|Xbox, GC, PS2
| The Good
Jones looks and sounds good
| The Bad
Lots of glitches
Puzzles are ridiculously easy
The Collective, the people who made the successful Buffy
the Vampire Slayer, have taken their fine game and battle
engine and made a new game focusing on everyone's favorite
archaeologist explorer, Indiana Jones. The year is 1935 and
Jones is set on the task of finding a powerful ancient Chinese
artifact. He, of course, must keep it out of the hands of
evil. To help him with his adventure are his whip, hands,
guns and partner, Mei Ying.
At the heart of the game is your standard explorative action
game, much like Buffy and Tomb Raider. You'll
find yourself going from point A to point B, dealing with
the various enemies, traps and using Indy's whip to aid him
in the platforming elements that just about every stage offers.
While the game is broken up into stages, none of the sizable
areas are too big as to make getting to the next area excessively
hard. This decision must be a fix from Buffy, where
the game saved at checkpoints between each section and the
longer levels provided a lot of cheap deaths and unnecessary
redoing. In Indiana Jones, this seems less of an issue
as each location feels just long enough and if you do die
from a fall, you won't be spending too much time getting back
to where you were.
While you'll be doing a good bit of switch throwing and platform
climbing/jumping, there is a large amount of combat to be
had. Built on the Buffy engine, the combat is quite
well done and enjoyable. While you can use guns, chairs and
even bottles to fight with, the strength of the system is
the hand-to-hand and the use of Indy's whip, which can allow
you to disarm enemies. The whip can also be used to swing
from one spot to another during platforming sections. Add
on some stealth elements, like wall hugging and looking around
corners and you'll have a pretty good package.
As with any other adventure game, there are some puzzles
to solve. I say "puzzles", but let's be honest -
you'd have to be missing part of your brain not to get past
these. They're insultingly easy and obviously just tacked
on the break up the platforming and combat. Throw in the numerous
icons that pop up to tell you when to use your whip, throw
a switch or hack through vine with a machete, and most anyone
should have no problem getting through the game.
The graphics engine has a good base to start with. Each of
the levels has a nice size and a fine level of detail. The
lighting effects are well done and you can tell some attention
has been given to making the textures for the stones look
accurate. On the other hand, though, a number of the other
textures are repeated and blurry and it seems very little
time has been spent on the more organic aspects of the environments.
The character models look good and are animated well, especially
during fights. In comparison to the models in Buffy,
though, these models do tend to look a little rough around
the edges. On the whole, you should be pleased with the way
the game looks, even if things like lackluster looking water
do come into play.
Musically, the traditional Indiana Jones score and
background music is used well and helps carry the theme. The
voice acting, though, is rather hit and miss - the actor for
Indy sounds close to Harrison Ford's take on the character.
The NPCs are okay, but a lot of their lines are repeated.
Also, the accents for some of the characters are just downright
Where things seem to unravel a bit is the fact that Indiana
Jones suffers from a checklist of glitches and some unusual
decisions made during the development of the game. You will
notice a number of times where the polygon clipping is particularly
nasty as Indy runs through parts of walls or fallen enemies
will be laying halfway into one barrier or another. And Indy
will find himself running into invisible barriers or even
standing on air. Also, you'll find some places you can walk
on, while others that look equally as explorable are impassable
because of the invisible barriers. Throw in some slowdown
and even music skipping and you have a game that feels more
and more unfinished the further you get into it. On top of
that, it seems that Indy can't handle even the smallest fall
without noticeable damage. This is remedied by allowing you
to heal with the water in your canteen, but since you can
replenish this so often, you may not have too much trouble
getting through the game.
Indiana Jones is a pretty good game in it's own right.
Look past the glitches and the mediocre puzzles and you can
find a fun action/adventure for just about anyone. Perfectionists
may just want to rent this game as the lack of polish may
turn some off, but everyone should enjoy this title.