Lego Island Vacation

Lego Island was and continues to be one of the coolest PC games I ever played, second only to Myst. It was the first video game Lego ever put out and it's still the best in my opinion. For the 8yo Me, this small island was like heaven, packed with everything I loved and all in one spot. As soon as that computer animation kicked on in the opening with the bricks falling from the sky, I was seeing race cars taking off at the speedway, an ambulance collision with decapitation jokes making me laugh, and a cop on his motorbike jettisoning himself out over the police station and into the ocean where a jet ski dude was trying to outrun a shark... and I was very much pleased to say the least.

With all that in just the first two minutes, the Lego universe had finally come so completely to life all around me that I was just in utter bliss being submersed in it. Screw vacationing there, I could've lived there and been perfectly happy the rest of my 8yo life. But if any summer was going to be vacation-less (like this current one), then Lego Island was without a doubt going to be my default destination, and likely will be again very soon... 

The main character you can play is "Pepper" ("the dude with the food"), a skateboarding pizza delivery boy on an island where all they eat is pizza, and you basically just ride him around from place to place, building the jet ski, the race car, the regular car, and racing around on all these awesome side quests and mini-games, like the jet ski race, or the race track, or helping people out with their dilemmas. On the way, you can't go two feet without bumping into hilarious skits and a whole cast of characters, all of which you have power over. I used to walk around transforming all the flowers into trees, and all the Lego people's hats into cups and kittens!

Life's a beach.
Even the actual main-game was fun. You had to deliver a pizza to "the Brickster," the island's criminal mastermind, so hot it melts the bars on his jailhouse! He ends up escaping in the helicopter (oddly parked right next to the jail, to make it easy for him I guess), and he basically wreaks havoc on the island, sucking up people and buildings. You have to steal back the helicopter to launch an all-out aerial pizza assault on him, shooting down pizzas to lure him toward the cops. Oh, and the cops "Nick and Laura" are so unmotivated to catch this guy that you have to shoot down donuts just to lure them toward the Brickster. "Thanks Pepper, I really needed that." You can't make up brilliance this brilliant!

There were a few cool locations around the island, like the lagoon, the pizzeria (where Pepper's stereotype Italian parents work), the beach with the lifeguard dude that kept dropping "totally dude dude!" into casual speech, the police station where the cops always came away with two donuts in hand (or claw), the jail, the hospital, the race track, and the gas station where the cowgal always greeted you with a "well hey there honey!" There was also the mountain park and the houses in the residential area that you could literally "flip" and renovate with just a click of the mouse. The information center had an elevator that allowed you to both go under water and up in the sky.

Computer animation this detailed was just coming around in 1997, so this entire game all seemed like one epic movie that you'd get to play a part in. Yeah, the jokes are 80% "brick puns" and more decapitation and dismemberment than you could shake an arm at, and the actual gameplay was not as epic as that opening fly-over animation of the island (in fact it was downright choppy on those slow computers of yore), but hell, I got to ride a Lego motorcycle, build a jet ski, and race around the island hopping ramps. I got to go down in a submarine with the Lego sharks, build a race car, and race it through a trippy underground race track. Hell, I got to build and fly a Lego helicopter! Add to that a lot of pizza, and this was just about as good as it could get for me. My brother and I used to get up at 3 and 4am and fire up the computer just so we could spend a few precious hours of freedom on Lego Island before the rigors of our daily life took over. All in all, pretty good for a "staycation."

Here's some shots from the catalog/manual that I poured over so much the pages wore out.

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