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Wednesday, 14 May 2008 17:03

Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures preview

Hands up who is looking forward to the new Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?  Now fans of the original three films keep those hands up.  Finally keep your hands up if the thought of playing through a Lego version of the original films in an interactive video game sounds like fun.  Hmmmmm still a few with me, check out this preview of the next LucasArts Lego game.

The tongue-in-cheek action of Travellers Tales original venture into the world of combining video games with a Lego construction blocks, and then reimaging the Star Wars universe was a big sales hit. 

With hilarious cut-scenes told with mumbling exclamations and facial expressions only, the Lego Star Wars games were able to get iconic set pieces across to players in a Lego form that, though it was a light parody, was instantly recognizable to fans.

Now LucasArts and Travellers Tales have turned to the Indiana Jones movies for new Lego fodder to work with.  Oh! And of course the impending release of the fourth IJ movie I am sure provided no motivation what so ever.legoindy1.jpg

Cynical money grabbing inferences aside, Indiana Jones is indeed the perfect follow-up for the Lego video game to tackle.

At the recent Melbourne leg of the Activision/LucasArts Roadshow, Radioactive IT was given a preview of the upcoming title.  LucasArts’ Barbara Gamlen took us through a small portion of the new game.

In the preview it was immediately apparent that the Travellers Tales development team have managed to keep the charm of a Lego constructed world, with a significant improvement on the visual realisation.

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As Gamlen trekked through a jungle scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom she rattled off the features of the upcoming title. 

* More than 60 playable characters, including villains and supporting characters (Marion Ravenwood, Short Round, Rene Belloq, Willie Scott, Marcus Brody, Jones Senior and Mola Ram).
* Character specific abilities include excavation by Satipo, an umbrella slide by Marcus Brody, and monkey access by Marion Ravenwood.
* Create unique playable characters like Sallah Scott or Mola Round by mixing and matching the LEGO body parts of all playable characters.
* Explore the globe and solve puzzles that encourage creative thinking using teamwork and unique building situations only possible in a LEGO world. 

Gamelen showed off the more immersive environments, featuring such elements as mud and water adding to the complexity of the puzzles.

It’s all about teamwork, switching between characters to use their special abilities and avoiding their “phobias” (Indy, for example, is afraid of snakes} to achieve the level goals.

We saw Indy use his Whip to swing across chasms, while Willie Scott mastered her “scream” ability to clear a path to employ her (and all other female characters in the game) ability of the nimble double jump to get to hard to reach sections of the map.legoindy2.jpg

Elephants were ridden across muddy areas and Short Round was employed to get into and walk around with a barrel over him – not for any actual puzzle solving sequence, but more as an emphasis on what the game can be for players.  “No real point, just fun!”

Overall fans of the Lego Star Wars games will be getting more of the same fun game-play, with the continued focus on family team cooperation and puzzle solving.

The game has been given a PG rating, but watching the infamous living-heart-removal scene from Temple shows the effort the team has put in to get the family friendly rating.  Instead of the hapless victim ending in a bust of flames after being lowered into a magma pit, he returns to the surface, embarrassed that his Lego clothes have been blasted off.  The playful fun of plastic building block nudity provides a perfect example of the charm of this franchise.

Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures is due for release June 4, on Xbox 360, PLAYSTATION 3, PlayStation 2, PSP, Windows, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS

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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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