LEGO City Undercover is a Wide Open Sandbox game developed by Travellers Tales and released for the Wii U in 2013, utilizing the same engine as the LEGO Adaptation Games but, rather than being an adaptation of a famous franchise, is based on LEGO's own original theme, LEGO City. The game follows the adventures of Chase McCain in his various undercover missions for the LEGO City P.D. and his attempts to track down his archrival Rex Fury, who has recently broken out of prison.Like most LEGO games, there is a great deal of tongue-in-cheek humor, along with a Hurricane of Puns, a lot of Shout Outs, and... car theft?Now has its own character page, which Needs Wiki Magic Love.
Faux Action Girl: Though she gets into sticky situations and ends up asking Chase to rescue her on multiple occasions, which is lampshaded by Chase:
Chase: Really?! This again?!
Affably Evil: Chan Chuang switches between this and enraged in pretty much every conversation. It helps that he has a cuddly bunny to pet when he gets upset. Vinnie Poppalardo also qualifies as well, sans Passive-Aggressive behavior.
Only one of them is vital to interact with the large blocks' yellow handles, unlike the rest of the costumes. The costume in question is Rex Fury's costume which is found near the end of the diving from space portion of the final level, in one of the stud rings close to the finish.
Animals Hate Him: Frank Honey doesn't have much luck with animals in general, with one (coffee-drinking) squirrel in particular angry at him for breaking its coffee machine. He does seem to befriend the horse he tried to ride though, as he is later seen hanging out with it at a pool.
Batman Can Breathe in Space: At the end of the game, when everyone is in space, no one seems to have trouble breathing. Chase even has the visor up on his helmet. Then again, LEGO people don't have noses in the first place.
Brick Joke: In one of the cutscenes on Albatross Island (Lego City's Alcatraz stand-in), a prisoner is seen trying to escape the prison by floating on balloons, by the end of the game the man has reached the moon.
Also on Albatross Island, Chase begins playing opera loudly in the Warden's office, causing its speakers to explode. Later, Chase needs to repair a DJ's broken system, and the DJ laments that he should never have played opera on it.
One of Blackwell's guards starts chasing Chase on a bicycle (while the latter darts away on a motorcycle). During the epilogue, he's finally almost reached him.
Given that it's a Lego game, isn't everything a brick joke?
Another possible callback to LEGO Island 2 is that: Both games culminate in the protagonist going into space to confront the villian, resulting in said villain being trapped in space due to a mishap. During both space sequences, a portion of gameplay is dedicated to skydiving through rings, and both sequences contain a Shout-Out to 2001: A Space Odyssey (The Monolith in Lego Island 2, and a man drifting through space as classical music plays in Lego City Undercover)
The Caper: Several of the levels that have you stealing things for the various gangs are classic examples of this.
Cat Up a Tree: One of the fireman sidequests involves Chase rescuing cats up trees. And billboards. And really anywhere, as long as it's very high up.
Comically Missing the Point: At the end of the story, when Chase says that there's more important things than your job, Frank Honey asks him if he means playing videogames.
Console Cameo: The police communicator tablets are very obviously patterned after the Wii U's GamePad.
Cool Guns: Since this is a kid-friendly game, you don't use realguns but instead there are paint guns, laser guns, and... chicken eggs?
Cool and Unusual Punishment: Studsky and Clutch discuss the ways Chuang could torture Natalia. Such methods include eating a lot of ice cream to bring on an ice cream headache and forcing the victim to drink a lot of soda because ladies can't burp in public. Chase initially dismisses these ideas as absurd, but sure enough Chase and Vinnie resort to the ice cream technique to gather information on the whereabouts of Rex.
Cutscene Boss: Forrest Blackwell. He appears in a small craft, ready to take on Chase... and then a cow inexplicably flies in from nowhere and knocks him away. To be fair, considering you just fought Rex Fury in two consecutive fights immediately before, it isn't all bad.
Da Chief: Chief Dunby is intentionally designed to embody this trope. Unlike most examples though, he is at least willing to listen to Chase when he's onto something without too much disagreement.
