Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues
Its title rather a misnomer, the main thrust of Lego Indy 2’s gameplay is, in fact, retreads of a selection of themes and film segments from the last game, affixed with a brief run-through of the lacklustre Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull movie.
This is a thinly veiled attempt to squeeze every drop of Indy out of a licence that just doesn’t contain enough material for the kind of yearly updates Activision now seems to consider essential for any game in its stable.
Still, the charming world of Lego still often refuses to be subdued by LucasArts’ efforts to bleed it for all it has. Rather than the system whereby the hub world was littered with doorways to film chapters laid out by the Star War series, Lego Indy 2 offers a more linear narrative-based passage through the major features of each film’s plot, reducing each movie’s geographical progress into, seemingly, no more than a few feet in somebody’s back garden. It’s cute and funny to meander from the opening fracade in the Nevada government base to a high-speed chase across Indy’s university campus just a few feet up the road on a microcosm of Indy’s world which has all the incidental detail of one of the pricier real-life Lego playsets.
Play, however, feels often lost in the somewhat trying design of many of Lego Indy 2’s level designs. When compared to the original, highly successful Star Wars titles, the amount of complexity necessary to simply get around Indy’s world is starting to feel too involved for its own good, with multiple weapons and items per character, all performing set tasks which the quivering, unbuilt piles of bricks often fail to make clear. We found ourselves having to target small pieces of Lego from less-than-obvous places with the whip in order to open what turned out to be doors – proving that Lego interpretations of fantastical Mayan entrances don’t always translate particularly well anywhere but within the minds of those who designed them.
Bosses proved similarly illogical for a child’s game, with many minutes spent scratching heads as we tried to remember which items could be thrown, which pushed, and which carried and placed depending on a ruleset fleetingly imparted to us several levels ago.
The potentially exciting driving sections, in which a multitude of vehicles, including Crystal Skull’s giant forest-clearing blade contraption, unfortunately devolve into low-concept ramming competitions, your machine puttering round basic circular tracks as you’re instructed to take out a series of specific enemy vehicles by smashing into them, weirdly elaborating the films’ high-speed chases into plodding, 20-minute long yawn fests as your car constantly becomes snagged on scenery and you fall repeatedly to your death.
Finally, the level designer. A rather interesting addition, allowing the creation of small sandbox challenges, there’s enough depth and detail here to let you really rather let loose, mixing assets and ideas from all the game sections to create your own custom challenges to a fairly varied effect, with invisible switch systems, conditions for victory and various other elements which elevate your designs far beyond simple ‘find the exit’ mediocrity.
While too many efforts have been made here to widen the Lego series’ scope, which was originally enjoyable almost purely due to its simplicity, there’s still enough of that sense of fun and cheeky novelty left in here to make Indy 2 just about recommendable to fans of the other Lego games, or Indiana Jones nuts. If it’s for your kids, though, be prepared to be offering a fair amount of assistance in the more convoluted sections.