Hands-on: Lego Indiana Jones

Who would have thought that Lego-based video games would prove to be such a huge hit? In just under three years, British developer Traveller’s Tales seemed to hit the moneymaker and produced a multi-million dollar franchise with its Lego Star Wars series of video games. With the series-defining platform gameplay and quirky presentation down pact, the developer is now experimenting with additional Lego-based games based on legendary entertainment properties — the first of which will be Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures.

Having thoroughly enjoyed both Lego Star Wars games, I immediately felt at ease playing Lego Indiana Jones. Many things have carried over, such as controls, the co-op system and its appealing presentation.

Like Lego Star Wars, there’s virtually no spoken dialogue in Lego Indiana Jones. Retaining much of the quirky humor and story presentation from their previous series, Lego Indiana Jones is told through animations, silent comedy bits and facial expressions. It’s a minor tweak from traditional narratives and seemed to work well with Lego Star Wars; it also must save from having to hire voice actors.




Lego Indiana Jones experiments with a new melee-based combat system since Dr. Jones is not wielding any gnarly force powers or a lightsabre. It really works well on-screen and the animations are great. The whip makes its dramatic appearance too and Indy can use it for pretty much anything: swinging across pits, whipping foes, nabbing hard-to-reach items or even rescuing the damsel in distress from afar.

In the first level (which you can sample in the newly released demo), your partner-in-crime is Sallah. You’ll be using Indy for most of the action throughout it and the rest of the game, but sometimes Indy’s partners have a unique ability you need to further advance in the level. Sallah’s special ability is a shovel, which you can use to dig up hidden Lego bits and special unlockables (treasure chests or "the red package") and even to row rafts across alligator-infested lakes.

With their plastic permanently angled hands, you’d imagine that’s why you couldn’t pick up anything in the previous Lego Star Wars games but in Lego Indiana Jones, Dr. Jones puts his doctorate degree into good use and is able to pick up in-game items, such as swords, guns or even bottles.




Visuals were noticeably improved since the game is using a modified Lego Star Wars 2 engine, especially during in-game cutscenes. The cutscenes are rendered using the game’s engine as opposed to pre-rendered scenes so they looked more crisp and sharp.

Story-wise, Lego Indiana Jones will cover the first three Indiana Jones films (three episodes with six levels each). To keep with the family-orientated theme, Traveller’s Tales removed all references to Nazis and replaced them with your typical trench coat-wearing bad-guys, which does take away from the nostalgia a bit, but you can’t really argue with the reasoning.

While only briefly featured in both Lego Star Wars games, vehicles will take a greater role in Lego Indiana Jones. You can build and ride vehicles whenever you want in specific levels, such as riding elephants from The Temple of Doom film or driving a boat through Venice. In several cases your non-Indy character is required to get the vehicle going, giving them another useful advantage over Dr. Jones.




Overall, the game is shaping up to be another sure-fire hit for all ages — imagine Lego Indiana Jones with everything that made Lego Star Wars great gameplay-wise but with another just as popular (arguably) film franchise.

Lego Indiana Jones will hit Nintendo DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii and Xbox 360 on June 3rd (North America), June 4th (Australia) and June 6th (Europe). If you want more Indy action on GamerNode, check out Brendon’s impressions of the new Indiana Jones: The Adventure Collection DVD set here.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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