The Fire Chief is also an example, when Chase meets him he's in a foul mood from his crew getting the wrong flavour of cake for his birthday.
Detectives Follow Footprints: Chase can use the blacklight feature on his communicator to find and follow hidden footprint trails that lead to hidden items.
Devil in Plain Sight: Millionaire with a low British accent and a wicked laugh? Forrest Blackwell isn't exactly hiding his nature...
Difficulty Spike: Certain story missions taking place in the main overworld can be this, since if your vehicle gets destroyed, or you let your target get away, you can actually fail instead of simply respawning on the spot. Some of these missions are also on a time limit, too.
The Ditz: Frank Honey is a classic example of a ditz. His heart's in the right place, though.
Double Unlock: New disguises, vehicles and red bricks are obtained by finding and collecting them or accomplishing certain tasks. To actually use them, you need to buy them in the basement of the police station.
Dumb Muscle: Rex Fury is dumb as, well, a brick but he can snap out of hand cuffs with no effort.
Exact Words: Vinnie mentions one of his former workers is "swimming with da fishes". He literally means it, as he's now a night guard at the aquarium.
He also had a worker who failed him and then bought the farm. Yes, even after Vinnie warned him it was a bad investment.
Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: At one point, Natalia calls to chew Chase out over having police keep an eye on her, which he knows nothing about. She describes them as smartly dressed for cops, with a black van and a limo, and... they aren't cops, are they.
The Family for the Whole Family: The two Mafias in the game aren't as incompetent as some instances of the trope, but they don't pose any kind of threat to anyone's life.
Family-Friendly Firearms: No one uses bullet based firearms but most of Chase's disguises get a projectile weapon of some kind. His normal police gettup has a grapple gun that can tangle and snare opponents making for an easy arrest.
Gotta Catch 'Em All: There is tons to do in this game ranging from putting out barbecue fires, coffee breaks, growing flowers, launching pigs out of cannons, etc. By doing this, you gain Gold Bricks and getting all 450 snags you the ability to grow twenty times your size!
Groin Attack: Barry Smith uses one against Chase when he's testing out his kung fu skills.
The Greys: Can be seen walking around the city. May just be party goers in costume.
Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Chase more or less, he drives into other people's cars or people and says only "Aww... heck!" or "They'll be fine!". To get enough bricks at times one have to destroy much of the things in Lego City. Still, he is funny, for those who are old enough to understand the jokes.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Chief Dunby is a perpetually grumpy, glory-hogging jerk, but at the end of the day he's willing to admit when he's wrong and genuinely wants to make Lego City a safer place.
Karma Houdini: Vinnie Poppalardo is actually a pretty nice guy, at least by the standards of mafia men, but the fact of the matter is he runs the biggest mafia in Lego City and orchestrates several high-profile robberies. Despite this, he is never arrested in the game even though Chase would have more than enough evidence against him from his time undercover.
Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Several minor characters are this as seen in the shout-outs section below, such as "Blue" being a stand-in for Red from the Shawshank Redemption, or "Studsky and Clutch", a character named "Harry" who looks exactly like Dirty Harry and a nameless minifigure (listed as DaMumbo when you unlock it) who looks just like Columbo. Vinnie Pappalardo is basically Joe Pesci's character from Goodfellas.
Heywood: Uh, are you free, man? Blue: (surprised) No! No, I am not Freeman. (looks around) His lawyers might be watchin'.
Logic Bomb: One of the Red Herring conversations overheard on the audio scanner involves two guys trying out a lie detector. One of them breaks it by saying "This is a lie." to it.
Luxury Prison Suite: Rex Fury's cell is hidden in a secret chamber that can only be accessed by a concealed elevator in the warden's office and is full of high-class amenities as well as being the size of a small apartment.
Chase: Wow, this place is nicer than my apartment!
Furthermore, several clown robbers can be apprehended, and are the first enemies players fight.
