The Original Adventures (for Xbox 360, $59.99). Lucas Arts gives one or two players the cooperative chance to control more than 80 characters in the Indy universe as they play through the 1980s trilogy of films, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “The Temple of Doom” and “The Last Crusade.”
What’s the story? Paraphrased from the game manual: He’s smart, he’s daring, he’s brave and he’s plastic. Along with a colorful cast of friends and enemies, Indiana Jones seeks the greatest archaeological finds of all time.
Characters’ character: A wonderful video-gaming experience greets young and old explorers ready to enter jungles, catacombs, deserts and the famed Well of Souls as they take part in humorous - and gorgeous-looking - adventures.
The player controls a miniature action figure of Indy made of Legos (eight versions are in the game) and with a press of a button activates another figure, perhaps Marion in her evening dress or Short Round, who can join Indy for missions.
The hero is equipped with his famous whip and goes on missions to find multiple relics, such the Ark of the Covenant and Holy Grail, as he climbs, drives, hangs, swings, jumps, builds, swims, smashes and deciphers his way to success.
A story mode covers the major events of the films while a free-play mode allows for a mix of heroes and villains to join and re-explore levels.
Clever moments tying into the movie franchise abound. For example, Indy, who is afraid of snakes, shivers in fear and refuses to go anywhere near them during certain missions. The character Willie can scream loud enough to shatter glass. Indy is found fighting on top of trucks and riding rail carts, motorcycles, horses and elephants. Of course, he also has an encounter with a very large boulder, as seen in the first film.
Almost all of the game mechanics seen in Lego Star Wars are back and sometimes expanded upon. They include collecting studs to buy stuff and unlock characters. More challenging is finding golden treasure chests to assemble artifacts that can be viewed when visiting Barnett College, Indy’s headquarters in the game.
Additionally, characters can pick up weapons and disguises from fallen enemies, use shovels to dig up Lego pieces and assemble structures, wield a wrench to fix machines and even throw bananas at monkeys to have them give up a golden key.
Extra missions are included for those who can unravel a mystery in Barnett College and include controlling a young Indiana Jones.
The game even pays tribute to its Star Wars predecessor as players run into such legends as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and C-3P0. They are rewarded for completing a select set of objectives by unlocking a playable version of Han Solo.
The learning curve? Controls are simple, the use of the whip is especially impressive, and besides the occasional platform-jumping and brain-draining environmental puzzles, it’s a fun and relaxing time.
Parental blood-pressure meter: 130/80, slightly elevated because of explosive destruction and the occasional whimpers of bad guys. No matter what level of aggressive attacks is dished out upon an environment or character, it just falls apart into Lego pieces, so it’s hard not to just enjoy the action-packed silliness. Teamwork also is essential in the cooperative mode during every mission, and that’s a great lesson to teach the player.
Read all about it? Following in the steps of the child-friendly comic-book series Star Wars Clone Wars Adventure, Dark Horse Comics this week offers Indiana Jones Adventures Vol. 1 ($6.95). The full-color, 80-page pocket-size book offers a cartoony take on the hero in easy-to-digest stories.
What’s it worth? Lego Indiana Jones is a great experience for a couple of tweens or dad and junior to appreciate the trilogy of films from a distinctive, interactive perspective.