Your Favorite Archaeologist Is Back…in LEGO Form
While LucasArts and LEGO have teamed up in the past, this is the first Indiana Jones title introduced to the cutesy puzzle world. Though this is intended for Everyone 10+, anyone who loves the original Indiana Jones trilogy and multi-leveled, platform, problem-solving games will more than likely enjoy this title. Though this game is intended to be simple enough for children, adults may run into their share of difficulties while trying to figure things out in The Original Adventures, and there is just enough mixture of satire and adventure in the storyline to keep any fan of Indiana Jones happy.
As you may have guessed from the title, The Original Adventures takes you straight into the worlds of the original Indiana Jones trilogy, from Raiders to the Last Crusade, in a complete LEGO universe. For those familiar with any of the LEGO Star Wars games, the concept is identical. The story begins by taking you to the Lost Temple in South America, 1936, from the opening sequence of Raiders. Once you successfully beat the giant boulder at the mouth of the temple and fly off into the distance, you can then play on through the major scenes in Raiders including the Well of Souls and others added specifically for the game, or you can return to the game’s central hub at Barnett College where you can jump to either the opening missions of Temple of Doom or The Last Crusade.
As you play the game solo, you actually control as many as three different characters onscreen at any given time, as you switch between Indy and one or two others who join you in different levels. There are lots of them from all three films including Marion from Raiders, Short Round from Temple, and Elsa and Jones Sr. from Crusade. Another player can join in at any time to help out in the action, which is probably even more fun than doing it on your own. Hitting Triangle allows you to switch between Indy and any of the other characters who all feature their own strengths and weaknesses. Any female character, for instance, can jump higher than the guys when hitting X. You will need help from the girls to reach certain platforms throughout the game. Indy, of course, carries a whip at all times, which will come in handy when you need to swing across large gaps or pull in objects from far away by hitting Circle. Circle uses any tool in your possession, whether it’s a wrench to fix broken engines and vehicles, a key to turn a gear for lowering bridges and opening doors, or a book to help you solve codes to get you to the next part of the level. With the inclusion of so many useful characters other than the man himself, at no time does the game feel cluttered with inept hangers-on. All characters definitely come in handy at some point.
Square is your attack button and you will need to use it often with the amount of oncoming natives, Germans, Thugees, and other bad guys trying to stop you along the way. While it is very easy to shatter opponents made of LEGO, the attack animations are actually pretty detailed as Indy can punch, perform a drop kick, or put enemies in a chokehold and toss them into the air. Whichever move he pulls off is completely random, as you mindlessly tap Square to defeat oncoming attackers, but it’s still a pretty cool variety of moves. You can also pick up dropped weapons such as handguns, knives, and swords to use against them and pick up a variety of objects such as tables, chairs, and bottles to throw or crack them over the head with. There are lots of vehicles to try out as well, though there is much less focus on it throughout the game, as you will have to hop onto the backs of horses and into boats, trucks, and bikes to escape enemies or get through levels. With the amount of puzzles and problem solving this game has, there is also enough action to keep you entertained.
The puzzle element is definitely the main focus in this platform game, as you travel across multi-leveled environments designed to look reminiscent of the original films. For those familiar with this type of problem solving game, you’ll know exactly what to expect, especially if you’ve played any of the LEGO Star Wars titles. There are many things to destroy, and you will have to keep shattering as many objects as possible as you travel along. Each piece is worth points, and sometimes breaking things apart, such as fences and boxes, is required to build other parts of bridges to make your way across levels. The tasks are simple in The Original Adventures – once you figure out how to do them. I spent much of my time wandering back and forth through levels trying to figure out exactly what I was supposed to be doing. Because it’s not always clear what you have to do in order to complete some puzzles or make it to the next round, it can get a tad confusing to even a seasoned platform gamer, let alone a ten year-old.
It becomes tedious when you’re spending more time than you care to, to figure out a simple task, and even if it may have been something as simple as retrieving a hidden key to open a door, it definitely becomes discouraging. There is never any clear list of tasks given in the pause menus, so it can be hard to know what you’re actually supposed to be doing or finding. While some things could be made much clearer in LEGO Indiana Jones, it does add a level of longevity to the game, as it takes time to figure things out and solve problems. It does, however, work well on a handheld console, as children occupy themselves in the backseat rather than at home. I could see children, and anyone else for that matter, getting bored with this game at home.
Though the graphics in LEGO games are typically simplistic, the environments in Indiana Jones are quite vibrant and bright. From the Lost Temple’s beautiful jungle setting to the dark and dingy sewer system in The Last Crusade’s Hunt for Sir Richard and the reflective tile floors in Barnett College, there is a wonderful cartoon-like feel to this game. The detail in the environments is a nice contrast to the simplicity of the LEGO character designs, and from a visual standpoint, The Original Adventures is a real looker on the PSP. The soundtrack is taken straight from the films and often reflects the action going on in the game. For example, the sudden sounding of up-tempo music when enemies approach or that skin-crawling music whenever snakes or insects are near add to the level of suspense in some tasks.
Barnett College acts as your home base. There you can roam around the hallways amongst students and venture into various rooms. It is in Barnett College where you can view your collection of artifacts, create new characters, unlock bonus levels, and jump into different parts of the Story Mode or Free Play Mode. There is also a screening room in which you can watch all the game’s cutscenes after you’ve unlocked them. It’s a nice touch and you may actually want to watch some of the humorous cutscenes over and over again. In a way, the game almost parodies the original films with bits of humor added to the storyline such as Indy pulling out a C3P0 head instead of the Lost Temple relic to fool rival archaeologist Rene Belloc. Though there is no speech in this game whatsoever, all characters grunt and groan and use exaggerated motion to get the point across.
With so many tasks to complete in Story Mode and things to do while free roaming in Barnett College, the game has plenty of replay value. As you complete each portion of all three maps representing the three films, there are a number of bonuses you can unlock by going back into Free Play Mode. For Indiana Jones fans of any age or platform and problem-solving lovers, this is an excellent game. For those skeptical of Indy in the world of LEGO, this game definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously, as it offers a completely reinvented take on the genre. With a nice mix of adventure and problem solving, LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures is a fun addition to the PSP catalog.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.9 Graphics
Great, cartoon-like environments aren’t remarkable, but certainly do their job in this lighthearted puzzle/adventure game. 3.5 Control
Attacking requires nothing more than mashing of buttons, and things stay fairly simplistic as you travel across multi-leveled environments. 4.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
This game features a wonderful soundtrack taken straight from the films that actually coincides with what’s happening onscreen. Voiceover work consists of nothing more than humorous mumbling from all characters. 4.0 Play Value
Completing the entire Story Mode takes time, and there are plenty of unlockables to go back and retrieve. Unfortunately, with no task listing in the pause menu, it can be frustrating to know what you’re supposed to be doing at times. 3.8 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.