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Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy is a multi-platform action-adventure video game developed by Traveller's Tales and published by LucasArts and TT Games. It was released on September 11, 2006. The sequel to Lego Star Wars: The Video Game, it is based on the Star Wars science fiction media franchise and Lego Group's Star Wars-themed toy line. It follows the events of the Star Wars films A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The game allows players to assume the roles of over 50 Lego versions of characters from the film series; customized characters can also be created.

Camera movement was improved from Lego Star Wars, and the concept of "vehicle levels" was explored more thoroughly. Lego Star Wars II was highly anticipated because of its predecessor's success, and was revealed at American International Toy Fair 2006. Promotions for the game were set up at chain stores across the United States.

Lego Star Wars II was critically and commercially successful; it became the third-highest selling video game of 2006 and has sold over 8.2 million copies worldwide as of February 2009. Critics praised the game for its comedic and "adorable" portrayal of the film series and for their preference of the original trilogy to the prequel trilogy. However, the game's low difficulty, and its Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS versions in general, were received more poorly. The game received awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and Spike TV, among others. Lego Star Wars II s gameplay elements reappeared in other Lego games, most notably Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, a 2007 compilation of Lego Star Wars and Lego Star Wars II.

Gameplay

Lego Star Wars II s gameplay is from a third-person perspective, and takes place in a 3D game world that contains objects, environments and characters designed to resemble Lego pieces. Its gameplay—a combination of the action-adventure, platform, and sometimes puzzle genres—shares elements with that of Lego Star Wars: The Video Game. While Lego Star Wars followed the events of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, Lego Star Wars II is based on A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The game comically retells the trilogy's events using cut scenes without dialogue. The player assumes the roles of the films' characters, each of which possess specific weapons and abilities. At any time, a second player can join the game by activating a second controller. During game play, players can collect Lego studs–small, disk-shaped objects that serve as the game's currency. The player has a health meter, which is displayed on the game's heads-up display. The player's health is represented by four hearts; when these hearts are depleted the player dies and a small amount of their studs bounce away. However, they are instantly reincarnated and can often recollect the lost studs.

The game's central location is the Mos Eisley Cantina, a spaceport bar on the planet Tatooine. At the counter, the player may use their Lego studs to purchase characters, vehicles, gameplay hints and extras, or activate cheat codes. In a small area outside the cantina, players may view collected vehicles. The game is broken into levels, which are accessed from the cantina; each film is represented by six levels, representing key locations and scenes in that film. The locations include Hoth, Bespin, Dagobah, Tatooine, the Death Star, and Endor. The game also features bonus levels. During levels, the player defeats enemies, builds objects out of Lego bricks and drives vehicles, Certain levels are played entirely while piloting vehicles, such as the Millennium Falcon. Levels must first be played in story mode. This unlocks the next level as well as a "free play" mode for the recently completed level. Gameplay is identical in the two modes. However, story mode restricts playable characters to those followed in the film scenes the levels are based on, while free play offers all those unlocked. Levels can be replayed in either mode to collect studs and secret items.

Three types of secret items are available: gold bricks, minikits and power bricks. Within each level is hidden one power brick. When a power brick is collected, its corresponding extra, such as invincibility or stud multipliers, becomes available for purchase. Each level also contains ten hidden minikits, that is, ten pieces of a Star Wars vehicle. When all ten have been collected, the player is awarded a gold brick. Collecting a certain number of gold bricks unlocks free rewards, such as a spigot that spews out studs. Gold bricks are also awarded when levels are completed and when a predefined number of studs is accumulated in a level; ninety-nine gold bricks are available. The vehicles represented by the minikits are displayed outside the cantina. As each vehicle is completed (all ten minikits collected), it becomes available for play in a bonus level.

Playable characters

Over 50 characters from the films are playable over the course of the game, including Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, R2-D2, C-3PO, Darth Vader, an Ewok, and Boba Fett. Character abilities have a greater role in Lego Star Wars II than in Lego Star Wars. Certain characters armed with guns can use a grappling hook in predesignated areas. Characters wielding lightsabers can deflect projectiles, double jump and use the Force. R2-D2, C-3PO, and other droid characters are needed to open certain doors. Small characters like the Ewok can crawl through hatches to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. Bounty hunters, such as Boba Fett, may use thermal detonators to destroy otherwise indestructible objects. Sith, like Darth Vader, can use the Force to manipulate black Lego objects. Some characters have unique abilities; for example, Chewbacca can rip enemies' arms from their sockets, Darth Vader can choke enemies with the Force, Princess Leia possesses a slap attack, and Lando Calrissian can use a kung-fu-like attack. Special abilities are often necessary to unlock secrets, and story mode does not always provide characters with needed abilities. This means that some secrets can only be found in free play mode. The player can unlock the "Use Old Save" extra, which imports all 54 characters from Lego Star Wars for use in free play; however, a Lego Star Wars saved game must be present on the same memory card that contains Lego Star Wars II s save data.