Mood Whiplash: The game gets considerably darker when it is revealed that Blackwell Tower is actually a rocket ship, and that if it launches, the heat and exhaust fumes would likely kill everyone nearby.
Moving Buildings: Blackwell Tower, which turns out to function like a space rocket.
Mustache Vandalism: Committed by Rex Fury's gang to Vinnie Poppalardo's family paintings when they raid his base. Vinnie reacts with horror at the painting of his mother with a moustache, considering how much he had to pay the artist to leave off the moustache in the first place.
Never Say "Die": Mostly played straight with lines like "This is a matter of life or... um... the other thing", although the game does directly state that the emissions from Blackwell's construction project would be lethal to the nearby animals.
New Powers as the Plot Demands: Chase gets various costumes that grant him new powers and access to new areas as the player progresses through the story mode. In order of appearance: Civilian (Default), Policeman, Robber, Miner, Astronaut, Farmer, Firefighter, Construction Worker.
He also unlocks several abilities as the story goes on such as parkour, advanced combat, boat driving and upgrades to previous powers. The sudden master is lampshaded in the first special assignment where Chase is as stunned as the player that he can do all these crazy parkour stunts.
Non-Ironic Clown: In contrast to the above Monster Clowns, several Non-Ironic Clowns are seen walking about the city.
No OSHA Compliance: Fuse boxes throughout the city are electrified, causing a zap to all characters except construction workers, who may repair them. Sometimes these boxes just stop certain devices from working, and sometimes they electrify floors, preventing entry. Lampshaded by Chase in Forrest Blackwell's Mansion: Escape.
Not the Fall That Kills You: Played with. During the Blue Bell Mines level Chase performs a very impressive free fall for quite some time. A soft collision in to wood only lightly harms him at best but he will die if he collides with something solid. Lampshaded by Chase in-game.
Paper-Thin Disguise: To ensure that no one knows he's bringing the crane to the observatory, Chase pulls out a box and draws a smiley face in sharpie and puts it on his head. Not only that, but he also scribbles two other faces (anger and surprise) onto the other sides of the box and it's not even commented on! However, the trope is ultimately subverted as the person he was trying to fool couldn't make out Chase's appearance anyway; he forgot to bring his glasses.
Parental Bonus: A very large portion of the game's humor consists of references that would fly over the heads of younger players.
Unnamed Guy(referring to the computer): ...but it didn't blow up until Frank tried repairing it.
Frank: With a hammer!
Pig Cannonball: How Chase gets the pigs scattered across LEGO City back to Jethro's farm. They're shot out of pig cannons, which only farmers can operate. This is because a chicken is used as a handle to control the cannon.
Private Eye Monologue: Chase attempts one of these, but ends up saying it out loud, resulting in Ellie pointing out the mistakes in it.
Protagonist-Centered Morality: Chase can get away with a lot. Justified somewhat in that he is doing it with the mayor's blessing and generally his less-than-moral antics lead to arrests of some high-profile criminals.
Poke the Poodle: The gangs that Chase must arrest as part of a sidequest all seem to want to be bad, but never really do anything worse than vandalism. One group seemed horrified when their leader only paid ten percent tip at a restaurant. Chase is eager to stop their crimes, but really, he's probably destroyed morerandom objects than all of the vandals he puts away combined.
Reassigned to Antarctica: After Chase makes a blunder that frustrates a big arrest, Chief Dunby reassigns him to Bluebell National Park and doesn't even pretend that it's not to get him out of his hair. Thankfully, one of Chase's criminal connections calls him with a job that draws him back into the Rex Fury case.
Red Right Hand: Rex Fury has a glazed-over right eye that does not work properly.
Incidentally, this might be some leftover licensing from Lego Rock Band, which would also make it a Mythology Gag in regards to Lego games.
Rewarding Vandalism: Takes it even further than the Lego Adaptation Games in that driving over things rewards you bricks to build with, and driving over several consecutive things rewards you with a multiplier, encouraging you to destroy even more things with your vehicles. Maxing out the multiplier even makes you invincible for a short while. Your car starts glowing in many different colors, too.
