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ExoRaider

Looking for the Tales of the Lego Express game

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ExoRaider

I made a post on reddit a while back about this but I recently found this forum and figured some people on here might be interested in it as well. There's a game I've been looking for called TALES OF THE LEGO EXPRESS but I can't seem to find it anywhere. I compiled all my information on it into a gallery on imgur, which you can find here. In my search I found a video on the website vimeo of all the animations from the game: 

 

Spoiler

 

 

I emailed Chop Shop Studio but sadly all they could find were more screens from the game, which I have also added to the imgur gallery. I also emailed One Trick Pony hoping to get in touch with Rob Reed since he was apparently the one who designed this game, however I've yet to hear back from them and I doubt I will. On reddit a user named utter_bodge commented on my post sending me the 
entire archived script of the game, as well as an adaptation someone made on Ink, a popular text adventure maker. Sadly it seems that this game will never be playable again in its original format. Still, it's kinda neat to look back on this since it was such a large part of my and many others' childhoods.

 

So that's my story. If anyone has any more information on this game I'd love to hear all about it.

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jamesster
3 hours ago, ExoRaider said:

On reddit a user named utter_bodge commented on my post

That's me! :) Hoping more can be recovered somehow.

 

Edit: Also, here's the conversation I had with LEGO customer support, in April 2017:

 

Quote

Hello! I'm looking for information on a classic, retired LEGO.com game, the Train Heist, also known as Tales on the LEGO Express.

The game was nominated for an award in the Animation category at SXSW's 2003 Web Awards, and was a favorite among LEGO fans. It was taken offline in 2007, when the Trains part of LEGO.com shifted focus to LEGO Factory.

The Web Archives didn't capture the game properly, so all that can be seen now is a splash screen which fails to load anything else: http://web.archive.org/web/20050303014123/http://www.lego.com/eng/trains/recreationstation/legoexpress/legoexpress.asp Is there any record of what studio/company developed the game, or any other information about it?

Also, in 2010, a similar game was launched, Trouble on the Tracks. It had some common elements in gameplay and plot, and was developed by Badgerhammer. Did Badgerhammer also create Tales on the LEGO Express/Train Heist, by any chance?

Thank you!

 

Quote

Dear James,
Thanks for getting in touch with us!

That's a great question! I apologize for the lack or reply over the weekend, I actually did some research online regarding the question regarding the game. Unfortunately, we do not support the game any longer, or have any of it's old data left over from when it was online.

I did do some research on my own about the game to see if I could find anything, and I found resources online on fan pages that state the two games were created by the same maker, Badgerhammer, but I can't confirm that because I sadly have no information internally that ties the two games together.

I wish I could be a better help!

We want to make sure we're doing a good job for you, so you’ll always find the link to a four-question survey in our emails. Please tell us how we did today:


LEGO Survey link
Please let us know if you need anything else.

Kind regards,

Alison
LEGO® Service

 

Of course, now we know Badgerhammer wasn't involved in the original. (Also, Badgerhammer's game isn't online any longer, either, and as far as I know the BMP didn't archive it either... Though at least there's several videos of it out there.)

 

Another edit - an older chat with @PeabodySam with some more details:

 

Quote

[9:11 PM]
Terrev:
    do you remember what the henchmen and sheriff looked like? I forgot about the latter entirely until I replayed it again

[9:11 PM]
PeabodySam:
    As a matter of fact, I do!
    The henchmen were Rudo Villano and Alexia Sinister, but the former wore the black neck scarf piece covering the lower half of his face.
    And the sheriff was just the sheriff from the Wild West theme.

[9:12 PM]
Terrev:
    aaah, I vaguely remembered rudo

[9:12 PM]
PeabodySam:
    He's the one you push out the window.
    In a "perfect" playthrough, you never see Alexia.
    ... except maybe you see her from behind when you and Charlie are watching Palomar on the radio, can't remember.
    Anyways, one of the reasons I remember is because I incorporated it into Dino Attack RPG's canon, that Sam Sinister strongly distrusted Senor Palomar because the latter got the former's sister arrested due to the botched train heist.
    And that led to Sam Sinister helping Dino Attack Team take down Senor Palomar, who was hired by the RPG's villains.

