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Lego Indiana Jones

Who knows? Perhaps in a thousand years time even this preview will be worth something.

I have never actually played a computer game before, so I was especially impressed with "Indiana Jones in Lego 3D" by LucasArts Games and Traveller's Telltale. I liked the way that when I pressed a button the figure in the "screen" moved forward. It was just like looking through a window into another world.

The game does look like a lot of fun, but the sort of fun that I would only recommend to someone who loved the films. The developers have taken a lot of artistic licence with the material, but it still sticks rigidly to the Indiana Jones story, and the game mechanics, whilst pleasant, are not worth the price of admission on their own. It is as if a friend has taken you on one of your favourite walks and shown you areas that you had not seen before. If the walk is not your favourite then it will be a dull and annoying experience. What do you care about this side of the duck pond?

I could not hear the game music because of all the background noise, but I was told that the score would be taken directly from the films. I am sure this will counterbalance the chirpy Lego universe with its bright colours and chiming sound effects. As with Lego Star Wars, there will be no voices in the game, dialogue instead conveyed through facial expressions. It's a form that works well, and humorously.

From the little I played I can tell that this game is twice the fun with two players. Though it is playable by yourself, laughing because the computer has fallen to its death for the tenth time in a row is not as much fun as laughing directly into your friend's face.

People who played Lego Star Wars will know what to expect with this one. For everyone else: I'd recommend this game if you liked the films enough to play through key story moments in a quirky manner; if you want a light, pleasant, de-stressing activity; and especially if you have a friend to play it with.

I asked if LucasArts were at all involved in the game, and the answer is that they are not, though Traveller's Tales have had to ask permission to use Star Wars references. Except a lot of those. Lego Indiana Jones is the new Monkey Island.

Move over, Ron Gilbert! Old news!

-- Gabez

There was only one level on show and it was still incomplete and buggy – as the poor duo who were on the stall before us can testify as it crashed before they could finish it – but it's got me very, very excited indeed. It was the opening level from Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Gabez very generously allowed me to play Indy all the way through as he played the shovel-carrying backstabbing Satipo. I asked the TT Games representative (who was helpfully overseeing our progress) if the whole game was played co-operatively, and he confirmed that yes, it would, just like Lego Star Wars. I wonder if the fat kid will be playable in the Young Indy section?

Those untextured and sometimes really hard to see ropes are the only complaint I can think of about the graphics. For a Lego game, it is astonishing how pretty this game is. I was undecided about whether to get this game on the Wii or Xbox 360, but now I'm seriously angling towards 360. I'm not usually that shallow, especially with Lego games of all things, but the Peruvian jungle looked lush and green, the temple ancient, and I particularly liked the way some of the stone walls were shaped like giant ancient lego blocks. Asking what platform was best to play the game on, our tour guide said that the 360 was the leading platform for development and so would be the best. The Wii would still be good and have the neat 'swish' Remote movement for the whip, but otherwise 360 is where it's at.

Making it through the jungle to the temple, we were surprised how many adventure game-like elements were in place. For example: We reached a door with a statue on one side and a headless one on the other. Pushing the statue into the side of the door revealed a button, but the other statue wouldn't budge. After Gabez had Satipo dig in the sand a bit, we discovered the missing head. Indy picked up the head, carrying it over to and then using it on the incomplete statue. I pushed the statue in, revealing the second button. We stood on the buttons at the same time and the door opened.

We shortly after discovered that Traveller's Tales have gone through great lengths to make the non-Indy playing character feel useful. An oar-less boat for example can only be paddled using Satipo's spade. At the end of the level, Satipo is replaced by Jock, who has to build their getaway plane while Indy defends from Hovitos attacking.

The only thing missing from the level (which I only realise now) was the famous 'stay out of the light' trap. In many ways the game felt more of a re-interpretation of the film rather than a direct adaptation, more so than Lego Star Wars. I suppose it makes the levels more of a surprise to play through. Of course it concluded (apart from the plane escape) with the boulder chase, which was extremely forgiving. If you don't make it, you just get a comedy cutscene of the ball rolling along with Indy and Satipo caught on it cartoon-style. "No one's actually made it all the way to the end so far", our guide admitted.

Roll on June 6th. I'm just glad there's a film to watch while we're waiting for this game.

-- The Tingler

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