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The established Lego Star Wars formula is also improved by a scattering of new ideas. For instance, some characters have phobias, such as Indy's well-known issue with snakes, and won't be able to cross certain areas or perform a certain task unless another character can clear the way for them first. Watching Lego Indy's knock-kneed terror is one of the great pleasures of the game.
Of course, there are a few negative points. The main one - as in the Lego Star Wars games - is the camera. It's never easy when a game has to accommodate two players on screen at once, and for much of its running time Lego Indiana Jones does a great job of zooming in and out and changing angles to keep everyone happy. When it does go wrong, however, it goes badly wrong, and usually during a particularly tough sequence of platforms when you really need to be able to see where you're jumping to and tweak your leap towards the right place to land. When the other player suddenly goes somewhere that jerks the camera out of place midway through, this can be really annoying, though you can always blame the other guy and smack them over the head with a shovel. Do it in the game, though, if you want to avoid the legal repercussions.
The only other flaw (bar a little screen tearing) runs a little deeper, and the blame can't really be laid at Travellers Tales' door. With Lego Indiana Jones, as in Lego Star Wars, the longevity isn't in finishing the three sets of chapters in story mode (which you can probably manage in nine hours or less) but in going back with different characters in freeplay mode to unlock every last character and every last bonus. For instance, only Thugee characters are able to open certain areas through ritual statues, while some areas in the Raiders chapters need Short Round or a Nazi officer to open. There are over 60 characters to collect and several bonus models to construct, but in a lot of ways the Star Wars universe is more suited to this sort of thing. Plenty of us grew up with an encyclopaedic knowledge of even the most secondary Star Wars characters, our fascination fuelled by the figures, the comics and the novels. Is the same true of Indiana Jones? Not really, and as a result the collection aspect isn't quite as compulsive this time around.
All the same, this is every bit as lovable and infectious a game as the Lego Star Wars titles - even if it won't last quite so well long-term. It's still a great game to play with small kids - and a great game to play with the big kids who grew up with movies. In fact, I wouldn't want to waste my time on anyone who could sit through the cut scenes without giving off at least a smirk. In a way, Lego Indiana Jones raises the stakes for the upcoming Lego Batman, just because we might need to see something different next time around, but while I can't imagine anyone saying that this is the best single game they've played this year, I doubt I could find anyone who really wouldn't like it. It's Lego. It's Indiana Jones. It's a whole heap of fun. What else is there to say?
Lego Indiana Jones isn't a huge departure from Lego Star Wars, but the puzzles and level designs are generally better, and the nostalgia factor still works like gang-busters. Warmly Recommended.
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