[9:15 PM]
Terrev:
    aaah neat

[9:16 PM]
PeabodySam:
    I could barely follow the plot as a kid, so anytime Palomar, Villano, or Alexia showed up and captured me, it took me by surprise and made me really paranoid that there was a baddie hiding around every corner.
    Quite effective, really.
 

 

Edit again - from today:

 

Quote

[3:27 PM]
Terrev:
    Any other details on it you happen to remember?

[3:29 PM]
PeabodySam:
    The cutscenes of getting captured by Rudo or Alexia aren't in Chop Shop Studio's video.

[3:35 PM]
PeabodySam:
    Let me think of what other cutscenes aren't there...
    Charlie rescuing you from the closet...
    Charlie pulling out his pocketwatch...
    Senor Palomar sneaking up on Engineer Max and then getting his hat pulled over his eyes...
    I'm pretty sure there was at least one cutscene that depicted the Gale's Eye itself...
    In the imgur gallery, the image labeled "Conductor Charlie is tied up by Senor Palomar" is presented as a "You've been captured" cutscene, so IIRC this was actually spending too much time with Charlie in the closet instead of the flashback where Charlie himself gets captured.

[3:38 PM]
Terrev:
    just added the old chat snippet to my post in the topic there

[3:40 PM]
PeabodySam:
    If you look in the bottom corner of the video, you see a number, probably pertaining to the scene number.
    What's shown as a continuous "03" was actually cut up by text passages.

[3:42 PM]
Terrev:
    you remember this game much more specifically than I do haha

[4:24 PM]
PeabodySam:
    For a full analysis, I'll need to crosscheck the video with the text-only version, since I'm sure it'll jog more memory seeing the two side by side.
    Don't have time to do that now, but hopefully I can take a closer look tomorrow or this weekend.

 

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PeabodySam

I'm the other guy (PeabodySam_) who commented on that reddit thread, as well as in the Steam chats quoted by jamesster above. I actually have a somewhat decent memory for this game that I haven't played in over fifteen years... I guess that just goes to show what an impact a great Flash game can have on a LEGO maniac. Of course, my memory is far from photographic so there are plenty of gaps, but cross-referencing the archived script with the Chop Shop Studio video has helped jog a few memories:

 

One thing that you will notice in Chop Shop Studio's video is that there is an orange circle in the bottom-right corner of the screen with a number inside. These numbers usually (but not always) correspond directly to the scene numbers in the archived script. For longer scenes, the cutscenes are actually broken up and do not play continuously as they do in the video; you can generally tell by changing camera angles or audio clips. If I remember correctly, most cutscenes play before the corresponding text, so it would go something like this:

 

SCENE 01 / INTRO ("On a dark and spooky...")

0:00-0:03 (01: the train arrives)

SCENE 01 / BUTTONS

...

0:03-0:04 (03: sitting on train)

SCENE 03 / INTRO ("You're sure Charlie will be...")

0:04-0:07 (03: looking out train window)

SCENE 03 / TEXT A ("Sure is taking a long time...")

0:07-0:11 (03: looking at Palomar's poster)

SCENE 03 / TEXT B ("Hey, take a look at...")

0:11-0:18 (03: Palomar atop train, inside train)

SCENE 03 / TEXT C ("Uh-oh! Not only have...")

0:28-0:35 (03: Palomar and poster)

SCENE 07 / INTRO ("Seems that Señor Palomar plans...")

...

SCENE 26 / INTRO ("Oops. Maybe you should have...")

0:18-0:20 (26: thrown into closet)

SCENE 06 / INTRO ("Hey, is there someone - or...")

...

0:21-0:28 (22: Palomar closes closet door)

SCENE 22 / INTRO A ("Oops! Señor Palomar must have...")

...

0:43-0:46 (13: Villano looking out window)

SCENE 13 / INTRO ("It doesn't look like that...")

0:46-0:50 (13: Villano pushed out window, into mail loop)

SCENE 13 / INTRO A ("Spotting a passing mail pole...")

...

0:35-0:38 (16: raising flare)

SCENE 16 / INTRO ("Using the handholds on the...")

0:38-0:43 (16: shooting flare)

SCENE 17 / INTRO ("You've sent the signal!  Hopefully...")

...

SCENE 19a / INTRO ("You board the train proudly...")

