Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lego My Ergo...

So, the other day at work while I was trying very desperately to keep from falling asleep at my terminal, I decided to do a little search for some cool computer games, preferably something out of the Lego title line; because it just so happens to be one of my guilty pleasures, and I need some new fix (i.e. monumental waste of time) to keep me going through this terrible economic recession/usury pay off that I'm currently going through.

But first, let me give you a back story as to how I delved into the world of Lego video gaming. It all started about a year or so ago with Lego Star Wars The Original Trilogy; well actually The Sequel... because upon receiving the game, it wouldn't load correctly on my computer. I was running Vista at the time, and wasn't aware of the clever little formatting tweak that one can do to the executable install package using Orca, which I had mentioned in a previous blog entry not too long ago (actually it was quite a while ago, but since I tend to lose track of the time, it's usually hard to remember exactly when it was without referencing it directly, so there you go!).

What appealed to me first and foremost about the game was not only the fact that it was based on my favorite movie from childhood, but because of its straight forward and very easy level of game play; no complicated first person shooters with the thousand or so controls that you'll most likely have to wind up customizing and maybe even sacrificing one or two buttons if your controller doesn't meet the compatibility/number of default button requirements... nothing of that nature; no sir! Sure, I still have to change around the buttons, but at least it's not like I'm programming a friggin' VCR here, folks! Which by the way, I'll have you know, is also very easy in and of itself... but for the sake of comedic continuity, I'll jest.

Another thing that I like about this game is the fact that you have to unlock characters in order to find the secret locations of these special building blocks (i.e. minikits) that will eventually add up to build a vehicle which you can use in the later bonus levels. And of course, the game's not over 'til you collect each and every one of these super blocks in order to build a door which leads into the bonus Lego City level. Sorry if I spoiled the fun for you all, but getting there is really the fun part.

The first time I played this game, I wasn't aware as to how it was exactly that I was supposed to import all the characters that I had unlocked from the previous game (not because I couldn't get the game to work, but because I wasn't exactly clear on whereabouts exactly was it that my game was saved). After doing some searching on this superhighway of intelligent and highly informative infrastructure, hitherto known as the world wide web, I learned that it was simply a matter of looking in my users folder, that is... after making sure that the show hidden folders option was marked off, and then simply checking out the Lucasarts folder located within the local one.

The original trilogy folder, however, was a bit different to locate, since LucasArts apparently didn't have complete control over that game's porting, which explains why it probably stalls every now and again, forcing the know-it-all dweeb of a gamer (like myself) to delete the SWLEGO.BIN file that gets generated and run the game again, thus repeating the process over and over again 'til I'm forced to live in a nursing home whilst starring at an aquarium and wondering why I'm not able to move the goldfish with my joystick controller. To which the nurse says: "But sir! That's not a gamepad that you're moving around... it's your other joystick!" To which I'll say: "Well, no wonder you've had to come in here so often to change my diapers!"

At that time, another company called Giant Interactive was at the helm, doing the programming for this game, which somehow just seemed a little sub par with the games that were developed by Traveller's Tales. Maybe they're both one in the same company, being bought out by a bigger and better empire, who knows? All's I know is that I've never once had an issue with Traveller's Tales games installed on my computer. Well, maybe except for Lego Indiana Jones, (another great game I must say!) which I found out later had some graphics problems due to the fact that I forgot to turn on the Vertical Sync option! Go figure... you'd think they'd tell you about these things!

Anyways, the Original Trilogy (i.e. the first Star Wars Lego game) is located in the Giant folder, which can only be reached by locating the Program Files (x86) folder on your local hard drive. From there, you should be seeing lsw_0, lsw_1, lsw_2, so on and so forth, until you reach 5, since 0-5 makes six, and six are the total number of save games you can save to and load from on these here series of games. Don't ask me why, but I think it has to do with some kinda sick satanic cult thing which is constantly out to sacrifice geek virgins telepathically via the means of cathode tube (or LCD flat screen technology, whichever one you can afford!) governmentally sponsored, privately run, heavily organized and sub-urbanly sponsored, brain washed text messaging/hallucinogenic mind control devices. Of course, their sole purpose is to make us docile so that the visitors from outer space can herd us like the flock of cattle we all really are. So enjoy these fresh cuts of mine, you all mighty Quazark of the Cosmos, generalissimo of Alpha Centauri you!

