Review: Lego Indiana Jones: Original Adventures
Posted 05 Jun 2008 at 23:22 by Mark
|"Indy is great, great fun with more under his hat than we would have ever guessed."|
Face it. Lego has always been fun. Whether you've a thousand bricks or ten - everyone has had an intimate moment spent with a plastic brick (and no, we don't mean Pamela Anderson!) [Ouch! - ed.] Travellers Tales too must share a love for building Lego as they present their fourth title in as many years based entirely out of the plastic fantastic.
Having spent a good amount of time tweaking the mechanics of previous Lego titles (and hitting the nail on the head with Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga) means Indiana Jones plays well with an excellent structure and an enticing multiple play-through notion. A system which perfectly suits the DS. Bitesize missions, touch screen interaction and co-operative play are also a perfect fit for the platform and are handled with aplomb.
All good and well then, but what does Indy do differently? Well, what Travellers Tales have seriously done is rebuilt the core gameplay brick by brick into a more puzzling one. As Jedi fighters went for brawn, good, old (literally) Indy has you using your brains. Nothing too taxing mind - but it will make you think at times. There are torch blowing moments, brick building sections, disguise wearing shenanigans and back tracking moments. All of these points could have distracted from the sheer mayhem a Lego adventure title brings but it actually offers a nice refreshing pace to an otherwise thin premise. As Lego Star Wars seems like flogging a one trick pony, Indy actually seems more like a sedate, grey matter induced romp. And a highly enjoyable one from start to finish.
This may have something to do with the entire subject matter at hand. As Star Wars junkies craved 'moments' and 'recognisable areas' from the movies, Indy merely offers an illusion of it's source material. From deep jungles, dank caves and night-time cities, Indy offers more of a place holder for the movie's backdrops. It does offer the core moments (giant boulder!!) but the actual levels themselves feel like they could have been in any title. This may seem like a bad thing, yet it is something you don't really get with Lego Star Wars titles as each scene feels like a vehicle to get to the next "movie moment". Each area too is greatly distinguishable with some excellent backdrops and good texture work. Characters are also distinguishable and each carries their own core gameplay feature. (Like carrying a shovel/gun/whip or owning a useful monkey.) After going back to Lego Star Wars, an update to the graphics seems to be in place - minor, yet noticeable. At times it really does look like the console versions – only less 'plasticky' with less bloom.
Holiday nightmares return in the jungle!
With the gameplay being finely tuned and each area being excellently detailed there must be a snake pit of problems underneath this treasure, right? Well, no, not really.
You could argue that the touch screen controls are a little out of place, yet button presses can (mostly) be used instead. You could even say that it's a shame there is no "Kingdom of The Crystal Skull" material, but that's losing the point: It's all about the "Original Adventures". In fact, the only thing we can think of that may annoy is the looping score or "extra" modes. Sound effects are fine and dandy yet for all the greatness of John Williams' score, we can only hear the same few pieces of music so often. A slight disappointment after the aural diversity in a galaxy far, far away. The extra gameplay enhancements are also a small let down, touch screen puzzles sound fantastic yet offer nothing enticing nor rewarding. For free though, we're not complaining too much.
But let us get back on track here. Indiana Jones: The Complete Saga is a great, great DS title full of imagination and humour. And it actually complements Star Wars: The Complete Saga. It perhaps doesn't disjoint that title from greatness (partly due to it's shorter length and lack of brand "oomph") but it does up it with a grotto of FMV treasure which actually doesn't look too bad and certainly offers many, many laugh out loud moments.
So there we have it, after the high point of DS gaming that was Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Travellers Tales have taken that blueprint and pretty much shoe horned it into Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures. What we are left with is a highly enjoyable romp through the first three movies which shouldn't go unmissed if A) you like Lego or B) you're an Indy fan. That'll be everyone then, no?
Scores as always are right below...
N-Europe Final Verdict
Everyone else can complain about the lack of difficulty and ‘lite' gameplay mechanics. Meanwhile we'll all be smashing Lego Nazis with a beaming smile emblazoned on our faces.
It really is a technical masterclass in DS gaming
Puzzles offer a nice change of pace
Coop is as fun as ever (multiple carts needed)
Can prove too easy at times
Looping soundtrack may grate
Where now? The premise is wearing thin, puzzles or not