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Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: Davy Jones' Lego

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean is the latest licensed mash-up to come out of TT Game's line of Lego-themed titles. This time, you will be able to control the many characters from the pirate films as they venture across all four movie plots. That's right, not only the original three, but the newest movie due to hit theaters in the next couple of weeks.

The demo available on the Xbox Marketplace covers just one level, the Port Royal location as seen at the opening of the first movie, Curse of the Black Pearl. That demo contains both the Story Mode and the Free Play mode for the level though, so you will not only get a good feel for the amusing CG sequences that depict the movie's story, but also get a nice taste of the variety of characters Lego Pirates of the Caribbean will have available.

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean's Port Royal level gives you control after Lego Jack Sparrow comes crashing into port. You start off in control of Will and Mr. Brown, the blacksmith that Will works for, as the two of you fix up the workshop only to discover Jack hiding away. Like the movie, the game gives you a nice bit of swordplay as you fight Jack.

Another lengthy cut-scene later, and there are actually quite a few in this first level, you control Will and Jack as the former tries to break the latter out of prison. I especially enjoyed the ability to take control of the Guard Dog and the fact that he then becomes a playable character, not just a vehicle or one-off joke.

Of course, this whole level leads up to Jack and Will stealing one of the docked ships and escaping the local authorities, but in the meantime, you not only get a good feel for the fighting and building mechanics of the game, but also an interesting new feature, Jack's compass. Fans of the movie should remember that his "broken" compass only points to what he wants the most. There are eight items scattered throughout the level that you will want to unearth for collecting purposes. So not only do you have to look out for the Mini-kits, in this case ship-in-a-bottle models, and earn as many studs as possible, you also need to use the compass to search out various odd items.

When the compass is activated, you will have Jack follow a series of footprints. Once at your destination, a small tornado will reveal what you are looking for. You actually need to do this at one point in order to get past the level's Story Mode, but there are other optional treasures you will want to find as well.

As for the various characters you can play in Lego Pirates of the Caribbean's Free Play mode, characters like Elizabeth Swann and other women can double-jump while ones like Jacoby and Marty wield explosives so you can get rid of those pesky shiny objects. Actually, I found Marty to be a pretty good character since he runs around with a cannon in his hands. He is especially fun because when you fire the weapon, he flies back quite a bit.

Other specialized characters include Mr. Brown, who can repair some destroyed machinery, as well as Bo'Sun, who has the strength to pull certain pieces out of the way. Some characters also have the ability to dig, like the Guard Dog and and those with shovels.

Some of the more amusing characters were the zombies and Flying Dutchman crewmembers. Jimmy Legs has the ability to use patches of barnacles like tunnels allowing him to get to otherwise inaccessible locations, while Crash (the one with the shell for a head) can walk under water without worrying about air or floating to the surface.

One of the more amusing aspects of Lego Pirates of the Caribbean is how well the developers at TT Games seem to have captured the feel of the on-screen characters. This is most evident in how much the Lego Jack Sparrow kept reminding me of Johnny Depp. Everything from the character's grunts to how he runs around the level just look and feel right. While other characters seem to have the same feel, none seem to be quite as good as the Sparrow character ... at least when it comes to the limited sampling in the demo.

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean is slated to hit shelves this week just before the movie franchise's fourth installment, On Stranger Tides, and if the demo or the previous Lego games are any indication, Pirates of the Caribbean is bound to be a blast.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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