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Last Updated: Friday, 22 April 2005, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Forceful fun of Lego Star Wars
You've seen almost all the films, you've played with the bricks and now Lego Star Wars unites the two in a computer game. Our regular reviewers give their verdicts on this unholy union.

James Bregman
Lego Star Wars
Ginger menace : Obi Wan Kenobi goes into battle

A game based on a toy based on a film sounds like a cynical marketing ploy.

But Lego Star Wars is a hugely entertaining adventure.

It is also an appetiser to fans awaiting the sixth StarWars film.

It delivers what it promises; Lego Star Wars figures are brought to life, given hilariously expressive faces and dropped into scenes from the second movie trilogy - which began with The Phantom Menace.

It masquerades as a game for kids, with bright colours, low difficulty and sanitised fighting. But the developers know its audience will be adult fans who refuse to grow out of it.

Memorable scenes from the first two movies are re-enacted, including the desert battle of speeding 'Pod-racers' and rain-drenched duel on ocean planet Kamino.

The final third of the game tracks the story of the secrecy-shrouded Episode III, in a unique taster/spoiler.

Lego Star Wars
Familiar movie moments are re-lived in impressive detail

Players control several film favourites to tackle different tasks. Bearded sage Obi-Wan Kenobi is best at fighting, but droids and others step in to solve puzzles and unlock doors.

Everything is recreated in impressive detail and absolutely looks like it is built from bricks. Characters and creatures are faithful to both Lego and Star Wars.

They are much more flexible than their plastic counterparts but the appearance is spot-on, right down to the stick-on hairpieces.

Destroyed objects are blasted into individual blocks and "using the force" can mean shoving enemies in the traditional Jedi manner or manipulating piles of Lego bricks to build useful items.

Knowledge of the films helps to understand what's happening and appreciate the immense silliness of it all.

Though menacing on film, Darth Maul becomes deliberately ridiculous as a squat Lego figure running around on stumpy legs.

The game restores humour to a franchise perilously low on laughs since Han Solo exited. Lego Star Wars is happy to load cut-scenes with visual gags and even pauses for gratuitous and surreal dancing interludes.

Galactic gags

Format: PS2. Xbox, PC
Graphics: 9
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 7
Enduring Appeal: 6
Overall: 8
The impassioned frowns and comical noises made by the Lego men adds to the fun - the sound Jar Jar Binks makes when he plummets off a ledge is both funny and hugely satisfying.

John Williams' familiar musical score runs throughout and adds to the ridiculousness, as the determined little figures do battle to the solemn strains of an orchestra in full flow.

It does have its flaws - it's staggeringly easy to finish.

Puzzles are imaginative but simple and heroes continuously re-spawn making them effectively immortal.

But the overall package is what makes this game appealing, not the gameplay mechanics or challenge (there isn't one).

Lego Star Wars won't leave fans of either trademark feeling short-changed. Once the novelty wears off, the lashings of humour and surreal tone easily compensate.

Neil McGreevey
Obi Wan and Anakin cross light sabers, Eidos
The game also recreates scenes from Episode III

As the Star Wars movie machine grinds to its dark conclusion next month with Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the games continue to impress.

In the past we've been force-fed Pod Racing, Streetfighter-style brawling and role-playing but Lego Star Wars must be the strangest use of the franchise yet.

Yes, those crazy Danes have cast their yellow plastic playthings as the stars of the Wars which sees the best scenes from the new trilogy acted out by Lego characters.

Levels are modelled after classic movie scenes, such as the pod race or Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon's threesome with Darth Maul - shooting, slashing and using the force to build Lego structures from spare bricks.

This element is fun enough on its own to warrant a game. A two-player co-operative mode lets a mate enter or leave the action at will, while free-play allows unlocked characters to have some fun in your favourite scenarios.

Lego Star Wars
Yoda and Chewbacca go for a woodland stroll
The game rarely impresses visually, but it's the sheer charm of seeing Lego men play Star Wars that wins you over.

Add John Williams' score, sound effects from Skywalker Studios and fans surely couldn't be happier if they were shooting womp rats on a tauntaun with Salacious Crumb in Beggar's Canyon while Max Rebo knocked out a tune on a Gamorrean guard's helmet.

The fixed camera gets annoying once in a while, and it's all rather simplistic - but it is aimed at children. Adults will find it worth a look not least for its early, cuboid taster of scenes from the upcoming Revenge of the Sith.

Without a doubt, this is the best kids game released in years, as it never patronises and has the slick veneer of an adult title. And any game that features Liam Neeson and Christopher Lee as Lego characters has to be doing something right.

My only real gripe, apart from the inclusion of Jar Jar Binks, is that there's not enough of it. Let's pray for a sequel based on the original trilogy - I'll wager even a Lego Leia is sexy.


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