This is actually required, in that Chase has to break certain things so he can use the parts to build other things.
A whole mission based off The Shawshank Redemption, complete with a nod to "Free Man" (not now, his lawyers might be watching)
Several Shoutouts to the Super Mario Bros. franchise are included as the result of Nintendo being publisher. Look out for coin boxes, a Starman, and Cheep-cheeps.
During the final level, Rex's T-Rex is defeated in a manner similar to Bowser in Super Mario 64, by grabbing its tail and then throwing it at the explosive energy tanks around the room.
The tones used for the Space Boxes are "Daisy Daisy," from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Natalia in Undercover looks quite similar to a modern Samus.
Silence Is Golden: In stark contrast to the rest of the game, the space freefall segment of the final mission has almost no dialogue.
"Simon Says" Mini-Game: Special boxes scattered around the city have colored lights which flash in a certain order, requiring the astronaut's special pad to repeat the pattern, beaming down objects and aliens when successful.
Strange Minds Think Alike: When Chase teams up with Studsky and Clutch to rescue Natalia, the two speculate on how she might be getting tortured, with ridiculous ideas like giving her brain freeze from ice cream and using Tickle Torture. When Natalia's rescued, she's in pain and says they fed her ice cream.
Talking Animal: The punchline of one of the Red Herring Audio Scanner conversations reveals that the "people" Chase was listening to were, in fact, animals the entire time.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In some places, doing certain things will make Chase say something. The earliest seems to be in Warden Stonewall's office. Paraphrased is the following.
Chase(After destroying every possible thing in Warden Stonewall's office): Wow, I can't believe all that noise I just made didn't get his attention.
Threatening Shark: There are a few shark signs on some of the beaches that seem entirely forgettable. Get out in open water though, and there's a chance you end up dying very quickly.
Timed Mission: Certain missions on the main overworld are timed. Can be quite jarring considering none of the story mode levels or missions in the previous LEGO Adaptation Games were under a time limit.
Toilet Humor: You will explode some outhouses in a certain part of this game. With people still inside them too.
At the end of the game, Rex Fury crashes through the roof of a house, and lands headfirst into a toilet bowl. It's still stuck on his head during his arrest.
Training Montage: Spoofed. When Chase gets the fire extinguisher, he starts squirting it everywhere where there are fires. Cut to the head firefighter chastising him for using it without proper training.
Also spoofed during the "Plumb-fu" training montage, where grandmaster Barry kicks the crap out of Chase, and then concludes he should practice on a few of his Mooks first.
Troperiffic: The developers actively tried to invoke as many Cop Show tropes as possible... and a lot of other tropes aside.
The Unreveal: Dunby's advice for the cops is muted out by someone activating a vacuum while he speaks.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Destroying city property is encouraged as a way to build up your block count. You can also very easily mow down the civilians nearby. They'll just pop back up and continue walking a second later. They dive out of the way like most sandbox games, with the addition of having an animation for when they dive into the wall. Ouch.
Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: While the two mafias are harmless, the game's Big Bad, Forest Blackwell, shows malicious disregard for human life and it is put in no uncertain terms that if Chase wasn't around to foil his plans, many people would end up dead.
Wall Crawl: Farmer Jethro's pigs can do this. And, apparently, use lockpicking tools. They're rare mountain pigs, which explains why Chase so often finds them on top of buildings.
What Happened to the Mouse?: "Stinky" Fletcher, who is supposed to have information on the theft in Bluebell Mine, is kidnapped by Rex's men, but after McCain gets a newer lead in the form of Chan, Fletcher is never seen or heard from again. Also, Chan himself is mentioned to have gone missing after his disappearance following the elimination of his gang's key members and the rescue of Natalia, and is never seen again.
Witness Protection: A big part of the backstory is that Natalia Kowalski was in witness protection, until Chase blew her cover, which is why Chase was kicked out of Lego City. She's back in witness protection when he returns, albeit as a paramedic rather than a journalist.