LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga (2007, Game, 360) – 7/10 review

Director: Jon Burton
Lead Programmer: John Hodskinson

LEGO Star Wars: Complete Saga, The (2007)

Take on the epic story of all six Star Wars films then test your skills finding a secret item to build on each level and see how fast you can complete each level which hitting certain checkpoints.

7/10

There are undeniably significant annoyances when playing this game and the vehicle levels are a nightmare but just about all is forgiven when you see Jabba’s guards air-guitaring a shovel or the Millennium Falcon with a false nose and moustache or a Stormtrooper pointing a carrot at you. The meta-game is more fun than the story mode as you set about finding all the hidden trinkets, characters and special powers (especially on 360 with the associated achievement points). The Star Wars universe and the LEGO feeling combine perfectly. You could almost say they were made for each other. Hehe!

This game contains comic violence and unpleasant scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Family Guy 6.01 Blue Harvest (2007, TV) – 7/10 review

Writer (Series’ Creator): Seth MacFarlane
Developer: Seth MacFarlane
Developer: David Zuckerman
Supervising Producer: Alec Sulkin
Writer: Alec Sulkin
Director: Dominic Polcino
Seth MacFarlane: Peter Griffin
Alex Borstein: Lois Griffin
Seth Green: Chris Griffin
Mila Kunis: Meg Griffin
Mike Henry: Cleveland Brown
Alec Sulkin:

Family Guy 6.01 Blue Harvest (2007)

When a power cut removes television from the night’s entertainment, Peter decides to relate the story of Star Wars to pass the time.

7/10

While not exactly a mile-a-minute gag-fest, this Star Wars recreation squishes everything from the movie into forty-five minutes without, amazingly, appearing to leave anything out. It serves as a great reminder as to just how iconic, entertaining and legitimately brilliant the source material is. The episode uses the John Williams music (unlike, astonishingly, the following year’s Clone Wars) and reproduces with striking verisimilitude many of the wonderful visuals of George Lucas’ empire-creating blockbuster and is all the better for it. Less successful is the absence of any kind of Alec Guinness impersonation and the never funny and too frequent inclusion of drive-by sexual dialogue (most awkwardly with the Dirty Dancing sequence and related gags, though this is a trademark of the series by this point as it ran out of comic ideas and generally just resorted to saying rude things).

This Family Guy episode contains strong adult dialogue, sexual swear word, mild swear word, bad language and substance abuse and graphic comic violence, unpleasant scenes.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2008, Game, PS3) – 7/10 review

Project Lead: Haden Blackman
Lead Producer: Isa Anne Stamos
Art Director: Matt Omerick
Lead Programmer: Cedric Collomb
Sam Witwer: Darth Vader’s Secret Apprentice, The Emperor

Star Wars: Force Unleashed, The (2008)

The Apprentice was rescued as a boy by Darth Vader but it’s not exactly a touching story; Vader had just killed his father. Now that his apprenticeship is nearing completion, Vader sends him out on a last couple of real-world missions to ensure that he is ready for his real role: to help Vader kill The Emperor.

7/10

There’s clearly a lot of effort gone into Lucasarts’ The Force Unleashed so it’s a shame that the game annoys more than empowers; it keeps grabbing frustration from the jaws of fun. Simple things like responding to your button presses, keeping your character on-screen, having a lightsaber that hurts most enemies, clearly delineating level transitions and being able to walk up slopes are all broken to significant extents. The emotionless, less-than-handsome fizzog of Sam Witwer (though his voice-work is good) and his ugly costumes also don’t help matters but the story is fine, there is satisfaction to be gained from mastering your powers to defeat the various foes and it generally looks quite *puts on Darth Vader voice* "impressive" in scale and design.

This game contains extended extreme lightsaber and supernatural violence.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999, Movie) – 6/10

Mike Myers: Austin Powers, Dr. Evil, Fat Bastard
Heather Graham: Felicity Shagwell
Michael York: Basil Exposition
Robert Wagner: Number Two
Seth Green: Scott Evil
Mindy Sterling: Frau Farbissina
Rob Lowe: Young Number Two
Elizabeth Hurley: Vanessa
Producer: Mike Myers
Writer: Mike Myers
Writer: Michael McCullers
Director: Jay Roach

Austin Powers: Spy Who Shagged Me, The (1999)

Dr. Evil travels back in time to cripple his lifelong nemesis Austin Powers by stealing his Mojo.

6/10

Spoof sequel that veers alarmingly between spot-on hilarity and truly distasteful unfunniness.

