Published on May 4th, 2015 | by Brad0
Star Wars Day: Lego Star Wars – 10 Years of Awesome
In 2005, a little independent production hit cinemas by the name of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. You may have heard of it. And, as George Lucas’ strength lies more in the area of marketing his films than actually making them, there was of course a lot of merchandising to go with. Along with all the action figures and books and board games and whatnot came a video game by the name of Lego Star Wars. A cutesy, kid-friendly take on the prequel trilogy, themselves very cutesy and kid-friendly to begin with, Lego Star Wars had all the feel of a novelty tie-in which would come and go.
What no one expected, I think, was that the game would actually be really good. And it is; it’s smart, it’s funny, it’s an affectionate, self-aware send-up of some of the foibles of the Star Wars prequels, and it’s just damn fun to play. The character classes are really well-balanced, so the Jedi never feel over-powerful, and the levels are designed so you need the skills of all the characters to solve them properly. This requires you to use characters you may otherwise not have thought to, with game-time for the likes of Jar-Jar Binks, C3PO and Jake Lloyd’s Anakin Skywalker necessary to progress within the game.
Despite the necessity of using such maligned characters, no part of the game ever feels like a chore. There’s a lot of replay value in Lego Star Wars, which stems from the intelligent level design and simple, addictive collectibles. Hidden within each level are ten minikits which, when fully assembled, create an iconic vehicle (or as iconic as they got in the prequels, at any rate) and a red brick which unlocks a boost (double money, invincibility, disguise kits so every character is wearing a fedora and a fake glasses/nose/moustache combo, that sort of thing). Additionally, if you accumulate enough money, represented in the form of Lego studs, you will unlock a piece of the super-kit. Eventually, this reveals itself to be the Tantive IV, the ship from the opening of Star Wars. You play as Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper, searching for Princess Leia. It was an awesome little surprise and a great reward for those who worked to complete the game 100%. It also served as a nice little teaser for the next game.
A sequel covering the original trilogy followed in 2006. It was an even bigger success – and better game – than the original. A complete saga edition followed for the PS3, and you’d think that would be the end, right? Nope. The Lego series has gone on to become one of the most successful franchises in the gaming world, taking in Batman, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Middle Earth, Marvel superheroes, The Lego Movie and the forthcoming Jurassic Park. They’re not always great – Indiana Jones 2 and The Hobbit are still sat unfinished because they just became tiresome – but there’s always something worth playing them for, and I’m always looking forward to the next one. It’s the tenth anniversary of Lego Star Wars and the franchise it launched today. Think I might boot up my PS2.