Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings Review
Wii | PSP | DS
Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings box art
System: DS, PSP, WIi, PS2 Review Rating Legend
Dev: LucasArts 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: LucasArts 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Jun. 26, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
I’ve Got a Bad Feeling about This
by Amanda L. Kondolojy

When I was a kid, Indiana Jones was my hero. Not only was he a kickin’ action hero, but he was also smart. This combination of brains and brawn made Dr. Jones one of the most intriguing characters of cinema, and the three original films that followed his adventures and exploits are modern classics.

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings screenshot

However, even though Indiana Jones has become a legend on-screen, He hasn’t really made an impact in the world of video gaming, and I’m sorry to say that Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings on the DS doesn’t really do much to reverse this trend. The game takes place in 1939, when Indy is still in his prime (and not seeing aliens). His longtime friend Archie is suddenly kidnapped, and it is soon discovered that a mysterious group of evildoers is seeking out the Staff of Moses (also known as the Staff of Kings). Indiana must then go on an adventure to not only track down this legendary artifact but also rescue his friends.

The format of the game is very linear, and you follow Indy through several small locations. The levels are goal-directed, so as you progress you will be prompted to find chests, open doors, and solve puzzles. However, one thing I noticed early on was the way in which you reach these goals is very specific and not always clearly defined.

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For instance, for one segment of the game, my goal was to find a door to a Chinese restaurant. I found this door fairly simply, and I expected to pass through it straight away and then move on to the next goal. However, much to my surprise, the game blocked me from going through the door, and it even paralyzed the character from moving forward. I then backtracked and tried to approach the door again, but this time instead of approaching from the right, I approached from the center. This triggered an enemy appearance, and after the enemy was defeated, I was then able to go through the door.

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings screenshot

Although this may seem like a minor grievance, situations like this one defined the gameplay, and I found myself severely annoyed that I had to figure out both how to reach the game’s outlined goals, but also what the game wanted me to do specifically to reach them as well.

Even though the game’s very rigid structure was irritating, one thing that just flat out didn’t work was the combat system. The game uses the stylus for all the controls, and in order to fight the different enemies, you have to enter combat mode by pressing the L button. Once in combat mode, you can strike enemies by moving up and down with the stylus, you can use the whip by pointing with the stylus, and can use a gun by tapping the gun icon and then tapping your enemies.

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings screenshot

Although this sounds good in theory, the stylus-based controls are just not that responsive. Tapping up and down to use the whip only worked about half the time, and the striking mechanism did not allow you to really aim or plan your shots, which resulted in a lot of missed and blocked hits. The only combat element that worked decently was the shooting, but the game doesn’t allow you to carry more than one clip of bullets with you, so I had to rely a lot more on the broken elements of the game than I wanted to.

Screenshots / Images
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