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Shiver me timbers! Lego 'Pirates' is a treasure

May 27, 2011

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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Lego Pirates of the CaribbeanIt happened to Indiana Jones. It happened to Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker too. It even happened to little Harry Potter. Sooner or later, you just knew Jack Sparrow would be next.

Like other popular film franchises before them, 'Pirates of the Caribbean' has finally been Lego-fied and that's a very good thing. The perpetually bumbling Jack Sparrow, heroic Will Turner, daring Elizabeth Swann and even the evil Blackbeard himself have been parodied in another clever send-up by the talented Traveller's Tales.

 

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean Staging their comical interpretations of all four 'Pirate' movies - 'Curse of the Black Pearl', 'Dead Man's Chest', 'At World's End' and the latest 'On Stranger Tides' - took a bit of concise editing but that wooly bunch of English code monkeys have selected the biggest and the best moments for us to play through in 'Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game'. You will take on the nasty, ship devouring Kraken. You will duel against the fiendish Captain Hector Barbossa and his undead pirate crew. You will even sneak aboard the Flying Dutchman and cross swords with the glob-faced Davy Jones.

 

Known for producing some crafty puzzles throughout the Lego series, Traveller's Tales have pulled back just a tad in 'Pirates'. The brain teasers, which usually consist of moving this here and placing that there while pressing or assembling that, are a little more tamer, a little less complex than before. Maybe that's because the developers were expecting a younger, less experienced audience to pick up and play 'Pirates'. No matter the reasoning, the puzzles are smoother and don't hinder the momentum, which is what some of the brain teasers have done in other renditions. All in all, another good thing.

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean In addition to the gentler riddles, 'Pirates' deviates from the other Lego games in all sorts of novel ways that provide for some curious twists. Instead of the traditional red bricks, 'Pirates' has hidden red hats that if collected and bought open some amazing capabilities. For example, jumping wooden posts at the Port Royal home base, will give you access to a hat that for 500,000 Lego studs will double the amount of studs you collect in the first place. It is a quick way to accumulate wealth and put more skills, unlockables within your reach.

Star of the series Jack Sparrow also has his own side-quest thanks to his special compass which points to the thing the holder wants the most at that moment. In 'Lego Pirates', the compass will point to five or so objects and it is Jack's job to uncover them through the levels. Doing so grants bonus points after that section's completion.

The characters themselves have more abilities too. They can swim underwater, jump higher, aim and shoot targeted weapons.

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean About the only empty bottle of rum in the case is the two player splitscreen which sometimes overlaps causing some confusion, depending on which side you are on. The splitscreen is a great idea since the Lego games are better enjoyed as a two player drop in drop out co-op experience. It just needs a little work.

The Lego franchise as a whole has transcended the multi-coloured brick kits that were sold when I was a kid. Moving into the video game universe has reinvigorated the entire brand. With its crafty puzzles, whimsical humour and addicting collectables, 'Pirates' is a fantastic change of pace and will make some seas dogs out of those landlubbers out there.

 

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game
Format: Xbox 360
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Developer: Traveller's Tales
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+
Official Site: http://bit.ly/lsXuka
Rating: 8 / 10

 
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About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.