LEGO City 101: A beginner's guide to LEGO City Undercover

Money matters, traffic control, and how to blow stuff up

LEGO City 101 A beginners guide to LEGO City Undercover
21st March, 2013 By Ian Morris

Well, well, well. You're back for day two! Didn't know you had it in you. Obviously I whet your appetite yesterday by showing you round this here LEGO City. But you're a long way from being ready to go on patrol yet. You may know how to get around town, you might be able to get from A to B, but what are you actually going to do when you get there? Well, that there's what this here class is meant to sort out. This is LEGO City 101, and by the time you've read through these, you'll be ready to head off on the beat, or my name isn't Bill Ding. 

Smash Everything

LEGO City Undercover Screenshot

If you've transferred  across from another LEGO game, chances are you'll be familiar with this idea, even if it seems a little counter productive. Although you're out there to protect the citizens, the single most important way you can do that is to smash everything. And I mean everything. Benches, dustbins, bushes, cars, boxes, crates. Everything but people, that is. You can't smash a person, even if you wanted to - they make 'em tough here in LEGO City.

"But why do I need to turn myself into a no good vandal" I hear you ask? Well it's a good question. Y'see, smashing things gives you several advantages. Firstly, you get studs. Secondly, you get bricks. These are new for LEGO City Undercover - and I'll cover them next. Thirdly, this is LEGO. Sometimes, when you smash things up, you can make it into new things. If you're left with a pile of bouncing bricks in the wreckage, step up to it and hold A, and you'll be able to make it into something new. Whether it's a trampoline, a bridge, or a handle for you to hang off, smashing things is essential to your progress. And it's fun, too.

Manage your finances   

LEGO City Undercover Screenshot

Much like in your day to day life, managing your finances in LEGO City is important. Nothing makes me madder than a new recruit who thinks he has bottomless pockets. There are no friends for you to beg, borrow and steal a few more studs from here if you can't meet your bills!

While studs and bricks may add to your score, they're there for more than show. They are essential to your job as a policeman. Both studs and bricks represent their own form of currency here in LEGO City, and if you want to do your job properly, you'll need to be rolling in them! Figuratively speaking, that is.

Studs will be familiar to LEGO veterans - essentially little round LEGO bricks, you can spend these on all manner of things from requisition in the police station - whether it's new cars, disguises, or even red bricks, which let you (whisper it) cheat. Yeah, the police can bend the rules to our advantage too - but you won't be able to unless you collect enough studs!

Your second form of currency is bricks. You can identify these because they look like bricks. By which I mean they're square, not like the round studs. Much more exclusive, these bricks are harder to come by - and can be spent on less things. In fact, they can only be spent on one thing - super builds - which are little glowing platforms around LEGO City that you can build "new and exciting" objects on, or at least what it says here. What it means is bridges, fountains, and ramps for you to go driving your car off and causing yet more havoc.

Take what's yours. And what isn't.

LEGO City Undercover Screenshot

As a new recruit to the LEGO City police force, there are a number of rules you're expected to follow, and plenty more that you're not. While we supply you with all manner of police vehicles, we know they won't always be enough to get the job done. After all, why would you take our tough police 4x4 if you could go for Janey's pink super mini instead? Luckily, the residents of LEGO City are all very well trained. Run into the road, and hit the L Button, and any nearby traffic will immediately come to a halt at the sound of your whistle. From there, all you have to do is run up to a vehicle, and press X to commandeer it - there'll be no chasing endlessly after that car you've always wanted to drive in this force! Hop in the car, and the good LEGO City resident will be only too keen to surrender their pride and joy for the good of the city. And it will be for the good of the city, right? Not just because you think you'd look rather fetching driving around IN A PINK CAR!

Give way to traffic/stick to the roads

LEGO City Undercover Screenshot

With such a huge amount of vehicles available for your use, it pays make sure you pick and choose wisely. Different vehicles handle in different ways, so make sure what you're driving is up to the task. It's no use taking your articulated truck down a narrow path in the forest when a 4x4 would do it much better - much there's no use taking your police Segway on a high speed chase. Or up a hill. Or if you need to drive reliably in a straight line. In fact, come to think of it, there's not much the police Segway's good for. Doesn't mean it won't be the first vehicle you go and hunt down though, does it?

Look out for collectibles

LEGO City Undercover Screenshot

As a responsible police officer, when you're doing your duty in LEGO City, you should keep your eyes open and your ears peeled. Or your eyes peeled and your ears open. Whatever way round it's supposed to be, it makes little difference - pay attention to your surrounding, because LEGO City's full of stuff for you to find. 40 red bricks. 290 disguises. 110 vehicles, and dozens of other things to see, do, collect, and explore. There are even the new "super bricks", which are kind of like collectibles, except they come back. Hidden in hard to reach places around the town, they're worth between 1,000, and 10,000 bricks, and are essential if you want to build all the super builds. And you do want to build them all, right? After all, which is more important - helping that cat down from the tree, or feeding your OCD tendencies?

What you can't get now, come back for

LEGO City Undercover Screenshot

Of course, from time to time, you may come across something you can't quite get to, or something you can't yet use, because you haven't yet acquired some ability or other. Whether it's a brick that someone's cunningly placed just out of the reach of your tiny plastic arms, or a pot that you just stand in front of and shrug at, there are dozens of things that will be far beyond you when you first start playing - but that's 'cause you're a rookie, rookie! The more you do around LEGO City, the more abilities you'll acquire, meaning the next time you find them, you'll be able to open those safes, blow up those statues, and climb up those walls like some sort of LEGO Spiderman. Actually, I think that's in the next game. In the mean time, should you come across something you can't use, or a brick you can't reach, all you have to do is memorise where they are, so you can come back when you've got the required ability. And with only a few hundred items to collect, it can't be that hard to remember them all, can it?

So! Those there are the basic rules for making progress in LEGO City. Of course, there's a lot more to it than that, but I don't have time to sit around all day telling you how to tie your shoelaces now, do I? But now the basics are out the way, it's time for things to get interesting. It's time for thing to get cool. It's time to take a look at the gadgets and gizmos that you'll use to keep the law and do your duty in LEGO City Undercover.



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