Lego Star Wars GameBoy Advance Review

Star Wars fever is running at an all-time high right now. The latest chapters of the saga (and perhaps the final ones) are about to come to a close with arrival of the latest film, Revenge of the Sith, and Ubisoft is ramping up on a series of games to follow on the events of the film, across a number of gaming platforms. But Eidos has beaten them to the punch, coming through with a collective game of their own that includes events from Episode III, as well as the two previous films in the series. It's not what you'd expect, however- it's in a Lego mold.

That means that each of the levels in Lego Star Wars for the Game Boy Advance consists of characters designed in a "cute", super-deformed mode, while the stage design and objects within each stage can easily show marks from building blocks. That's not to say that the game doesn't have solidity within it, however. Despite its kids-like appearance, the game is surprisingly fun to play, and could very well be one of the better handheld Star Wars games in years.

As I stated, the game spans across all three of the latest films- The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Sith. Throughout the game, you'll find yourself in control of numerous characters from the beginning, each with their own unique purposes to assist in getting through each stage. R2-D2, for instance, is useless in combat, but can open doors otherwise considered inaccessible. Some character are good for distance attacks with blasters, while others, like Qui-Gon Jinn and a grown-up Anakin Skywalker, manage to do some damage with lightsabers, good for up-close attacks and deflecting laser blasts. The "team" system works great here, allowing you to work together with a number of talents to progress further into the game.

The gameplay in itself is very well done. Although the game's not completely in 3-D format like the console versions, the Game Boy Advance version gets by in an isometric fashion, representing a 3-D-styled appearance that lets you get around easily. The graphics look nice in this mode, capturing detail on animation and new areas. And you can perform a number of slick moves to move you throughout each level, finding hidden items that allow you to unlock new characters in the game, as well as Free Play modes to revisit once it's beaten.

Another thing should be said about the sound. Eidos and Amaze have done some nice work in this department, as the game perfectly emulates some of the Star Wars music from the films, as well as familiar sound effects (the electronic swooshing of your saber, for example). Normally, this department is skipped (especially in older Star Wars games), but here, it's marvelous.

If Lego Star Wars really lacks in anything, it's the difficulty. The fact of the matter is, the game can really be beaten in a matter of hours. Through the Free Play mode, you can go back as different characters and try to find all the hidden icons, and you can also unlock new characters available for play, including the terrifying Darth Maul. But it still remains pretty much over after it's said and done.

However, while it lasts, Lego Star Wars is still a surprising good time, designed elegantly in every category and feeling like a refreshing change of pace from the other failures in the Star Wars release line. The force is strong with this one, even if it's made of Lego blocks.

What's Hot: A great twist on the classic license.

What's Not: Gimme more!