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Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures

Whipping things into a new shape...

Ah, LEGO: Star Wars. So user friendly it tickled. It's unsurprising then, that genius developer Traveller's Tales, 'masters of the cutesy' have decided to tackle another beloved piece of the George Lucas universe.

Well, when you think about it there's really only two pieces of it, unless they decide to do LEGO Howard The Duck - yes please!): that hat wearing, whip-cracking serial adventurer, Doctor Jones. And thankfully, what could have just as easily turned out like a cut 'n' paste job, didn't.

The Cheshire-based team could easily have just thrown some 1945 window dressing over what had already been crafted with the Star Wars series, shipped it and sat back as tills ring out across the globe. Thankfully they didn't.

Instead, what's been dished up is a fresh, yet familiar, game cooked from the ground up with a satchel bag full of new features with a really big push towards what Indy does in the films - puzzle solving, deciphering riddles, exploring and swinging on that trusty whip of his.

Getting psychical
Whereas Star Wars focused largely on the idea of building through The Force, Indy does the same but focuses largely on the idea of discovering these parts first before building something new to push you through to the next level. An example of this happens in Shanghai at the outset of Temple Of Doom where you find yourself with a broken down car and, using Short Round, Indy and Willie, you have to manoeuvre your way around the environment solving puzzles to discover new parts, all the while battling enemies. Things have gotten a lot more physical.

There is no Force Power to fall back on here; instead you need to carry objects to the requisite destination. And sometimes you'll have to do this while been shot up with blow-darts, bullets, jabbed with ruddy great swords or smacked over the cranium with a chair by marauding henchmen. Combat too has been given some added definition. Yes it's still a
one-button hammer session but it's the little nuances that count - Indy can lasso foes from a distance and yank them off their feet, grab enemies in headlocks or lay down a nifty combo punch.

Throw in chair lobbing, bottle breaking and the handy skill of using his whip to grab any object that looks it can be used as a weapon plus some gunplay and you've got a pretty diverse choice of means to dispatch those pesky LEGO Nazis (brandishing just Eagles on lapels rather than more evil-looking Swastikas) and Thuggee voodoo tribesmen.

Fear factor
And, like LEGO Star Wars, there's an extensive roster of characters to choose from plus the ability to mix and match LEGO pieces. Every character from the film, right down to the minute walk-on part is given their moment of glory here.

One of the downsides of the previous games was that certain characters felt like cannon fodder, idly following you around with very little purpose in the overall game. This has been rectified thanks to the addition of the new Fear System.

For example, Indy's fear of snakes is played upon nicely. What do we mean by that, you might ask yourself. Well, get too close to one and the adventurer freezes up, meaning you'll need to switch characters to complete particular puzzles. This adds a neat mix-up the dynamics of the game giving each and every character a much-needed purpose so there's no contempt towards whoever it might be that gets to control Indy.

Co-op is as much a part of Indy as with Star Wars and secondary players can drop in to the action at the touch of a button. Unfortunately, it's still only two-player here, we're just going to have to wait that little bit longer before Traveller's Tales implements the concept of four players roaming around the screen at once. That said, it's probably best left to two, as four player co-op might get a little too chaotic at any one time.

Slick, silly, and still an enormous amount of fun for a ridiculously family friendly game, LEGO Indy has got all the making of yet another smash hit for its talented dev team.

We just can't help but wish that they'd gone that extra mile and included Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. Oh well. No prizes for guessing that we'll probably be seeing that particular game this Christmas in a special edition.

Until then though, this is more than enough Indy to meet your block-building needs. This latest LEGO iteration is the cutest-looking one yet.

The verdict

LEGO Indy is shaping up to be an ingenious spin on the formula that made LEGO Star Wars so much fun.

PlayStation 3
Traveller's Tales