With the new Indy movie splitting some fans down the middle, one thing is clear. Just as with Star Wars, the originals are best, by a country mile. So, it’s a good thing then that Traveller’s Tales have come along and spread a little happiness with their Lego-riffic take on the original Indy trilogy.
Anyone who’s already played the Lego Star Wars games will know exactly what to expect here – charm, charm and more charm. It’s amazing just how well Lego lends itself to movies and comedic tributes, and as was proved with the excellent Star Wars games, recreating key scenes from the films with a slight twist is more than enough to keep anyone playing the game grinning from ear to ear constantly, and this is just as true with Indy. Spanning the original trilogy in order, the game puts you in control of Indy and a whole army of other characters from the movies. As you progress you’ll control various iterations of Indy as well as supporting characters like Marion, Short Round, Jock and, of course, Indy’s Dad. Each has special abilities to help solve puzzles and challenges. For example, Marion, being a nimble lass, can jump higher than Indy, and Short Round, being, er… short, can fit through small gaps. Indy, on the other hand has his trusty whip, which lets him swing across gaps and pull objects from a distance, but he’s afraid of snakes, so he won’t go anywhere near one, which forces you to use another character.
While you’re not puzzling or navigating the environments you’ll be battling it out with foes, such as snakes, spiders and Nazis (boo, hiss!). The major villains of the series are also present and correct, and usually form the boss battles.
Now, all of this isn’t really very different from the Star Wars games, and on the whole, there’s not a vast amount of new features here, save the licence. Swinging across gaps, crawling through tight holes, and using both characters to bypass obstacles was done before in the previous games. However, the number of puzzles and sections that force you to think are far more frequent, and most make far greater use of the different characters, and others are just plain tricky, involving clever use of the environment or solving Simon Says type mini games. There are also a few more action sequences, such as fighting on the tops of moving trucks, or running from the famous round boulder at the beginning of Raiders.
Presentation is spot on, as you’d expect. You really will have a permanent grin on your face while playing, and the attention to detail is superb. The levels themselves are all based on sections of the films, and all are instantly recognisable. The famously funny cut scenes are ripped right out of the original flicks and given the Lego treatment. And yes, the sword fighter single shot death scene is reproduced to great effect.
I really liked Lego Indy, almost as much as the Star Wars games. Gameplay is simple, but fun (especially with two players), and although it’s sometimes difficult to stay alive, as this is a Lego game, you’re never punished, and are always encouraged to carry on and have fun (there are no lives, just a score that decreases when you die). This makes the game great for kids too, and as a family title, few can match it. It’s brimming with little touches, and along with the great, if simple, visuals, the soundtrack pounds along nicely.
The game does have faults, most notably the camera, which can often make it very difficult to tell where you’re jumping, and sometimes makes it hard to see if you’re about to run off a cliff or not. And, the AI partners can sometimes be a little glitchy, and occasionally won’t stay in place when you need them to (such as activating a pressure pad), but these are minor niggles in an otherwise solid title.
It’s not incredible, or very original, but this is a great game nonetheless, and whichever format you play it on (PS2 reviewed – and Simon has tried the PS3 version and said the score is the same, and the graphics are glistening), you’re guaranteed to enjoy the experience.