Nostalgia Trip: Lego Games From the 90’s

Nov 1, 2012
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This thread is for discussing and reminiscing the Lego games we played growing up. The early Lego games could have easily been lousy, quick cash ins, but they were actually quite fun and diverse. So without further ado, let’s begin!

Prologue:
Lego Island

Genre - Adventure
Year - 1997
Platform - PC
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E__I3KVf_o8
No Lego game discussion would be complete without mentioning Lego Island, the first ever Lego video game. Here you play as Pepper, the pizza delivery boy, who accidentally frees The Brickster from prison and must then catch him before he destroys the Island! Lego Island is played in first person where you can drive and fly Lego vehicles as you freely traverse the island.

The one thing I remember well is the zany soundtrack. It’s a cheerful synthesized sound with a random dude going “Hey hey! hey Lego!”. Almost hypnotic even...

I’m sure many of you remember this game, but what I really wanted to focus on are the Lego games that followed.

Lego Creator

Genre - Building
Year - 1998
Platform - PC
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXvRniXD1d8
This game is pretty much a virtual Lego toy box. You can bring in as many different lego pieces and build whatever you desire. However the pieces are of the basic variety with a focus on city elements, so you can’t really build things like medieval castles or alien spaceships easily. The game allows you to start from scratch or use pre-assembled buildings to populate your town. A neat feature is that minifigures and vehicles can be directly controlled in first person so you can explore your town from a minifigure perspective.

When this game came out, my computer could hardly handle the 3D visuals. It would take forever to load the game and even just to bring in a Lego piece into the 3D world space would take minutes at a time. But the results were worth it as I had never played a game like it before. It was a bit of a precursor to The Sims where you could design your dream house only out of Lego bricks.

Lego Chess

Genre - Chess
Year -1998
Platform - PC
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxQWbeZv200
It’s basically what the title says but charming nonetheless. You can play in three different settings: medieval, wild west, and pirates where the chessboard and chess pieces are minifigures of the respective theme. Whenever a chess piece is captured, a short “funny” cutscene occurs showing the captured piece being outwitted by the capturer. There is a unique clip for every capture scenario and for each theme. Of course these cutscenes can be disabled after you’ve seen a pawn capture another pawn for the hundredth time.

Lego Loco

Genre - Simulation
Year - 1998
Platform - PC
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT68KbekvuU
Here’s a game that is pretty similar to SimTown, or for those of you that don’t know, a very lite version of SimCity. I don’t remember too much from this game, probably because I had no idea what the goal was, but basically you are free to lay out any train track design you can think of and place roads and sidewalks as well. From the “toolbox” you can place houses which will then populate your city with people. From what I can recall, I don’t think there is any resource system or any managing you have to do, it’s just a simple town simulation game.

Lego Racers

Genre - Racing
Year - 1999
Platforms - PC, PS1, N64, GBC
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgq51iAZEv8
Simply put this game was awesome. Sure it may not have been as refined as Mario Kart 64, but it was fun nonetheless. I’m surprised Lego hasn’t thought of making another sequel as it no doubt would be a sure-fire success. Perhaps they forgot about this game? Lego Racers centers around challenging the best racer of all time, Rocket Racer. In order to do so, the player travels through time racing in different locales based on the Lego playsets of the time. Settings included pirates, adventurers, space, medieval and finally Rocket Racer’s home track.

The power up system was similar to the one in Diddy Kong Racing where if you collected power ups of the same color, you would get better variants. What really made this game special was the customization as the player’s avatar and kart racer was fully customizable. I remember this was the reason I went out and got a controller pack for my N64, just so I could save my car designs. As you defeated the game’s bosses, their karts and respective parts became unlocked. I probably spent more time customizing my racer, than racing on the tracks. Years later they released a sequel with some open world elements, but I’d say another sequel is long overdue.

Lego Rock Raiders

Genre - RTS/Adventure
Year - 1999
Platforms - PC, PS1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZPFlW8kNhk
This game was very unique in that there aren’t many RTS games aimed for children. The objective is to order your workers to dig through the surrounding environment and collect ores and minerals in the process. You’re workers can be trained in different classes and with enough resources you can call in vehicles to expedite the digging. Occasionally, rock monsters would appear and harass your workers so you had to build an armory and arm your workers with laser guns.

The weird caveat was that the workers could not be directly controlled. I guess it was implemented to make an easier experience for younger players. So if you wanted to drill a section of the wall, you would click on the wall and a nearby worker/vehicle would then start digging. Additionally you had to be aware of oxygen levels as it would steadily decrease over time and the mission would end, so in a sense all levels are timed. Still the game was fun for what it was but there was definitely room for improvement. Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll ever see a spiritual successor.

Legoland

Genre - Theme Park Management
Year - 1999
Platform - PC
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_PWO-vaJlw
This was a pretty standard themepark game but like a very lite version of roller coaster tycoon. I don’t believe there is any sort of track editor for the rides, you just populate your park with shops, decorations and prebuild rides. This was the one game I didn’t get to play as the 3D visuals were a bit too demanding for my PC at the time.

