LEGO Indiana Jones Preview
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 12:39pm 19/03/08 | Comments
AusGamers gets down and dusty with Indiana Jones, only in Lego form. Check out our full-hands-on preview of the forthcoming block-buidling archaelogical adventure...
There are few films with as memorable an intro as Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Spielberg’s ability to shield our new hero from us, his tongue-in-cheek use of old-school jungle sounds (listen carefully, you’ll hear a kookaburra), and the tense ominous aperture to the film’s soundtrack made the few opening minutes before Harrison Ford is revealed as soon-to-be-legend, Indiana Jones, as important as the subsequent movie. It represented a style in film-making that is barely touched upon today, and will always remain one of the most memorable moments in the Indiana Jones legacy.
Seeing the above captured yet again, in Lego form, was both hilariously funny and tantalisingly reassuring. Film may not be learning from its past, but videogames certainly are, and with as universal a medium as Lego, working with two other universal mediums in the way of film and videogames, well you can’t go wrong, really.
Lego Indiana Jones is just what you would expect after the Star Wars block-clad outings; fun, explorative, humourous and accessible. These a certain charm Traveller's Tales have created with their successful merging of Lego and gaming, and I doubt any other developer could get it so right.
The way in which you access the episodes is a thing of presentation beauty – in keeping with the adventuring/archaeological theme, you stand before three mounted maps (each one representative of one of the films) in the hall of Bartlett College. Once accessed you then slide a magnifying glass around to areas of interest (game levels, etc) and so on. It’s purely aesthetic, but when thinking of the source material, utterly welcome. Each map has notes, pictures and articles strewn about giving the whole thing a completely Indiana Jones look and feel. But thankfully the game’s authenticity to the films doesn’t stop there.
As you would expect, the game begins at the same point the first film does. Indy is in pursuit of a lost idol in the Peruvian jungle. As was the case with the Star Wars Lego games, all the cut-scenes throughout Lego Indy are humourous takes on original moments sans voices.
Hovitos warriors are popping up at most turns while Indy walks about with his map in front of his face. The turn-coat helper (played by Alfred Molina who would go on to play Dr Octavious in Spider-Man 2) is also in tow, and when the cut scenes end, you’re in control of Indy, his whip and his adventuring, Lego-building ways.
Gameplay may not be all that different, but in terms of visuals, Lego Indy takes the absolute cake. Even at this early stage of the game’s development I was wholly impressed with the graphical presentation. The Lego characters themselves have remained marginally unchanged, but the backgrounds all looked stunning while animations are much smoother. Even the cut-scenes look ultimately better. Water looks dark and deep in the Peruvian level (Indy can swim as well), while the lighting outside in the jungle versus that in the temple represented an element of dedication on TT's part in recreating the ultimate Indy experience. Traveller's Tales have easily crafted the best looking Lego game to-date with Indy.
Enemies throughout the first level I played included the Hovitos, giant tarantulas and crocodiles while the temple itself was riddled with trademark Raiders booby traps. You can also use parts of the environment as weapons now, such as chairs or bottles and as part of some of the new animations, Indy himself now sidles along walls which looks pretty cool, but pulling out his pistol or throwing his whip adds insurmountably to the immersion of playing the game as Indiana Jones, only in the sense that you can pull him apart and he’s made of plastic.
According to LucasArts, among the playable characters expect to see the likes of Marion Ravenwood, Short Round, Rene Belloq, Willie Scott, Marcus Brodie, Henry Jones Sr, Sallah and Mola Ram among much, much more.
You’ll visit numerous, famous locales from each of the three films, from the opening temple and Marion’s Nepalese bar from Raiders, to Venice and the Middle East from The Last Crusade. Unfortunately not every location was revealed to me, but what I did see and played looked pretty well ripped from the movies, only with an added sense of Lego flare with room for exploration and discover, to boot. Even the game’s loading screens have been cleverly pulled from the films with Indy’s usual travel montage of a map with his course drawn out in a red line from departure to destination – all very cool.
With the new movie releasing less than a month before the game, it’s a no-brainer this will be massive, and given it’s available on ever platform, LucasArts can’t really lose out. It would have been cool to add the new film in there, but considering the title of this Lego entrant, it seems likely they’ll just make a new one surrounding the forthcoming movie anyway.
It was never going to be bad business to create this game, and with Traveller’s Tales tried and tested gameplay still in place and kicking ass, Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures is shaping up pretty nicely. Be sure to check back for any new media or details surrounding the
game in the lead up to its review, right here on AusGamers.