Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (Wii) Review
After the success of the Lego Star Wars games, those Lego men and women are back, this time covering the many characters and adventures from the Indiana Jones franchise. Is this adventure game pieced together nicely, or are there parts missing? Read on to find out.
Lego Indiana Jones is an adventure game with a mix of platform, puzzle solving, and combat elements. The game covers the first three Indiana Jones movies; Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Temple of Doom, and The Last Crusade. Although these are three separate movies, in the game you can proceed through any of the missions within each of these movies in parallel. As there is no voice acting and minimal dialogue in the game, the story line isn’t really clear. If you have seen the movies you will better understand and relate to the various locations and objectives. Otherwise, it can be a bit unclear as to what is going on. In any case, it isn’t a huge problem, as most of you will know that Dr. Jones’ main objective is to locate and/or recover various treasures.
You begin the game in Barnett College, which acts as a hub for the game. There are various things you can do in the college including entering codes for cheats, creating Lego characters, opening packages found in the missions, buying things (e.g., new characters) with the money you have accumulated, and viewing any artefacts you have found. There are also other secrets, such as extra missions, that can be opened up by exploring the college. There is quite a bit to do in the college, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself exploring it in between missions. Also in the college is an area where you can continue the missions. There are two main modes of play – story mode and freeplay mode. As the name suggest, Story Mode involves progressing through each of the levels across all three movies. There are 18 in all, each of which will take upwards of 20 minutes each to complete, depending on how much you explore. Once you have completed a mission in story mode, you can replay it in freeplay mode allowing you to use different characters and find other treasures.
As mentioned, each mission loosely follows the film plots. You play as Indiana Jones but there is always a sidekick or two to help you out. You can switch between characters too, which is necessary to solve some of the puzzles. Each character has different abilities such as being able to jump higher, crawl through small hatches, and using certain tools. For example, Indy can use his whip to latch onto ropes to leap across gaps or dangerous terrain. Apart from defeating enemies and progressing to the end of the level, you will be doing quite a bit of collecting. There’s money to collect (in the form of Lego studs) as well as pieces of artefacts and hidden parcels. In fact, there are 10 artefact pieces to find in each mission, although you will need to replay the level in replay mode to find many of them. Another aim in each mission is to achieve ‘true adventurer status’, which is achieved by collecting a certain amount of money.
The gameplay itself is generally pretty fun. The missions are varied and with so many characters to play as, it is nice and varied. There are also various vehicles and animals you can ride including elephants, camels, cars, and fork lifts. The puzzles in the game are generally well designed, falling in between being too easy and frustrating. The game never becomes too difficult but usually remains fun. The ability to play in co-op mode is another plus. A second player can drop in or out of the game at any time, which is a great design choice. Although the camera angles are sometimes troublesome, the ability to play with a friend is most welcomed and more enjoyable then having a CPU controlled partner. This is especially true when solving puzzles that require two characters (e.g., standing on two switches at once), although the CPU characters are usually doing what they are supposed to do.
Despite this praise, the game did disappoint on a couple of occasions. In one of the earlier missions, I was required to defeat a particular type of enemy (a guard) and put his hat on so I could enter a guarded area (the hat was a disguise in other words). Fine in theory, but for whatever reason, I could not pick up a guards hat. I tried for ages and even attempted the level again on another occasion, still to no avail. Not sure why this occurred, nor whether it has been a problem for others, but I certainly couldn’t proceed at this particular point in the game. Another problem that occurred on numerous occasions was CPU characters dying by falling of a cliff or standing in a no go zone (e.g., quick sand) and then being respawned in the same area to just continually die over and over again. On one occasion I swapped to the CPU character and managed to get out of the no go zone. However, on another occasion, I couldn’t swap to the other character and had to restart the level again. A frustrating and disappointing experience.
Criticism aside, Lego Indiana Jones is a mostly positive experience. As mentioned, the game isn’t too difficult (you have infinite lives) and it offers a good mix of action, exploration, and collecting treasure. The graphics are simple, being Lego based and all, but runs smoothly. The sound isn’t particularly strong with no voice acting and very minimal music in many levels. Of course, the classic Indiana Jones theme is repeated a lot, but aside from this, the soundtrack is quite weak. There is plenty to do in the game too, so you’ll get your monies worth. Finishing each of the 18 missions, unlocking all the artefacts, secrets, hidden missions, and characters will keep you going for sometime. The ability to play with friends also bodes well for the game, despite the less then impressive camera angles at times. Despite some faults, Lego Indiana Jones is an entertaining mix of the Lego and Indiana Jones franchises. For fans of Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones is well worth the money. For people looking for a good quality adventure title, then Lego Indiana Jones is also worth investing in. It will keep you (and a friend) busy for a good while. It is far from perfect, but its pros certainly outweigh the cons. Recommended.