The Lego series has always prided itself on sheer fun. Whether it be the geeky pleasure of seeing your favourite movie scenes lampooned using the titular blocks or simply the primal, animalistic thrill of destroying everything around you in an attempt to sate your unyielding craving for Lego studs (the game’s currency), everything seemed tailored towards providing the player with an acute sense of satisfaction and enjoyment at its most basic level. And I’m glad to say that Lego Indiana Jones carries on this tradition with gusto, despite being remarkably similar to its predecessors.
Swapping the deep-space stylings of Star Wars for the artefact-pilfering antics of Indiana Jones, the player must traverse through each film of the original trilogy, fighting off the nefarious efforts of heart-stealing priests, sneering frenchmen and, of course, those cheeky Nazis (who, though never referenced by name, remain notably Aryan).
And it certainly works well, for Indy fans in particular. Reenacting iconic scenes such as the famous boulder dash or the fantastic fight in Club Obi-Wan always succeeds in enticing a childlike grin on the player’s face, something which is helped by the return of Traveller’s Tales’ wonderfully simple physical humour employed in the cut-scenes.
One particular aspect of the Xbox 360 version which I enjoyed are its numerous achievements being named after famous quotes from the film. Seeing the words “You call him Doctor Jones!” pop up mid-play will undoubtedly make followers of the films swoon. Even through the primitive medium of virtual Lego blocks the developers have injected a surprising amount of personality into each character, who mirror their on-screen equivalents unnervingly well. Let me assure you, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Lego Sean Connery smash a SS trooper’s face in with an axe. This is most certainly a game that’ll please the fans.
However, those familiar with the series may fault the game for its over-reliance on the same puzzles and gimmicks. While it may be nice to see new additions like interchangeable weapons and the ability to slide against walls, they hardly invigorate the gameplay and even complicate matters unnecessarily.
Unfortunately, too, the game is over all too soon – each film constitutes six levels or varying size, and even factoring in replaying stages to unlock additional items and characters the experience is too short (particularly in comparison to Star Wars’ Complete Saga double-bill).
And, as hard as Traveller’s Tales have tried, there simply isn’t as much variety between characters as there was in Star Wars. Indy’s (admittedly tenuous) groundings in reality ensure that one misses the bonkers Force antics of the telekinetic Jedi, who, quite simply, let you have a little more fun with the game and the world it inhabits. Suddenly finding yourself stuck to simply blasting goons with a pistol as opposed to having elegant lightsabre battles with molten-faced tyrants feels almost like a step backwards for the series. This fault lies not so much in the game itself but the source material, however it is distinctly noticeable.
But this is just nitpicking – what we have here is yet another brilliant outing in the series, and arguably the best of the individual games yet. Sure to rouse something deep within the soul of every fan, rest assured that if you pick this up you will have chosen… wisely.