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In the same way that Star Wars took the world by storm over three decades ago, so Lego Star Wars took the computer world by storm when first released. Since then, it's appeared on pretty much every gaming platform known to man and the Force still remains strong in the DS incarnation.
Lego Star Wars: the Complete Saga is based on all VI of the Star Wars films, giving you the chance to take control of some of your favourite characters (and Jar Jar Binks). Your goal on each stage is to smash pretty much everything (it's all built of Lego), collect coins and find hidden items,making your way to the exit in one piece. Each level is based around a scene from one of the Star Wars films and the game follows the plots of those films quite closely.
It's this aspect which makes Lego Star Wars instantly appealing. All of your favourite scenes and characters are here rendered in gloriously blocky Lego which gives the game a really distinctive look, whilst remaining recognisably Star Wars. Graphics generally are very well drawn and the characters great fun to look at and instantly identifiable. The blending of Star Wars characters and Lego sounds a strange one, but a lot of care has gone into designing the graphics so that, against all the odds, they somehow look right!
Sound, too, is excellent. Most of the music and sound effects are taken directly from the films and from the opening blast of that iconic Star Wars theme, this is a game that will have you humming along. Music is used well throughout to add to the atmosphere, without it ever overpowering the other game elements. The grunts and groans uttered by the characters in the cut-scenes are superb, somehow managing to convey the emotion and dialogue of the film without a single proper word being uttered.
This attention to detail is extended to the all-important area of game play and level design. Lego Star Wars is instantly addictive and fun, with lots to do and plenty of places to explore. Whilst levels are linear and there is only one path through each, there are lots of side areas to be explored and extra areas which can be unlocked. The levels have the perfect blend of linearity (so that you can't got lost or stuck for what to do next) with some freedom to explore.
To fully complete the game, you also need to do each level twice. Story Mode selects the characters you must use for that level, whilst in Free Play Mode (unlocked by completing Story Mode), you can choose which characters you want and this will help you get to previously unreachable areas.
What's nice is that the different characters have genuinely different abilities and you have to use these properly to be able to complete every aspect of the game. Some can jump higher than others; others have grappling hooks which can be used to reach high-level platforms, whilst some areas can only be accessed by certain characters. My initial concern was that playing each level twice would become a little boring on the second run through. In fact, the use of different characters and the ability to explore new areas adds an extra dimension to the game play, making it feel sufficiently different and enjoyable in a different way.
True, the make up of each level is essentially the same (smash things up, collect coins) and some of the levels are more fun to play than others. The vehicle levels, in particular, don't work as well as they should and are lack the variety of the land-based levels. They are amongst my least favourite levels, and it was here that replaying them a second time was a bit of a chore. Some of the level design in the Episode One levels were also a little uninspired (a bit like the film itself). Still, with five levels for each of the six films, plus several different ways to complete each, the game does over a good 15 hours worth of game play at the least.
Nor is this simply a lazy port of earlier versions of the game and developer Travellers Tales have taken the time to redesign a couple of the levels to make them better suited to the DS, as well as ironing out a few niggles from earlier versions. Although Lego Star Wars has always been a fairly easy to game, there were a couple of levels which suffered from sudden difficulty spikes. Usually, these required platforms where pixel perfect positioning was required in order to be able to make a leap successfully and this could result in much frustration as you repeated the same bit over and over again. Here, the levels have been tweaked to ensure that you don't reach a point where you suffer multiple deaths before being able to progress. The overall effect is to make the game slightly easier, but also a lot more fun, as frustrations do not build up.
This, though, is the game's main drawback: it's far too easy. When you die, you just suffer a small deduction from the coins you have collected to date, but otherwise carry on from where you left off. Effectively, you have infinite lives, so as long as you don't get bored and switch the game off, you will complete each level the first time you play it. Even the end-of-level bosses don't offer much of a challenge and will be easily defeated at the first time of asking. Still, sometimes it's nice to play a game what can (and will) be completed by even the most mediocre game player.
Controls are perfectly suited to the DS and incredibly easy to pick up, with the D-Pad used for movement and the standard buttons used for fighting etc. They are so intuitive that within about five minutes of playing, they will already feel incredibly natural with no need to keep referring to the instruction booklet.
