by Catriona Mills

Articles in “Gaming”

Lessons I Have Learned From Playing Lego Star Wars: Redux

Posted 28 April 2009 in by Catriona

Back in October last year, I became obsessed with Lego Star Wars for the Nintendo DS, and wrote the original Lessons I Have Learnt From Playing Lego Star Wars post (as well as the spin-off, Horrible Things I Have Seen And Done In Lego Star Wars).

But this is different, because I picked the game up again, and am now far more advanced—meaning I have a whole new raft of characters to play with and a whole new set of lessons to learn.

1. Playing with characters who are also Force ghosts is both awesome and strangely creepy.

You can, once you save up several million credits, play as the Force ghosts of Obi-wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Yoda. The Force ghosts are see-through and (largely) invincible, they can pass across electrified floors without sustaining damage, and only those characters who are strong in the Force can see them.

Which is strangely disturbing in rooms where enemies spawn freely—and none of them can see you. They keep spawning, because that’s what the game tells them to do. But they can’t see you. So they don’t attack. And the room is full of silent stormtroopers, standing there with their blasters out, aiming at something that they know should be there, while you flit secretly past them all. Occasionally, you need to nudge them out of your way, but they still don’t respond to your presence. The whole level becomes ghostly and surreal.

Of course, it does make them easier to kill. There’s always a silver lining.

2. The Emperor rocks. Seriously, he’s like the Sith equivalent to Yoda in this game. (And, actually, I never play Yoda if I can help it. The little chap is too zippy: I attack someone with him, and he bounces all over the screen, and before I know it, he’s bounces right off the edge of a cliff and dies. Or out of a treehouse and dies, if I’m playing the Kashyyyk level. He never seems to move in a straight line. Drives me nuts.)

But the Emperor is less volatile than Yoda while also being intensely bouncy. And he has a brilliant move where he flies through the air sideways with his lightsaber in front of him.

Plus, he has force lightning. So you can attack enemies, and they’re flung up into the air and held there by the force of the lightning until they disintegrate into their constituent parts, and it’s completely . . . evil. Obviously. It’s an evil thing to do: that’s why only Sith manifest this skill.

(Just quietly, though? It’s awesome.)

3. Robots can’t pull levers. With a droid such as R2D2, this is fair enough: he doesn’t have any hands. But now I have purchased another droid character, whose name I have forgotten. He’s a droid bounty hunter. So he can use a blaster, operate a grappling hook, and throw thermal detonators—but he can’t operate levers.

Which means, in the universe of Lego Star Wars, that he can’t open doors.

Do you not suppose that this might be something of a career hindrance to a bounty hunter? At the very least, it would make it remarkably easy for his quarry to escape.

4. Space architecture is confusing. Take, for example, the Imperial Guards’ lounge (and, yes, there is one on the second Death Star, apparently, but you have to be a protocol droid to access it, which is odd, now I come to think about it). Does it really need moving platforms and a room to which you can only gain access by an Ewok-sized travel chute, not that it’s really important, since the room only contains a lever by which to make the moving platform work?

Wouldn’t it be more practical to have a coffee machine? Maybe a pool table? Some chairs and a few copies of the Time Literary Supplement?

Although on that note, the Imperial Guards’ lounge fills me with delight on two grounds:

1. It’s the Imperial Guards’ lounge. Do you think they take off those red hoods when they sit down for elevenses?

2. The chairs are identical to those in the Jedi council chamber in the “Ruin of the Jedi” level. It makes me think at some point, the Imperial Human Resources Department sent out the following memo:

TO: All personnel
CC: The Emperor

We at the Imperial Human Resources Department would like to congratulate the Imperial Clone Army on the astounding success of Order 66. Congratulations on the (as far as we know) complete annihilation of the Jedi! We think you deserve a party—we might even convince the Emperor to spring for a cake! Please have your department heads send us a memo with a note of available dates and we’ll see what we can do.

But in the meantime, the annihilation of an entire religion is no reason why their soft furnishings should go to waste. Remember, reuse comes before recycle, even in a galaxy-wide empire! So if anyone has space for some very comfortable armchairs, contact Andrea down in HR.

Strange Conversations: Part One Hundred and Thirteen

Posted 7 April 2009 in by Catriona

And with the departure of my parents, back to your regularly scheduled programming: a conversation about Lego Star Wars.

ME: I keep committing treason.
NICK: What do you mean?
ME: Well, Queen Amidala stands too close to me. I keep hitting her with my lightsaber.
NICK: I don’t think you can commit treason against Lego.
ME: Really?
NICK: I don’t they they have a suitably sophisticated sense of the protocols and processes of government.
ME: Don’t they?
NICK: Well, they’re only plastic.
ME: But then why would they have queens?
NICK: Um . . .
ME: I see a flaw in your Lego theories.
NICK: Very possibly. They’re only embryonic. But I did study under the masters.
ME: Like Lego Angela McRobbie?
NICK: More like Lego Michel Foucault.

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