Lego Alpha Team

Genre - Puzzle
Year - 2000
Platforms - PC, GBC.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFyaYn0jgwE
Ah here was the Alpha Team and their quest to stop the evil Ogel (Lego spelled backwards). These days such a concept would probably translate into a third person action platformer, however the development team decided to take a different route. The gameplay is similar to games like Lemmings or Mario vs DK: March of the Minis where you direct your agents by manipulating the 3D environment. There is a switch in each level that your agents must activate in order to proceed to the next level. Along the way, you must ensure the agents don’t fall into the hazards below or come into contact with Ogel’s henchmen.

As you progress through the levels, you’ll rescue more captured agents to help you solve the environmental puzzles which were quite challenging for me, or probably because I was just young. My favorite part was after every success, a guitar riff would start to play and then agents would do their celebratory dance! woo!

Epilogue
Lego Star Wars


Genre - Action
Year - 2005
Platforms - PC, PS2, GCN, GBA, Xbox
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwfIowx2ydY
Lego Star Wars The Videogame; that’s pretty much my three favorite things in life embodied in one product. I remember playing the demo endlessly and it was my sole reason to upgrade to Windows XP as it was the system requirement. The huge assortment of playable Lego characters traversing through the prequel environments was a dream come true. As awesome as this game was, it marked the end of the Lego games of the past, and began the trend of Lego games we see today.

Discussion
Hopefully I rekindled some of your childhood memories, or at least introduced you to the quirky fun Lego titles of the past. I neglected to mention a few other Lego titles but these I felt were the standout examples. As great as the Lego Star Wars formula is, it would be nice if Lego reintroduced more unique gameplay of the past instead of using the same ol’ cookie cutter formula. At least give us Lego Racers 3!
 
Jan 3, 2013
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The first Lego game I played was Lego Island 2 on the GBA. I don't remember much, but I do remember giving up so early in the game because I couldn't complete some mini game lel

Also, I remember having loads of fun with Lego Star Wars with friends and family. Then after that I guess I never really gotten into any other Lego Games. I did try the Batman one on the Vita, but it didn't catch my attention.

However, that GTA lego game on the Wii U looks bretty gud, would like to try
 
Feb 23, 2011
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I loved LEGO Island. Spent so much time playing it, but it has aged very, very very poorly.

Wish they would make another one in that world, but it seems like they have moved on from that.
 
Nov 21, 2012
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#7
Lego Island was the shit back in the day, one of the earlier PC games I recall playing along with Carnivores. I think I played Lego Racers too, that image jogged my memory.
 
Jan 7, 2009
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Oh man, Lego Creator!!

Yeah that shit ran slow as fuck. I loved building gigantic structures and coating it in dynamite blocks. The explosions would be epic, lego pieces flying everywhere. It was very much minecraft before its time.
 
Nov 7, 2011
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I was just digging through my old crap a couple weeks ago and found my copy of LEGO Chess. That shit was amazing. Tempted to re-install, assuming it's still compatible, lol.
 
May 16, 2012
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#14
It might be nostalgia, but most of these games (and I played all the OP described and more, plus I played almost all of them of them more than once) were actually pretty great games, even for adults (I only disliked Loco and Alpha Team). I should replay one or two of them again someday to see if they hold up.

We really need Lego Island 3 (even though it wasn't bad, I don't count that spiritual sequel they released called 'Lego Xtreme' or something and even Lego City Undercover just doesn't capture the magic and fun of the two 'Island'-games).
 
Dec 23, 2012
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I spent a long time play Lego Loco when I was younger. It was essentially the Sims (like mentioned) but not as deep and without too many objectives. You just created your world and watched it take life without having to juggle the little and mundane things.
 

GSR

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Jun 17, 2011
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#19
I had all of these save Chess, Alpha Team, and Star Wars. They were all my jam. Nothing beat the feeling of building the monster truck on Lego Island and then going on a rampage around town.
 

Llyrwenne

Unconfirmed Member
Apr 2, 2013
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Aw yeah, I loved Lego Island 2, Rock Raiders, Legoland, Loco and Racers. I found a brand new copy of Rock Raiders at my local toy store earlier this year, bought it immediately. So many memories. Used to play Racers all the time with my sister, she was actually quite skilled at it too.
 
May 27, 2013
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Yup. Island, Loco, Racers, Star Wars. Liked them all, in fact completed them 100% except Loco, which was a bit beyond me. I always just messed around and tried to torture the citizens. One time I managed to crash the computer by spamming train crashes. It was a brand new computer, so I freaked out and hid in a corner.
Lego Island was probably the first game I personally owned that I didn't have to share with my brothers. The graphics blew me away and it had some pretty badass. music. Aged hilariously.
Racers was pretty tough to beat, ran like 15fps on the PS1 especially in split screen but great fun with all the customization.
SW also a great game but not that nostalgic to me yet, feels like it was yesterday.