LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this game adds a humorous spin to the retelling of the first three Indiana Jones movies. While an understanding of the movies helps you to appreciate the humor in the game, the puzzle adventure game is compelling by itself, so kids don't need to have seen the movies to play. This is good because some of source movies are rated PG-13, whereas this "E+10" game is appropriate for kids as young as 9 (and younger if playing the DS version, which is the only version rated "E"). The "E+10" rating is a result of the cartoon violence; but these are all LEGO characters so when you fight and beat up on baddies, they explode into tiny LEGO pieces. Some of the fighting can be quite amusing because Indiana Jones will do things like give a thug a noogie until he explodes.
What's it about?
LEGO INDIANA JONES: THE ORIGINAL ADVENTURES retells the first three Indiana Jones movies (Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) in a tongue-in-cheek manner through short video clips featuring the characters as LEGO creations. Players explore the exotic locales of the movie series from the Amazon jungles to the remote mountaintops of India, all depicted in slick blocky LEGO splendor. The gameplay combines puzzle play with action-adventure as you explore levels (chapters) from the movies. The object is to figure out how to work all the hidden levers, switches, and ramps so that you can move through the level, all the while fending off bad guys who are trying to stop you.
The game starts in Story Mode, where once you have completed the first level, all three movies are open for you to explore. Each movie has six chapters in the Story Mode, but offers many more secrets when you return in Free Play Mode. You can play as Indy or one of his cohorts, depending on the location, and can toggle between the two on the fly. Each character has his or her own method of fighting and special skills. Indy fights with his whip, which he can also use to latch onto pegs and fly across abysses. In the Free Play Mode, you can select which of 60 playable characters you want to accompany you. In both versions, you will also build with LEGO blocks to create gadgets that help you.
Is it any good?
The game is charming and funny, something even adult gamers can enjoy if they are fans of the movies. But at its heart, this is a family game. The gameplay is never too hard for kids, you have infinite lives, and the fighting, while there, is usually done in a comical manner. For example, you will see Indy grab a thug and give him a nuggie until he explodes into his component LEGO blocks. Another family-friendly aspect is the cooperative drop-in-drop-out two-person play where family or friends can always join in (except in the DS version, which requires two cartridges for multiplayer gameplay).
The Wii version is particularly satisfying because you get to flick the Wii remote with your wrist to mimic Indy's whip actions. If you have younger children, choose the DS version because it has less violence and it's easier to play. It also makes good use of the DS controls by having you blow into the microphone to extinguish torches, and draw on the screen to control Indy's whip.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about whether playing this game made you want to see the Indiana Jones movies. Which of the three adventures did you like best? Is it better to have an actual person play with you or does the game's artificial intelligence do a good job?