Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (+)

Imagine Star Wars. No, just the Original Trilogy. Okay, now imagine it made from Legos. Yeah, that’s the game.

Alternate Synopsis: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… apparently the Danish invaded and took the galaxy, sending it to Earth, slaughtering the residents and selling them as children’s building materials… And that’s where Legos come from.

Who hasn’t dreamed about playing a Star Wars game as a character using Princess Leia’s hair, Lando Calrissian’s head, C-3PO’s torso, and Han Solo’s pants? You know, Princess Lando Solo3PO? Actually, make that Darth Princess Lando Solo3PO. You can use Darth Vader’s cape, too. Well, quit dreaming, you dreamers, for Lucasarts brings you Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy for the DS.

They gameplay hasn’t changed much since the original Lego Star Wars, which revolved around the prequel trilogy. Still a third person shooter. Although, honestly, controls seems just a little bit rough, although I’m not sure if that’s the result of the game just being on the DS, which has no analog stick. But it’s pretty good most of the time. Camera is controlled by the stylus, if you really want, but it’s rarely a problem. Combat on the other hand… shots don’t register sometimes. You attack/fire your weapon just fine, but the impact just doesn’t seem to affect the enemy as you know it should. It’s not really a problem, just a minor annoyance. It doesn’t hold the game back.

Graphics wise, the game looks basically the same as if it were on a home console. Sure, it’s not as polished as the XBox/Gamecube/PS2 version, but please. These are Legos. You don’t really need graphical power of your 360 to enjoy this game. Details show up just fine on the DS screen.

The game sounds just fine on my handheld. The typical Star Wars-ian, John Williams-esque soundtrack that we all expect, especially since this game is based on three movies that are actually scored. All the musical cues that we know and love are in there.

This game is surprisingly fun, even though it’s not perfect, you’ll easily be able to overlook it once you get into it. This game? It gets a +.


There’s some news coming out of Boston. The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority will no longer allow advertising on their vehicles for video games that receive a rating of M (mature) or AO (adults only) from the Entertainment Software Rating Board. This is the result of complaints for the advertising of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories on the side of Boston subway cars.

Honestly, I could be okay with this. The Grand Theft Auto series is known for having violence/nudity/language that isn’t appropriate for children, and everyone sees these subway cars. I’m sure that as much as they would like to have it, Rockstar doesn’t really need these ads to sell the game. If a customer would like it, they’ll find a way to get it.

But the advertisements only say the title of the game, and a picture of a character on it. In order for an underaged citizen to play this game, when many stores don’t allow for games rated M to be sold to minors, or even be rented, they need their parent/caretaker to purchase it for them. That means the responsible adult needs to see the words “Grand Theft Auto”, plus a “Rated M” symbol on the cover, which isn’t much different from a “Parental Advisory Warning” on a CD, and actually bigger than a “Rated R” on a movie.

And that’s why we’re complaining about it, yes? Because of the kids? Well, kinda. But also because the game encourages unlawful behavior. And as the MBTA is a public entity, according to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, “[it] has a responsibility to protect the public from being bombarded by violent images.” Well, yes. I suppose. But then are we going to stop all violent images? There will be no movie ads for rated R films? No ads for the new 50 Cent album?

You can’t ban one medium on some merits, but not ban another that has the same properties. It’s not being blamed for being a violent game, it’s being blamed for condoning violence. So if Rockstar can’t advertise GTA, why can the Clerks II DVD show up on the side of the bus? And if they actually do allow the banning of “adult” themed ads on public transportation, what about the billboards I can see from the bus? And then the commercials on the air? Everyone sees those too.

Everyone knows that the GTA series is violent. Stopping the ad on the side of a train isn’t going to stop the sales of this game, nor future ones like it. I understand why they’re doing it, because I agree, the world could use less violence. But the manner they’re doing it is wrong, and just creates precedence in the United States that can lead to more harm than good. In the end, the problem doesn’t lie in the game developers, for they are a business, just like all others, nor the transit system, who didn’t discriminate before, and had no reason to, but the customers, for being ill-informed. Parents still aren’t paying attention to what games their kids are playing and are blaming it on everyone but themselves.

Boston Globe

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (+)

Hyrule’s not in danger, and you don’t have to save it. Just kidding. Grab your sword: the hero’s back.

Link’s back for his first (sorta) next-gen adventure. Let’s admit it: it’s graphically a Gamecube game. It’s a good looking one, but visually a Gamecube game nonetheless. It was too far in development by the time it was announced for the Wii, but trust me, you’ll get over it. It’s a beautiful game on either console. Maybe it’s not quite pushing the Wii’s graphics, but still quite gorgeous. The game engine is a retooled version of Wind Waker’s cell shaded environments. After the hubbub around the cell shading, Nintendo opted to do a traditional 3D look. But they made the conversion beautifully.

Control wise, the game hasn’t changed much from Wind Waker or any 3D Zelda game, going on back to Ocarina of Time. Pick up the controller, and it’ll come flooding back to you. You’ll get the hang of it in no time. Any controls that have been changed for the Wii’s unique controller come to you quite naturally. Shake the controller, swing the sword. Shake and hold forward on the control stick, stab the enemy. Shake the Nunchuk, spinning sword. Throw in Z-targetting, and you’ve got combat down. Slain enemies litter the ground soon enough.
NOTE: A flick of the wrist is good enough for swordfighting. You do not have to wield the controller as if it were actually a weapon. Of course, you’re always welcome to swing like a maniac if you want.

The story is, well, Zelda-esque. Your world is being taken over by the Twilight, and of course, as the re-incaration of the Hero that has been saving Hyrule since the dawn of time, it’s up to you to stop it. This time though, you’re an adult at the beginning of the story, and you even already have your trusty steed Epona at your side. Why? Because you’re a shepherd. Ah, fates, how lucky you’ve made us. S’all right though. You’ll be a badass soon.

The Zelda series has grown through time, adapting itself to each generation of Nintendo console, and turning out beautifully each time. Even though this game was programmed for the Nintendo Gamecube, it’s just as wonderful to play for the Wii, and I can only wait in anticipation for a true Wii Legend of Zelda game to be released.