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Lego Star Wars II

"Adorable" is not a word used very often in an industry dominated by "Grand Theft Auto" and "Halo," but it's undeniably the best way to describe "Lego Star Wars II." LucasArts' follow-up to last year's hit isn't very challenging, but its combination of two beloved brands and a tongue-in-cheek take on the sci-fi mythos offers clean fun for kids and a nostalgic good time for adult gamers. No wonder it sold more than a million copies in its first week on shelves.</B>

“Adorable” is not a word used very often in an industry dominated by “Grand Theft Auto” and “Halo,” but it’s undeniably the best way to describe “Lego Star Wars II.” LucasArts’ follow-up to last year’s hit isn’t very challenging, but its combination of two beloved brands and a tongue-in-cheek take on the sci-fi mythos offers clean fun for kids and a nostalgic good time for adult gamers. No wonder it sold more than a million copies in its first week on shelves.

After the original “Lego Star Wars” sold more than 3.8 million units, LucasArts took back the license from Eidos, but wisely had the developer behind the first game, Traveller’s Tales, work on the sequel. Follow-up isn’t fundamentally different, but it offers the big advantage of a story based on the original trilogy, rather than the inferior “Phantom Menace” et al.

As before, players work their way through the most memorable scenes of three “Star Wars” films while also trying to get their hands on a number of Lego-based collectibles. For completists, that offers significant replay opportunity, though the game is so fundamentally simple it can lose its appeal before players find every last Lego brick.

For those who just want to play through the story, it won’t take very long, since enemies are weak, puzzles are simple and it’s impossible to die.

But the short journey is loads of fun. From Chewie to Hoth to the Millennium Falcon, character and the environments are cleverly designed out of Lego pieces. Co-op play is even more fun, though it’s a shame gamers can’t play it with a friend online.

The game’s biggest kick is the opportunity to mix and match Lego pieces to make your own characters as you progress. For the millions of us who have wondered who’s more powerful, Darth Yoda or Chewbacca Fett, there’s finally a way to find out.

Lego Star Wars II

Production: A LucasArts presentation of a game developed by Traveller's Tales for GameCube, PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox and Xbox 360. Rated E. Reviewed on Xbox 360.

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