So, back to the Lego Star Wars II for a moment--- when I first played this game, I played it completely straight through, minus the super story levels, of course, which seem to take like... forever to complete. So after I beat both games, I learned how to successfully import the first collection of unlocked characters from one game onto the other. That was, after several failed attempts, due to the fact that I was only copying the files themselves and placing them in each individual folder. Pretty stupid, I know... but hey! I didn't know it was simply just a matter of copying and pasting the whole folder! So sue me!

Here's a tip for all you die hard gamers... simply play the first level of Episode IV (A New Hope) in order to unlock the other two. And then complete Episode VI (Return of the Jedi) up until chapter 5, which is where you'll get Vader added to your usual lineup. From there on end, it should be smooth sailing, because you'll have a bounty hunter (Leia as Boushh), a dwarf sized character (i.e. Wickett) and a dark forced proned character like Vader, or if you're feeling really cocky (kid), buy yourself The Emperor! Of course, he'll be a bit expensive, so use this advice only at your sole discretion! After that it's simply just a matter of scouting out all the secret minikit locations in free play mode, and saving up to buy your score multipliers, which basically make the whole length of the game fly by overnight!

I have to say that what impressed me the most about this game is the developer's attention to detail. And not detail, as in the landscaped environments which can easily be seen and recognized from the film; even though it's not exactly in the film itself; but it's the little things that draw my attention. For example, C-3PO's adventures on Tatooine calls upon the use of his binary protocol, working with moisture vaporators (remember that from the first film?) to be able to dry up land hazards that'll make continued passage (I mean travel!) possible for the other heroes, to carry on and complete the mission and whatnot. Then there's the womp rats, which we can easily bullseye with either Luke and/or Ben at the helm. Funny, but I just can't imagine the late great Sir Alec Guinness doing somersaults in the air at his age, for some strange reason. So kudos to you Ewan McGregor for bringing it on home! It's the subtle things like this that make me appreciate not only the game, but the movie itself as well. Every time I play these games, it's like that Eskimo mint patty commercial, where I get the urge to watch the film all over again. Don't ask me why... it's just one of those things, I guess!

So, getting back to where this post all started, as I was doing a search for the latest PC Lego games, I was surprised to learn that they finally ported Star Wars: The Complete Saga to the PC as well as the sequel to Indiana Jones, which now features the fourth installment; The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Of course, in this case that title will probably become The Kingdom of the Crystal Stud* Piece, since I just shelled a couple of them out to buy it, along with the Complete Saga just to see what it's like! And being the video game junkie that I am, I'm pretty sure I'll be entertained with them for about a week! I just had to have them anyways, which made for the perfect holiday present for yours truly over here, since everyone usually gets me the usual industry standard gifts like aftershave and cologne. Oh well. It's the thought that counts, but a lot of thought going into something never hurts either... which is why I'd like to share with you all my latest and greatest proposal to the Lego Video Games manufacturer; Traveller's Tales. At least, I think that they're the ones mostly responsible for the product development under the helm of LucasArts and what have you! But at any rate, how about Lego Back to the Future?

Lego Back to the Future Image
Here's a little visual aide for test marketing
packaging purposes, maybe...?

Can't you just picture what a monumental hit this game would be if it were made? Think about it... it already has the essential elements to become the latest Lego port. First off, the movie was a trilogy, which is what these games are normally geared towards. Secondly, it had a cartoon based on the movie, which can easily add to the characters and/or unlockables in the game itself. Third, the movies all had a bitchin' soundtrack, and one doesn't have to be a rocket scientist (or a plutonium smuggling time traveling professor) to easily see the studs being counted and racked at the end of each and every level whilst the opening bars of Huey Lewis' tune The Power of Love plays in the background. That is, if Huey doesn't have anything to say about it, I mean after all... remember that whole business with The Ghostbusters' soundtrack? Yikes indeed!

And if they're really cool, how about an alternate Marty McFly (as portrayed by Eric Stoltz) as the ultimate game unlockable. That would really be something... well, that and probably an easter egg which would include all of his taped footage in the first take of the film (that is, aside from him jumping into the DeLorean in the actual film... yes kids, that's right; that was not Michael J. Fox's stunt double!) Of course, maybe exclusive content is a lot to ask for these days, so we'll just have to wait until the industry decides to release a newly repackaged DVD with all the works. So until then, keep your fingers crossed folks! I know I am...

This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII - the computer PC game video geek extraordinaire) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

* Stud, as in a fictional video game monetary units... whatcha think I was talkin' about?!?

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