Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (Game Boy Advance) Review

By Mike Mason 23.10.2006 10

The original Lego Star Wars came as somewhat of a shock. A game that was, by and large, developed with children in mind as its primary audience somehow managed to grab at the eyes and ears of older members of the gaming crowd due to its superb and, above all, fun gameplay. More shockingly still was that the Game Boy Advance version stood up surprisingly well in comparison to the full console versions. Can the feat be repeated for the sequel?

It shouldn't really be necessary for us to explain what Lego Star Wars entails, but we will anyway. The first game focused on the latter trilogy, that of Star Wars episodes 1, 2 and 3 and involved you stomping about a Lego world as brick representations of famous characters from the films. Since release, people have been calling out for a version featuring the original trilogy, episodes 4, 5 and 6 - well, more campaigning rabidly. Not being ones to turn down a licence to print money, particularly after the success of the first game, LucasArts naturally agreed and thus Lego Star Wars 2 was born to satisfy the old school Star Wars fans and introduce the original trilogy to a whole new audience. Again.

Screenshot for Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy on Game Boy Advance

Coming back to the question of living up to the original: well, it depends on how fussy you are, or how much time you give to a game before condemning it to all levels of gaming hell. Simply put, in this case, first impressions are not good. Actually, that’s incorrect – when you first look and listen to the game, all is well and good. It’s first impressions of the controls, when you touch the d-pad, that the problems arise. Controlling movement is initially slow, jerky and unsatisfying, threatening to destroy the game before it has even truly begun – especially devastating when you think about how smooth analogue control is on home consoles.

As said though, sometimes it depends on how time and patience you’re willing to divulge before judgement. After our first painful play, Lego Star Wars 2 was confined to its box in disappointing at how the rage caused by just one level. Give it a bit more of a chance though, a good half hour or so, and control isn’t as much of an issue as it might seem at first. Sure, it’s a little bit clunky, and it’s no serious competitor to analogue movement, but it’s definitely functional. With that matter out of the way, it was time to set the galaxy to rights, Lego-stylee…

Back to how it looks and sounds then; on both counts, Lego Star Wars 2 is pretty spanking for the Game Boy Advance. The sound chip is put to good use belting out the theme that many of us know and love, while the pseudo-3D isometric viewpoint does a convincing job of imitating the graphics displayed by other versions, reflections of environments, shadows and all are included. There are a couple of minor complaints on the presentation front: firstly, characters will occasionally clip with the environments, and the blaster sound effects are quite weak – a little annoying since you’ll be hearing them a lot more than other effects.

Screenshot for Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy on Game Boy Advance

Many of the complaints, though, come from the gameplay. While it does follow the same basic path as the console versions, this one comes a 'Lite' version of them. The Lego Star Wars games are, as a rule, easy, what with you being offered uncomplicated gameplay and infinite lives, but it all goes a bit far here. It's no joke when we say that it is entirely possible to hold the B button down for most of the game and still do perfectly fine, thanks to the rapid-fire nature of the blasters - and this means it's possible to complete the game in a night with a bit of focus. There's a lack of balance as well, with some levels being twisting mazes of frustration and others lasting all of twenty seconds (no exaggeration). Another thing stripped down from the other versions is the general humour. Amaze have obviously tried, but with the hardware as it is it is unable to use cutscenes that don't consist of in-game characters with speech bubbles popping up above their heads (with pictures representing their thoughts in them, before anybody starts picking up pitchforks thinking that there're words in the game), and as a result one of the major points of the original's appeal is lost. There're only so many times you can see an unskippable scene of Lego characters with exclamation marks appearing above their heads before it grates...

To be fair, a lot of the problems associated with Lego Star Wars 2 are due to one factor: the Game Boy Advance hardware. It isn't at its best trying to do this kind of thing, and you can't help but think that there was a bit too much ambition involved, with the Return Of The Jedi levels showing this at its worst. In one stage you must play as an Ewok and destroy four AT-STs as they stomp around Endor Forest, but from the outset it's painfully clear that it isn't working. There're too many enemies scattered around the level, too much detail attempted on the environment, generally too much going on, and it results in the kind of slowdown that would make the Dalai Lama hurl his system across the room and declare war on LucasArts. Have you ever lost a 30-foot bipedal machine of war in the middle of a battle? No, neither have we, but the Stormtroopers here managed it as we searched every single inch of the level repeatedly for 20 minutes in a bid to find and bring a fire-based end to the fourth and final AT-ST necessary to complete the stage.

Screenshot for Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy on Game Boy Advance

The most enjoyable part of the game is, somewhat predictably, the stages involving commandeering vehicles. Despite a dodgy default control scheme (which can be rectified with a quick trip to the options menu), these are well done if lacking direction a little at times (the Trench Run, for example, was mainly completed through random bombings of the ground). The graphical style adopted in one of Amaze's previous GBA games, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, makes a welcome return as well, with thick black boundaries outlining the vehicles to set them out from the terrain. It would have been nice to have these present in the other levels, but it seems that this was the only area where they were really left to it, since the on-foot levels are merely sliced down versions of the other formats' game/s.

If the Game Boy Advance hardware had been taken into account and the same game had come out with less detail and the lack of things like shadows, a game more generally optimised for the system, nobody would have minded so long as it played well. Too much has been placed on the GBA's frail old body here though, and as a result it is the player who suffers, not the Empire at the end of your mighty lightsabre. Go for the home console edition instead.

Screenshot for Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy on Game Boy Advance

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Clumsy, disappointing attempt at downsizing the big boy console versions into a teensy package. It would’ve been nice if a bit more time had been spent thinking about the merits of the hardware and a different game had been tailored to it – though perhaps even a bit less graphical detail and a tad less blaster usage would have served it well and made it an enjoyable adventure. To use a cliché: the Force isn’t strong with – oh, forget it.

Developer

Traveller's Tales

Publisher

LucasArts

Genre

Adventure

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (4 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Well balanced and fair review there, John! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

It's hard to be fair when there is ZERO positives for it Smilie

Brick em all with boss levels in sounds awesome.

Its one of those not very good but addictive games.

Avoid Games Like the Plague, productivity++

It's hard to be fair when there is ZERO positives for it

hahaha :lol: true

I see all these people insulting the Nintendo corporation because of the lack of mature content. Yet there is something about Nintendo (at least their games) that strikes a certain unadulterated feeling of joy!!!  Pokemon Y - 1048-9263-5562

Didn't this game come out a few months ago...?

Or not for this format?

Avoid Games Like the Plague, productivity++

not something that I'd go out and buy, but good review :Smilie I like the graphics, they're pretty cute

Co-founder of the PDSLB - Pink DS Lite Buddies Fraz: Cheerios are made from fairy orgasms.

It came out last month. Unfortunately, I had a computer breakdown and so wasn't able to review it until now. Better late than never, I always say...

it looks beautiful, as good as minish cap imo, pity about the slowdown, tjough, nintendo got the balance in minish cap perfect it seems.

Looks like traveller's tales prioritised the console versions over their handheld counterpart's


Mike Gee of iZINE said, "...The Verve, as he [Richard Ashcroft] promised, had become the greatest band in the world. Most of the critics agreed with him. Most paid due homage. The Verve were no longer the question mark or the clich. They were the statement and the definition."

This game is sooo fuckin stupid

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