My memories of this game came rushing back recently. I was cleaning out the area around my computer desk and I found a big stack of PC games from when I was a kid! I found this game, Lego Racing, that shitty Lego Island 2, CROC LEGEND OF THE GOBBOS, Dark Forces, Jedi Knight, the Sega Smash Pack aaaaand *edit* well fuck me I had Croc 2, how did that happen? I remember when my grandma got a computer in...maybe 1996, my friend had Dark Forces and Jazz Jackrabbit for his computer so those were the games I had to have. It was awesome. Now just like any young boy I was obsessed with motherfucking LEGO'S. When I found out they were making a game (I think I might have heard about it in a comic book or something), I HAD to get it.
You play as Pepper, a "pizza delivery dude, the dude with the food!". Your job is to make pizza deliveries although I only remember doing a couple of those, I usually just wasted time at the racetrack. The Brickster is a criminal who likes to unbuild things, he breaks out of jail and you help the police capture him again. The story is pretty light stuff but it makes up for it with charming characters and variety of things to do.
The gameplay is very simple, just use the directional keys to move. They work like the tank controls in Resident Evil. Forward and backward move forward and backward and left and right rotate you. You can walk around and click on stuff to watch it change. You can play as several characters, each one has different effects on things you click. Say somebody is walking by, you can click them and their hair will change, or the color of their clothing, etc. you can go to the building you started out at and check on your score in the various minigames on the score cube. I like walking into people on the street, instead of bumping into them like most games you can plow right through them and they explode.
My favorite part of the game though was vehicle customization, I remember building a helicopter, a racecar, a jetski, and by clicking on vehicles you could ride them in races or just for fun. If you visit the racetrack, build your car and customize it you can enter in a race, same with the jetski. The helicopter could be used to fly over Lego Island and see everything from a birds eye view, it was cool. Along the way you could have all sorts of conversations with characters in the game, the dialogue was pretty charming and well written on my recent look at the game.
But the game is far from perfect, the controls are pretty assy. They are entirely too sensitive, and you can only travel on the roads or set paths for you to travel. You're walking on a path and you bump into the edge of it, losing all your speed and you have to accelerate again. It can get very very annoying, and this applies to the races too, the physics when you are riding vehicles is identical to when you are on foot only you go much faster. That's my only serious complaint with the gameplay.
: The graphics in this game are very simple, lacking just about all the detail found in the modern Lego games. But it works. Everything is bright, it's easy to get around. I like the look of the game. This is the first Lego game, they obviously hadn't perfected the look so I will let it slide. The NPC characters are well animated. I remember playing it on my grandmas ancient computer as a kid, the framerate was so choppy! I played it on my current PC and it looks much better though. C.
Let me just get this out of the way, I LOVE the soundtrack to this game. What is cool about it is how depending on what area of the Island you go to the music changes to fit the area more or less. I think I have some serious retrogoggles with the soundtrack. Even after like, 10 years I still remembered most of the music to the game. The main downside is that it's a wee bit....muffly? It's not crystal clear but that's not a big deal. The sound effects are expectantly cartoonish.
I was impressed with some of the voice talent they got for the game, notably June Foray who did the voice for Rocky the Squirrel and Natasha on Rocky & Bullwinkle. And Terence McGovern who did the voice for Launchpad on Ducktales (ah-woo-hoo!) and John Morris who played Andy in the Toy Story movies. B.
: Overall Lego Island is a pretty enjoyable game in 1997. It has NOT aged well, but it still has enough charm and interesting things to do to be entertaining for at least one playthrough.
Retrogoggles grade: *edit* you know what? This game gets a 10
, I was being too strict, I LOVED this game when I was a kid. I loved racing my car, smashing into people, riding my awesome jetski, that british parrot that would freak me out, going into the cave where the mysterious man behind the door would tell you tips about the game. I love Lego Island!!
Modern grade: 5 read