0:50-0:55 (19: deputized, newspaper)

SCENE 19 / BUTTONS

 

Please note that the above are not guaranteed to be perfectly correct; it's just what I can piece together from my own memory and the data that's currently available. I'm sure I've attached the right cutscenes to the right text, but not necessarily in the right order or maybe I split a cutscene that wasn't actually split in-game. So, please take it with a little grain of salt.

 

A few other general notes, both about the game and cutscenes (including ones missing from Chop Shop Studio's video):

  • In the script, anything labeled "bubble" or "bub" is presented in-game as speech bubble rather than a text card; you click on each speech bubble to continue the scene. Otherwise, the game generally alternates between "intro" text cards and animated cutscenes.
  • I believe 0:18-0:20 may have been a multi-purpose cutscene. While the "26" number in the video suggests that it follows being captured in SCENE 26 / INTRO, it could also work as the cutscene that would play before SCENE 05 / INTRO ("Yikes! There's somebody in here...") or after SCENE 07 / INTRO ("Seems that Señor Palomar plans..."). However, it would NOT play before SCENE 08 / INTRO A ("Looks like you weren't so..."), which uses a different cutscene where you see Charlie open the door, peer inside, and smile at you. For the other two scenes (SCENE 21 / INTRO A and SCENE 25 / INTRO A) where Charlie rescues you, I believe Charlie is already in the closet but untied, skipping the whole "who's this mysterious shadowed guy in the closet?" visual sequence, but I could be wrong.
  • I'm pretty sure the Ink adaptation contains at least one error. If you see Charlie tied in the closet, don't untie him, and get captured, then SCENE 06 / INTRO A (where Charlie unties himself) would make much more sense than SCENE 27 / INTRO A (where you untie Charlie).
  • Before talking to Charlie for the first time, you might run into Rudo Villano as one of the villains who captures you, though I don't remember which scene specifically. After Villano is assigned to guard the radio, you might run into Alexia Sinister instead; she is definitely the one who captures you in SCENE 10 / INTRO A ("Oh no! Señor Palomar must...")... and maybe after SCENE 25 / INTRO ("You quietly creep after Señor...") as well, but I'm not so sure about that one.
  • Before SCENE 09 / INTRO A (""We're getting close to the..."), you see a cutscene of peering through the doorway while Palomar is in the room with the radio. Before SCENE 09 / INTRO B ("Oh no! Henchmen!"), the silhouettes of Villano and Alexia lean into the frame in the foreground, with their backs turned towards you.
  • Throughout SCENE 15, you see yourself holding the radio, with speech bubbles coming from yourself and from the radio.
  • After SCENE 17 / INTRO A ("Looks like Max got the..."), you see a cutscene of the sheriff boarding the train.
  • Before SCENE 24 / INTRO ("Afraid that the sheriff may..."), you see a cutscene of Palomar sneaking up on Engineer Max only to suddenly have his hat pulled over his eyes, then Max turns around and looks surprised.
  • After SCENE 24a / INTRO (""Great work!" says the sheriff..."), you see a brief cutscene of the Gale's Eye being observed by silhouetted onlookers. Now, I believe it was a flashforward to the diamond being in the museum, as the sheriff says. But as a kid, I thought it was the arrested Palomar and Alexia looking at the diamond just teasingly out of their reach.
  • After SCENE 24c / INTRO ("Charlie clears his throat and..."), you see a very brief cutscene of Conductor Charlie holding a pocketwatch.
  • If I remember correctly, SCENE 19 / INTRO (""Before you go, I have...") plays before a cutscene of the sheriff pulling out the deputy star and winking.

If I recall anything else, I'll be sure to add an addendum to this post. But for now, this is my recollection of Tales of the LEGO Express.

 

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jamesster

It's really impressive how much you managed to remember, haha.

 

In the very first scene where you're walking towards the train station, I thought I remembered looking at the shadow as a kid to figure out what the player character looked like, and seeing a bald minifigure head with the stud on top... But in the video, you're wearing the standard cap also worn by Charlie, Max etc. My memory could be totally off, it's been like 15 years - but does anyone else remember it being one way or the other?

 

Edit:

 

Quote

[4:08 PM]
PeabodySam:
    It might just be the Mandela Effect, because I did not remember the minifig's shadow having a hat until you pointed it out.
 

