Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb Xbox Review
Once upon a time Lucasarts produced adventure games that didn’t just use the Star Wars license. Sam & Max, Indiana Jones, Full Throttle, Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle – The list was almost endless! (Well actually, that’s about it unless you count The Dig, which we don’t)
Sadly things have changed. One day games developers decided that nobody wanted to play point and click games anymore. This was around the same time Lucasarts decided that they were only going to make Star Wars games.
We cried, but all was not lost. Way back in 2002 Lucasarts announced that they were to revive some of their oldest franchises – With new iterations of Sam & Max, Full Throttle and Indiana Jones in the works. We rejoiced! Then Lucasarts quickly cancelled both Sam & Max and Full Throttle. Fortunately they at least decided to persist with one title (Albeit probably the one we anticipated the least) and eventually Indiana Jones & The Emperor’s Tomb was released for Xbox, PS2 and PC.
However, those who remember the original Indiana Jones games will notice that much has changed. The game is no longer a point and click in any way, shape or form. Far from it, it now resembles a typical action adventure – In the mould of Tomb Raider.
On first impressions, Indy is a largely underwhelming experience. The graphics, whilst solid, are unexceptional and don’t even come close to what the Xbox is capable of, whilst the gameplay feels a bit clunky and is very linear.
Spades of Fun
Suffice to say I wasn’t impressed to begin with. That was until I discovered the spade. The spade is the thing that saves this game from mediocrity, the spade is quite probably one of the greatest things I have encountered in a video game. Ever. Seriously.
When Indy is equipped with the spade, the most reasonable thing to do would seem to be to smack the nearest Ivory Hunter around the head with it. Doing this causes a satisfying clunk, and makes the enemy fall over. This is followed by ten minutes of running around, causing the death of any Ivory Hunters foolish enough to cross your path with the spade. Magnificent.
Then they take your spade off you, and the game again descends into mediocrity. Just as you’re about to reach for the ‘Off’ button, you rediscover the spade. Oddly enough the spade does more damage than a shotgun in the side of the head. I love that spade.
Unsurprisingly the game has its fair share of stealth sections (MGS has a lot to answer for) and combines this with a fairly sub-standard platforming adventure. Occasionally a puzzle will appear in an attempt to break up the action but these are few and far between and can all be solved in a matter of minutes. The game itself is of a reasonable length and is entertaining enough to play through to the end but when it’s over there is almost zilch replay value, unless you feel like going on a spade frenzy of course.
The Indiana Jones experience itself is fairly authentic, with a good atmosphere, an Indy model almost as handsome as Harrison Ford himself and as you would expect from Lucasarts, an excellent music score.
However, overall the game is nothing more than sub-standard adventure. At times the controls can be awkward, whilst the game lacks much direction and at times can be very repetitive. It’s a shame really as this could have been so much more, it’s mildly entertaining but that’s all. Still, die-hard Indy fans will likely enjoy it and the spade makes it worth the cost of a rent. Lovely thing that spade.