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Game Preview: LEGO Star Wars

Game Core is a weekly column by's William Vitka and Chad Chamberlain that focuses on gamers and gaming.

I have been a Star Wars geek for a very long time.

Return Of The Jedi was released the year I was born, 1983. Due to diaper-related things, I was unable to see it. But in '87, my father found it in a theater and I was all over it like a toddler on pudding.

At least, that's what my dad tells me.

I still have the massive accumulation of toys, old school Nintendo and Super Nintendo LucasArts games. Zombies Ate My Neighbors remains one of my favorite titles of all time.

But if I were a younger gamer, I'd be teething for LEGO Star Wars.

Recently, Chad and I were able to spend some time with LSW and it looks like it's going to be – I'm saying this at the risk of sounding like a dorky, not at all professional, gamer – totally awesome.

The game covers the prequel trilogy only, Episodes I through III, but boasts 30 characters with their own unique moves and powers. Chad favored Count Dooku while I was a decidedly Obi-Wan guy.

As Jedi, you can use your Force powers at will, and reckless abuse of The Force is always fun. I also enjoyed playing Blaster Baseball with the Lightsaber. You can of course deflect blaster shots, so long as you've got the timing down.

You'll need the expertise of other characters as well, though. Droids will be needed for certain doors and high-jumping characters for certain tight spots. Want to shoot enemies from afar? Princess Amidala is mighty handy with a blaster.

That brings up another nifty aspect of LEGO Star Wars: you can cycle through any characters in your team with the click of a button. There is no puttering through a menu screen or having to head back to a check or save point. It's a very nice time saver and anti-frustration device.

Actually, the game seems to be pretty frustration free. The development team, Traveller's Tales, obviously spent a lot of time making sure that kids and casual gamers won't get headaches from playing but made sure more mature gamers are still entertained.

That's not to say any kind of pandering is present, quite the opposite, it's just that the people behind LEGO Star Wars actually seem to care about the stress levels of the players during the game.

For example, the health system is set up a little like old Sonic The Hedgehog games on the Sega Genesis. You collect coins, Lego coins of course, and when you've taken too much damage, your coins go bouncing away. As long as you've got some coins, you're all right.

The controls are also set up extremely well. It's easy to just get into the game and start rocking out. Yes, that's right, rocking out.

It all makes me wish this stuff were around when I was a little Jedi.

You kids today are spoiled, I tell ya! Spoiled!

Oh well, I'm looking forwarded to spoiling myself when LEGO Star Wars comes out in April, 2005.

LucasArts's Description

The world's most successful film series meets the world's most successful toy in the epic video game LEGO® Star Wars®. This brilliantly conceived alliance blends the unique world and designs of LEGO play materials with the unforgettable characters, stories and vehicles of the prequel eras of the Star Wars universe.

LEGO Star Wars The Video Game provides players the opportunity to play the most memorable and exhilarating scenes from The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and the forthcoming Episode III Revenge of the Sith including pod racing on Mos Espa, the battle to repel the droid onslaught on Geonosis and Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon's fatal fight with Darth Maul. Players will be able to control the likes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Yoda, Princess Amidala, C-3P0 and R2-D2, as well as face off against notorious dark side enemies, such as Jango Fett, Darth Maul and Count Dooku. As they progress through the game, players will unlock new characters (including those previously encountered) whose special abilities and gear will provide access to new areas and the ability to solve previously unsolvable puzzles.

In addition to the single-player mode, there is a 'drop in, drop out' two-player co-operative mode that allows a friend, sibling, or parent to join or leave the action whenever they want. There is also a free-play mode where players can choose any unlocked character to play in any level from all three films. And finally, the game contains a bonus level, secret vehicle, and other extras that will only be made available to the most devoted of Jedi Knights that play the game.

Key Features

  • Play the most memorable and exciting scenes from Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Episode II: Attack of the Clones and the forthcoming Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  • Massive array of vehicles including Naboo fighters, pod racers, speeder bikes, and yet-to-be-unveiled vehicles from Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Over 30 playable characters
  • Two–player 'drop in, drop out' mode
  • Free-play mode where unlocked characters can be played in different scenarios to the films.
  • Use 'The Force' to manipulate environments and objects in order to solve puzzles
  • Collectables that can be used to unlock hidden levels and vehicles
  • Authentic sounds from the films provided by the Academy-Award winning Skywalker Sound
  • Created by highly successful young gamers developer Traveller's Tales

    By William Vitka