|System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, PSP DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Traveller's Tales||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: LucasArts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 3, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Each level in Original Adventures is a series of puzzle rooms. There is always a piece of machinery in dire need of repair, a buried key, or a series of levers that need to be pulled. Most of the time, these puzzles are easy to figure out - for example, you may just need to get both characters to stand on a switch. At other times, they can be mildly confusing - a key may be hidden in the level, but the only way to find it is to literally bash every Lego-like object until you find it. Speaking of bashing objects, anytime you destroy anything made out of Legos you're rewarded with gems. These can be used later on to purchase unlockables like extra characters. During the level, your treasure supply will rack up quite quickly and the only thing that causes a loss of hard earned Lego gems is death - instead of giving you a set number of lives, the game deducts from your overall gem score (however, even if you have zero gems you can't die). The way death is handled is forgiving - if, for instance, you fall in a pit, instead of a spawning you at the beginning of the screen, the game merely plops you back near the start of your jump for a second try.
Once the game gets outside the puzzle and platforming aspects and moves more in the direction of pure action, things take a noticeable stumble. Fighting is a pure button mashing affair and just doesn't come across very well. Aside from spotty punches, you can use your whip and an assortment of other items like shovels, guns, and swords, but they really don't mix up things much - you still just repeatedly press the attack button. Trying to use projectile-based weapons isn't easy - there's no auto-target button so you have to line up each and every shot. This wouldn't be so bad if the computer seemed to follow the same rules - it's frustrating to see common bad guys shoot you with pin-point accuracy from across the screen.
The fruits of your gem collecting efforts can be seen at anytime by returning to Indy's teaching post - Barnett College. Here you can buy new characters and replay cinematics as well as accessing three hub screens corresponding to each one of the movies. This is a welcome feature, as it allows you to jump from levels inspired by Raiders to ones from the Last Crusade at any time - you aren't punished for not completing all of one adventure before moving on to the next one.
From a visual standpoint the game does a good job of depicting its Lego source material. Anything Lego-based (whether it's characters, cars, or a simple plant) has a great look. However, backgrounds and other textured objects lack the same attention to detail and are just placeholders to keep the environments from being completely dominated by Legos. The PlayStation 2 version has noticeable framerate dips that occur from time-to-time but they thankfully don't last more than a few seconds. The score and sound effects do a great job of recreating their film counterparts.
Traveller's Tales is still very much inside its Lego comfort zone, and that's not a bad thing - fans of their previous games will find a lot to like here. Those that think the Lego formula needs some reinvention won't be as satisfied - the developers are obviously playing it safe. Still, the game is an enjoyable romp and does an admirable job paying tribute to its source material.
CCC Freelance Writer