INDIANA JONES AND THE EMPERORS TOMB: PLAYSTATION 2 REVIEW
There was a time when Indiana Jones films popularity were up with Star Wars and other popular film franchises. Whilst the fanbase has died off somewhat, the content remains fresh as ever and thankfully for gamers makes for some excellent action games. Released earlier this year on the Xbox, Indiana Jones and the Emperors Tomb promises players an action game based on some of the more famous scenes from the trilogy of films, and it just may live up to its name.
Indiana Jones and the Emperors Tomb consists of three main storylines, however they intertwine together. During the course of the adventure players will visit Incan ruins in the jungle to discover a lost amulet, team up with a partner in Hong Kong and fight German enemies towards the latter stages of the expedition. Players can expect some excellent action sequences, and death defying leaps just like in the film trilogy.
In the adventure you are cast as of course Indiana Jones in search of lost treasure, however along the way you meet up with some friendly and not so friendly characters. The main adventure begins in Sri Lanka, Ceylon to be precise and Jones has discovered a lost treasure is hidden there. From then on brute force is required if Indiana is to succeed in his quests. The game is played from a third person action perspective and as Indiana, players can interact with the environment in significant ways. For instance for Indiana to regain health, he uses a water flask at a fountain. This flask can also be used in the heat of combat.
Other items of interaction include chairs, bottles and shovels for obvious reasons whilst items such as dynamite can assist players in progressing further into the adventure. For instance, in one level I had to kick open a crate to discover dynamite sticks, and then use this dynamite to destroy a wall. The game provides hints as to when items should be used by a small icon. This becomes very useful, especially when it is not immediately obvious that an item such as dynamite should be used in the current area.
Indiana's arsenal of weapons is wide and varied. Each more suitable to certain enemies or tasks then others. Guns such as a pistol and shotgun can be used, but during the adventure it is likely you will come across weapons such as a shovel or even environmental hazards such as fire and of course his trusty whip. The array of weapons are not just used for defeating enemies. At times Mr Jones will have to use a machete to cut vines, or his whip to jump across large chasms. Knowing when to use each weapon is key to the completion of each level.
Mr Jones should be thankful that his arsenal is so varied because the enemies are tough. Unlike in other games, even the lowest brutes will take quite a beating before staying down and hazards such as crocodiles (especially a huge one you encounter towards the end of the first storyline) add even more danger to the environments. The AI is quite clever as well. Should you drop a weapon, the AI will try and pick it up and then use it against you, however it works both ways. The combat is all about timing, get it right and you will put together a combination that should finish an enemy off, get it wrong and they will open up a can of pain on poor Indiana.
I have to admit that I haven't been the biggest fan of 3D Action/Platform games in the past mainly due to the level design but Indiana Jones is a good introduction to people who share the same sentiments. It does offer a challenge and thinking will have to be done but the level design is quite logical and should you become stuck, most of the time it will only be for five to ten minutes. The controls also aid with this and have been ported from the Xbox almost perfectly. The face buttons perform actions such as jump and use weapon, shoulder buttons for dive and first person view and the two sticks move Indiana and also control the 3D camera.
As mentioned before during the course of the game you will travel to places such as Ceylon in Sri Lanka and Hong Kong. Each environment is individually detailed but there are visual clues to aid you. For instance in the Incan levels, Indiana can climb vines and these are protruding from the wall making them easy to spot. Each of the environments are heavily detailed, Ceylon features dense jungles, rivers and swamps whilst Hong Kong features bright lights and enemies in formal attire. The environments are semi-destructible, some more so then others.
Graphically the game has taken a small hit since the Xbox version and at times the frame rate drops below a smooth level. It doesn't affect the gameplay to much as this occurs usually when Indiana is not fighting enemies. For a PS2 game, the graphics are very impressive and the draw distance is on par with the Xbox version. Sound wise, the famous tune is included but during the levels a more cinematic theme is used. Sound effects are quite good but at times they can be disappointing especially when firing a weapon. Voice acting is superb, and although they didn't use Harrison Ford for Mr Jones voice, it sounds strikingly like him.
It was great on the Xbox and its great on Playstation 2 despite the frame rate and graphic hit. If you like third person action platform games with a touch of adventure then check this game out. Indiana Jones is one of the most famous adventurers so it was always natural that he would move into the action genre. For the non-PS2 gamers, this title is also available on Xbox and PC and everyone should check this title out next time they are at the store if they like a bit of adventure.
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