It's been a while since I sat down with any LEGO of the solid, exists-in-the-real-world variety. However, something from those heady days of staring in frustration at a pile of bricks that just wouldn't make a plane has stuck with me; what kind of world would we inhabit if that giant rolling boulder at the start of Raiders of the Lost Ark
had been made of LEGO? Well, now I now what such a world is like. Blocky, sort of plastic-looking and pretty good fun.
Yes, Indiana Jones has been given the LEGO (henceforth, 'Lego' for ease on the eyes) treatment. The Lucas empire clearly knows a good thing when it sees it and the Lego adaptations of the two Star Wars
trilogies for our gaming pleasure were pretty good things. It also left Traveller's Tales, the developer of both games, with plentiful experience developing Lego-themed platformers.
So, here we are with Lego Indy
and Harrison Ford becoming the most Lego-gamed man alive (no fewer than six of his films are now playable in plasti-brick form!)
First up, let's get the graphics covered. If you're going to buy Lego Indy
, graphics probably aren't top of your list of priorities. There's only so much scope, after all, for a Lego game to impress. Fortunately, Traveller's Tales delivers a good, solid look to the game within the limits put on it by the premise. The colours are bright, the textures work well and the overall design of the game is solid.
The bright, pulpy look of the Indiana Jones films is meshed pleasingly with the smooth solid form of those interlocking plastic slabs. For research (OK, because I couldn't be arsed to change the channel) I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark
on Sunday. After playing this game, that felt like coming home.
Mark also watched American History X by accident, although this does not appear to have affected his review. Ed.
The pre-release Xbox 360 build of the game I played was glitchy in places, with characters walking through parts of the environment. The characters' interaction with inanimate objects also looked a bit jarring and implausible in places.
That said, as I don't know how a Lego character interacting with the world without an evil five-year-old moving its limbs by hand is meant to look... As I say, it's pre-release code, so I'd expect those issues to be resolved prior to release.
So, what of the story-telling. The cut scenes are, like the in-game graphics, not startling. They do the job they set out to well, though. If you've never seen any of the three basis films (the eponymous 'Original Adverntures') before, you probably won't have the foggiest idea what's going on. Then again, you're probably not going to buy the game, either.
The cut scenes do recall scenes from the films with panache, however. Watching Indy rub his chin as he contemplates swiping an idol is good stuff. It's even better when you see him pull out C3PO's head by mistake as he passes it to Belloq...
Now, the question of voice-acting in those scenes. Tim the Evil Editor felt the need to exclaim “Strewth, what the bloody hell are they even bloody saying?” as the charaters made muffled grunts throughout.
Personally, I like to think that some sounds transcend language. More commercially they also bypass certain stars' voice-acting budget, and certain localisation issues won't intercede to delay release.
It does get a bit tedious if you have to replay a level in story mode and watch the cut scenes through a second time, however. In the build I played there was no option to skip them. I didn't need to see them twice, but was left with no option.
I don't really need to tell you that this game was made with a young audience in mind. It features characters made of Lego – that's a pretty big clue. That's a fact you'll find reflected in the game play.