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SummaryStyle over substance
The GoodThe concept of Lego Soccer Mania is great - a soccer game featuring Lego minifigures and sets, while making use of Lego's popular properties. The game looks promising at first, with excellent presentation and decent gameplay, but a lack of challenge hurts the game.
Let's start with the positive aspects, however. First, the visuals and audio are excellent. Graphics accurately portray each minifigure and the playing field with a good amount of detail, and the basic design of the minifigures and other Lego objects looks realistic. The sound is solid as well, with passable sound effects and surprisingly good music, which actually changes depending on whether you are ahead, tied, or behind the other team, making the game sound less repetitive.
Teams are done well - the amount of teams is immense, and each player on each team has different skill levels, making it challenging to play a more lowly team against one of the highest skilled teams. You can also create your own team with players from different teams. Also adding to the game are the multiple modes of play available - there is the story mode, Lego Cup mode, Skill Zones, and the exhibition and quick start modes.
The story mode features you playing against a number of teams in an attempt to win the Lego Cup trophy. Once you defeat every team on the first part of the story, the Brickster (from Lego Island) steals your trophy and you play many more teams while trying to locate him and take back the trophy. The story is a bit odd, but it works.
The similar Lego Cup mode is much like the World Cup (suitable for being released in 2002, a World Cup year). You choose a country and face other countries. Skill Zones are a series of scenarios made to practice several different playing techniques, such as dribbling and passing. These aren't really fun to play and you probably won't need to use them, as the gameplay is simple. Speaking of the gameplay, it takes a simple, arcade-like approach to soccer. Gameplay is fast-paced, and you can only pass and shoot the ball. There are also power-ups, which are sometimes helpful.
The BadUnfortunately, the gameplay is dull and not very challenging.
Eventually, after so many games, the gameplay gets more and more monotonous due to its simplicity. In the story mode, occasionally updating your team with better players makes the game incredibly easy. Another flaw is the inability to play as the goalie, which could have given the game some much-needed depth.
It can be frustrating that you have to defeat a team in Story Mode to unlock it. You only start with three teams, so if you want to play as or against a later team you have to unlock it in the story mode. Also, Lego Cup teams are not available for exhibition matches.