Bionicle: Oh Dear....

User Rating: 3 | Bionicle PC

Bionicle is a series with massive pedigree and a rich lore, which would have made a wonderful game. But this is not that game by any stretch of the imagination. The few perks to be found here are swamped by the general poor quality and short length, in addition to other problems that rear their heads like angry vipers starting from the first level. The story is basically drawn from the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 storylines, along with elements being drawn from the 2003 Bionicle movie Mask of Light. It is clearly designed to sell the toys, but even in this it falls flat. The story you are supposed to invest in is very poorly represented here, and the voice acting sounds like a poor rip-off of the comparatively stellar voice track from the movie.

In terms of gameplay, it is the barest of bare bones. Running around, jumping (and double-jumping), and shooting energy at things. Aside from level-specific gimmicks, these are your only options. In principle, and sometimes in practise, playing as the Toa is fun, especially during Kopaka and Lewa's levels, which keep at a brisk pace and seem to be more polished than other areas. As I said before, each level sports different gimmicks, such as swimming or activating switches with blocks. These gimmicks are fine in principle, but they are poorly implemented and hindered by all-round poor character control. The camera is also fairly wayward, with its control hampering exploration and combat. Combat itself is repetitive, with you being unable to perform anything but shooting projectiles at enemies with very basic AI. There are Lightstones that you collect in each level, and collecting a certain level unlocks things like concept art. Finding Elemental Masks also renews your life and elemental power, but contrary to the item description it does not "increase" it. Your life bar and energy remain the same for the entire game. Since some of these Elemental Masks are in awkward places, the risk sometimes far outweighs the reward.

Aesthetically, this is far from being the prettiest 3D game of its time. At a time when Tomb Raider was jumping into more advanced graphical territory, Bionicle looks like it's stuck in the previous console generation. From static backgrounds to simple textures and a limited colour palette, the entire experience is a retro throwback in the worst sense. The one redeeming feature is the game's music, which is continuously good: ethnic and tribal tunes flow from the area, blending with the otherwise bland ambient sound effects. By the way, after dying in Lewa's level, the music can cut out for some reason.

Technically, this game seems almost broken. During my time with it, I experienced multiple glitches such as my player character continuously running towards the camera, the game crashing if I died in an area too often, and the game's second level restarting from the last third rather than the beginning. I do not know if these were exclusive to my copy, but it is clear that this game was sent to consumers in a very poor state. It also appears unfinished, as some levels look like piecemeal fragments loosely tied together, while others feel like entire sections have been outright removed. On the whole, this game is wasted potential, with some good concepts and an excellent soundtrack being bogged down by every other aspect. Find a playthough online or the soundtrack if you're interested. Don't buy it.