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Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb
 
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The Emperor's Tomb
 

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  Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb

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 a plus.


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.


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Today 13. December 2017
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