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Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings review

Quick-time events. Why'd it have to be quick-time events?

Pros

  • Environmentally aware brawling
  • Environments look lovely
  • The most authentic Indy game yet

Cons

  • Too many remote-waggling quick-time events
  • Falls back on terrible minigames
  • Sometimes frustrating and dull

We’re playing one of the greatest adventure games ever made, a title with excellent dialogue, a wonderful plot and satisfyingly fiendish puzzling. But enough about Fate of Atlantis – what about Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings?

You see what we did there? LucasArts’ fondly remembered 1992 point ’n’ clicker is included here as an extra, but to a certain type (and age) of gamer it’s going to seem like the other way round. If you’ve never played Fate, see it as an added bonus; if you’re familiar with the game, the Wii port doesn’t offer anything new. In either case it’s not a big enough gesture to excuse the things wrong with the main game.

But perhaps we’re being hasty. To describe Staff of Kings as a game seems a bit disingenuous – this is a collection of smaller sub-games, similar to Disaster: Day of Crisis. There are puzzley platform bits, typically involving copious whip-cracking and vigorous remote-pumpage; there’s brilliant environmental combat, which lets you hurlpool balls at bad guys, shoveenemies into aquariums or whack them in the head with garden tools. On-rails gun battles will also occasionally break out, dumping Indy behind cover and letting you peek out and aim with the remote.

If you were hoping for a robust plot to hold these elements together, expect to be disappointed. Indy has his passport stamped everywhere from San Francisco to Istanbul, but cutscenes are so stilted and awkward it’s difficult to be entirely sure why. He’s searching for the legendary Staff of Moses, we know that much for certain, and, as ever, heaps of Nazis are right on his tail.

Previous Indy games The Emperor’s Tomb and The Infernal Machine translated the license into Tomb Raider-style exploratory platform outings, but aside from similar pastimes Indy has very little in common with Lara Croft. This series has always been more at home with spectacular action sequences than precision acrobatics or slowly dragging a box across a room. With a focus on the action, Staff of Kings is probably the closest a game has ever come to recreating the spirit of the movies, even if it does fudge the execution quite a bit.

More Info

GenreAdventure
Description

Believe it or not, this is one of the better recreations of Indy in games in a long time. It gets the feel of the series well enough to overcome some over-dependence on shallow button-mashing quicktime events.

PlatformPSP, Wii, DS, PS2
US censor ratingTeen
UK censor rating12+
Release date9 June 2009 (US), 12 June 2009 (UK)