LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean
By Travellers Tales and Disney Interactive
Genre: LEGO-building, action-adventure
Rating: E10+ for Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief
Once again the venerable designers at Travellers Tales partner with a license holder to translate a property to the LEGO medium. This time, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean gets the treatment. It’s every bit as good as the previous games, I’m happy to say!
The storylines covered are basically the stories of the four movies, accessible through a hub known as the Port, which, as with the other hubs in all LEGO games, has its own secrets to uncover. Even the fourth movie which had yet to be released at the time of the game’s release is covered, so beware of spoilers!
The Pirates movies dealt mainly with the exploits of Captain Jack Sparrow, infamous pirate, ladies’ man and sometimes eccentric bumbler. But you always end up rooting for Jack in the end, because he’s just so endearing! This game and its coverage of the film stories gives each of the main characters a chance to shine, from Jack himself, Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann and their gathering of allies, to Captain Barbossa and the Black Pearl crew, Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman crew, Sao Feng and the rest of the Pirate Lords, and Blackbeard and the crew of Queen Anne’s Revenge.
Besides that, many events which are not seen until later in the series are foreshadowed early on; for instance, in the Stinger (a scene after the credits; yes, the games’ episodes have their Stingers in keeping with the movies) of Film One, besides seeing Jack the monkey take the one gold coin and become cursed again, we see a dark shape with oddly-braided “hair” dragging Barbossa’s “body” into a boat and paddling away…
You will often find yourself returning to levels over and over again. This may seem redundant, and it is, but it’s necessary to get that vaunted 100% completion rate. You’ll need to enter Free Play to unlock previously unexplorable areas; find the minikits (represented here as little ships in bottles, ten to a level; find them all and you can sail an unlocked ship around the Port); find the eight items, unique to each level, that Jack’s magic compass can point out; and get the True Pirate status by collecting enough studs in each level to fill the glowing yellow bar in your HUD. Completing levels and these missions net you Gold Bricks, which are and have been the main collection item in any LEGO game. These are used to unlock the two side areas of Port as well as to complete more tasks within Port.
These tasks are, as usual in a LEGO game, made easier by the acquisition of special ability items; previously red bricks or packages, here they’re red pirate hats. These can be found in Port after completing certain tasks, often involving the special abilities of characters both unlocked by playing levels, and by finding them wandering around in Port; you can buy them for use at any time.
As usual, drop-in-drop-out co-op helps you explore with a friend most effectively, and adds replay value to this already epic game! Definitely five stars out of five.