Tired of playing in a galaxy far, far away? If so, Traveller’s Tales is back with an all new addition to their LEGO franchise. LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures offers up fans of the series one game packed with every adventure from the 1980s films. While the game does take you through those first three films, you may notice that the plot doesn’t always follow suit. Much like within the Star Wars trilogy, Traveller’s Tales has added in segments of play of their own in order to increase the game’s total length.
While this may take away from the authenticity of the movies, the developers have done a great job implementing the game’s elements to those specific areas. This has resulted in nothing but extra whip-lashing Indy fun for gamers of all ages and should stop fanatics of the series from complaining.
While fans of the Star Wars series will feel right at home with not only the game’s elements, but also with the familiar control scheme, newcomers will experience a minor learning curve in order to get up to speed. Regardless, one of the best things going for the LEGO franchise is the fact that just about anybody can pick up the game and play.
The control schematics are mapped to the DualShock 3 controller flawlessly. The face buttons are primarily used in order to jump, punch, use Indy’s whip, active other characters’ special talents and to build things in order to advance through the level. If there is one issue that the controls do have, it’s that sometimes they’re not always 100% responsive. I sometimes found myself tapping the X button to jump or the O button to whip a German into pieces, but it never happened; Indy would just stand there looking dumbfounded which led to several deaths. Surprisingly, these didn’t detract much from the gameplay since you can’t truly die in a LEGO game.
Anyone who has played a LEGO title will tell you that the gameplay itself is ridiculously addicting and that the simple idea of collecting bolts and unlocking extras keeps the game fresh and worth playing. LEGO Indiana Jones is no exception to this simplistic formula — it’s executed perfectly. You’ll escort Indy and a slew of over 60 playable characters through a variety of platforming stages and puzzles, the latter of which aren’t always so obvious to figure out. However, bust open enough bolt-filled LEGO structures and you’ll eventually move forward.
Collecting every bolt you find is not the only way to unlock extra features; you can also collect packages and mail them back to the college in order to purchase them. Packages and mailboxes can be found in levels, however getting to each isn’t always so easy. Sometimes it may even seem impossible. I had a lot of trouble trying to figure out which character would be able to get to a package and then sometimes what dother character would give me the easiest access to the mailbox, but in the end, it’s worth the time to figure out. Packages can include regenerating health or even a bolt multiplier thus leading to unlocking the rest of the cast that much quicker.
One of the key components to the gameplay itself is the ability to go back over certain stages in Free Mode in order to collect things you couldn’t before. For example, see the small hatches in levels that only vertically challenged characters like Short Round can crawl through to be able to access hidden areas. Other times you may have to go back to an area with a rocket launcher equipped in order to to blast through a pile of LEGOS and gain another piece of artifact treasure.
Since each character has his or her own class, it keeps the game from becoming stale even after long periods of gaming. As expected, Indy has his trademark whip. On the slightly more peculiar spectrum, women jump higher than the men (take that NBA!). In adverse instances, some characters are equipped with books to read hieroglyphics and others are equipped with shovels or wrenches to dig up or repair precious items. Regardless of what you’re trying to do, the title will supply you with the right character to go back over past stages in order to achieve it.
On top of character classes, certain prominent figures also have their own phobias and fears. An example of this comes early on in the game when Indy is faced with a room full of snakes — get too close and Indy will cower in fear. This forces you to utilize a different character in such situations.
One of the disappointing results of not having a blaster or lightsaber equipped in this version of LEGO is that most enemies do have weapons such as guns, assault rifles and rocket launchers. Considering the majority of the game is based around hand-to-hand combat for Indy, this will lead to you running into an onslaught of bullets and dying until you dismember all of the bad guys. Yes, you are able to pick up enemy weapons; however, these weapons only last for a short while before evaporating, leaving you to jump and turn to avoid getting shot at by the next flank of enemies.
Though the lack of equipped-ready weaponry will create disappointment whilst playing, you’ll soon forget about it as your sides split with laughter at the expected but still golden comedic relief. With Sim-like character noises, LEGO Indiana Jones provides comic relief just with facial expressions and hand gestures alone. I often found myself laughing at the ridiculous nature of the characters and just generally how events and interactions progressed. Surprisingly, a bit of comedy made playing the title a lot more enjoyable on an overall level.
Traveller’s Tales still hasn’t implemented online play for you and a buddy to traverse the jungles, caverns and pyramids together just yet, but the co-op portion of the game itself is still very well done. You and a friend will be able to hop in and out of a game together seamlessly and it will never affect a cutscene or gameplay mechanic. While this is a great way to play the title and can be a lot of fun scaling the stages together to find hidden secrets, it also unfortunately leads to one of the technical problems that have plagued the past titles of the franchise.
I’m not sure why the developers allowed for this issue to continue, but the camera will oftentimes leave you for dead, especially in co-op. Due to the fact that you’ll never really know how far Indy’s whip will take him over gaps, it sometimes leaves characters behind to die shamelessly over and over again. This doesn’t happen enough to cause major frustration, but it still does need to be addressed.
Another technical issue seems to only be occurring with newer HDTVs. If your TV is a much newer model (3 years or so), you’ll be the victim of an odd translucent, horizontal line popping up and floating up and down the screen every so often. It’s not a big deal because it is translucent, but it’s unquestionably ridiculous that this wasn’t noticed before the game went into a gold (retail-ready) state.
Regardless of these minor technical issues, LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures is a great title that will bring an entire family together to play, or, if you’re a lone gamer, provide a nice change of pace that deviates from the majority of titles currently on the market. Traveller’s Tales has once again delivered a product that is outstanding fun regardless of age.