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

Official Xbox Magazine (February 12, 2003)


"Your Revolver Holds Six Bullets But your Fists Never Run Out of Ammo"


The original raider returns -- Indiana Jones. Legendary adventurer. Daring rogue. And the most butt-kicking archeologist the world has ever seen. It's 1935 and this time you have to prevent a powerful Chinese artifact from falling into evil hands. So put on your trusty fedora and pack your favorite bullwhip. You'll need them as you travel from the jungles of Ceylon and the underwater palaces of Istanbul to the deadly streets of Hong Kong. Punch, whip and kick you way through Nazis assassins, mystical warriors and the Asian underworld, and see if you have what it takes to unearth the Heart of the Dragon.


Whip it good, whip it real good.


The Indiana Jones universe is kind of a videogame to begin with. Think about it: It's set up like a video game, with race sequences, gunplay, fisticuffs, adventure, and even platform elements. So it's kind of weird that there are so few Indy games available. And only a couple of those games have merited an kind of classic status. Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb, however, seeks to redress and balance.

It probably hasn't escaped your notice that this game is designed in part by The Collective, the talented developers who turned Buffy: The Vampire Slayer from what should have been a duff TV license into something of an Xbox classic. The good news is that they've recreated much of that magic, but the better news is that input from LucasArts has taken the developer's output to a new level of quality.

We want to separate this from Buffy, though, since the two games are very different in pace, content, and style. What they do share, however is quality.


Got Plot?


Games, even good games like Metal Gear, tend to fall apart at the plot stage. It's not just that game developers tend to tell lousy stories, it's that, frankly, most entertainment media tell lousy stories. There are plenty of expectations, however, and luckily this is one of them. Although the game plunges into action (just like a real Indy movie), that's just an introduction - the real plot arrives just after you complete a short "training" mission in the jungles of Ceylon.

The in-game cinemas are backed by a professionally-recorded score and move smoothly into the game (thanks largely to their use of the regular game engine). Voice-overs are brilliant and truly admirable. Indy's gravelly voice is provided by David Esch, who has been the voice double for Harrison Ford in the past, and he acquits himself perfectly here. The other actors, including Vivian Wu of Joy Luck Club fame, also put more effort into things that we're used to.

The best acting in the world however, wouldn't be worth a hoot without good dialogue to back it up, and here the producers deserve enormous credit. Not only does it sound, look, and feel like an Indy movie, but the plot is actually interesting. - You will watch all these in-game cinemas to find out what's going on, and probably enjoy the story. Normally they're just a thing you press A to skip.


Gamey Game Games


At its heart, Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb is a platform game. It's much richer and more complex than that, of course, but the way you navigate around the 3D locales relies very heavily on platform conventions. There's running, jumping, climbing, swinging, and even swimming. Everything you learned about videogames from Mario is intact, with a 3D twist.

Unlike the somewhat soupy nature of Tomb Raider, this game relies heavily on quick wits and reflexes. The Indy character is incredibly responsive - push gently forward and Indy walks, bush further and he runs. Jumps have to be carefully timed, but Indy can grab onto ledges and clamber up walls, or grab swinging ropes and chains. It takes not time at all to get used to moving our hero around.

Using his arsenal of weapons, tools, and gadgets will take slightly longer. He wouldn't be Indy, for example, without his trusty bullwhip. This can be used in combat (of course), but it's far more likely you'll use it to reach wing-able objects that running and jumping alone might miss.

The game alerts you to whippable objects using a neat little icon when you're facing say, a gargoyle. Simply press the "action" button (Y is the default) and you'll instantly pull out the whip and crack it. This saves a lot of time with rifling through your collection of goodies, and it applies to other inventory items too, including guns and mines.


Battle Engine


Indy loves fisticuffs. He loves punching, he's not ashamed to kick, and frankly, he's kind of a dirty fighter. Many of the bad guys he encounters in this game will find that out toot late. Punches, kicks, and throws are all conventional moves in his unarmed arsenal, but their affects vary depending on circumstances. He can smash people against walls (usually Nazis, of course), or better yet, off of parapets. If you time a punch right, you won't have to go toe-to-toe 'til he's knocked out, you can simply fling him off a castle wall. Most satisfying.

Indy can, of course, use weapons to dispatch foes. We've discussed the whip, but there are pistols, machine guns, even furniture to be found. Punch an armed guard hard enough and he'll drop his gun (and, amusingly lose his hat) that you can then pick up and use against him. Smashing furniture and throwing objects becomes very important later on and can even save you during the epic boss battles. One fight with an undead Nazi monstrosity can only be ended with the patient tossing of vials of acid.


Booby Prize


All this fighting tires Indy out (you can refresh his health by refilling and drinking from a canteen of water in his inventory), but not as much as constantly avoiding booby traps. As everyone knows, all European and Asian buildings are loaded with booby traps, and we don't just mean French toilets. Indy needs to keep a close eye on every crack and architectural imperfection, since more often than not, it will contain some kind of deadly swinging blade or falling object. This not only keeps you on your toes, but also alleviates some of the boredom that corridor crawling can induce.

 

adapted by Aaron Gantt - The Indy Experience.com


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Today 13. December 2017
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