Like other aspects of the game, controls have also been slightly enhanced to take advantage of he DS' touch screen. Some levels (Empire's Escape from Hoth) require you to use the touch screen to effect particular manoeuvres, other changes just make the game a little less frustrating. One of the mild annoyances in other versions came in Free Play mode. When you wanted to select a different character, you had to keep pressing a key and cycling through until you reached the one you wanted. On the DS version, each character currently available has a small icon on the touch screen - you can instantly switch to this character simply by pressing their image. Simple, quick and easy, it makes a surprising amount of difference.
True, not everything works and some flaws still remain. Some of the cut-scenes look a little ropey on the DS, with some surprisingly rough looking graphics at times. I've also suffered several occasions where the game has crashed (particularly during those cut-scenes). It's almost as though the DS is not quite powerful enough to do what the programmers are asking. The crashes are particularly frustrating as they usually happen during the final cut scene (after you've completed the level, but before your progress has been saved). The artificial intelligence of the computer controlled character is also still dreadful. Theoretically, they are there to help you, but I've yet to see them kill a single enemy and their main contribution (other than pressing the odd button or pulling the odd lever) is to stand exactly where you want to be and generally get in the way.
The idea of Lego + film franchise formula may have been a little overdone now (with Lego Indiana Jones, Batman and Harry Potter titles all available), but this original Star Wars incarnation is still the best,providing hours of fun gaming.
Even if you're not a Star Wars fan, this is a fun title that most DS owners will enjoy. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga will probably cost your around £10-20, and for the amount of enjoyment you will get out of it, it is well worth having.
© Copyright SWSt 2011
This game is absolutely FANTASTIC! I absolutely love it, and it is something you can just keep playing without getting bored.
Basically, it covers all six movies and allows you to play through each one, with five levels covering each movie. The first time you play each level, you are playing as the actual characters in this part of the movie, but after you have passed the level you can play using "free play" - you pick one character and the rest are automatically chosen, but they always give you a good selection - you always get someone small who can fit into small places (an ewok or Anakin Skywalker), usually both a Jedi and a Sith, a bounty hunter, and a normal person with a gun, among others.
As you play through the levels you have to try to collect certain things - each level has ten lego canisters which unlock a special aircraft when you have all ten, and a red lego brick with a special power, among other things. You can also unlock characters to use in free play - people you meet along the way. You can then buy these characters using little bits of lego you collect along the way. It is impossible to collect everything until you are in free play mode, as there are certain places only small characters can go, or places that require a double jump to get to (which only Jedis and Siths can do). The only levels that don't have free play are those done in an aircraft.
The music is good (obviously, being based on the soundtrack), the characters look absolutely adorable in lego (particularly Darth Vader!), and the graphics are great. The levels are quite long and satisfying and, with trying to get everything on free play, this game will keep you going for a long time. Also, you get to use the force, which is so much fun!
It's quite an easy game to play, but also very satisying. Highly recommended for all ages!
I am a big fan of these lego games and decided to pick this one up to take with me on holiday as I had along flight to deal with. (luckily this was pre-ash).
This game is no different to any of the other lego games (batman, indiana jones_ so if you wern't keen on those then you won't like this one either but if you did then this will be loved as well.
The game contains all six of star wars films and the characters are all represented as lego characters, you need to progress through each of the films in order to access the subsequrnt films and each film is made up of a number of chapters.
The standard lego rules apply smash everything in sight, fight the baddies and try to find the lego cannisters. If you find enough of these you are awarded gold lego bricks. Once you have played on Story Mode you can play again in free play mode. This is the only way that you can find some of the cannisters or red bricks.
The rules are simple so is ideal for younger children and us older players
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga is a game for Nintendo DS in which you play through the entire Star Wars story (episodes 1-6) but in a lego environment. All the characters, places/buildings and objects are made of lego.
In terms of the story, given the limitations of both a lego environment and the DS, it is remarkably complete. All the major events and characters are there, and without much of the annoying Jar Jar Binks. Each level (there are five per film) relates to a particular part of the story, such as the Attack on the Death Star from A New Hope. Connecting parts of the story are told through cut scenes at the start and end of the level, and these are surprisingly amusing - the lego characters add a bit of a silly edge.
