As the title of this game so obviously suggests, this game is based on the famous trilogy that is the The Indiana Jones films. Being the classic adventure films they are, what better way to pay tribute to them by replicating the movie trilogy using the snap-together toys, as done with the Star Wars films already. Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures honors the films well and adds to them with satirical and humorous presentations. Just the fact of seeing the familiar characters in Lego form is enjoyable enough, but when some of our favorite scenes are twisted just enough to make often sly comedy, you have to tip your dusty fedora to the creators at LucasArts and developer Traveller’s Tales.
There are two main modes in Lego Indy: The Story Mode and Free Play Mode. The story mode is where you start as you play through several chapters of each of the 3 Indiana Jones movies. You must complete the story mode part of each chapter before the Free Play mode is unlocked.
As you make your way through a level, you’ll encounter a variety of Lego-based puzzles which are most of the enjoyment, because with every bouncing pile of Lego bricks you see, you have no idea what it’ll become when you set your character to throwing the pieces together. There’s nothing you have to do beyond holding a button down to get this shuffle complete in the right form, but it’s still fun to watch. And there are often puzzles tied together.
For instance, you might enter an area with a locked gate and a broken-down car nearby. As you wander around, you break Lego boxes and objects, some of which have buildable sets of blocks within. In other cases, you’ll see rainbows dancing on the ground, which indicates something is buried. Taking the buildable bricks to the right location (always indicated when you pick up the group of bricks) and dropping it in place often ends up giving a bouncing set, which you then have to assemble.
Perhaps this collection gets thrown together into an engine-shaped object, which you can then throw into the broken-down car. The vehicle gets built back up, but not completely, as signals by more rainbow sparkles. Finding a wrench enables you to fix the car so that it’ll run…and when you jump in the car, you can then smash it into the gate, blowing up open the door, so you can pass to the next section.
You’re almost always in search of a particular tool in Story Mode, but there’s also usually a good supply in different locations so you’re doing less searching and more actual puzzle solving.
The action component comes into play frequently as well. Much like the movies, there’s almost always a contingent of cads on your tail or trying to stop you. There are also crude weapons, such as pistols and rifles, as well as more powerful arms, such as a rocket launcher. The weapons can be used to solve puzzles and your hand tools can be used to dispatch enemies also.
At any given time, you’re using two characters (in some situations, three), with the key being to alternate them to take advantage of their respective strengths. For example, Indy has his whip, which can be used to swing across certain chasms, as well as to “grab” things high overhead or out of reach; while Marion (from the Raiders of the Lost Ark film) can jump extra high; and Short Round (from Temple of Doom) is small and can fit into narrow crawlspaces. While any of them can grab a shovel to dig, there are spots when you’ll need Marion’s high jump or Short Round’s crawling to access an area otherwise unreachable.
All of these special abilities are essential to finding all of the hidden goodies. These include ten artifact pieces that combine into a special find for each level and parcels that have to be mailed, each of which gives an “extra” you can activate and use to your benefit. Barnett College serves as the hub for all your activities, and it’s also where you can handle some of the extracurricular and clerical duties.
Throughout the game, Lego “studs” serve as your currency. Nearly everything you bust open spills out a bunch of studs, and they can be used to buy what’s in parcels and the dozens of characters that you discover through the game, so they become playable.
When you come to playing the levels in Free Play, the gameplay is a bit more open as instead of controlling two characters that you are limited to in Story Mode, here you have a selection of ten. This will enable you to better pick characters for each certain situation. The Free Play mode adds replayability as when playing through the story mode, you may have missed special items that you may have seen but couldn’t access. Now in free play mode, you can choose the right character/tool that will enable you to get it. Free Play is also a good way to earn added currency for shopping sprees.
Another nice feature is the addition of drop-in/drop-out co-op. At any time, a second player can take over the partner character to help with puzzle solving and the like. Unfortunately it is only local co-op and not over Xbox Live.
The only gripe I had with the game is the 3-D camera , which is mostly set in a fixed perspective. It can lead to situations where your view is obscured by things such as when a battle is taking place or you’re constructing something. Not having a free camera that you can move enabled the game makers to reduce the world, but it does hinder gameplay and lowers the entertainment in those spots.
The graphics in Lego Indy are not ground breaking by any stretch of the imagination, but suit the style of game beautifully. Lego Indy doesn’t need stunning visuals, given the characters and world is mostly built with Lego pieces. However, the presentation is especially fun when you get so much character from facial expressions and the way the scenes play out. Here, simplicity is the art.
The sound in Lego Indy is very basic, particularly the mumbly dialogue spoken by the “actors.” The game has movie-like music that sets the scene for different parts of the game and changes to suit the intensity of each scene, such as raising a few notches in pace when you’re attacked by swordsmen or gunfighters. Overall, the sound fits the game perfectly whilst not being spectacular.
Lego Indy follows the movie trilogy well and is a very good fit for the Lego variety of games. Although very similar to the previous Lego games, there are enough gameplay additions to keep the game fun and fresh. Although there is no online play, the local co-op and decent length solo story and free play modes make it more than worth the admission price.
AAG Score: 8.5/10
Reviewed and Written by Craig Cirillo