 

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joint dogg

Hey! I'm the one who made the bare-bones Ink adaptation. That movie footage is a great find – I thought all the cutscenes were lost forever! I'm trying to make a more faithful adaptation that reimplements cutscenes where possible, so PeabodySam's reminiscences are also greatly appreciated.

 

Can anyone remember if the buttons appeared on top of the video (like so) or on their own title card (like the end screen shown in the video)? The first option looks "right" to me, but my memory is hazy.

 

Edit: I should add that most of the UI elements are included in framework.swf, which was archived. If you want to extract them, I recommend FFDec.

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Rachexan

Hey everyone! 

 

I've used to play this game a lot back in the days, and yesterday i found out this topic while surfing the Internet, so I wrote directly to Rob Reed on LinkedIn.

I hope he would be able to provide some new information.

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ExoRaider
17 hours ago, joint dogg said:

Hey! I'm the one who made the bare-bones Ink adaptation. That movie footage is a great find – I thought all the cutscenes were lost forever! I'm trying to make a more faithful adaptation that reimplements cutscenes where possible, so PeabodySam's reminiscences are also greatly appreciated.

 

Can anyone remember if the buttons appeared on top of the video (like so) or on their own title card (like the end screen shown in the video)? The first option looks "right" to me, but my memory is hazy.

 

Edit: I should add that most of the UI elements are included in framework.swf, which was archived. If you want to extract them, I recommend FFDec.

 

Hey, that's pretty cool! I think I remember the options being on their own screen, kinda like a silent movie with title cards. This may have been the case for some of the parts of just text as well, though I don't remember it very well seeing as I was probably only 4 or 5 years old the last time I played that game. But either one works.

 

Looking forward to seeing the final product!

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PeabodySam

Chatted with a fellow LEGO maniac Andrewnuva199/Drewsko earlier today to see if he could remember anything that I missed. Here's what he said:

 

Quote

[11:18 AM]
Watcher Drewsko:
    Well, the part with the flare gun, I recall when you ask charlie to do that, you get a shot of him talking with you in-between the carriages going "oh heck now"
    And I think there's a bit where skipping the closet and continuing to walk down the carriages leads to one of the henchman popping out the opposite door and goin "Oh no you dont!"
    The lead-up to captures have a lot of similar cutscenes, not that notable but certainly sudden in that way

 

Now that he mentioned it, I definitely remember seeing Charlie reacting sheepishly when you try asking him to shoot the flare (SCENE 14 / INTRO B).

 

He also brings up a fair point with the "You've been captured!" cutscenes. The villain always enters the train car through the door ahead of you, the camera zooms in on their menacing face as the background fades to black, and finally the "You've been captured!" text appears. In other words, most of them play out similarly to the one in the video (0:15-0:17, 0:28-0:35), except with Rudo Villano/Alexia Sinister instead of Senor Palomar in certain scenes, and without a zoom-in on Palomar's wanted poster outside of that one specific instance (or so I think).

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joint dogg
Posted (edited)

From what I recall, one of the cars in scene 14 was the My Own Train caboose (which makes sense, as the game mentions going to the last car). I remember being confused how the player character got to the roof, since the only ladder I could see went down. This is the angle I remember, although my memory is hazy:

 

Spoiler

WLjqcsu.png

 

edit: actually, it easily could've been a front view of the caboose, with the ladder to the roof in full view... I wouldn't put it past kid me to be confused by something very obvious.

Edited by joint dogg

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jamesster
On 5/7/2020 at 12:52 PM, jamesster said:

Of course, now we know Badgerhammer wasn't involved in the original. (Also, Badgerhammer's game isn't online any longer, either, and as far as I know the BMP didn't archive it either... Though at least there's several videos of it out there.)

Update - this isn't what we've all been looking for, but it's still a lost game found and kinda relevant to this, so I'll post it here. I yanked a hard drive out of an old laptop today and, bizarrely, found a zip of the Trouble on the Tracks game:

https://mega.nz/file/djYHCKwb#pkqju6LaqIRrbosbBOrmHZjWq4aLf7kzKdo8cxI7t0o

It's pretty much certainly from @JrMasterModelBuilder/the BMP, but neither of us remember this zip existing, or know how it didn't actually end up on the BMP. But however that happened, we have it, so yay I guess?

 

Still holding out hope for the original Train Heist surfacing...

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