enjoy this masterpiece. Plenty of scenes were altered to give it this feel, notably the big reveal in Episode V that will have you rolling with laughter.
Audio: 10/10: The entire game uses tracks from the original movies as far as the music goes. It's all composed by John Williams and I try not to overuse this word, but the music is in fact epic. The sound effects for the lightsabers and lasers sound like they're straight from the movies as well. And upon killing enemies or knocking down a ton of Lego bricks, it sound like actual Lego's falling onto other Lego's. Every structure that can be destroyed has an exaggerated explosive sound as well. Because everything just blows up, aside from characters of course, who do actually kind of explode with "pop" sound as their limbs go flying everywhere. The voice acting is pretty funny too as the characters all speak in a language that can only be described as very similar to the Sims series, speaking in a bunch of gibberish and cute vocal sounds.
Overall: 10/10: Lego Star Wars II delivers in overall fun factor giving the opportunity for everyone to enjoy this great game. You'll be blasting and flying your way through the Star Wars universe and if you still haven't delved into the franchise, then Lego Star Wars II is a great place to start. However the best place overall to start would be the movies, but this is a game review, not a movie review! So if you like Lego's without having to clean up the mess and if you're a Star Wars fan, then this game is a must-own so hurry up and pick yourself up a copy!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/17/10, Updated 07/06/10
Game Release: LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (US, 09/12/06)
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