2005 was a memorable year for TT Games. LEGO Star WarsThe Video Game. It was a huge success and loved by fans from the moment it was released. It was the catalyst for TT Games to be given the task of maximising every LEGO game.
However, there was a time before TT’s LEGO game formula would be put to use. LEGO published a variety of games with different gameplay from 1997 to 2004. A whole era of games that predate the TT Games’ generation exists that fans are not even aware of. These games offered unique experiences that LEGO enthusiasts can still enjoy today.
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LEGO Racers (1999).
Before the LEGO movie franchise canceled The Billion Brick Race film, there was another huge LEGO racing crossover in 1999. LEGO Racers combined all the characters of the LEGO themes at the time in a high-octane racing game, akin to Mario Kart. Players could even build their cars!
The game was a huge hit on the Nintendo 64 and was even a finalist for The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’ “Children’s/Family Title of the Year” award. The game was a huge success and inspired two sequels. A whole LEGO theme was created that would last until 2013.
LEGO Rock Raiders (1999).
Rock Raiders had one of the coolest premises of any LEGO theme. The story follows a group space-traveling miners who attempt to escape being stranded in an alien planet full rock monsters. The game was released on both the PlayStation 2 and PC. However, the two versions are completely different.
The PC version of the game is a real-time strategy and action game. The console version is more action-oriented. Three bonus missions were included in the PAL edition of the game that was released overseas. The eccentric environment of the game, paired with colorful characters and great vehicle designs, helped Rock Raiders to hit all the right boxes for LEGO video game fans.
LEGO Creator (1998)
LEGO Creator predates the iconic LEGO Digital Designer as the first game/software that would allow players to make original LEGO creations. LEGO Creator came at a perfect time in 1998 when educational video games were becoming more and more popular.
The game allowed children to create LEGO buildings and design their own. city. Majisto, the charismatic wizard who was first introduced in LEGO castle set sets, led players. The video game really spoke to its audience, and it was turned into a series, spawning three additional games; these were LEGO Creator: Knights’ Kingdom in 2000, LEGO Creator: Harry Potter in 2001, and finally, LEGO Creator: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002. The game, like Racers, also spawned a line with the same name.
LEGO Knights’ Kingdom (2004)
Based on the second incarnation of the LEGO Knights’ Kingdom theme, this game would be one of the final LEGO games to not be developed by TT Games. Knights’ Kingdom told a very interesting story about a group of knights and one of them who fell to evil.
LEGO Knights’ Kingdom also featured top-down gameplay, similar to that of the original Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda games. The game featured a cool jousting mechanic and a tournament mode. While the game is not incredibly well known, it is a great product of the past that is totally worth playing.
LEGO Alpha Team (2000)
One of the most unique of the early LEGO titles, Alpha Team introduced a group of highly skilled secret agents as they stop supervillain Ogel’s evil plans. The gameplay was quite unique at the time. The player could control the character and solve puzzles with LEGO builds. This allowed for the character’s advancement.
Alpha Team also had very interesting locations with a distinct biome: land, water, and Arctic. These missions were then adapted to two main lines of sets which were released 2001 and 2002, respectively, and the final. “Mission Deep Freeze”From 2004 to 2005. Alpha Team remains one of LEGO’s most slept on properties and is still just as fun to play today.
Galidor: Defenders the Outer Dimension (2002)
Viewed by many as a failure for The LEGO Group, Galidor was a very interesting experiment. The property was given a television show and even LEGO sets. The game’s development history was very interesting. All the console versions were cancelled, but the Game Boy Advance version remained.
It wasn’t until 2008 that the unfinished console version circulated on LEGO video games bundles for PC. The game is great fun and features some really cool platform elements. Galidor is very comparable to the gameplay of the first two Harry Potter video games based on the first two films. While many view Galidor as the weird property that almost bankrupted LEGO, it still stands on its own as a great entry of the early LEGO video games, even though the game has very little to do with LEGO anyways!
The only tycoon simulator from LEGO, LEGOLAND was the perfect game for budding minds. Through a fun story that involved the entire LEGO universe, players could design their own LEGOLAND theme park.
Despite the gameplay being very similar to the Rollercoaster Tycoon games, LEGOLAND still managed to stand on its own with its very kid-friendly interface. The game includes a story mode as well as a multiplayer option. “Free Play”Similar to the TT LEGO games that were later implemented. LEGOLAND was the quintessential LEGO game for young kids as it encouraged creativity but also made its players use their brains for puzzles.
Soccer Mania (2002)
Soccer Mania is technically the first officially licensed property to be spun into a LEGO video game. Before adapting huge franchises into LEGO games became the norm, Soccer Mania was actually created in conjunction with FIFA, based on the LEGO Sports theme of products.
The game was a huge crossover that featured characters from all LEGO lines, much like Racers. The game is similar in many ways to Nintendo’s popular Mario Strikers series. The amusing power-ups and slapstick humor make the game all the more endearing and undoubtedly worth revisiting.
LEGO Studios: Backlot (2002)
Created for the new LEGO Studios line of sets to inspire kids to get into filmmaking, Backlot was an extremely advanced web game produced by LEGO for their website. Included in the game were three different stages where the player would control the main character as he navigates through the studio lot.
The character travels on adventures and gives people different items. The most notable guest characters are the fan-favorite Johnny Thunder, Adventurers, and Matoran Takua from Bionicle. The game was a hugely popular hit on the site, and it remained available until early 2010. There are still archived versions of this game. However, Adobe Flash is no longer supported so it is almost impossible to play. Backlot was a great product of its time and was a huge stepping stone in online web games.
LEGO Island (1997)
Arguably one of the best LEGO video games of all time, LEGO Island is the one that started it all. Without counting 1995’s LEGO Fun to Build (which was exclusively released in Japan), LEGO Island was the first video game based on LEGO to be sold worldwide in 1997.
The game featured an open-world environment in which the player could play as Pepper Roni, a pizza delivery boy. He travels around the island and completes fun missions. There was also a main narrative that could be followed, as well, featuring the villainous Brickster, who keeps escaping from his jail cell. The game received two sequels and a line of sets based on the third game in 2002. Many fans still remember the game fondly to this day.