You have to progress through the levels in order, so you start at Episode 1 Level 1. I'm very much an "original trilogy should come first" believer, you should watch episodes 4-6 then 1-3, so this irritated me somewhat. Saying that, as I prefer the original trilogy and I think the new films improve as you watch 1-3, I did find i was playing through the story in order of preference, so the best came last.
There are two modes of playing, story and free play. You can't play free play until you complete each level in story mode. Story mode takes you through each level in order, and you play with only certain characters - the ones which are relevant to that part of the story, so for example you play with Luke and Ben against the Tusken Raiders.
Characters have different abilities and weapons depending on who they are. Jedis can move objects and people with the force and fight with lightsabers, but I found I preferred fighting with blasters. With some characters such as Han Solo, they are obviously sharp shooters so you don't even have to aim.
The gameplay and controls are fairly straightforward, and easy to pick up. The stylus is used to use the Force. The controls are easy to use but it is worth reading the instruction book as this explains what to do to perform particular actions, and what you can do with the various types of objects you come across.
There are two types of level, ones where you control characters and ones where you control vehicles or ships - these include the pod race, the Battle of Hoth, the forest chase, and my favourites, ones controlling the Millenium Falcon. I was quite thrown by the first vehicle event, which is the pod race, simply because I had got used to controlling little lego people and all of sudden I was driving and trying to avoid rocks. I'll give you a hint about the vehicle levels - when on Hoth it tells you to use your thumb to circle the AT-ATs to bring them down, it means the stylus. I had no idea what it meant, drove me to distraction for several days.
Sometimes in the character levels you have to beat a particular enemy before you can continue, such as Jango Fett, General Grievous and the Emperor. You are shown their health so you can measure how you are getting on. The key here is persistence, just keep going. It took me ages to figure out how to destroy the Emperor thanks to the blue lightening he zaps you with when you go near him!
Through the game you earn points by collecting lego studs. You can use these to buy extras, including mini games - but you have to find the mini games first! They are hidden in red bricks in each level, and I only managed to find a few in story mode. Most you will need to find in free play when you can use more than the standard characters so as to access special areas. You can also collect parts of a minikit, 10 per level, and I think these just build a model vehicle to look at, they don't actually do anything - its just another thing to aspire to. I only managed to complete one mini kit.
The mini games I managed to find are good fun. Depending on how well you perform, you are awarded a Jedi rank, starting from Youngling going up to Chosen One. My favourite is the Podrace game, in which you have to prepare for the race by cleaning the racer and matching up engine parts.
In terms of sound and graphics, Lego Star Wars really isn't bad for a DS game. The sound is a bit tinny as usual, but all the classic Star Wars music themes are there, along with plenty of lego clatter noises. The characters make funny noises when they die - Luke sounds like a girl. The graphics are very clear, although these aren't the best I've seen on the DS they are very good. I didn't have any problems making anything out.
I've played the Nintendo Wii version of this, and I have to say I think the DS version is easier to control. The graphics are obviously far superior on the Wii, but who plays a DS game expecting amazing graphics??
I was thoroughly hooked on Lego Star Wars, it probably helps that I adore Star Wars itself, but I felt that the game was great fun, easy to play but not so easy that it was boring, and it kept me occupied for a while. In fact, I enjoyed the format so much that I bought Lego Indiana Jones once I had finished this! There is also a Lego Batman game but I'm not interested in Batman; I am however very interested in the soon-to-be-released Lego Harry Potter!
I'd recommend this to all DS-ers out there, it really is good fun. It is as suitable for children as the films are, and the controls and game will be easy enough for them to manage.
I was searching for stocking fillers on Amazon a few weeks ago when I stumbled across Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga for what seemed like an astonishing bargain at £9.99. I am usually quite circumspect in buying games, often checking a fair few professional and consumer reviews before investing my hard-earned, but given the price and my very positive experience with the original Lego Indiana Jones equivalent for the Wii, I decided to forego the usual due diligence and decided to buy it as a present - for myself.
