Review by Johnus Maximus
Released in June 2008, Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures is the latest game that merges a major movie franchise with the popular plastic bricks from Denmark. Developed by Traveller’s Tales and published by LucasArts, the game is available on Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, DS and PC.
Adapting the core plot elements from the three original Indiana Jones movies and combining them with puzzle solving, treasure hunting and the child-friendly sense of humour that worked so well on the Lego Star Wars games, this title is great fun and will keep kids of all ages happy for many hours.
For the benefit of people who may have been hiding under a rock for the last few decades let me give you some background information. Indiana Jones is a character created by George Lucas, starring in films directed by Steven Spielberg and played by Harrison Ford. As well as his in depth knowledge of archaeology and his penchant for feisty women, Indy is best known for his outfit: a leather jacket, fedora and bullwhip. Where Indy goes, adventures happen. Lego is an enormously successful toy, a range of interlocking plastic bricks of all shapes, sizes and colours which with a little bit of effort can be used to build anything your imagination dreams up.
There have been many Lego games in the past, not all to my liking, but I’ve really enjoyed the approach Travellers Tales take adapting these hugely successful and well loved films into a fun gaming experience. The majority of characters from the films find their way into the game represented as Lego figures, memorable and key plot moments are adapted into playable levels and humorous cut scenes, the environments you play in are fairly realistic looking but any interactive or destructible elements are made up from Lego pieces, making it easier for players to distinguish what they should or shouldn’t try to interact with.
As the title suggests, this game lets you relive Indy’s original adventures, so Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade are here, each broken up into 6 playable levels, where initially you are given a specific set of characters to complete that level in relation to who would have been present in that particular part of the film. Upon completion you can return to these levels and play with any of the 80+ playable characters to seek out hidden treasures which would have been previously inaccessible, adding plenty of replay value.
That’s not a knife, THIS is a knife. Oh wait, it’s a gun, sorry.
As you play each level you will face numerous enemies including Thuggee warriors, Cairo swordsmen, German paratroopers, scarabs, spiders and of course snakes. Certain characters have phobias, Indy for example hates snakes, and when approaching an enemy they are scared of these characters become immobilised by fear, so you have to switch to another of the party members in order to continue.
You will also be faced with many puzzles in the game which can only be solved in specific ways, for example using Indy’s whip to swing across a chasm and pull a lever or using Indy’s dad to copy hieroglyphic patterns (by the way Sean Connery looks awesome as a Lego figure). While these puzzles provide an important element to the game it is worth noting that they aren’t overly difficult, I played through most of the game accompanied by a 5 year old and he was able to solve them quite easily.
The game can be played in single player mode, but you can also have another player jump in and out of your game as and when you want. It’s very easy to learn the controls of the game and the inclusion of a second player doesn’t really adjust the game dynamic greatly. It’s also very easy to acess, you don’t have to restart the level or anything complicated, you just press Start and instantly they’re in control of a character.
Playing with another person is a lot of fun, aside from an occasional argument when you’re both trying to travel in opposite directions, for the most part you get the same experience as single player. Sadly you cannot play the co-operative mode over Xbox Live, which I thought would have been a great inclusion, although on a positive note the second player does gain achievements for the help they give you.
No plastic crocodiles were harmed in the making of this game.
Taking some time away from the main game, you can take Indy for a walk round the many rooms of Barnett College, where Indy works as a teacher. Some of these rooms offer excellent additional features and will really appeal to people who consider themselves completionists. There are rewards for finding hidden treasures and collecting an allotted amount of ’studs’ on each level, as mentioned previously a wealth of unlockable characters, and in the great hall housing the artefacts Indy recovers there are three secret levels waiting for you to solve the puzzle of accessing them.
I couldn’t find much that I didn’t like about this game. Although the overall game is very easy to master and can be completed in the course of a weekend, there are plenty of things tucked away to make replaying it fun and worthwhile. Although the puzzles are simple for a grown person, they’re quite appropriate for younger gamers to solve. And also despite a little bit of toning down from the source material (no Nazi’s, no face melting) there is still enough peril from things like pits full of snakes and giant rolling boulders to keep the audience excited.
Certainly not your run of the mill movie tie-in, this game quickly shows itself to be a great title. If you’ve played and liked the Lego Star Wars games then you’re sure to like this. If you’re unfamiliar with those games but are looking for something fun and easy to pick up and put down then you can’t go wrong with this game. If you have children or are just a big kid at heart then this game definitely for you. It has a great graphical style, a great sense of humour and above all an iconic character at its core.
Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures scores a respectable 4 Macguffins out of 5.