Calling Dr. Jones
How many of us didn’t grow up staring at Star Wars or Indiana Jones, frantically biting our nails every time the hero would escape giant rolling boulders, snakes or lightsabers? In a time where blockbusters and videogames alike used the visual aspect as a tool and not a purpose, entire generations of urban middle-class kids would grab their footballs and spread out to their homes to see re-runs of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg’s classical adventures. Whether it’s the offsprings of the 70s or the 90s, few are those who missed the proverbial narrations of the two consumer cinema magnates.
Meanwhile, those privileged westerners and the privileged out of the unprivileged easterners know the acute addiction caused by the Lego drug. A simple concept, that exploits the “engineering” side out of the male gene, cubes of various shapes and sizes seized, without a doubt, a large part of everybody lucky enough to get this product’s childhoods. From castles to spaceships, themes are varied as they were wacky, Lego provided a cure for most of the universal child’s small obsessions.
Even so, the only common denominator these two experiences have is popularity. I was especially curious to see what the brits down at Traveller’s Tales did, first with Lego: Star Wars and then with Lego: Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures. Their attempt to combine two franchises as popular as these was an extremely risky endeavor, no doubt about that, even more so considering that a would-be failure would have attracted both the booing of Star Wars and/or Indiana Jones fans as well as Lego maniacs.
Digging for treasure in the ol’ HDD
As you certainly already know, the latest Indiana Jones movie was recently released, a production that didn’t make anyone gasp, but rather injected a somewhat sweet nostalgia. What was utterly surprising though was the lack of a game to accompany the launch and try to exploit the fans’ enthusiasm through a cheap, unsubstantiated firework, sadly so overly used in the past years.
And from my own perspective, there’s only one Indy game which managed to conserve the spirit of the movies – that being the well-known adventure game, “Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis”. Thus, not knowing what to expect, I skeptically installed this video game hybrid, watched the original trilogy all over again and wiped my dusty PS2 in order to replay Lego Star Wars.
What followed highly resembles the diary of an insomniac. There are two types of games that keep me hooked to the computer more than I’d want to – games that resemble an interactive story, so well written and produced that I feel I can’t let go until the ending credits roll before my eyes, and games that are so fun that every minute of jumping and running does precisely what every game since Pong should – keep us entertained.
I’m happy to say that Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures falls in the second category. It’s hard to take it seriously even in the first few minutes, as it seems to be a series of bloopers at the end of a teen comedy. There are those shots that an Indy fan can instantly recognize, changed in such a manner that you’ll wake up cackling maniacally at the most stupid gestures ever to hit the Lego figures – and that’s without a spoken word, throughout the entire game. Non-verbal communication is as hard to master as it is valuable, even more so considering the only tools used for that effect are the pixelated representatives of the plastic figures.