Lego Indiana Jones review. Indy returns in some new old adventures with a Lego block spin

Lego Indiana Jones box artwork review
Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures is the Lego-ized version of the classic Indiana Jones films which have been replaced with Lego blocks, Lego Minifigure versions of all the characters from the Indiana Jones films.

The game actually has gamers playing through all three Indiana Jones movies with stages that are lifted right out of the movie and classic scenes both gameplay-wise (such as the Motorcycle Chase from The Last Crusade and the Temple Escape from Raiders of the Lost Ark) and in the form of CG movies that are both funny and charming even though they don’t have any spoken dialogue.

As you probably already know, Lego Indiana Jones was the Traveler’s Tales’ follow up to their extremely successful Lego Star Wars games. And preceded Lego Batman.

And like those games it plays mostly the same. So how does the game (bad pun warning) stack-up? And more importantly, is Lego Indiana Jones a fun game even if you have never seen the Indiana Jones movies?

Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures videogame logo

Index of Lego Indiana Jones 1 and 2 Guides:

  • This Page: Review
  • New Page: Lego Indiana Jones 2 walkthrough
  • New Page: Treasure Mode Guide
  • New Page: Lego Indiana Jones 1 walkthrough (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PSP, PS2)
  • New Page: Lego Indiana Jones DS walkthrough
  • New Page: Lego Indiana Jones 2 characters list
  • Lego Indiana Jones is a very fun platformer that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults alike, even though the game can be quite complex so young kids might have trouble with it.

    The game starts off at Barnette College which serves as the hub world for the game and is where you will access all the game’s levels and all the game’s extras.

    The theater room of Barnette College in Lego Indiana Jones (screenshot)

    The College is pretty large and offers numerous rooms for various extras. They include:

    The Library: Talk to the Librarian to purchase extra additional characters to be used in FreePlay Mode. Some characters won’t become available unless you meet certain conditions. There is a mind-blowing 83 characters total!

    The Art Room: Allows you to create your own custom character with various Lego pieces and accessories taken from all the game’s unlockable characters.

    The Mail Room: This is where you can unlock and activate extra “powers” that allow you to do some cool, funny or useful things or activate some new abilities. But first you must find the parcel in a level and take it to that stages mailbox. Then come back here and purchase it. Finally, you’ll need to go into the Extras menu and activate the power.

    The Math Class: Do you have a secret code? If you do you can use it here.

    The Theater: In the Theater Room you can watch all of the game’s CG cut-scenes. As long as you have already watched that scene during the game’s Story Mode.

    Indy’s Office: Here you will find a bunch of random objects. There may be some secrets in this room.

    Artifact Room: All of the hidden artifacts you have collected will be on display in this room. As you collect them hidden episodes will become unlocked. I wonder what happens if you collect them all?

    In the front of the college you will find three bulletin boards with maps displayed on them and green rectangle plates that you can stand on in front of them. It is here that you will be given access to the game’s various levels.

    The three bulletin boards correspond to each of the three Indiana Jones movies and there are six stages per movie. The movies are, in order: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade.

    Lego Indiana Jones' character creation mode

    When you stand in front of one of the bulletin boards you will be taken to an up-close view of the map with a magnifying glass that serves as your level selector. You will see circle marks on the map which correspond to all the levels you have played up to that point, a red mark means you’ve already beaten the stage. Highlighting a level will also reveal to you how many hidden Artifacts you have found in the stage in addition to whether or not you achieved “True Adventurer” status and whether or not you found and delivered the hidden package called a “Parcel” to the stages hidden Mailbox.

    If you select a level you will then see two modes: Story mode and Free Play mode. In order to unlock Free Play you must first beat the level on Story. The game can be played at any time by either one or two players, and the second player can come in or drop out at any time via the Start Menu. If a second player isn’t playing the computer will follow behind you and you can switch control between the two characters with the Y Button.

    Story mode is the meat of the game. Here you will go through various levels based on the movie where the characters you will play as are determined by the the story for that scene and the game’s stages are made up of multiple scenes where you will sometimes have access to other playable characters.

    Lego Indy is ready to raid some tombs!

