PC Game -- Lego Star Wars II

Few reviews warrant the barrage of cliched quotes that this deserves. Not only because this classic fusion of two globally celebrated phenomena stays true to its origins, but because it pokes fun at them at the same time, so why shouldn't I? With both accuracy and humour, Traveler's Tales (the developer of both this game and its predecessor) has delivered a simple, but terribly addictive game that is aimed at kids and over-aged children alike. Following on from Lego Star Wars I, this instalment takes you into the world of the original trilogy, first released in 1977. From Vader's boarding of Leia's ship and the brutal choking of the "rebel scum" to the Ewok's battle on Endor and the destruction of the Death Star. If you're not in the action, you'll be having a good chuckle at the cut-scene that portrays it.

That's right, laugh it up, fuzzball - this game delivers plenty of humour, Click here to see what I mean. Though the voiceless cut-scenes assume a certain level of background knowledge, they tell the story effectively through Lego facials and gestures. In fact, some of the character reproduction in Lego form is uncanny. As for the game-play, what it lacks in complexity it makes up in mini-puzzles and a variety of collectables and bonus items. Combat is as basic a mash-fest as you can get, with attack and block being the same button. Just grease up your index finger and mash away. Less hopelessly addicted fans of Star Wars may find the game-play becomes mundane after some time. But then, this game was never intended for that crowd. Use your Jedi powers to build AT-ATs then climb in and wreak havoc. Force-spin an unsuspecting Storm Trooper's helmet around 180 degrees, or simply choke that Imperial Guard the Darth Vader way.

You can pilot all your favourite vehicles from the X-Wing and Speeder to some unlockable Imperial goodies. Each set of characters, such as droids, humanoids or Jedi, have different abilities that you must utilise to get through each level. Throughout the game you'll build Lego sets to get you through different areas and collect little Lego pieces to buy bonuses. You also collect model-kit pieces, which you can put together back at the Cantina, the central hub from which you choose which episode you're going to play. There are 50 characters to collect and buy. Most are enemies and stock characters in different clothes, but it's still fun. Taking these earned characters back into previously completed levels opens up otherwise unavailable areas and frees more bonuses for extended playability and more fun. You can even open a saved game from Lego Star Wars I and bring in all your characters from the first release. What more could you want?

Verdict: Impressive, most impressive. With plenty of laughs and a mix of both faithful and re-worked moments from the originals, this is a joyful game to play.
Score: 4 out of 5
Publisher: LucasArts Entertainment
URL: www.lucasarts.com
Price: $49.95 for PC, (console versions $49-$99.95)

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