You know, there are some things in life that go together. Peanut butter and jelly is a fabulous, albeit obvious, combination. But slap an extra slice of bread on there and top it off with a nice healthy dollop of some marshmallow crème and you have yourself one scrumptious treat. Or what about putting cheese inside pizza crust as well as on the pizza itself? Brilliant. Some things, though, that you'd think would go well together, really don't. Strawberries in cookies is one such example, or sugar on a salad…not that tasty. You can't blame a guy for experimenting. And that's all it is. Combining stuff is often just experimentation.
So why did someone think to combine two phenomenon into one video game? Who knows, but it worked. Yes, LEGO Star Wars is a grand time. A colorful and simple game, many would think it is geared toward children. You know what I say to that? You're right. But I'm not here to review the game; that job is left to another fortunate soul who gets to play this little blessing in disguise. This preview will let you in on my thoughts on the gameplay, take a look at the graphics and sound, and maybe note a few issues that need afixin'. On we go! It's too bad I can't write in those big vertically scrolling yellow letters…
The bulk of the gameplay is divided up into two modes: story and free play. Story mode allows you to play through key moments in Star Wars episodes one through three. It's your basic platform game: the goal is to start at the beginning and get to the end, which is not too complicated. And what would a platform game be without collecting things? This game has you collecting ten piece "pods" per level along with LEGO studs (you know, those little round one-piece doohickies that you always lose when playing with LEGOs). Then if you collect all the pods you create a vehicle from the level revealed piece by piece at the "Level Complete" screen. The studs are used for money to buy characters, hints, and fun extras such as mustaches for your LEGO characters. It's actually funnier than you would think. Also, if you collect enough studs and you fill up a little meter on the top of the screen you collect a "special piece pod." If you collect the special piece pod from each level you create, you guessed it, a "special" vehicle! Hooray for secrets!
There are 50 characters to unlock, from popular ones such as Chewbacca from Kashyyyk to some lesser known ones like Kit Fisto to just plain fun ones like a Gonk Droid, who looks like a little television.
Didn't collect all ten piece pods or collect enough LEGO studs for the secret piece? Go back and try the level in free play! In free play mode you get to choose a character from all the ones you unlocked, and the computer gives you a plethora of characters appropriate for that level. You can then pick and choose while playing the level as to who you need to collect that special pod piece or whoever you want to have fun playing as. Wanna play as General Grievous in the famous Jedi battle of Episode Two? Go for it, but only in free play.
But none of this could take place if it weren't for a hub named Dexter's Diner. Yes, I know…whoever heard of Dexter's Diner? Why couldn't it be the Mos Eisley Cantina? Unfortunately the game only features episodes one through three, so the infamous cantina has not yet entered the story. In the diner you may enter rooms to access the first three Star Wars episodes, where you can then choose further rooms to access the various levels. You can also go up to the bar and order a few hints, with some characters on the side, and a couple of extras for desert all for a large sum of studs. Characters don't come cheap nowadays. It is a fun little place, though, as all the characters you have unlocked just saunter on by, and if you go outside you can see all of the vehicles or partial vehicles you've unlocked in a sort of intergalactic car show. The characters also interact with each other outside: good guys versus bad guys. For example while I wandered around outside of Dexter's Diner looking at all of my shiny new unlocked LEGO vehicles I saw a couple Jedi giving Darth Maul a good workout with some fierce lightsaber battling. Like the movies, it felt like a great time to stuff my face with an unhealthy handful of popcorn.