Lego Dimensions: Fun With Fun Packs: Wicked Witch of the West and Doc Brown
Late last summer, I picked up the Lego Dimensions Starter Pack on a whim. It was on sale and I was going to spend a week at home with the girls just before the new school year. Turns out it was a rainy week and we got a lot of use out of the new toy/game. When I made that purchase, I had not anticipated it turning into such an investment either financially or in terms of time. Today’s article is the fourteenth weekly write-up covering expansions for the game and it is also the last one dealing with the game’s first year offerings. As a result, the two Fun Packs I’m reviewing may seem a bit random.
The two packs we will look at today are the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz and Doc Brown from Back to the Future. Both characters are from cherished old movies, but there’s nearly five decades between them. There’s not a lot of thematic common ground. I suppose the Wicked Witch hails from the West and Doc Brown traveled back in time to the Old West. That’s about as good of a link as I am likely to come up with.
The Wicked Witch of the West is one of the great cinematic villains. She’s also an unlikely choice as the sole character representing The Wizard of Oz. But then again, I don’t know how you translate Dorothy or the Scarecrow into a video game. What skills did they possess beyond bursting into song? The witch may be a bad guy, but she had actual powers that make her useful as a video game character.
Not surprisingly, the Wicked Witch has the “magic” ability. That’s a bit redundant since Gandalf came with the Starter Pack. She also has Gandalf’s ability to illuminate dark places. But the Wicked Witch also possess powers her Lord of the Rings counterpart does not have. For one, she can fly on her broomstick. She can also blow up silver bricks and she has “mind control” which is an uncommon skill.
The Fun Pack also includes a winged monkey as a “vehicle/gadget”. The monkey can fly which is of no use whatsoever to the Wicked Witch. But other non-flying characters can hitch a ride from the monkey if they are so inclined. The monkey can also be upgraded to blow up silver Lego bricks or shatter glass. All in all, he’s about average for a side item in a Fun Pack.
The big selling point here is that the Wicked Witch gets you access to the Wizard of Oz adventure world. In fact, she’s the only way you can get access to this part of the game. This pack retails for $12, but you should have no problem finding the Witch on sale for about half that price. That lets you explore all of Oz including Munchkin Land, the Haunted Forrest, the Witch’s Castle and the Emerald City. The Wizard himself is flying his hot air balloon on his way back to Kansas. Since you’re playing a villain, you can knock him out of the sky.
Doc Brown is one of two characters available from Back to the Future. Marty McFly comes in the more expensive Level Pack. Unfortunately, as the first Level Pack offered in the game, there were apparently some issues with meeting deadlines. I haven’t shelled out for the Back to the Future Level Pack because from what I hear the new level was cut incredibly short and as a result it isn’t worth the money. Additionally, poor Marty isn’t a useful character (he has just one ability!).
But Doc Brown is pretty handy. He has both the technology and the fix-it skills as befits an inventor. He’s also a capable hacker – an ability he must have picked up in the future because I doubt it was prevalent in 1985. He has the “intelligence” ability and he can also pilot a miniature DeLorean drone.
Doc’s vehicle is the time traveling train he used in Back to the Future Part III. Time traveling is essential for the Back to the Future adventure world. But more on that in a second. The train can be upgraded to fly, tow things and fire missiles that destroy silver Legos.
Once again, the main selling point here is cheap access to the adventure world. You have the option of buying the more expensive Level Pack with the less useful character, but why would you when Doc Brown can get you into Hill Valley for a fraction of the cost?
As soon as you enter the adventure world, the soundtrack starts blaring Huey Lewis and the News. You will find familiar settings like the clock tower and city hall. Overall, the setting is less distinctive than the land of Oz. That’s probably not a fair comparison seeing as how Oz is such an iconic location. But the point remains that outside of a few landmarks, Hill Valley feels like any other small town.
What differentiates this adventure world from any other is the presence of time travel docking stations. Using Doc’s train or Marty’s DeLorean, players can travel from 1985 to the Old West or the far-flung future of 2015. The actions you take in the past will change the world around you in the future. Solving some puzzles will require players to go back and forth in time making alterations as they go.
The adventure world comes up a little short in specificity. For example, the Old West features characters from Back to the Future III voiced by Michael J. Fox, but it feels like a generic cowboy setting otherwise. That’s a relatively small complaint/ If you’re a fan of the franchise, there’s an undeniable kick out of hearing Christopher Llyod declare “Great Scott!” when Doc Brown enters the game.