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Lego Indiana Jones PreviewWriter: R J Gaffney » Blog
Posted: 12th May, 2008
Developer: Traveller's Tales
Release: 2nd Quarter, 2008
Lego Star Wars came out of nowhere to be one of the most enjoyable new franchises released in the last five years. It wasn't overly complex or difficult, but it delivered in that crucial and, in this current-next-gen world of high resolutions and photo-realism, often forgotten original idea: that games should be fun.
After both Star Wars trilogies got their Lego on, questions arose as to whether the Lego franchise would continue and, if so, with what? The next obvious choice was that other Lucasfilm property, Indiana Jones. From that one Easter egg in Mos Eisley during Lego Star Wars: The Original Trilogy, in which Han can find a switch to gift him with Indiana Jones' fedora, I knew I wanted to see a Lego Indiana Jones game.
With a new movie coming out, the timing was perfect. Lego Indiana Jones is, as I write this, less than a month away. I got to play an unfinished preview build recently and, without mincing words, I loved it.
The first thing you notice about a Lego game is the presentation. Not just the obvious graphical style involving little Lego avatars and objects made of Lego blocks, but the smooth animation and whimsical charm the whole game seems to exude. The presentation is simple, but adorable.
I played the Wii version, and it looked fine. With presentation as simple as Lego, higher hardware specs won't make the game look any better. The resolution will be higher, the frame rate smoother, but this is an exercise in style, not horsepower.
One of my favourite parts of the presentation was the loading screen. It's nothing more than a red line on a map showing Indy's journey to whatever level is next, but it's an excellent and thoughtful touch, and the game is full of them.
Did I mention that the music is absolutely phenomenal? John Williams never gets boring, and they rightly haven't messed with one of film's most amazing musical scores.
Barnett College, where Indy works as a professor, is the video game hub world, like the Cantinas from the Lego Star Wars games. Like Lego Star Wars, the controls in Lego Indy are responsive and fluid, sometimes a little too fluid, as the platforming can be annoyingly imprecise as characters slide about. The combat is also identical to previous titles, just point your character in the direction of an enemy and hit the attack button.
The best part of the gameplay is the way the two characters work together at all times. The opening level has Indy working with his companion, Satipo, as they uncover an ancient golden idol, hidden in the depths of the jungles of Peru. Obviously, some creative license has been taken with the journey, and the level design gradually eases the player into the various gameplay elements, such as building objects out of spare Lego blocks lying around, and collecting rare hidden treasures to unlock bonuses.
Each different character has a ...(continued next page)
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