Friday, May 02, 2008

Lego and Lucas Arts to release Lego Indiana Jones in June

"Lego and LucasArts is obviously a winning combination. The previous pairings of the two brands in the various Lego Star Wars games have been nothing but money makers for the brands and publishers involved. So it came as no surprise when LucasArts earlier this year revealed that another of its flagship characters--swashbuckling action man Indiana Jones--was getting his block on in Lego Indiana Jones. The new game--which is set for release on practically every game platform in the second quarter of this year--will cover all of the action of the first three Indiana Jones movies (no Crystal Skull here), and we got to see how the game is shaping up today at a special LucasArts GDC event.

Just like the first Lego Star Wars games, Lego Indiana Jones will break down each of the original three films into six episodes focusing on each particular movie's key action scenes. The very first location showed by LucasArts in today's demo was the game's hub world, which functions similarly to the cantina in the first Lego Star Wars. The hub world in this game is Jones' place of work (his day job, not his archaeology gig), Barnett College, and it's where players will access the game's various levels. After a brief tour of the college, the LucasArts rep jumped straight into the first level of the game, which takes place in the opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark. From the following cutscene, it's clear to see developer Travellers' Tales has injected this game with the same mix of reverence for the source material mixed in with a healthy dose of humor seen in previous Lego games. This level copies the opening of Raiders almost exactly, right down to Satipo (played by Alfred Molina in the film) taking out that arrow stuck in the tree and tasting the poison on it. The comic relief comes in the form of three porter characters who are following Indy and one by one get accidentally taken out by hiding natives actually aiming for Jones.

Indy's main weapon will be his trusty whip, which can be used in a variety of ways. Not only can it be used for attacking enemies, it can also be used to swing across chasms, grab objects, and pull levers. The gameplay itself is extremely reminiscent of Lego Star Wars, with the same basic platforming and team-based puzzle solving found in those earlier Lego titles. The main character of Indiana Jones will always be accompanied by a partner character which--just like in Lego Star Wars again--can be controlled by a second player at any time (that second player can also drop out at any time). This second character will always have a different set of skills from Indy, which will be needed to get past puzzles. For example, the second character of Satipo in this first level had the dig ability, which he used to unearth some buried Lego pieces that the Indy character then used to build a bridge across a large gap. Later on, Indy had to step on some pressure switches to lower spikes barring Satipo's way.

This being the iconic opening scene of Raiders, the gameplay demo included the famous scene of Indy grabbing the gold idol off the pedestal, as well as the rolling boulder chase sequence. The level ends with Indy making it out of the temple, only to be confronted by the Lego version of evil French archaeologist Belloq, who asks Indy to hand him the idol. In another comical scene, Indy pulls several things out of his bag before the idol, including C-3PO's head."

I'll have to be sure my son sees this. When he was little we teamed up to solve the puzzles in one of the first Indiana Jones games that came out on the original Atari game console - oh my, it must have been over 20 years ago now!

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