Players can create two customized characters in the Mos Eisley Cantina. These characters can be built using both miscellaneous parts and those of unlocked characters; millions of combinations are possible. Entering two cheat codes, publicized by IGN, makes pieces for a Santa Claus character available. The game generates names for the characters based on the pieces used (for example, a character made from pieces of Darth Vader and C-3PO might have the name "Darth-3PO"); alternately, the player may create a name.

Development

Lego Star Wars II was created by Cheshiremarker, England, game developer Traveller's Tales. LucasArts—busy with other projects—had deferred publishing of Lego Star Wars to Eidos Interactive, but regained the "necessary resources" to publish its sequel alongside TT Games. Lego Star Wars II was created for Windows, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance (GBA), Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable (PSP), and Xbox 360. Differences exist between platforms: the DS and GBA versions have some different playable characters than the other versions, and the DS and PSP versions support a "Wireless Lobby" for multiplayer gameplay. Due to the superior graphical capabilities of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2, the graphics in these versions of the game are of higher-definition. In a preview of the game, video game publication IGN called these versions "the farthest along" in terms of graphics when compared to the versions for other platforms, but "identical in every [other] way".

The game's camera angles and movement were improved over its predecessor. Camera movement in co-op was a specific point of concern, as LucasArts received critical feedback from fans over this issue. TT Games looked to expand upon the concept of levels completed entirely in vehicles. These "vehicle levels" were explored more thoroughly in Lego Star Wars II than in its predecessor. Vehicle models from the Lego Star Wars toy line were adapted into vehicles in the game. Character customization, an entirely new concept, was considered a significant improvement over the original game, and is one of three features highlighted on the game's final back cover. Tom Stone, director at TT Games, stated of the various improvements made over the original game:

The designers attempted to recreate the films' characters and events in a "cute" way. Assistant producer Jeff Gullet said that, in the game's recreation of a Return of the Jedi scene where Luke Skywalker "jumps off the plank ... and somersaults onto the skiff", Skywalker "performs an all-out acrobatic routine with all sorts of jumps from the plank. It's hilarious". LucasArts producer David Perkinson said, "[u]nless you've got the heart of the Emperor, you are going to chuckle at many of [the characters] the first time you see them – you just have to. They're so darn cute!"

Promotion and release

On February 2, 2006, images of the game were leaked to the Internet. However, they were quickly removed, and LucasArts did not confirm or deny the game's development. The game was formally announced on February 10 at American International Toy Fair 2006. A preview was later hosted at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2006. Because the original Lego Star Wars had been well received commercially and critically, selling 3.3 million copies by March 2006 and winning several awards, its sequel was highly anticipated by both fans of the original game and video game publications such as IGN. Based on pre-release hype, Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of global marketing for Microsoft, commended the game for expanding the range of consumers for the Xbox 360. Shortly before the game's release, promotions were set up at chain stores across the United States, including Toys "R" Us, Wal-Martmarker, Target, Best Buy, GameStop, and Circuit City.

Lego Star Wars II was released on September 11, 2006, with a rating of E10+ from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (for "cartoon violence" and "crude humor") and 3+ from PEGI. The game's release coincided with the individual two-disc DVD releases of the films on which it was based. Toys "R" Us hosted a promotion for customers who purchased the game within a week of its release at one of the store's locations.

Reception

Critical response

Lego Star Wars II was generally well-received by critics, who praised its portrayal of the films' characters and events. Nintendo Power staff writer Chris Shepperd claimed that "[t]he adorable LEGO adaptations also led to some hilarious story moments—the 'I am your father' scene from Empire is priceless". Reviewers from GameSpy, 1UP.com, GameSpot, IGN, and PlayStation: The Official Magazine offered similar opinions. Shepperd and Variety s Ben Fritz called the game "adorable". In reviews of the Xbox 360 version, Official Xbox Magazine praised the game's "off-kilter humor", and Electronic Gaming Monthly stated that "[y]ou have to give credit to the brilliant blockhead who forced this awesome yet fundamentally bizarro idea on LucasArts."

