LEGO Indiana Jones - The Original Adventures Xbox 360
Published by: LucasArts
Developed by: TT Games
Release Date: Out Now
When LEGO Star Wars was released it was a massive shock. It was a game that, in theory, should have appealed exclusively to younger gamers. The potent mix of the ever popular Star Wars franchise and the universal appeal of LEGO combined with a healthy dose of humour managed to make it a game for all the family. It particularly excelled at being a great co-op game and was a superb game for children and parents to enjoy together. The sequel was even more of a hit, not least because it featured the original Star Wars trilogy and not the rather weak prequels. As with LEGO Star Wars II, LEGO Indiana Jones – The Original Adventures is a game based on three films of real quality and it’s a game that has been highly anticipated ever since it was first announced.
As the title suggests, LEGO Indiana Jones – The Original Adventures is based on the first three Indiana Jones films: Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade. Each film is made up of six chapters with each chapter being based around a memorable portion of the film. Initially you’ll only have access to Raiders of the Lost Ark but as soon as you’ve finished the first chapter, you’ll have access to the other two movies and you’ll be able to work your way through the movie of your choice. Barnett College serves as your hub from which you can access any of the three movies (each movie has its own notice board from which you can select a chapter), look at the artefacts you’ve obtained and purchase additional characters with the LEGO Studs (the game’s currency) that you’ve acquired during the course of the game.
The chapters can either be played through in Story mode or Free Play mode, although you’ll have to complete a chapter once in Story mode before you can choose to play through in Free Play mode. The difference being that in Story mode you have to play through with the two characters you’re given. The chapters contain quite a few bonus sections that can only be accessed with certain types of characters such as officers, Thuggees and small characters. In Free Play mode you can play as any of the 60 characters you’ve unlocked and attempt to obtain the bonuses that were impossible to obtain on your first play through.
In any given chapter there will be two playable characters. You can choose to play solo, with the AI taking control of the second character, or preferably you can play with a friend. In most chapters you’ll have to fight enemies and solve puzzles that sometimes call upon the special abilities of your characters. There are a good dose of platform game elements too. The combat is overly simplistic. The difficulty you’ll face is the sheer numbers of enemies at times but for most of the game the combat just isn’t a problem. If your characters are killed (when killed they fall into a pile of LEGO pieces) you’ll simply lose some of the LEGO Studs you’ve acquired and then continue. You never receive a game over screen. Solving puzzles involves using a character’s special abilities, building things with LEGO bricks that you’ll find in an animated heap, finding keys, fixing broken machinery with a spanner, solving hieroglyph puzzles, carrying items from one place to another and smashing items that have been built with LEGO bricks. Occasionally you’ll have to use a bit of thought but for the most part the puzzles are easy to solve. Of course this is just the same as in the LEGO Star Wars games (albeit without the force powers) but there are some new twists to the game-play. Certain characters have phobias. Indiana Jones is afraid of snakes, his father is afraid of rats and Willie just doesn’t like bugs. Such phobias prevent the characters from moving forward and the path has to be cleared of the offending creatures before they will progress. In several chapters you can also use dynamite to blow up certain objects in order to open up a pathway or gain access to bonus items.
Some will be disappointed that LEGO Indiana Jones doesn’t feature online co-op play, particularly as it was possible in LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga. Whilst this is disappointing, it’s fair to say that the offline co-op play was always the more appealing option with the LEGO Star Wars games. As with the LEGO Star Wars games, the camera can be a bit restrictive at times when playing co-operatively but it’s not much of a problem as long as both players work as a team and don’t try to head off in different directions.
The game’s presentation is great. Graphically the game looks as good as a game using LEGO characters and objects can. There are some real humorous touches here with every character in the game being in LEGO, whether it’s angels on the headpiece that they use to find the location of the Ark or the monkey’s heads that adorn the table in the Temple of Doom. The mannerisms of the characters in the game’s cutscenes are particularly humorous and do away with the need for speech. Yes, there is no speech in LEGO Indiana Jones meaning deaf gamers will have no problems at all with the game. All important information is shown in text so you’re always aware of what is going on and what needs to be done.
Like the LEGO Star Wars games before it, LEGO Indiana Jones – The Original Adventures is very much a tongue-in-cheek take on the first three Indiana Jones movies. Those who have seen those movies will definitely appreciate how each film has been recreated in the game and those who haven’t seen the films will appreciate the game for the enjoyable and humorous entertainment that it offers. It’s one of the finest family-orientated games on the Xbox 360 and can definitely be considered one of the gaming highlights of 2008.