Saturday, May 18, 2013

Video Game Review: Lego Indiana Jones for Wii

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Very forgiving game that is tons of fun
Cons: A few of the levels are hard to figure out at first
The Bottom Line:
Definitely fun
And completely addicting
Indiana rocks!




I Never Thought I Would Love Lego Indiana Jones as Much as I Do

The first time I saw one of the Lego video games, I thought it had to be stupid.  Who would play Lego versions of movie video games?  Granted, I'm not a video game based on movie person anyway, so that didn't help my perception.  Anyway, my brother raved about the games, and talked me into trying the first level of Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures for Wii.  In no time flat, I was hooked.

Game Play

As I expected, this is a game very much based on the movies.  In this case, we get levels based on the three movies in the original trilogy.  Each movie gets six levels, to be exact, that pretty much walk you through the stories.

And you play each level at least twice.  The first time through is always in Story Mode.  Here, the level is augmented by several bits of animation.  Between the animation and the game play, I was pretty much able to remember where we were in the movie and how the story progressed.  But these aren't straight translations of the story and the animation often made me grin if not laugh out loud.  When it is time to play, you have two or three "good guy" characters to help you solve puzzles, collect Lego studs for points, and defend yourself from the "bad guys."  This is either a one or two player game.  I've played most of the time by myself, and the computer is very good as keeping the other character nearby or helping you if the puzzle you have to solve to move on requires more than one character doing something.

After you have played Story Mode, you can go back in Free Play to play the level again.  This time around, you can choose from any character that you've unlocked, good or bad.  In fact, the computer will then select the rest of your team, usually giving you between 8 and 10 characters.  You can then go back through that level.  You don't have the animation, but the actual game play is still there.

Why go through a level a second time?  Because, in addition to just surviving, you have to collect things along the way.  You need to collect enough of the Lego studs to earn True Adventurer status.  Each level has 10 treasure chests, some in plain sight, others harder to find.  Finally, there is a parcel along the way that will help make the game easier for you.  To find all of these things, you sometimes need to use the bad guy characters.  In Free Play, you can easily switch between the characters you've brought with you.  While the computer usually does a good job of selecting all the characters you need, occasionally, it doesn't.  In fact, a couple times I had to restart the level because it didn't give me someone with the ability needed to just complete the level.

See, every character has their own unique abilities.  Indiana Jones has the whip, for example, and sometimes you need to whip from one place to another.  The female characters can jump higher than the men.  And the list goes on.  Fortunately, there are visual clues to help you figure out what abilities are needed.

But here's my favorite part of the game.  You can't die!  Okay, so that's not quite true.  If enough bad guys hit you or you walk over a cliff, you will break apart, losing points you've collected.  But you immediately come back to the same area and can keep going.  Even if your points hit zero, you can keep moving forward and complete the level.

Controls

This game uses both the Wii remote and the Nunchuck.  Since you control the characters with the joystick on the Nunchuck, game play is actually pretty straight forward.  And the game is fairly forgiving, meaning you just need to be in the neighborhood, and the game will allow you to do whatever function you need to be doing.

Look and Sound

This game isn't for the graphics obsessed.  Don't get me wrong, it looks good, but it remembers that it is based on plastic blocks.  It isn't realistic looking at all, but is perfectly appropriate for a Lego game.

The game is filled with music.  There is background music in each level that I am assuming is based on the movies (I really need to rewatch them).  And you can always tell when bad guys are approaching since the music grows ominous.  The animated sequences don't have any dialogue.  They manage to tell the story with gestures and grunts quite effectively.  The characters will grunt as you are playing with them as well.

Who Will Enjoy the Game?

The game is rated Everyone 10 and over, and I would say that's about right for two reasons.  First, the level of violence is in keeping with the movies.  Yes, we are dealing with plastic blocks, but at times the animation is just a bit disturbing for the young.  Or at least for me.  (However, I will confess to having laughed at those same scenes myself.)

Additionally, some of the puzzles in various levels are hard to figure out.  I'm sure this is one point where playing with someone would have helped me tremendously.  I would have had someone to brainstorm ideas to help me get past whatever the obstacle was.  Personally, I found a couple of good on-line guides that really helped me when I got stuck.  I was actually very thankful for them.  I will confess that the first few levels were the hardest for me, but once I got the hang of the game, the controls, and the visual clues, it got easier and much more fun.

And It Is Fun!

If I had nothing else I needed to do, I would play this game by the hour.  Okay, even at times when I had stuff I should have been doing.  There are a total of 18 levels in this game (six for each of the three movies).  Each level takes anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour to play through once, so as you can imagine, this game takes quite a bit of time to beat.

And to show you just how much I enjoyed this game, I have finally actually beaten it.  I can't think of another video game I can say that about, even the Super Mario games.  It does help that you keep playing when you die, which means you will eventually finish the level and collect all the stuff you need to collect.  That's a huge plus.

Now that I've beaten it, I must admit I'm not anxious to sit down and play it again.  Part of that is because I have more Lego games waiting for me.  I could see myself pulling it back out in a year or two and enjoying the adventures all over again.

Conclusion

Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures for Wii was a lot more fun than I ever thought it would be.  I'm glad my brother proved me wrong.  I will be digging into the other Lego games I have very soon.

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