The game was praised as a result of reviewers' preference of the original trilogy over the prequel trilogy. Anthony Reiner of Game Informer said that "comparing [the prequel trilogy] to the films in the original trilogy is similar to comparing Jar Jar Binks to Han Solo". Shepperd praised the level design of Lego Star Wars II, and called its predecessor's environments "sterile". These views were echoed by reviewers from 1UP.com, Variety, GameSpot, GameSpy, Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine (for the PlayStation 2), and BusinessWeek.

Critics were divided on the game's level of difficulty. Fritz claimed that, though Lego Star Wars II provided only a "short journey", it was "loads of fun". GameSpot s Ryan Davis estimated that it could be completed in six hours, but praised its bonus content. GameSpy and 1UP.com's reviewers thought similarly. A review by USA Today s Brett Molina claimed that "[t]he game's difficulty is balanced well enough so kids won't feel too frustrated while older gamers will still find a solid challenge" and gave the game an overall score of 8 out of 10. Official Xbox Magazine s review praised its "weird puzzles". IGN's Jeremy Dunham and Reiner were more critical of the perceived low difficulty.

Critics disliked the game's Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS versions. Davis believed that the Game Boy Advance version could be completed in two hours. GameSpy staff writer Phil Theobald bemoaned this version's poor controls, easy levels and vehicle-piloting sections. He concluded that "for goodness sake, [one should] buy one of the [home] console versions". Theobald, Davis, and IGN's Craig Harris criticized the high number of glitches in the DS version.

Awards

The official Star Wars website declared Lego Star Wars II to be the best Star Wars-related product of 2006. The game won iParenting Media Awards' "2006 Greatest Products Call", and was placed on Reader's Digest s September 2006 "5 Things We Don't Want You to Miss" list, Time magazine's list of the top ten video games of 2006, and GameSpy's PC "Game of the Year" list. It received the 2006 Game of the Year award from Nick Jr. and from IGN (for PC games only). It won Spike TV Video Game Awards 2006's "Best Game Based on a Movie or TV Show", and "Best Gameplay" from BAFTA Video Game Awards. It received BAFTA nominations in three other categories, including "Best Game".

Sales

Lego Star Wars II sold over 1.1 million copies worldwide, all platforms combined, in its opening week. The PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox 360, and Xbox versions were the third, fifth, eighth, and ninth-best selling games of September 2006, respectively. The GameCube, Xbox, and PlayStation 2 versions were the third, eighth, and ninth-best selling games of 2006, respectively. All platforms combined, the game was the third-highest selling of 2006 worldwide and the fifth-highest selling in the United Kingdom. By February 13, 2009, its worldwide sales had surpassed 8.2 million. It has been certified as part of the budget lines Platinum Hits for the Xbox 360, Greatest Hits for the PlayStation 2 (each represents a worldwide sales total of at least 400,000 on its respective platform), and Player's Choice for the GameCube (at least one million).

Related games

Lego Star Wars and Lego Star Wars II were compiled in Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, developed by Traveller's Tales and published by LucasArts. The Complete Saga incorporated improvements from the sequel into the original game, and expanded the Mos Eisley Cantina to allow access to both games' levels. It also contains enhancements to graphics, sound, and camera control. An online co-op mode is available for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions. It was released in November 2007 for Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, and DS. Like Lego Star Wars II, it received a rating of E10+ from the ESRB. As of February 13, 2009, The Complete Saga has sold over 3.4 million copies worldwide.

No fourth Lego Star Wars game has been announced, likely due to a lack of source material. However, many of Lego Star Wars II s gameplay elements reappeared in the video games Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, Lego Batman: The Videogame, Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues, and the upcoming Lego Harry Potter: Years 1–4.

References

  1. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (GameCube) instruction booklet, p. 21.
  2. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (GameCube) instruction booklet, p. 12.
  3. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (GameCube) instruction booklet, p. 14.
  4. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (GameCube) instruction booklet, p. 14.
  5. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (GameCube) instruction booklet, p. 22.
  6. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (GameCube) instruction booklet, pp. 25–26.
  7. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (GameCube) instruction booklet, p. 19.
  8. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (GameCube) instruction booklet, p. 20.
  9. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (GameCube) instruction booklet, p. 15.
  10. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (GameCube) boxart.
  11. Click on "view winners", then on "Best Game Based on a Movie or TV Show".


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