Lego Star Wars (Game Boy Advance) - Review by Andrew
Although I haven't caught the movie yet we've already reviewed Ubi Soft's latest effort to bring the classic space opera to a Nintendo handheld. This is the third game to tie in with the release of Revenge of the Sith (if you include the rather watered down, Ubi Soft GBA version) and hopes are high that developers and publishers alike will at last produce something that goes at least some way to delivering a decent game to celebrate possibly one of the most famous movie franchises ever. The big difference here is the fact that we now have LEGO thrown into the mix and while we've looked at titles featuring these plastic building blocks before, this is the first time they've featured in a movie tie-in although I'm sure Harry Potter is just around the corner. Getting back to the Ubi Soft version both DS and GBA packages received decidedly mixed reviews so if you are on a limited budget after shelling out to actually see the movie, which one is best?
LEGO Star Wars allows you to tackle any one of the 'new' trilogy in any order you wish so if you want some spoilers of Revenge of the Sith, albeit in abridged form, then you can go to that episode straight away. These are then split up into manageable levels tackling memorable story points and characters in each of the movies. The gameplay itself is generally of the hack and slash variety thanks to your trusty light saber but other characters use guns or brute force. Our favourite was undoubtedly the use of the Force and whenever it?s indicated (generally with a sparkling effect surrounding the object) you can put your Jedi tricks into action with the results ranging from changing objects and stunning enemies to moving blocks and activating platforms. It's essential you look out for these as they generally indicate which direction you should be going in and are almost always the safest route. Outside of these 'story' sections there's also the 'Free Roaming' option, which allows you to select any level you've completed and play it with any one of your available characters unlocked. One final thing, which we?d encourage in the future, is the inclusion of cheats as a menu option. These exist for almost all games but making them this accessible and even giving them away, at the end of each level, will no doubt delight amateur hackers.
While some isometric games can occasionally be problematic the control system here is surprisingly easy regardless of who you're controlling. There's also a fair bit of help at hand too with speech bubbles appearing over characters? heads hinting at not only what weapon to use but also which button to press.
The fact that almost all the environments are constructed of LEGO blocks throughout the game actually works quite well and there's very little in the way of repeated backdrops. The animation is wonderful especially when you utilise your Force powers to transform an object to your advantage. A nod must also go the cut screens that have been lifted from the console and PC versions, which not only do a great job of pushing the story along but also occasionally remind you that these are plastic bricks and not actors and so humour is always at the top of the list.
If you own a DS you'll be well aware of the enhanced sound capabilities and Ubi Soft's latest Star Wars title features a full sampled score in all its glory. Surprisingly the audio here is just as good and in some areas even better with the developers pushing the humble GBA sound chip all the way to create a truly memorable soundtrack. The spot sound effects are just as pleasing with a number of sound effects lifted from the archives and adding greatly to the overall atmosphere of the game.
Well, to answer the question I'm sure is on everyone?s lips 'this one is better.... much better?. What makes LEGO Star Wars so much more enjoyable than Ubi Soft's effort though is the fact that the while thing is much more successful in placing you in the Star Wars Universe mostly due to the ingenious way it balances ?The Force? with the LEGO building blocks themselves. There's also the sound, which is incredible, and given George Lucas's obsession with the soundtrack of a movie the developers have no doubt impressed the Star Wars creator here. The only real criticism is the game?s length but given that the initial play through is so satisfying, and there's also the question of seeking out all the bonus items, this is a minor quibble.
Pro: Sounds Wonderful
Con: A Little Repetitive
Final score: 8.1
|Platform:||Game Boy Advance|