Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings Review
Wii | PSP | DS
Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings box art
System: Wii, PS2, PSP, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: A2M 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Lucas Arts 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Jun. 9, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Indiana Jones is an iconic character that almost everyone reading this review probably remembers fondly from their childhoods. Unfortunately, the last year or so haven’t exactly been kind to Indy. First we get the letdown that is Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on the big screen, and now we’ve got Staff of Kings polluting our televisions. At least on the Wii, Indy now has way more problems going for him than just being named after the family dog.

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings screenshot

With that in mind, let’s start off with what the Staff of Kings gets right. First off, the story is actually pretty decent. However, far from feeling completely original, it does manage to borrow elements from the first few Indiana Jones films, and the mishmash winds up being enjoyable. Indy is once again up against a rival archaeologist who is working for, pause for guesses, the Nazis, although they are strangely referred to as just “the Germans” through most of the game. Jones’ quest this time around is to find and acquire the fabled Staff of Moses before it falls into Nazi hands.

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Much of what makes the character who he is also remains intact. Although they presumably couldn’t get Harrison Ford to provide voice work, their second option does a respectable job, sometimes making me question whether or not it was actually Ford at times. The character model for Indiana is also fairly accurate for a ported up PS2 game, from his only slightly off facial features down to the patented sweat-darkened area on the back of his shirt. Even the somewhat campy feel of the characters and films is captured with sporadic but well-placed humor. Players can also expect some fan service such as film references being thrown their way throughout the game, like the brief mention of Indy fighting a large man by an airplane.

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings screenshot

Getting more into the game itself, the environments are mostly well designed and visually interesting. You’ll find yourself making your way through San Francisco’s city streets, burning buildings, collapsing caverns, creepy jungles, snow-covered mountains, ancient ruins, and even zeppelins during the course of your adventure. Although you’ll spend a good amount of the game in various booby-trapped ruins, they all have a slightly different look as well as unique environmental puzzles to be solved. One may have you avoiding boulders while pushing switches on an ancient Mayan ball court, while another will require pushing frozen statues onto flame vents to melt ice in order to create running water. Most of these puzzles are transparent enough while still remaining entertaining, although some may leave you scratching your head for awhile.

Unfortunately, this is where it gets a little awkward. Just about everything else concerning the gameplay is verging on unbearable. The greatest offender by far is the downright terrible motion controls you are forced to use throughout. That’s right; players can’t customize their controls and are given absolutely no other options. I’ll assume the thought process behind this decision went something like this: “wouldn’t it be great to crack Indy’s whip using the Wii-mote? Let’s just make everything motion controlled then. Brilliant!” The major problem with this is that it winds up being perhaps a worse idea than having Shia Labeouf play Jones’ son, and it works just about equally as well.

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings screenshot

Save for a few sequences that involve Indiana gunning down baddies with his trusty revolver by pointing at the screen and pulling the B trigger, the motion controls are unresponsive and verging on broken. Combat is handled entirely using waggles. Players can perform a variety of punches by waggling the Nunchuk and/or the Wii-mote up, down, right, and left with whip attacks also sharing the same motions but with the B trigger depressed. Of course, while the game insists that each motion will perform a specific move, the reality is that nothing registers correctly, if at all, leaving you to flail wildly until everyone else is dead or, more often than not, you are.

Screenshots / Images
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