LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy «

For as fun as the console version of the first LEGO Star Wars game was, its GBA counterpart was equally mediocre. Unfortunately for GBA players, things have taken a definite turn for the worse with this much anticipated sequel.

Like the console version, LEGO Star Wars II allows you to relive the classic movie trilogy in the blocky, plastic world of LEGO. The game is divided into three episodes, each one based on the three films in the original trilogy. Within each episode are six stages. The first time you play through a level, you must do so in story mode, where the characters that you control are based on the events in the films. Afterwards, you can replay a stage in Free mode, allowing you to play as any character you’ve unlocked. Since some areas are only accessible by certain characters, Free mode is the only way that you’ll uncover all the game’s secrets.

This may sound like a respectable amount of gameplay, but many of the stages are criminally short. One stage in particular, Jabba’s Palace, is simply a fight against the rancor, which lasts all of 30 seconds when you figure out what you need to do to defeat the creature. Replaying the level in Free play allows you to further explore Jabba’s lair, but the area is so small that you’ll easily finish the level (and discover all the secrets) in about three minutes. The game also skimps on levels by reusing the same maps. There are two stages set in Cloud City during the Empire Strikes Back episode. For the most part, though, both stages have you running through the exact same areas, only as different characters.

Jedi or Die

Just like the console versions, you’re not fighting the battles with just one character — one or two others typically follow you around, letting you swap out when you need someone else’s abilities. It’s too bad that the non-Jedi characters are more or less useless. With their powerful lightsaber attack and ability to deflect shots back at the enemy, there is no reason to play as anyone else unless you need them to, say, open a specific door.

It’s not just the levels and poorly balanced characters that make this version of LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy forgettable. The isometric graphics look decent enough and certainly work better than trying to attempt any real 3D on the GBA hardware, but the perspective makes aiming your weapon and jumping extremely difficult. Of course, the sluggish control doesn’t help that, either. Particularly irritating are the occasional vehicle stages. You would think that hopping into an X-wing and flying down the Death Star trench or tearing through the Endor forests on a speeder bike would make for a great break in the middle of the character-based action, but they are a chore. For starships that are capable of jumping to light speed, these vehicles travel remarkably slowly and are even harder to control than the people.


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