This movie contains mild swear words, strong adult dialogue, lesbian references and extremely unpleasant scenes, extreme and graphic violence and inferred sex scene.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Star Wars Jedi Knight II Jedi Outcast HD widescreen wallpapers

Now these took a little bit of work to get them to look good at 1920×1080. They are widescreen versions of the official LucasArts wallpapers for their excellent PC FPS Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. Oddly, the Lucasarts site no longer carries any obviously downloadable material for any library game and the Jedi Knight II link on their site takes you to a ‘that product doesn’t exist anymore’ page. Sad to see such disdain for their back catalogue.

My Forza Motorsport Cars – Acura – 2001 Integra Type-R – Star Wars Jedi Knight theme

My Cars – Acura – 2001 Integra Type-R – Star Wars Jedi Knight theme.

The artwork for LucasArts “Star Wars Jedi Knight” games is one of the strongest yet devised for a video game. It is reminiscent of a lightsaber but is split in two (reflecting the games choices between the light and the dark side) and the handle is made up of the letters J and K. Very clever. This lightsaber motif was the inspiration for this paint job.

The background colour of the car was to be black. Therefore painting anything black on top of something not black on this car would create a cut-out effect in the visible pattern. This was the first time I have used this inverted technique on any artwork. There’s probably a proper name for the technique but I don’t know it.

However, I started, not with the lightsaber, but with the Star Wars text logo down the side of the car. I intended to see if it was within my ability to create the logo and, a little surprisingly, it was. This was to be text created by cutting out holes of a background. This technique allowed to use a gradiated background for the letters reflecting the Star Wars text used on the Jedi Knight II wallpaper I was using as a reference. The backgroud was made up of two gradients: one light blue covered by one white with each graded in the opposite direction. This gave me an area with which to blank the areas that weren’t text.

It was always debatable whether a good impression of the logo would be able to crafted using the gradient tool available as the flashes of white and blue light emanating from the logo were very subtle. As it turned out, this wasn’t the biggest problem. The biggest problem was the three concentric circles that surround the JK. At first I thought I was just going to have to use a thicker single colour circle as that was all I could do with the semi-circle primitive. I twigged that if I placed a slightly larger black semi-circle offset from the first that I could make the original semi-circle primitive appear thin. From that came the natural conclusion that I could cascade the ever-increasing semi-circles to create the white-grey-white-black pattern I needed.

By the time I had created this circles I had already done the JK, one diagonal flash and the background lightsaber. Now I had the circles over the top but I needed the circles to break at the lightsaber and, most annoyingly, the black circle was visible over the lightsaber and diagonal flash. This meant I needed to rearrange the draw order of the layers to make the black circle disappear again. When finished I needed to fill in little bits where the order of the layers couldn’t be helped.

I added a double black / grey gradient to the ‘handle’ of the lightsaber to subtly break up the solid gray block.

Finally I added black gradients to fade out the beams of light toward the front and sides of the car and a couple more to deemphasis the lightsaber light at the rear of the car.

Last job was to get my Star Wars text onto the other side of the car. Forza has a great tool that copies your design from one side to other and on my “Superman Returns” car, it even flipped all the graphics correctly. Considering that the original Star Wars text had taken a couple of hours, imagine my dismay when the text was copied across in reverse order, ie, SRAW RATS. Lesson learned, avoid putting text on the side of future cars. I knew I had all the right pieces to create the logo, they were just all in the wrong place. I nearly decided to leave that side of the car blank but had a break and then got stuck in. It was quite painstaking transplanting all the pieces around to recreate the text but the results were highly pleasing.

Upon looking at the rear quarter of the car I decided it needed a little something. My initial idea was some force lightning but I was very aware that I would need to copy whatever I did by hand as I did not want to be moving a copied Star Wars logo around again. I settled on a simple lightning flash that ties in to the rear light cluster and backed it up with a gradiated blue background that fades out before it gets to the end of the lightning bolt. This only comprised four pieces and was simply to copy across by hand. It also meant that I could wrap around the solid white, gradiated blue around the rear of the car.

This attempt turned out much much better than I had hoped. The Star Wars text logo is highly recognisable and even incorporates the blue / white gradiated background. I was very happy with that. The lightsaber / Jedi Knight motif also turned out nicely though the JK isn’t as clear as I would like. The impression is good though and I got to grips with some nifty ways of using the primitives supplied to create an effect that looked to not be possible (the concentric circles created using overlapping semi-circles).