Neil McGreevy: Games
Lego Jurassic World (Multi)
IT'S amazing how similar the latest Jurassic Park movie is to the infamously ill-advised sequel Jaws 3D, where the star of a massive tourist resort runs amok, eating the visitors while staff are helped by dolphins (the Raptors of 1983).
The main difference between the two, of course, is that Jaws 3D is the better film.
Flogging a dead dinosaur, Jurassic World emerges pretty but pointless, like an expensive screensaver, amid a torrent of brainstormed CGI sewage that has you yearning for the tension-building artistry of Spielberg's original: it's telling that, for all its wizardry, the most memorable shot from Jurassic Park is a glass of rippling water.
Still, there are enough scaly shenanigans to satisfy popcorn-munchers, while the Lego tie-in delivers more prehistoric action than you can shake a club at.
Following in the footsteps of Star Wars, Indy and Harry Potter, Jurassic Park is the latest franchise to get the Danish brick treatment. Not only can players yomp through the latest big-screen outing, LJW takes us on a whistle-stop tour of iconic scenes from its prequels, totalling 20 levels of dinosaur-stuffed blockbuster and block-busting action.
As a result, the original flick and its sequel provide most jollies, while the action drags in the third (alas, as I have a soft spot for that film).
And even if the game engine is looking as prehistoric as its enemies, this is a Lego title: the fun is layered on thick as players smash up the landscape, collect studs and solve puzzles with drop-in/out multiplayer. Slapstick, knowing wink-nudgery and hilarious background banter abound – not to mention the idiosyncratic powerhouse of Jeff Goldblum hewn in virtual plastic.
With a young audience in mind, the most fun comes from the sanitizing of the series' darker moments. Dinosaurs don't hunt people – just the hot dogs they're holding, and if they ever do chow down on someone, they'll always spit.
The stand-out feature this time is the ability to control the dinosaurs, gambolling through the levels as a Velociraptor. And if this all-too brief, in the free play mode you can even create your own beasties and roam the Jurassic islands.
Heaps of classic audio from the movies adds a vocal veneer, and while the clips sound like they were recorded from a bootleg VHS, the cast of the latest have riffed some exclusive 'bantz' for the Lego faithful.
To quote Goldblum's tic-a-thon Dr Ian Malcom, "Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers". Sadly, this is not an accusation to be levelled at the Lego games, which have been merrily festering in a rut for a decade.
So, not the most ambitious of games then, but LJW offers up another bright, bushy-tailed adventure that should delight every Lego and dinos-obsessed pre-teen boy.