No matter how hard you try, you just can’t beat a LEGO wookiee. Lucas Arts and TT Games’ have struck stud – that’s gold, in LEGO terms – with their lighthearted, blocky take on the Star Wars franchise. Though moving on to tackle Indiana Jones offered similar charm and adventure, the subject matter just doesn’t captivate players as readily. The original Indy flicks were pretty awesome, but we already got a rather mediocre PSP title that focused heavily on those quality films. Last year’s film revival of the series sparked a reason to make LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues – a game that still manages to be fun despite being based upon a movie that most fans think should have never been made.
Above: Screens taken from console versions of the game
In true LEGO fashion, The Adventure Continues kicks off with Indy and Marion flying to a remote island in hunt of treasure. Only it turns out all of the villains the whip-wielding hero has ever faced in his adventuring career happen to be on the same flight. Bummer. A brawl ensues and everyone spills out of the plane and plummets to the booty-laden island below. This sunny locale turns into the game’s central hub and a means for procuring missing pages of Indy’s journalthat allow you to hop in and out of missions culled from and inspired by Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Some vignettes from past films are incorporated into the mix to be sure, but they’re mostly limited to shorter, minigame challenge missions.
There’s a large amount of exploration and puzzle solving to do on the island itself before you even dig into the story missions you’ll uncover. Accessing new areas of the island often requires you to return after unlocking characters with special abilities in the movie-centric stages. Being able to switch out characters with the AI buddy who follows you along is super handy, since each LEGO character has his/her own unique attacks and special abilities that come into play in the puzzles and exploration elements. Local two-player co-op that lets a pal drop in and out to lend a hand is a welcome addition.
The symbiotic relationship between the island and the other areas of the game is a nicely done. Though it’s repetitive by nature, the creative, puzzle-heavy platforming gameplay holds up over time. You’ll uncover and build LEGO contraptions to proceed through tough areas, engage in action-oriented mini-games, and even roll up your sleeves for some good old-fashioned fisticuffs. If you get bored of that, there’s always plenty of scenery to smash and studs to collect.
Smaller issues do crop up over time, sapping some of the game’s polish and momentum. Vehicle controls are absolutely atrocious, whether you’re piloting a lawnmower, a revved-up motorcycle, a loaded forklift, or some other mount. Key platforming areas suffer from special depth and detection problems that make it tough to latch onto ropes or land where you need to go in some instances. And the overall challenge is pretty light, since you have infinite lives and immediately re-spawn wherever you perished. LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues looks great, plays moderately well, and definitely has some lasting play value. But it’s still no match for lightsabers, chattering droids, and the Death Star.
Nov 19, 2009