Wednesday, August 16, 2006

bonus feature frustration

SPOILER ALERT - mild and out-of-date video game spoilers contained herein

QuiGon and Obiwan lay the smack down.I recently completed two excellent video games. (Okay, I completed the easy mode of two excellent video games. But when you're committment to electronic gaming is as low as mine, that's essentially the same thing.) One of the games was Lego Star Wars for the Xbox and the other one was this neat Batman plug-in game from Jakks. I don't finish a whole lot of video games. I think Megaman II and Super Mario II for the NES are the only reasonably long games I've ever completed. And then there was the embarrassing near-completion of Ultima IV, where I couldn't figure out the final puzzle. That still haunts me. Anyway, one of the things that kept me on track with these two games was the promise of an unlockable secret bonus level. The main body of Lego Star Wars only covers Episodes I through III, with the bonus level set in Episode IV. And you get to play the bonus level as tiny lego The game is designed to look like a Batarang.  How awesome is that?Darth Vader. How cool is that? The Batman game gives you an additional villain to track down and pummel. Also groovy. But both bonus levels are much shorter than the preceding levels. I don't like that. The lion's share of the game taught me that a level is supposed to be a certain size, then the game underperforms to the standards it sets for itself. I enjoyed the bonus levels, but their abbreviated size left me with the impression that they had been phoned in. I wouldn't be surprised if somebody hops onto the comments section to tell me this sort of behavior is common in the industry. Still, I can't quite shake the feeling that the bonus section in both games was short on content.