So, it seems old Officer Bill Ding had the chance to find out for himself what this whole "down time" lark is all about over the weekend. Snowed into my house, power cut off, and unable to get down to LEGO Police HQ to give you another lesson, I was going stir crazy! You have Bill Ding's apologies - and I guarantee the snow won't try that again! Either way, I think we've already lost enough time, so let's get on to today's subject - down time, or, as it's alternatively called, how to waste time.
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Build up your stamina
Contrary to popular belief, I'm not an entirely curmudgeonly old goat who's all work and no play. The truth is, it's probably closer to 90%. Either way, I know that R&R is important - and that stands for reflexes and repetitions. That's why I had them build us this cool gym in the LEGO City Police HQ. I touched on this before, because I'm so darn proud of it, but this is where you can work up a real, plastic sweat. Do some bench presses, work out on the treadmill, get yourself into shape, and earn some studs for your hard work! Why, if I had this in my day, I wouldn't even need to... wait, what's that? Hold on a second, just got a call from Ellie.
Yes, yes, we were just catching up on the lessons we've missed. Recreation today, so I've just been telling them all about the Police gym. Yes, again. Well, what do you expect me tell them about.
Things that are fun!? But what's the got to do with being a police officer!? If I don't sound a little bit more enthusiastic, you'll tell the chief?? OK, OK. If you insist.
Well, seems I've been getting the wrong end of the stick, recruit. Time for a slight change of pace. Well, here goes nothing. Ahem.
Visit the LEGO City Park
When you first start out in LEGO City, why not visit the lovely, open air, delights of the LEGO City Park? OK, admittedly it's all still in boxes, but this is LEGO - you didn't expect it come pre-constructed, did you? Located just behind the LEGO City Police Station, you can do both yourself, and the local community a favour by rebuilding their beloved park. Put all the sets together, and you'll end up with a see-saw, swings, a roundabout, and one of those sets of vertical logs that you're meant to hop along, along with a nice, shiny Super Brick for your time, adding some 10,000 bricks to your total. I imagine it'd be nice to come and relax here on a warm, summer evening, too. Or something.
Rebuild the City
Continuing with the construction theme, so you're at least doing a little bit of work in your spare time - scattered around the city, you'll find these huge, glowing pieces of plastic that appear to keep changing colour. These are the super builds we've talked about earlier, and it's well worth your while to hunt them all out, and put them together. There are 65 super builds waiting to be constructed around the City - assuming you have enough bricks - with each serving a different purpose. Some become ramps you can go jumping your cars off. Some turn into car points, letting you order a police helicopter that'll instantly deliver a car of your choosing, in the exact colour you want, wherever you are in the world. Others are slightly more unusual. There are fountains, giant sandcastles, bridges, ferries - and even a big wheel at the LEGO City fair.
Which just happens to lead me nicely to another part of LEGO City I'm assured you'll need to check out - the LEGO City fair in Festival Square. This place even has a giant crocodile balloon suspended right in the middle of the town - and after all, nothing says "fun" like a giant crocodile balloon. Except perhaps a police chase. Or nailing a crook from one of the notorious gangs that make the next door Chinatown their home. But apparently I'm not allowed to talk about that. Anyway. Festival Square is home to lots of things designed to take your mind off your day to day life - good food, basketball challenges, funfair rides, and even a strangely familiar looking yellow block with a question mark on it that's hidden down a path by the sea. Luckily for you, there's also a hospital nearby where you can go when you overdose on all this fun you're having, to get you back to real police work!
Of course, pigs will fly before you do that. What, it has those too?
Paint the town red. Or purple
As ever, progression is the key in the world of LEGO, and the time you invest pays off - even in terms of having fun in LEGO City. The more you play, the more you'll discover, the more you'll unlock, and the crazier the things you'll be able to do. Take the colour swapper as a case in point. Locked until you've completed several missions, this little pile of genius crammed into a gun changes the colour of almost anything it hits. And I mean, almost anything. Fire hydrants, trees, bushes, cars, passing clowns - anything the paint globules touch will be instantly re-coloured, so you can literally paint the town red. Or in this case, purple.
But in a town with so many things to do, how are you meant to keep track of what you have or haven't done. Luckily, the person who programmed the software on your GamePad (yes, it was Ellie again) has thought of that, with the software being designed to suit. At the top of the map, there's a little built in tracker that'll tick things off as you do them, telling you how many cars, people, or gold and red bricks you have yet to discover in that area. Press the little 'i' button just below it, and you'll open another menu which lets you see your progress in practically every other area too - how many gang members you've arrested (out of a total of 16), how many ticket machines you've activated, and much, much more. So much, in fact, that now you'll never be able to concentrate on your police duties, because you'll always be distracted trying to find that one last collectible. Thanks for nothing, Ellie.
And with THAT, we can finally bring this emergency session to an end. Now you know how to have "fun" in LEGO City - or at least fun as Ellie would define it. As we're now making up for lost time - thank you Mr. Snow and Mrs. Freezing Cold - we'll have to reconvene here this afternoon for the final lesson in our series - and your chance to win one of three LEGO City model kits.
In the mean time, rookie, if you take one thing away from today's lesson, just remember to not go too crazy out there. LEGO City's a big place, and it's all too possible to get carried away that little bit too much. After all, I don't want the same thing to happen to you as happened to our last recruit. Fun can strike when you least expect it. Just take a look at this video to see what I mean: