Previews

Indiana Jones: The original adventures

Preview: Hands-on verdict of near-finished game

There are few things as grand as an Indiana Jones night. Six hours to spare, a load of friends, the DVD boxset and enough fizzy drinks to turn your liver into a bouncy castle.

Pop in Raiders and you're off. Likewise, a finished version of Lego Indiana Jones and one chum well-versed in Wii controllers and you're equally away - as a tired but happy NGamer with all three Lego episodes under their belts will testify.

First things first, Lego Indy is a co-op game, pure and simple. Sure, the films focus mainly on the solo efforts of the man himself, but then he wasn't paired with actors with dubious AI credentials.

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Four years in Lego RADA may have trained these plastic replicas of Marion, Short Round, Willie Scott and Henry Jones to gurn their way through the hilarious cutscenes, but when it comes to watching out for their Lego behinds these guys brick it too easily.

Whether creeping through Peruvian ruins or daringly traversing the inner sanctum of the Thuggee temple - now with handy rotating platforms to cross the lava pits - you can be sure to have John Williams's iconic score drowned out by your plastic pals' death wails and the all-too-well-known noise of Lego studs spilling from a now-destroyed body.

Yes, the AI knows when to stand on a pressure pad, but the headless chicken routine for 99% of the time is a little off-putting.

You go first...

Stab the minus button on the second controller and the game proper reveals itself. In co-op those true Indy moments come flooding back. Accidentally clocking your partner in a heated battle is so slapstick Jones, and is that Andy and Kittsy trapped under a slowly descending roof bickering over who pulls what lever, or Indy and Willie Scott?

"Throw the banana to the monkey - throw it or the Nazis will kill us," could have been a line straight from Raiders; it was in fact coined by Kim.

Free from worrying about a dimwit partner you can better appreciate the formula tweaks made by Traveller's Tales since Lego Star Wars. No longer boiling down to 'bring X character to perform Y at Z location', puzzles now focus on the items used to perform these tasks.

Spanners fix broken lifts, the academic tome lets you translate hieroglyphics in a brief memory minigame, monkeys need a banana bribe to help you out. And it doesn't matter who lobs said spanner/book/banana - it's the carrying that counts.

Combat maintains the button-smashing simplicity, but allows for experimentation to keep it fresh. Grab scenery - bottles, chairs, swords, spears - and a flick of the remote will lob the item at any Nazi - sorry, generic Nazi-like villain - silly enough to get in your way.

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The fight at Club Obi Wan turns into a mad coconut shy, as a poisoned Jones chucks martini glasses at heckling Chinese villains in an attempt to dislodge the antidote.

In the mines under Pankot Palace you have to throw TNT at one formidable foe - not brain teasing, but brain pleasing.

Holy trilogy

Of the three episodes, it's the foray into the Temple of Doom that shows most fidelity to the film.

The escape from Shanghai (complete with the ridable gong - just you wait and see), the trek through the jungle, descending into the temple itself - there's not a scene out of place.

Surprisingly, it's Raiders that sports the oddest scene extension - a brief one-minute fight inside Marion's Nepalese tavern opening out into a half-hour mountain trek we certainly don't remember from the film.

Highlights? We're particularly enamoured with the mine cart ride - a simple task that sees you batting out levers to open up new areas of the track.

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