Review: Thankfully it doesn't include Crystal Skulls.
As a big fan of Lego Star Wars, the announcement of Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
was one that made me very happy. So I recently began digging into Indy's adventures in Legoland. The general consensus seems to be that if you liked the Lego Star Wars games, you'll like Lego Indiana Jones. But after putting some time into it, it doesn't feel quite the same to me.
As the subtitle implies, Lego Indiana Jones covers the first three chapters in what is now the Indiana Jones tetralogy
. And like Lego Star Wars before it (prepare to read that sentence a lot), each movie is split into six different levels. By controlling two two four Lego-ized versions of the movie characters per level, players are expected to solve puzzles, beat up Lego enemies and collect Lego studs (to unlock secrets).
Unlike Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones is much more focused on puzzle solving than combat. Sure, you'll still be able to wail on a bunch of Nazis with a patented Indy haymaker, but the game definitely revolves more around pulling switches than pulling punches.
These puzzles involve similar stunts as those found in Lego Star Wars such as switches, push plates, Lego brick building and pulley-controlled platforms. But new puzzles to Lego Indiana Jones include finding keys, whipping across chasms, digging up artifacts, blowing up doors and deciphering hieroglyphics. But aside from that, again, the game feels quite a bit like Lego Star Wars.
I can't quite place my finger on it, but Lego Indiana Jones just doesn't thrill me as much as I thought it would. I was definitely less enthralled with Lego Indiana Jones than I was with any of the Lego Star Wars games. And I once played through the entirety of Lego Star Wars II in one sitting, that's how much I love those games. Maybe it's the fact that Lego Indiana Jones doesn't do some of the iconic moments of the series very well...
From Raiders of the Lost Ark
Running from the big boulder? Awesome.
Jumping from truck to truck attempting to regain the Ark? Really awesome.
The fistfight against the bald mechanic? Meh.
Opening the Ark? Pretty good.
From Temple of Doom:
The whole Shanghai section? Boring.
Jumping out of the plane in the life raft? Only included in a cutscene.
The mine cart chase? Terrible.
Let me stop for a second. Remember the terrible vehicle sections that fans howled about from the first Lego Star Wars? And do you remember that Travellers Tales promised to listen to said fans and fix said vehicle levels in Lego Star Wars II? Yeah, the mine cart chase is that bad. The track switches that will open up the next section are hard to see and the whole level is painfully repetitive. Moving on.
From Last Crusade:
The search for the Knight's tomb and the boat chase? Awesome.
The motorcycle chase? Nearly unplayable.
The Grail Temple. Really awesome.
The whole thing is actually very uneven. The great moments are as good as anything found in the Lego Star Wars series, but the bad moments are far worse than even the vehicle levels of the first Lego Star Wars. Maybe the formula is starting to wear thin after four games.
It's also true that the game removes any mention of Nazis from the proceedings, but considering the fact that none of the characters speak, this isn't really a big deal. It actually amounts to little more than removing all of the swastikas from various scenes. All of the Nazi soldiers are still blonde-haired and blue-eyed and baddies like Toht, Belloq and Donovan are still recognizable. The Nazi leaders (Colonel Dietrich and Colonel Vogel) were just anonymous heavies anyway. I had to look up their names to be sure.
The Wii version of the game includes motion control support for all of the character's movements, but after snapping the Remote a few times to crack the whip, you'll likely forget it's even an option. Although I have to admit that "digging" with the Wii Remote is more fun than it should be.