Indiana Jones and the Emperors Tomb

September 30, 2003

Movies that are based upon games are generally terrible. The same thing is generally true with movies turned game. This is due in part to the short amount of time you have to experience a movie as they generally don’t span more than about 2 hours. Most video games, on the other hand, tend to last significantly longer than that with a rare few hitting the 50-100 hour mark. With that in mind a developer named “The Collective” brought out a game titled Buffy the Vampire Slayer that did very well and was praised for its incredible 3rd person adventure engine. Lucas Arts must have been paying attention because they called on The Collective and that same engine to power their Xbox Indiana Jones game.

As a side note, I will admit that I never got to spend any time playing Buffy so I can’t judge how close the two are in terms of game play and graphics. I did spend quite a bit of time playing as Indy though. I also noticed that the general consensus of the review sites was that Buffy was a much better game than Indiana Jones. That being said, playing Buffy may or may not have influenced their take on Indy.

Most action/adventure games have similar controls that require only a minor learning curve. Indy was no exception, although even after extended play time I still kept goofing up the camera controls. I didn’t feel like the controls or Indy’s movements were flawless by any stretch of the imagination, but they are a definite improvement over most adventure games. My biggest annoyance in this regard was the camera (big surprise there). I felt like I couldn’t move the camera fast enough and it just didn’t seem intuitive to me. One last minor thing was that Indy’s jump annoyed me to no end. He can jump so far in the movie yet we have a pansy Indy that can barely make a 3 foot jump.

Individually, the graphics and sound of the game are nothing to write home about, but the overall “feel” of the game, in terms of how well the graphics and music blended together to create an Indy-esque environment, was great. They did a super job of capturing the essence of the Indy films. The fact that Indy can lose his hat while fighting was a great addition that didn’t go un-noticed. I was also pleasantly surprised that I could use my whip as a weapon. It is oh so gratifying to whip someone to death with Indy’s famous whip.

While I enjoyed playing Indiana Jones from the aspect of a big fan of the movies, as a gamer it just wasn’t enough. The game was better than a lot of action/adventure games and it actually made the transition from movie to game rather nicely, but it was still missing something. I would say part of it was a very uninteresting story compared to other games out there. The other part that the game was lacking was a feel of excitement. When I am Indy, I want to feel like there is a race going on to uncover a lost artifact or something along those lines. What I don’t want to do is wander around and beat up a few guys here and maybe 1 or 2 the
. I needed to feel like you did the first time Indy ran from the giant boulder, and the game just couldn’t deliver. But there was a slight problem there as well, Indy can’t run; he just walks fast.

As a whole, the game wasn’t bad. The game had some great things that have been missing in movie games in the past, but it seemed to greatly lack other key elements that would have made it a good or even great game. Lucas Arts has been doing games for a while now and it has been pretty hit or miss. This one I would file somewhere between hit and miss, but for the Indiana Jones fan, I would say this is a game you owe it to yourself to try out.

Score: 2/5

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