In this new series, I will gush about my love for the licensed LEGO games. I will cover all of the games that I have played, ranging from really good to not as good.
Indiana Jones is a series that is not something that I often discuss, but I think is a great one nonetheless. Say what you will about the 4th movie, but I think that the original trilogy is one of the best cinematic trilogies to have graced the silver screen. The raw and exciting adventure brought me to a place of pure adventure and a longing for the serials that inspired them. However, when there is any action-adventure movie released, they always go back to how it is an Indiana Jones knock-off, or inspired by Indiana Jones. The LEGO game feels just like that to me.
LEGO Indiana Jones is the first property after Star Wars to have a LEGO game based on the movies. The game was released around the same time Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was set to hit theaters, and I did not get it at launch. In fact, I actually played the console version for the first time a few months ago on the Wii. I wanted the game at launch, but my parents were not ready to shell out more cash for another LEGO game since I just got LEGO Star Wars II for the GameCube. I played the DS version a long time ago, but I think I now have enough recent playtime to make a fair assessment for the game.
LEGO Indiana Jones was really good in 2008, but after 11 years, a lot of negatives have began to show. Starting with the good, the character availability in the game is down-right ridiculous with every main character and meaningless extra thrown into the game as a fun way to reward the character. I didn’t even know that there were 82 characters in the Indiana Jones universe, but there are a total of 82 playable characters in the game. There is a really fun character addition that adds to the charm of the character selection. In this game, players can make Han Solo fight Nazis. From Space Nazis to Earth Nazis, Han Solo is an intergalactic butt-kicker.
The environments are definitely something to praise in this game as well, considering everything feels very akin to the movies, and there are a lot of fun things that are in the levels. The Minikits of this game create artifacts that can be seen in the main hub of the game, which is Indy’s home college of Barnett College. These each had some role in the level or are historical artifacts from the area of which they were exploring.
Something I usually praise in LEGO games is the use of music, and though Indiana Jones has fantastic music, I don’t think it is appropriately used in this game. The theme may be iconic, but there are times where I do feel that is inappropriately played. The theme should be at the climax of the movie, but every time an enemy pops up, the theme is blaring. Considering how many enemies are in the game, the theme gets really annoying. There are a few “quiet” levels that are pretty awesome and atmospheric, but the second one bad guy shows up, the theme is played as loudly as it can be. On the Wii, there is a start up screen in the home menu that has a graphic of the game as well as music from the game. The LEGO Indiana Jones menu graphic does not have the main theme, the one place I think it should be.
The gameplay is mostly decent, but there is a mechanic in the game where characters can pick up items that have been dropped by enemies. This sounds cool, but considering almost all weapons look like grey blobs and it is hard to determine whether your character is actually holding it, this mechanic is way more of a struggle than it should be. A lot of those weapons are guns, but these guns run out of ammo without notifying the player that the bullets are gone. I would try to shoot enemies and nothing would come out, and it would take me forever to notice that the guns were empty. I would have to let go of those and pick up something new, all while an enemy was attacking me. I think this is a cool idea, but it is way too inefficient in this game.
The levels in this game are way too long. When you get to a point where you think the level is over, but there are 3 more excruciating areas to play through before you get to the end of the level. At some points it feels like a mental exercise to do the things you need to do. Each level feels like it could have half the content and still be satisfying. With the bad weapon mechanic, this becomes a chore.
LEGO Indiana Jones is a fantastic game when it comes to the abundance of characters and realistic environments, but key elements of LEGO games that make them unique and enjoyable are severely lackluster or non-existent in this game.