Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
After the just-praised Lego Star Wars series LucasArts this time tries to use another big trilogy (quadrilogy by now) from their archives to produce a game about. Lego Indiana Jones is based on the three movies that appeared on the big screen in the 80s and 90s. The question, however, is whether they can again bring enough innovation and keep the quick and simple gameplay to make it not look like a skinned version of Lego Star Wars.
In Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures you don’t go laser fighting in some galaxy far far away but instead kick some ass on earth on the sets of the three Indy movies, starting with Raiders of the Lost Ark, followed by Temple of Doom and finally The Last Crusade. As such this new Lego action/platform game barely differs from its intergalactic predecessor. Also here you’ll go through several locations from the movies and encounter well-known action sequences like the part where Indy needs to run for his life while being “chased” by a giant rolling rock in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The gameplay still focuses on cooperatively solving puzzles and reducing enemies to piles of plastic blocks, varied with some funny intermezzos in the form of movies. The comedy is by the way one of the most important highlights and emerges by dry slapstick and characters that can’t talk but communicate with excessive body language and expressive facials. Although these lead to hilarious situations, there’s one big disadvantage: people who haven’t seen the Indiana Jones movies won’t always know what all the fuzz is about and this can create confusion when trying to follow the storyline. That aside this remains a typical Lego-game that is extremely accessible for everyone and doesn’t have huge brain twisters or stomach-turning scenes which means that even without the Indiana Jones saga you’ve got a good reason to play this game. Again the true Lego-spirit is honored by delivering a very accessible game for both young, old, new and hardcore gamers.
No matter how much this game can be based on working together I do think we miss quite a vital thing when you put co-op high on your priority list. There’s no support for Xbox Live. The only way you can play with more than one player is by sitting together in front of the same console. As such not terrible, but I can imagine you won’t always find someone who wants to play along with you which means you’ll be forced to rely on the AI (which doesn’t always act logically). When looking at the entire game concept, the lack of Xbox Live is clearly a large to maybe even huge contradiction.
Graphically the Lego franchise has always been reasonably to very good. Ok, we don’t talk about enormously detailed characters, but that’s where the charm comes from. The integration of the toy blocks in the nicely designed surroundings is done very well. You get to see for instance a Lego-bridge in the middle of the forest or a rolling Lego-rock in a beautiful cave. There’s even progress. Everything looks better than in the previous games. As I said: no astonishing graphics, but rather charming and fun to watch.
In my opinion Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures is in fact just more of the same, but with a new coat and here and there some innovations (which don’t have a big influence on the familiar gameplay). How LucasArts an Traveller’s Tales pulled it off remains a mystery to me, but they succeeded to make a fun and interesting game with a reasonably large replay value while using the same concepts and gameplay.
I wouldn’t call this game a top title, but it’s certainly worth playing, especially when you can find someone else to join you.