LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures

Posted on July 27, 2009

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In an incredibly soft move, I’ve been nibbling at Lego’s iteration of the iconic Indiana Jones’ crypt crawling, nazi punching archaelogic expiditions. If you’ve played any of the Lego games, you can probably surmise what to expect in this installation. However, I’ve been holding out. This is the first time I’ve given the remotest attention to the franchise, and although my manhood and gamer status has undoubtedly lost stock, it is still worthwhile to jot down my notes on the game…if for anything to make the most out of my slumming days.

Why All The Hate?
Okay, that wasn’t the most frienldy opening paragraph I’ve written, but I feel that there is an overwhelming, yet silent, voice of disatisfaction coming from the hardcore, progressive gamers when it comes to games like this. It’s not that it’s Lego, it’s that the experience is flat. So flat, that the game reviews I’ve read over the past couple of years in major video game magazines are expressing boredom with Lego’s efforts..almost begging them to do something different. ANYTHING. Every Lego game is like the last! To be fair, games in franchises (ahem Morrowing and Oblivion) 99% of the time are alike, but after playing the Indiana Jones game, I have to ask myself: “Why the heck hasn’t the game developers fixed these problems?”

Bugs
Granted, Lego video games don’t boast the biggest budgets, but there are problems with the stages that can’t be ignored. The scroller maps often get in their own way–demanding players to stretch the screen to hit buttons and switches in repetitive “unlock door” sequences. But, stretching the screen means poor vantage points and poor vantage points make for poor gameplay. ..especially when you have to jump on ledges and over crevices all day long.

In one sequence, I had to cross a pit of snakes using Indy’s whip to swing to the other side. From there I had to throw a torch (which Lego snakes are afraid of, apparently) to the other players so they could cross. But, the screen was stretched. The players couldn’t find the tossed torch because it bouned past the screen, and adding insult to injurty, they were forced into the snake pit by the camera bumping them forward. Yay!

Now, exacerbate that scenario by a respawn mechanic that automatically sets players beyond the safe point of a ledge. So, every time you die because of camera-bumping or an ill-timed jump, you continually die because the respawn puts you in a spot where you instantly fall to your doom!!! Goodness gracious.

There must also be something said about the puzzles. They are dreadful! I’m a grown man doing puzzles meant for a toddler, but I can’t figure them out! They are basic, but take that “duh!” moment before figuring out what to do. I’m either too far along in gaming to see the obvious puzzles, or these things are genuinely meant to get kids to scream.

Fun Factor
Playing as Shortie and the other classic characters of the Indiana Jones movies is probably the best part of the game. There are fun things included, such as using Indy’s whip to pull a dame in for a smooch, or Shortie using karate (kids beating up adults with crotch kicks is always fun).

Also, if it weren’t for multiplayer I wouldn’t give this game a second glance. Thankfully, multiple players can sign in on the same console and earn achievements. I’m an achievement junkie on the 360, and it helps a lot to know that I’ve earned x amount of gamer points for all of the annoying moments endured.

Also, I like the combat, even in its simplicity. It’s fun to shoot Lego guns and bash the nazis and turban headed villains with shovels…which makes a lovely “ping” sound. That doesn’t get old. But is it enough to get me through all three of Dr. Jones’ adventures? As my local GameStop retailer put it, “It’s a great game to play smashed with your friends.”

🙂 Good tip. Kids, stick to your soda and candy…

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Posted in: Op-Ed