Developer: Traveller's Tales
Release Date: June 2008
While there may be a lot of buzz going around in Hollywood about "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," those who know what it's really about are far more excited about the upcoming Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures . LucasArts and Traveller's Tales have teamed up to bring us yet another iconic film franchise in building block form, and Indy's never looked better.
During GDC, the LucasArts crew loaded up a bunch of press folks and bussed us over to their offices to show off some of their new games. The cherry on the sundae was a live demo of the first level of "Lego Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." The Lego sense of humor was on full display from the opening movie when Indy, absentmindedly reading a map and stumbling through the jungle, managed to deftly avoid the blow darts of the natives as Satipo cowered and quivered at every turn. It was sort of like a much cuter episode of "Mr. Magoo," and every bit as funny.
Once the level began, we were treated to Indy using his trusty whip to break objects, swing across gaps and solve puzzles. While it wasn't shown in the demo, the LucasArts reps promised that Indy's trusty revolver would also be available to help him out of some sticky situations and hairy battles. Satipo, meanwhile, was able to whip out a shovel and dig up items that the characters needed in order to advance through the levels. Yes, the teamwork dynamic is back in full force, and you'll have to switch back and forth between Indy and your companion in order to solve the game's many challenges. In addition to Satipo, the developers have let on that you'll also be teaming up with Henry Jones (Indy's dad), Short Round and several others. The team is even incorporating phobias into the title, so if Indy runs up against a snake pit or Henry faces off with a rat, they will cower in terror until the other character figures out how to make a path around the scary creatures. While we weren't able to see this mechanic in action, the visual I get of Lego Indy cowering in fear of a Lego snake makes me laugh every time I think of it.
In addition to the single-player missions, Lego Indiana Jones will obviously feature Free Play, as well as online or offline co-op. Also, instead of finding Lego canisters, this time, you will be seeking out artifacts from the films, and the thorough explorers may even find themselves in possession of the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail. With everything the developers are cramming into the game, it looks like this outing will be just as deep and rewarding as the Lego Star Wars series.
While the PS3 and Xbox 360 will be confined to traditional control schemes, things have gotten a bit more exotic for the Wii and DS. Wii players will be able to use motion sensing to crack the whip, as well as rapid movements to "fast build" Lego pieces. DS owners will not only use the touch-screen to aim the whip, but they will also be tasked with blowing into the microphone in order to blow up inflatable rafts. In a game like this where graphics aren't really at a premium, little touches like these may just make the title more worthwhile to pick up on a Nintendo-branded product.
Coming away from the event, I really can't think of anything bad to say about Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures . The characters are all equally recognizable and adorable, and the cut scenes relay a story that is able to be both true to the films and incredibly funny. There was even a fun twist in one of the scenes that is guaranteed to make Lego gaming fans laugh until it hurts. Come this summer, see the movie, play the game, and buckle up for the most action-packed ride you've ever experienced with a pile of brightly colored building blocks.
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