Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (2007)
Oh boy. There are an awful lot of Lego games out there – and no shortage of Lego fans either. And however many strong the legion of AFOLs is (Adult Fans of Lego, do look it up, it’s a technical term), the number of Star Wars fans must be astronomically higher again. That means I’ve got a huge amount of people to potentially annoy to death with this piece, and I’m quite looking forward to it.
First of all, let’s deal with Lego. And do you know, I don’t think I’ve ever received my due praise for steering myself away from Lego as a child. My mother only ever accused me of costing her a fortune, before I’d have to bash open my piggy bank and give her the 2 pound 47 pence I’d saved up that week.
What if I’d started throwing tantrums over not getting any Lego? Actually, I probably did, and I’ve just repressed the memories. Maybe it was these experiences that gave me a crippling fear of rejection.
I did once receive an amazing Lego castle, with ghosts and shining knights and at least two full colour building manuals – quite a bit better than the leaflets you get in PS4 game cases nowadays, or the nothing-at-alls you get in the unnecessarily big Switch cases.
Unfortunately that castle was razed and all the pieces lost, probably after I left it out in the rain. You may have heard a horrible scuttling sound just then; that’s the sound of zillions of AFOLs out there, feeling their teeth itch at learning that I left a perfectly good castle out in the elements, thick child that I was.
And that was that, no more Lego for me, not for the special child. I couldn’t blame my mother for this, because as I got older and got my own disposable income (thank you government), I still looked upon Lego as some sort of seriously hard, life-ruining drug. Try Lego once and you can get away with it. Try it a second time and almost immediately you’ll be taking up residence outside a wretched train station on dark nights, offering fellatio to all passers-by to help you feed your terrible minifigure habit.
Now for Star Wars. Like most well-adjusted people, I’m a fan of the series. And like most well-adjusted people, I don’t go completely overboard. By which I mean I don’t dress up as a rubbish bin at conventions and say I’m R2D2 while mimicking all his noises.
I certainly don’t contribute articles to Wookieepedia, where I understand there is an article simply entitled ‘breast’, possibly the most visited page on the site, and probably of greatest utility to the Wookieepedia frequenters. The breast page, if you’re interested, explains what they are in great detail and which characters, both females and Jabbas, have them. It also informs us that breasts “reasonably appear” in all forms of Star Wars media.
I do really want Han Solo’s excellent blue jacket from The Empire Strikes Back, but that’s it. As for my level of expertise with the films, my favourite is A New Hope, which I’ve seen heaps of times. In second and third place are Empire, then Jedi, which I’ve seen a respectable handful of times each.
The prequels, which to me are just one mass of dirge that all runs together, I’ve probably seen that trilogy in its entirety once, maybe twice if all of the prequel meme videos put together can be counted as a watch. I don’t bother with spin-offs either, as I am a jock.
Since the Lego Company preys on nerds, probably because they have the most money and they can easily bolster their nerdcred by buying all the obscure and pricey things they can, it was inevitable that a crossover with Star Wars was going to occur. There’s been Lego Rock Band, so what makes you think there wouldn’t be a Star Wars one?
Not that you’d know it, because Lego Star Wars rigidly conforms to the cookie-cutter Lego game style: slowly wander through areas that vaguely look like famous set-pieces from the movies. Then come to a halt and try to wrap your head around obtuse puzzles, usually solvable by finding the tiniest little brick hidden away in some nook or cranny that your character then builds up into an oddly out of place Lego contraption.
Every so often, an infinitely spawning amount of enemies jumps out at you and the same section of dramatic music appropriate for that level restarts over and over again as the enemies come, go then come again. What’s really bizarre, and a bit of a bummer, is that the vehicle levels don’t allow any flexibility in the controls – the Snowspeeder controls the exact same way as the Batmobile and as a jeep in Lego Jurassic Park.
And would you believe me if I told you that, with Darth Vader taken care of during the Death Star Trench Run, you have to then quite literally U-turn, pick up the photon torpedo as a collectible item, and U-turn back on course once more to send the bombs home? And with three new TIE Fighters on your case, flying in the same formation as Vader and regularly destroying your X-Wing, sending studs flying everywhere? It’s clunky beyond recognition. A famous sequence in cinematic history, and the Atari Star Wars games conveyed it better.
The Complete Saga, by which I mean The Incomplete Saga as we’re going right the way up to Episode 9 plus spinoffs (it’s Disney now, remember), has a piddly 6 films included. But that was fine juice at the time, considering there had previously been Lego games that separated the trilogies, as well as a game for Revenge of the Sith all by itself. Within each of the six films is six chapters, so thirty-six little slices plus bonus levels await you.
Like most Lego games, play it with a pal if you can, because you’ll have five times the fun and the cumbersome, more frustrating aspects of the game will be better masked. I could see this game being a laugh riot with you and a buddy if you indulge in a bit of Friendly Fire, and maybe take a drink every time you fall off and die.
If you’re playing Solo, the simple and easy-going nature of the game can seem like a wonderful break from hard-going, 100 hour RPGs at first, but it may very quickly give way to tedium if you don’t play in short doses. However, do feel free to put dozens of hours into the game as you endeavour to build up a massive stud balance, enlist an army of all kinds of obscure characters from the franchise and try to find all of the unlockables (all but impossible without a guide).
It probably sounds like I hate the game, but I don’t – it’s enjoyable. It can just be a little bit insulting. Do your best to ignore the fact that it’s an identikit Lego game, only with Chewbacca tacked on rather than The Penguin or Indiana Jones, and you’ll have fun. You’ve played one Lego game, you’ve played them all.
No matter how many times I tried to steer the construction of my old Lego castle towards it being a modern military barracks, complete with surface-to-air missile installations, full-sized firing ranges and key supply convoys, the finished product still inevitably turned out to be a medieval castle every time. Paradoxically, creativity and innovation is about the last thing you can expect from the Lego games. It’s only due to the Star Wars licence backing it that this is probably the best that Lego games get.
16 November 2018