As the old adage goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”, and it’s this teaching that Travellers Tales are following in their latest game, Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures.
‘Building’ on the success of the Lego Star Wars games, Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures lets the player work their way through the first three films, earning studs and finding “artifacts” in a similar way to the canisters from the Lego Star Wars titles.
Lego Indiana Jones also features a wealth of playable characters from all three films, including all the major heroes and villians, and Jock. Instead of each character having their own special unique ability like in the Lego Star Wars titles, you can now change the ability your character possesses by picking up various objects. Pick up a shovel, for example, and you can dig up hidden treasure. Pick up a wrench, and you can fix broken machinery, and a book enables you to decipher hieroglyphics. This often means that you’ll find yourself backtracking to find that shovel you dropped earlier in favour of the book.
As well as a character’s abilities, some characters have phobia’s, which hinder them around the things they’re scared of. Indy’s famous phobia of snakes means that if approached by one, he will be reduced to a whimpering wreck until they either move on, or are destroyed.
The game also focuses more on the adventuring aspect of things, what with Indiana Jones being an adventurer and all, so there are less all out brawls and more puzzles to solve. Travellers Tales have also tightened up the way you solve the puzzles, especially if you’re playing through by yourself. You can now change to play as the other character wherever they are in the room, and so you’re never left waiting for the computer to do the other half of the puzzle, you can do it yourself by simply pressing Y and switching to control them. This helps to give the single player some extra depth.
In between missions, you’re treated to a cutscene continuing the story, with some of the added Lego humour. At the end of the first mission, for example, one of the bad guys demands the idol you just found, so Indy tries to stall by pulling out a rubber duck, and then the head of C-3PO, which results in the bad guy doing his best impression of the droid, whirring and all, before he hands over the idol. There are hundreds of little easter eggs like this hidden throughout the game that add to the experience, and spotting them all would take years.
Thankfully, there are no vehicle levels in the game, which means that the memorable moments such as the truck chase from Raiders of the Lost Ark is merged into a thoroughly enjoyable platforming section. It would have been nice to have more control over your truck, but after the previous vehicle levels from Lego Star Wars, I think they did the right thing.
As well as the vehicle levels, there are a few other things that are missing if we’re comparing to Lego Star Wars. The super story, for example, where you had to play through all 6 levels of the film in less than an hour, is nowhere to be seen. An equivalent to the bounty hunter missions is nonexistent, and there’s a distinct lack of online co-op.
Even with a lot of things missing, there’s still plenty to do though, there are loads of characters to buy, and while they may not be as memorable as the characters from Star Wars, completionists will still find it relatively time-consuming. Collecting all the pieces of the artifacts will take a while, and will require you to play through the levels again in the “free-play” mode, where you can change character at will to solve the different puzzles dotted around the level.
You can also unlock extra “cheats” by finding and posting letters that are hidden in each level, each level has a letter, and each letter corresponds to a different cheat. These range from the usual Invincibility and Treasure multipliers to the bizarre, such as the disguises, which gives every character in the game a fake nose, glasses and a mustache.
To round off, as a game in itself, Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures is a fantastic game, even for people who haven’t seen the movies. There’s enough there to warrant you spending your hard-earned money on it, and there’s plenty of things that add to the replay value. It’s only when compared to Traveller’s Tales’ previous Lego titles when it begins to look sparse, but if you look past that, you can’t go wrong.