LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues Review
February 24, 2010 by Scott Parrino
Indiana Jones makes its triumphant return in LEGO form again in Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues. Taking on Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, does LEGO and LucasArts succeed in bringing the fun and creativity?
The short answer is, sort of. While named Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (from here on referred to as Indy 2), the main story is focused primarily on the latest Indiana Jones movie, with call-backs to previous movies in the form of challenges and characters. That aside, LucasArts and Traveller’s Tales teamed up and recreated the movie faithfully in LEGO form, from the sets to LEGO figures that look like their movie counterparts. The effect is still a popular form of fun that has been quite the rage ever since LEGO started taking on the Star Wars movies. Indy 2 gives us players the chance to keep playing with our LEGOs with sets and characters from the latest movie. That being said, how well does it play on the Nintendo DS?
To be blunt, it is a item collector game that easily satisfies the appetite for those that like to search nook and crannies to unlock levels and characters. Players complete levels while picking up LEGO studs from around the level and by defeating bad guys and solving puzzles. With these studs players unlock new characters, buy hints and extras and so forth. You needn’t worry about losing in Indy 2 as your character doesn’t have lives; each time you die you just lose some studs which can be re-collected upon respawning. This gives players an ease of mind to keep playing without worrying about game overs and tough levels. Unfortunately it robs the game of any major challenge, but more on this later.
The overall game is short if you’re just looking to beat it and be done with it. The real time-consuming aspect is collecting all the blocks, studs, characters, etc and fully unlock everything. This is all tracked in your journal, which will tell you how many gold hats you have, if you’ve collected the required studs for the level and so on. This is all a great way to keep track if you’re on your way to a full completion and is neatly organized. Outside of the main story is the island you are on. It serves as a place to see your trophies from all the hats you’ve collected, as well as purchasing characters and extras. You can also explore the island to collect more hint bricks and uncover the secret of the island itself.
The controls in Indy 2 are at best sloppy and sluggish. There are some parts in levels where you can use the touch screen to complete the action, such as flipping a lever or swinging from Indy’s whip. Sometimes it doesn’t work and you find yourself sliding your thump over the screen multiple times before you either get it right or give up and press the action button, which in the end is quicker. The incentive to using the touch screen is that it garners you more studs but its never a big difference. Jumping puzzles are also a pain as not only is there a slight to delay in your jump, but it is entirely too easy to miss your target. Many a times I’ve slipped off an edge that I was sure I had made or missed a rope completely. Jumping in Indy 2 requires a certain mindset as it will always seem you’ll miss a jump and still make it, or it will look like a sure thing as you plummet below. While this isn’t a big deal in a lot of levels, some challenges and areas are nothing but jumping puzzles. I can’t fault Indy 2 entirely as the Nintendo DS has a limited layout and trying to get precision jumps with a directional pad is very much different compared to having a joystick on a controller.
Available in Indy 2 is the two-player drop in and drop out cooperative play. I’ve always believed that the LEGO games are ten times more fun with a buddy along for the ride and with the portability of the Nintendo DS, you can have your fun anywhere. With the split screen gameplay its great to not have to worry about being tethered to the first player’s screen.
The entirety of Indy 2 is done in LEGO form and doesn’t disappoint in being faithful to both the movie and authenticity of LEGO parts. Even on the Nintendo DS, Indy 2 is detailed in the 3D department of models. LEGO pieces bounce about and LEGO characters move as if the toys were given life. There is some concession in the movement but that is allowed as if we were to adhere strictly to LEGO physics then we’d be viewing some really awkward movement and animations. Unfortunately my main complaint is the view of gameplay. It seems that sometimes the camera is either too far in and you can’t see your enemies or where you’re going, or too far zoomed back that it becomes difficult to see where you are going. There is also some slowdown in frames if there is too much action in the screen, but those are few and far between and don’t necessarily affect gameplay too much.
Aside from the opening cutscene, there are no other movies in Indy 2 save for mini animations within the level to reveal secrets or what your attention should be drawn to. The story of Indy 2 is told through a series of drawn comics with text below them. While you don’t get to see your favorite Indiana Jones movie scenes in LEGO form, the comics themselves are well-drawn and convey the story really well.
There isn’t much in terms of the sound in Indy 2. None of the characters talk as per the LEGO standard, leaving their physical actions to dictate the scene. The sound effects are simple and yet classic, with the click-clacking of LEGO pieces being put together or the meaty hits of fist fights. The music is also classic Indiana Jones, however it plays the same sweeping crescendo of the Indiana Jones title that we are all familiar with way too often. After about five minutes of hearing it constantly, I opted to mute the music.
Boiled down to its basics, Indy 2 is pure item collector extreme. While the main story will take some time, the real fun is going back in Free Play to use unique characters to find the hidden hats and maps and collect the studs to purchase new characters and extras. However once you have collected everything, that’s it. You can start over and do it all again or try and beat your times and points in the challenges, but once you have collected your heart out, there is nothing much more. But that is where the fun is in the popular LEGO games, collecting and having fun.
Overall, Indy 2 isn’t a bad game. It isn’t a great game as it suffers from being too easy where the only challenge is finding everything possible and getting %100 completion. The controls aren’t exactly good but playing in LEGO Indiana Jones Land is a lot of fun and its always hard to turn down a chance to romp about as Indiana Jones. While it may seemed geared to the younger crowd, don’t let it fool you, fans of the Indiana Jones franchise and of the LEGO brand won’t be let down.