For those not familiar with the burgeoning Lego games franchise (Batman, Indiana Jones, Star Wars are soon to be joined by Harry Potter), the basics of the game are quite simple. You usually play through the story-line from each of these films as one of any number and variety of Lego characters, each of which has special functions, equipment and powers.
You control two characters at once in a sort of tag-team style (i.e. one of them is the active lead, and the other follows you around and cooperates using AI until you switch off and make him/her/it active). Each of the levels is based on very familiar scenes and set-pieces, and it's that familiarity - and the Lego interpretation of them - that makes the franchise so endearing.
BASIC GAME PLAY
The game is essentially a sort of hack and slash 3D platformer with simple puzzles and mini-games thrown in to keep things interesting. Following the story through in linear fashion is a popular way to play, however, completing each level also permits you to revisit the area in "free play" mode, allowing you to complete the many and varied objectives that are not possible the first time around.
For example, certain doors can only be opened by certain characters (Boba Fett, Stormtroopers and Droids seem to be the most prevalent) but you don't "earn" some of these characters until later in the game. You will need to access some of these areas to collect parts of artefacts and special tokens that give you access to special features. These are not necessary to complete the game, but serve as mini side-quests for those looking to complete the "whole" game.
The game allows you to store two different save games and you chose which one you want to play from the start-up screen. This screen also tells you how much of the game you have completed (there is also a counter - with the time elapsed in game play and how much you have completed in the main room of the Mos Eisley Cantina).
The game currency is Lego studs, which come in silver (1 point), gold (10 points) and blue (50 points). Destroying items, killing enemies and unlocking doors and crates release various quantities of these studs. If, within a level, you collect a certain, predetermined, number of these studs, you are awarded "True Jedi" status for that level which gives you a big stud bonus at the end.
The studs are then used to purchase extra items from the Mos Eisley Cantina which serves as the central hub of the game (and comes complete with the band and familiar music). This is where you access the each of the episodes of the "Complete Saga" (i.e. Episodes One to Six in the Star Wars canon). You are given "free" access to the first story in each episode, but you can't access the rest until you play the first level through, then the second etc. However, the game does give you the freedom to start with whichever film you want. Each Episode has five iconic stories, giving the game thirty levels across the six Episodes.
There are various other functions that you can access from this small collection of rooms - a bespoke character creator, a trophy room, a central console where you can purchase additional characters and power-ups, access wireless game play with friends who also have the game, and buy hints for the game, and a couple of rooms stocked with crates and tables whose sole purpose seems to be target practice for the accumulation of a few spare studs if you find yourself a little short when buying something.
The directional pad and the various buttons on the DS are the primarily means of directing your character around, jumping, swinging, shooting and sword-play (with lightsaber). The touch screen comes into its own when you use a "Force-enabled" character such as Luke (after he becomes a Jedi), Obi-Wan, Darth Vader, Count Dooku and Yoda amongst others and is used to move objects and force blast enemies into smithereens. In the Lego series of games, beaten enemies don't die, they de-construct!
The touch screen is also used for the many mini-games which are used to access special and hidden areas and open doors. These vary from matching falling bricks to a panel underneath, to "safe-cracking" and matching pairs. Whilst these mini-games are initially diverting, none of them particularly challenging and they go from being interesting to a necessary means to an end fairly rapidly.
In short, gameplay is fairly intuitive and easy, so you don't need to be a "button-masher" to do well in this game. The ease of play should be attractive to a wide variety of casual gamers, although I do think a bit more could have been made of the DS capabilities. That said, the multiplayer function - allowing two players to play the whole game cooperatively as separate characters - is quite good - but you need two cartridges to play. A single cartridge game for two players on different consoles is not possible and would have been a welcome addition.
LOOK & FEEL
The game is chock full of tongue-in-cheek, irreverent humour and creative Lego interpretations of classic Star Wars scenes and characters. Each of the levels is prefaced by a cinematic the first time you play, some of which will have you laughing out loud. From the moment in Episode IV where the Lego Rebel Cruiser is pursued by a Lego Star Destroyer that looms onto the screen, this game had me hooked. Despite the whole game being constructed of "bricks", the characters themselves are given limited facial expression that is used quite effectively.
