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Game Over Online ~ Lego Bionicle

GameOver Game Reviews - Lego Bionicle (c) Lego Media, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Lego Bionicle (c) Lego Media
System Requirements Game Boy Advance
Overall Rating 54%
Date Published Monday, January 21st, 2002 at 05:19 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Lego Bionicle is an action-adventure game that pits you in a quest to rid your Lego home island of dark forces. To do so, you are tasked to retrieve six stones in order to resurrect ancient warriors who will come to your aid. The story sounds as clichéd as they come but then again, we have all come to expect Lego to be a creative spin on existing enterprises. That creativity, however, is all but lost here because of some poor execution on the developer's part in Lego Bionicle.

When people think of a Lego game they immediately think of building blocks and exercising creativity to create new designs, contraptions and motifs using fairly boring, often square, Lego blocks. Lego Bionicle does nothing to really capitalize on the Lego franchise. It uses the palette of Lego pieces and the theme of Lego's quirky architectures to construct a fairly blasé adventure for your persona. The execution is uncannily like a recent title I looked at for another handheld (Pocket PC) called 'Hyperspace Delivery Boy!' Granted that 'Hyperspace Delivery Boy!' has none of Lego Bionicle's famous Lego franchise to lean back upon but both carry on in a fairly similar style. You basically have a chief task and roam around doing FedEx style quests in a myriad of colourful settings. 'Hyperspace Delivery Boy!' organized its quests through the use of expert level design. You basically had a primary quest on which upon sub-tasks or quests are piled upon you as part of the narrative. In Lego Bionicle, however, the design is atrocious as the game often has as much trouble as you do keeping track of what to do and when it is completed. The tasks you solve in a Lego world are not, incidently, as one would guess, puzzle-related. Rather, they are trivial exercises in launching missile attacks (and not much variety in that either) at your foes. The action sequences get tiring quickly simply because there isn't any reward for clearing a whole level of all its monsters.

I lauded 'Hyperspace Delivery Boy!' for its professional polish. Lego Bionicle's developers do not appear to put as much care into their product. Most of the time, you will be fidgeting with the controls in order to precisely time your mortar-like projectiles at your foes. This makes for repetitive and, often times, downright boring gameplay. The best gameplay appears to be in the multiplayer component. You unlock these multiplayer levels after completing a world in the single player portion of the title. I came to the same conclusion I had with the Xbox version of LucasArts' Starfighter SE. Why developers persist to lock the most interesting levels is beyond me. Perhaps it can make you slog through the levels of lesser quality and this would translate to better appreciation to what promising gems the title has to offer. The multiplayer levels are small but addictive to play as they each have distinct rules to create unique games of their own. You won't find Deathmatch (thankfully) and Capture the Flag here.

Ultimately, my criticism of this title won't stop Lego collectors who must acquire everything connected to the Lego franchise. It is good to see Lego branch out to many different genres. There will always be an appreciation for the whimsical design and motifs that the Lego world has to offer, even in this day and age, when adherence to gritty realism is the predominant trend. The crux with Lego Bionicle is its inability to take advantage of its license properly. The adventure or quest, however clichéd, has poor execution in its controls and monotonous gameplay. Even parents or children looking for a non-violent game on the GBA should really try to look elsewhere as they won't find the same brilliance in Lego Bionicle as they would expect from Lego.


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