IGN Preview-PC ( February 27, 2003)
Indiana Jones is without a doubt one of the most notable
film icons of the 20th century. Harrison Ford is Indy
in most people's minds and the stories are loved by pretty
much everyone. Although that may just be because those
that don't like the series are swiftly taken care of and
given the whole Temple of Doom brainwashing they deserve.
Although instead of magical arts, it's mostly my foot
brainwashing somebody's face with sharp, powerful kicks.
Either way, it was nice to see that another attempt was
being made to bring Indiana Jones to the computer screen
in an action adventure keeping in style with the movies.
Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb is a completely
new story in the series taking a look at a section of
the adventurer's life before the whole Temple of Doom
thing happened. As you might expect, the whip slinging
hero will need to traipse around to various parts of the
world, digging into tombs and beating up bad guys, in
order to eventually save the day. Emperor's Tomb brings
us back to the lovely year of 1935. The Nazi threat is
growing and the US is taking a pounding in the great depression.
On the other side of the world sits the tomb of the first
Chinese Emperor (not yet fully explored in the real world
as a matter of fact). Inside this tomb are many fancy
things like golden pretty shiny jewels, statues, and rats.
But more important than any of these things is the Heart
of the Dragon, an artifact of insane mystical power.
Anyway, Marshal K'ai, an Asian businessman wishing nothing
but the best, charges Dr. Jones with securing the artifact
for the Chinese government, no doubt for safe keeping
and not for using, because China has no superarcheologists
of their own. So off Indy goes to investigate, yet unsurprisingly,
he quickly finds that there are other folks looking to
get their hands on this great power. Among them are those
pesky Nazis that have been giving Indy a run for his money
since the first movie. Once he figures out that the tomb
is going to be a little harder to crack than he thought,
it's time to start flying around the world, complete with
map, little dashes, and all, to find the scattered pieces
of the key that will give him access to the tomb. Beating
up the various Gestapo, Nazi, and kung-fu heroes is just
The adventure takes place over 10 levels that vary in
style and location. From the beginning tutorial type levels
set in an overgrown and rundown ancient tomb in China,
to the grounds of a medieval castle in Prague, Indy is
full of action and flash while providing plenty of jumping
puzzles for those platform freaks out there. Indy will
have the full compliment of action platform titles of
the past. He can run, jump, climb, grab, and roll. But
he also has the fun and frolic of using various items
to help him on his way. Any time a chance comes up to
use one of these items to progress, an icon will appear
at the top of the screen showing which item is needed.
The stupid masses call for easier games I guess. So if
you find a machete and run into an what seems to be an
impenetrable wall of vines and can't for the life of you
figure out what to do. Just look at the top of the screen
and you'll see a blinking picture of the machete to help
you on your way. Just equip and swing away.
Indy wouldn't be complete without the trusty whip and
pistol that we're used to seeing him with. The most common
use of the whip is certainly your progression in jumping.
You'll fling that thing out there and swing across spaces
too far for his girly little legs. Later in the game,
you'll even have to do fancy jump and then whip techniques
to get even farther. Maybe even some jump, whip, release,
whip again, and then swing to safety techniques. Confused?
That's because you're stupid.
As with Buffy, which showcased this engine originally,
Indy will get in a lot of fights as you would expect.
Indy is one tough son of a bitch and won't back down from
fights. So wade into your opponents with a few nicely
placed punches that look really nice. They land solidly
and give a nice little smacking sound, even if it doesn't
match the movies perfectly. Aside from your using your
fists, you'll also be able to grab your enemies for a
little bit of head-butting and stomach punching. If you're
close enough to a ledge, you can even fling them over
the side just to hear the scream. If all else fails, you
can start using weapons. These range from the whip, which
can be flipped out to curl around a neck, to your pistol,
or even objects found on the ground. These include such
things as shovels and pieces of furniture that have been
broken during the course of your fight.
The opponents at the beginning of the game will be fairly
simple to whup up on, but as you progress through the
game, you'll find fights to get a bit tougher. Indy's
tough, but he's no martial arts expert. Plan on getting
throttled a bit. But as you know, no matter how sweaty
he gets, no matter how much blood trickles out of the
corner of his mouth, Indy never gives up. A giant octopus
can't stop him. Hot twin kung-fu babes can't stop him.
Hell, not even a rampaging dragon could stop him. They'll
all try during the course of the game in the big boss
fights, but as long as he has that hat, he'll be okay.
This reminds me, he can get his hat knocked off. It can
be picked back up, and put back on, or if sadly lost,
it will magically reappear on his head after the next
save. That's a nifty hat. I wish I had some socks like
that. I keep losing that one damn sock in the laundry.
The game itself actually looks pretty good. Character
models are well designed and rendered with fairly good
animation. Environments are also suitably well made, with
some nice textures, lighting and effects. The Xbox guys
had some problems with bodies clipping a lot, so we'll
have to wait and see whether they've bothered to fix that
in the final.
Emperor's Tomb is pretty much done at this point. The
gameplay is the same as the Xbox version with minor tweaks
and compatibility issues to take care of thanks to all
of the billions of different graphics and sound cards
out there. Expect to see it hit stores at the end of March
and come back next week for some gameplay movies when
we get some new code in.