I grew up practically idolising Indiana Jones in the 90's, so it was inevitable that, in February, the Pre-Order simply had to be made!
I'm going to be honest - the last Lego game I played was in the late 90's. Lego Racers for the N64 was my last taste of action on the video game front, and even then everyone laughed when I bought it! But as you grow up, such things become less and less personal to you, and I feel re-united with my youth that combines not just the hero that I worshipped on screen, but the Lego to which I adored.
Everything about Lego Indiana Jones is authentic. Everything. So much so that you can't wipe the smile off my face, even as i'm typing this. Upon walking through what should ideally be your starting destination in the game, the College (In which Indiana taught archaeology) you can run around and gaze upon not just what you saw in the film, but what you never saw. The class room is there, and can be broken up into Lego bricks with your whip; the first move that you're likely to "over-use" because of the thrill of breaking everything up! One flick of the Wii-Remote makes Indiana do this move.
Even other nesscesscities, such as the Library, Mail Room, and Theatre are here, amongst the Lego students walking around. But what's ingenious is the fact that each room is seamlessly given a game-purpose. Whether it be typing in simple Cheat-Codes on the Blackboard (just a simple way of getting extra's, for e.g A-G-H-K-L-V-B....) or the fact that in the Mail room, you can exchange bricks for extra items; it's all here, and so beautifully done.
By obtaining these small bricks through levels, you can exchange them for different silly but fun modes, such as changes in sounds, and my favourite.. Disguise Mode, in which all the Lego people wear moustaches and big glasses! So much fun.
This is the first thing you'll notice; the game is, without sounding patriotic, quite beautiful. The animation is smooth and has no-lags at 60FPS, while all the textures are kept true to Lego fashion, distinguishing what should be Lego simplicity, to what actually looks photo realistic, such as the stunning College, or mountains, or even the jungle. It looks like a typical Xbox 360 in my books, but as I've said time and time again, the Wii is by no means Graphically under-powered, at all. - it has a custom made ATi GPU which was stated by Nintendo to be "at least" 4 times more powerful than that of the G.C.
Indiana's range of moves are very adequate and easy to control. Nothing to stressing to learn - A is nicely to Jump, while Z and C on the Nunchuk operate more special moves whilst jumping and running. You can also switch between characters, which is quite nesscarr..rary.. sery (How the hell do you spell that??) to progress. You have the ability to pick up a wide range of items, from not just weapons, but items that enable you to perform various actions, such as a trowel for digging, a spanner for repairs, or guns! Lots of verry nice Lego guns you can steal off enemies!
Health is monitored both in a standard '4 Heart' style hit bar, and by bricks. Once all your 4 hearts are gone, your player dies and you re-spawn near by. Re-spawning costs you 1,000 bricks, but this is very generous, considering you could end a level on well over 20,000 if you're good enough. But to add ease even further, even with no bricks left, you're still allowed to re-spawn with no 'Game Over' message. This may take away the challenge for some, but the challenge of merely completing tasks is worthy enough.
Progression is nice and smooth and, although obviously not as long as the average RPG, is made up for by the fact that you're reliving each important film moment in a new way, while the cut scenes are almost alike to that of the films, particularly the starting one. The game is monitored in a simple percentage mode, to which unlocking new items, modes, or completing levels soon add up the percentage.
But to progress in levels, you need to over-come obstacles. Some are simple, some challenging, but all range from being obvious, to completely "un-obvious", whereby even if you've seen the films, the extra parts of the game which link these together require good logic. More commonly than not, you're required to assemble bit of bricks to create a new object.
Whilst in a level, you can obtain artefacts, which once back at the College, you can turn into it's original form. In each level their are 10 artefact pieces, and it's anyone's guess how you get all 10 of these little things! But we all love a challenge, and to make matters more interesting, once you assemble the artefact-pieces, you're not allowed to add anymore! It does warn you about this before, so be careful.
In my rush to see what 2 Lego bricks could make, I have the base of a Pyramid and can't change it back! Serves me right.
All the original sounds and songs in the films are here too; a very neat touch and helps create a very authentic atmosphere.
Theirs very little to pull a thumb down at, though the game is not without is niggles. On an information ground, I think that the Hallway and actual Quest relationship isn't highlighted very well at all. In other words, when you start playing the game, it isn't well explained where you start the quest and how to access levels. It took me a while but I eventually found the part of the College that gives access to the actual story mode. I think if anything, some parts of the game may not be 'obvious' enough, and could be explained better. Or parts in levels where after the cut, you're not sure what to do and need to keep running around in search of a clue. I think as time goes on, you adjust to what to expect, rather than expecting the answer to fall in your lap. This game is by no means for simple minded!
As far as vehicle control goes, it's very raw, which is disappointing but as theirs little vehicle use in the game, it's not too much of a hassle. Certain moments in the game, such as the need to drive a truck in the first Indiana Adventure (Level 3) can become a bit crazy because of the camera angle not being positioned behind the vehicle.
The A.I also has it's moments of "dumb"ness, though this is actually quite funny. Simple moments in which enemies run into walls, or fail to attack are made up for the fact that the Lego men are actually very good Gun Men!
My only other slight niggle is in the darker area's of levels, shadows aren't marked out very well, thus you could, like me, end up jumping of ledges of mountains constantly. Again, this requires a bit of practice.
Favourite feature? The fights! Playing as any of the good-guy characters is a joy when up against some henchman, and their are an array of special moves. You can hold an enemy in front of your body so he gets shot, not you. You can even duck and throw when someone goes to punch you, steal their gun once you've disposed of them. For me, the highlight is the fact that when you punch them, they just break up into pieces of bricks! A very fun slant on the film, and even better in such scenes as the 'Bar' scene from the first film, whereby you can even throw glasses, chairs, and other items at enemies! Incredible. Not only this but you can take the enemies hats to get past guards, or even ride horses! Though theirs little logical point, as all you can do is gallop around.
I can't rate this game highly enough and was well worth the months of waiting (to which, after only choosing Super Saver, still arrived before 11am!). All the elements make up for what is a fun, innocent, and quite humorous take on the famous adventurer, that boasts many great ports from the 3 films, as well as new scenes to knit these moments together. The AI can be a little "dumb" at times and lack the prowess of more advanced combat games understandably (Small by Head, Small by Brain I think is the saying....), but when you can get pleasure from merely running around and taking control of such a great character, I'll let Lucas Soft off from that one. Full marks from me!