The music is ported straight from the films with little interference and adds an element of authenticity to proceedings. There is enough variety in the score to keep things from getting too repetitive, and if, like me you love the films, you can never get too bored of the classic music such as Vader's theme. Lego Star Wars doesn't take itself at all seriously, but it has enough about it to please serious and casual fans alike.
The imagination, humour and creativity used to put this game together is what makes it such a joy to play. You end each level anticipating and looking forward to what Lego will have done with the next classic scene. That said, the graphics are not the greatest and can get a bit blocky (no pun intended), but that does not really distract from the overall playability.
It is a great game to pick up and play, and lends itself to a five minute spell here or there - making it perfect for short car journeys, commutes to work, or a quick spell before bed. Each level takes about five minutes to complete if you simply run through it - longer if you are trying to be thorough and find everything.
Despite my overall positivity, there are one or two things which I find slightly irritating. The first is the opening credits. There is no way to short-circuit the intro and it takes a fair old while for the game to boot up and cycle through the credits - which can get a bit frustrating when you want to just dive in and play.
Secondly, the perspective of the characters and the game makes it hard sometimes to judge distance, often leading to the unnecessary death of your character after a misjudged leap. The good news is that death only costs you studs, and you carry on exactly where you left off, so no huge loss.
The use of the force powers with the touch screen is a bit awkward because primary control is via the touchpad - two-handed - so you have to either stop, remove the stylus and use the touch screen (or use your thumb which is far less precise) or somehow hold on to the stylus for the infrequent moments when you need to use it. I prefer the former, but it interrupts gameplay and can make things a bit clunky.
The game is a couple of years old now (and has already spawned a sequel) but given the price point, I can't think of a game that can compete with its quality and playability on this platform (Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars at £14.99 is the closest in terms of value for money). That alone is enough to overlook some of the game play issues - none of which are serious - to make this a perfect little stocking filler.
The game is advertised as suitable for ages three-plus, but would put in more in the six to sixty-six bracket because of its broad appeal, and also because anyone much younger will struggle with the controls and will not appreciate the finer points of the game (such as atmosphere and humour).
A determined gamer could probably finish this game in a around day and would probably complain about its simplicity and lack of longevity, but that misses the point. This isn't a title aimed at this serious button-masher, however, it is perfect fodder and genuinely engaging entertainment for the casual player.
I have been playing it for two weeks now and, although I have completed each of the levels, I am finding my second and third visits to various areas of the game with different characters equally rewarding. Without doubt, it's the best tenner I have ever spent on a DS game, and as such, it is well recommended.
© Hishyeness 2009
This game of Lego Star Wars has the complete saga on it, meaning that you play through each of the movies. Before I went out and bought this game I had read a lot of reviews saying that this game was really good and fun to play. After reading this I had to get this, what was said to be, amazing game. Unfortunately this is not the case and I am not the biggest fan of this game.
The game when you first turn it on flashed up with the creators of the game and such, but this seems to take a very long time, and you cannot skip them which is rather annoying.
The next thing I noticed about this game was that it is ridiculously easy. At first i thought maybe it was just the earlier levels, and that the game would get harder, but this was not the case. Also adding to the easy difficulty of this game was that every level of the game is very repetitive, and you will think that you are just playing the same level over and over again, making the game rather boring.
Another disappointing fact about this game is that you only get to play a very short amount of each film, each episode has 5 stages, and it confused me why they chose some scenes instead of others which would have been far more entertaining to play through. This all makes the game very easy and short to complete, and this was probably one of the final nails in the coffin for this game.
On the upside though, the game does have a massive number of different characters to unlock and play through the level as, including Darth Maul and general greivous (not too sure how thats spelt). It also has a range of mini games, which are not very clever or particularly hard, but you do find yourself getting addicted to them.
All in all i was very disappointed with this game, after reading such great reviews about it everywhere i was expecting it to be a lot better than it is. I hope that in the new Lego star wars games for the DS that they sort out some of these issues and make the game more challenging.