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Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings review

Quicktime events. Why'd it have to be quicktime events?

Indy’s all about the set piece, you see, and there are some genuinely impressive moments here. Puzzles are typically of the block-pushing variety, but some – including one based on Mayan football – are inspired. On your travels you’ll happen upon a pirate ship that was somehow moored under San Francisco, ride an elephant through the streets of Istanbul, and stumble into messy bar fights with Chinese hardmen. It’s all terribly Indiana Jones.

The combat also embodies the spirit of the films, and for the most part involves highly enjoyable man-punching, with the ability to pick up tools and make use of your surroundings. You can dish out jabs and hooks, dodge blows, grapple and throw people, and chuck anything littering the environment at enemies’ heads. Your trusty whip will also bring bookcases and the like down on enemy heads, offing them in one crushing swoop. It’s great fun, reminiscent of a number of fights from the films.

Still, brawling’s only part of the package. The on-rails gunfights can be mediocre in comparison, while the (blessedly) few minigames are never less than soul destroying. The combat may be a triumph, but as it’s dumped on you in huge chunks – rather than integrated properly into the flow of the game – it soon becomes a tad repetitive.

As with a deep-fried Mars bar, Staff of Kings’ disparate elements shouldn’t work in combination – and, indeed, they don’t quite – but the individual ingredients are right tasty. It’s an enjoyable game, but so bitty and shallow it’s difficult to recommend.

Jun 18, 2009

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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)