|Min OS X: 10.6|
|LEGO Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Video Game|
February 29, 2012 | Ted Bade
Another important character is Elisabeth Swann. Her special ability is to jump higher then other characters. To add to her ability, special buffed areas appear that give her even more of a jump. Sometimes these areas are just available, other times you need to do something to turn them on. Will Turner has an axe he can throw, which is useful to hit out of the way targets, as well as anything else you need to bust up. There is a character that can repair broken machinery with a hammer, one with a pistol (again good for hitting remote targets), and one with a hand cannon, necessary to break apart special LEGO structures that require a cannon or explosives to break. As comic relief, you also get Ragetti, the pirate with the false eye, who can toss his eye at things
Certain areas can only be entered after a device or item is built or a switch is operated in the previous area. The task of the game is to locate the LEGO pieces needed to build the item, then build it, or locate the switch and figure out how to operate it. Some switches require two characters. Luckily, when you operate the switch correctly using the character you control, another character will take the second position. A few switches require you to move first one character then another to the correct position to operate. Sometimes you will find a pile of LEGO pieces that can be built into an item. Any time one of these items is built, you get a number of studs and often a special blue stud. The item you make is usually necessary to open a door or provide acces to the next area.
Once you complete the first section of the game, you get access to the Port. At the Port you can enter any of the four chapters of the game. You don’t have to complete the chapters in order, but you do have to complete one section of a chapter before moving to the next section of that chapter. There are generally four sections to each chapter.
While you don’t actually die, there is a health limit. You get four hearts at the start of a level. If you lose a battle or happen to blunder into a deadly area of the scene (i.e. fall off a wall, or cliff, fall into toxic material or quicksand), you can loose a heart. Lose all four hearts and the game automatically replaces the heart by spending some of your stud total. You can also gain hearts by defeating enemies that drop a heart, which you need to collect before it disappears. You have a maximum of four hearts. The bad news is that if any character in your group “dies” a heart is removed from your total. This becomes a particularly difficult in the scenes where you have several characters and a hazardous environment. You might do okay with keeping the character you are controlling out of trouble, but the other ones you are not controlling can still get into trouble, by losing sword fights, falling into bad areas, or entering other damaging situations.
As you move through the spaces, you directly control the movement of only one character. The other characters in the group follow along, if a path exists. Certain tasks can only be performed by a specific character, so you need to control the correct one. Part of the challenge of this game is to organize the characters in the area to make the best use of them (and often to keep the other ones out of trouble). When a battle starts you need to move to the best sword fighter. When a jump is important, use Elizabeth. Many controls can only be operated by Jack Sparrow, some require a tool: either the hammer that one character always has, or a shovel, which you first have to locate.
Besides the abilities of the characters themselves, there are often cannons, barrels of explosives, hand thrown bombs, and other items that are available for use. Monsters, strong blockades, as well as the special LEGO structures mentioned above require the more powerful attacks. This is a pirate adventure, so you would expect these things!
The LEGO figures, for the most part, resemble the characters from the movie they portray. You can generally figure out who is who just by looking, although a few were difficult. Jack Sparrow’s narrow face doesn’t transfer well to the broad round face of a LEGO piece. Elizabeth and her father look pretty much alike, except for the color of their hair. But knowing who is who isn’t critical to succeeding in this game. You do need to remember what abilities each character has.
The game makes great use of the music from the movies, both as background music and as part of the animation sequences. The use of this music adds a lot to the game, especially for fans like myself. As mentioned, the LEGO characters don’t speak, but they do make noises and one can generally interpret the meaning of the sound. There are also nicely applied environment sounds, such as seagull calls, the creaking of the boat’s wood and tack, flapping of the canvas, and a lot more. All of this added a lot of realism to this very unrealistic LEGO animation!
While the game itself is a lot of fun, there are some issues with the implementation of the game that seriously detract from its enjoyment. The biggest issue I had was with the controls. I got the feeling that the game controls translated poorly from a console’s controller to a keyboard. While I didn’t try one, use of a game controller on the Mac might help in this case. A game like this depends heavily on timing of movements. It felt to me that the keyboard timing was off just enough that precise control was a real issue. However, there were other control issues besides that of timing. By default the “U” key shifts your control from one character to others in the party. When there are more then two members in a party, this key often did not move to each character of the party, but just between two characters.