If you think about the concept behind Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy for too long, your brain could, potentially, explode. The idea is this: It’s a retelling of the original three Star Wars movies as performed by digital Lego characters in digital Lego worlds. The game turns out to be one of the better Star Wars games out there, though, to be honest, I’m not sure how much of a compliment that is.
Available for all major gaming consoles and portables, LSWII is an action-based platformer with simplistic puzzles sewn in to give it the illusion of diverse gameplay. The puzzles generally involve getting your entire party from Point A to Point B (which can be tricky when your party includes the severely undermobile C3PO), and the action involves a lot of blasting with Han, light saber-ing with Luke, and, in a great moment akin to first discovering “the boot” in Super Mario Bros. 3, ripping people’s arms off with Chewbacca.
The game is mostly intended for kids, so it is, for the most part, easy. It’s made so by the fact that you cannot die. Ever. You can lose all your life, which means you lose a substantial amount of the money you’ve collected throughout the game’s levels, but you’ll never have to restart a level from the beginning.
Or that’s what developer Traveler’s Tales intended, at least; however, in reality, there’s just gobs of game-stopping glitches included in this title. Things like not being able to advance because your computer-controller partner won’t move, or getting stuck because the platform you’re supposed to hop up onto is several feet above what you could possibly reach. It’s never difficult to get back to where you were before the game locked-up, but the game still plays as though it weren’t quite finished, like the publisher was trying to rush it out in time to coincide with the new DVD release of the original trilogy, or something.
LSWII really excels as a two-player game; there isn’t much better, as far as geeks can be concerned at least, than spending a Friday night surfing through one of the most beloved movies of the past several decades with one of your best friends.
At least, that goes so far as “free play,” which lets you play through the game’s levels as any character you choose, is concerned; in the game’s main “story mode,” you’re stuck playing as who the computer tells you to, meaning, oftentimes, that the sole purpose of your friend is to be R2-D2 and open doors for you, which—bear with me on this—isn’t very fun. But it actually works out a little better than trying to play with the computer by your side, as the computer tends to be only slightly more intelligent than a Rancor; it’s favorite trick is to stand right in front of whoever it is you’re trying to kill so you have to kill your partner before you can kill your enemy…which, truth be told, isn’t too upsetting when your partner is an Ewok.
If you haven’t lost all your money on basically meaningless death, you can spend it on new characters, ships, and even cheats such as the amazingly useful ability to self-destruct. And If you own the original Lego Star Wars (the one based on the newer trilogy), you can unlock all of its characters for free play, meaning, say, that you can tear through levels as Mace Windu, who is probably sick of all the motherbleeping Storm Troopers on this motherbleeping Death Star.
There’s no reason any Star Wars, Legos, or videogame fan in general shouldn’t love LSWII, and it’s priced ten bucks cheaper than most new titles. It’s better than its predecessor by sheer virtue of the fact that it’s based on the older, better trilogy; though the first one was pretty sweet to begin with. Pick this baby up when you get a chance.