    Lego Indiana Jones is an action-packed platformer where you will make your way through the game’s levels, busting up everything in the environments (which will burst into tons of Lego block pieces), fighting enemies, solving puzzles, collecting Lego pieces (or “Lego studs” as they are called, which come in different colors and serve as the game’s currency) and either trying to finish the story for each movie (which means you are trying to reach the end of the stage) or trying to find all of that levels secrets which you cannot accomplish until you have beaten it once and then replay the stage in Free Play mode; where you are given access to every character you have unlocked.

    During the course of the game you will pick up all sorts of weapons from guns to shovels to rocket launches (as well having the ability to punch with any character and use a few character’s special abilities such as Indy’s Whip) that you will use to bust open objects in the game and fight the game’s waves of enemies that will come after you and the few bosses you will face.

    A lot of the fun in Lego Indiana Jones comes from simply busting up the game’s environments and collecting the Lego pieces that fly out. Nearly everything can be destroyed, from desks, chairs, tables, and plants to Lego enemies, hungry crocodiles and bookshelves. All of them offer the same Lego Studs to collect but it’s still a ton of fun just busting things open.

    You’ll want to do this because in order to get True Adventure status in the game you’ll need to earn a certain amount of money (in the form of Lego Studs) by collecting the Silver (10 Points), Gold (100 Points), Blue (1,000 Points) and Purple (10,000 Points) Studs everywhere you can.

    The whip is Indy's special attack, also used for puzzle solving and pulling items

    While you make your way through the game’s environments (which range from jungles to caves to military compounds) you will jump across gaps, swing over areas using Indy’s rope and try and uncover hidden items and be required to use the characters special abilities.

    Special Abilities include digging up items (which can only be done with a shovel, you’ll see a colored glowing spot if you can dig there), fixing broken engines (can only be done with a wrench), blowing up metal objects (you need a rocket launcher or explosive grenade to do so) and shattering glass (which can be done with Willie’s scream or a spear/bomb throw), fitting through tight crawl spaces (can only be done with a small character), swinging across certain gaps (can only be done with Indy, you’ll know when you can swing when you see a wooden platform with a glowing light in the middle), Excavations which amount to solving a wall panel in which you must match symbols correctly and gaining special access to certain locked areas via disguise (which can be accomplished by wearing an enemy hat) or via “Thugee Statues” which can only be activated by a Thuggee character.

    As you make your way through levels you will find multiple things you can build using piles of Lego blocks. Sometimes this is obvious while other times it’ll require you to bring something in order to rebuild it into the correct object. You can hit switches and the like by standing in front of objects and the game is full of puzzles. You will need to push and pull objects into the correct spots, stand on top of switches on the floor, pick up and throw items (which is done almost automatically, if an object can be targeted you’ll see a cursor around it to indicate you can throw something at it), ride various vehicles and jump and swing from ropes. You’ll bounce on various things to reach higher locations and all kinds of stuff. Women can also jump higher than men and oftentimes you’ll need to use them to reach areas that you can’t reach with other characters.

    Women in Lego Indiana Jones can jump higher and scream to break glass

    The puzzles in the game can be very, VERY difficult to solve. Oftentimes they are somewhat obvious but you won’t realize what it is that you have to do and it is very easy to get stuck in the game. Some of the ones are very hard like when you need to drop an item, jump across a gap and then use your whip on that same item (which will bring far items close to you), something that I had to look up to figure out on the my first time playing. And some puzzles will have you doing multiple things in order to solve them.

    Puzzles will usually open the way to a new area or reveal one of the game’s secrets such as a Treasure Chest (a whopping 10 are hidden per level) or the Parcel and a Mailbox.

    Getting 100% is extremely challenging and even the best hardcore gamers will be hard pressed to be able to accomplish it without using a guide.

    Lego Indiana Jones is a very fun platformer with tons to unlock but it also is very rough around the edges. Things you need to solve or do can be very vague which means you will oftentimes find yourself “stuck” without knowing what you need to do to progress. Me and a friend spent like 40 minutes trying to beat one of the game’s bosses only to find out that the airplane could shoot guns, something we simply hadn’t tried and the game gives you no indication that it can be done. This kind of situation happens often and it can be very frustrating. The game is also a bit glitchy and it is easy to get stuck on the game’s environments. One constant problem is the way the game will respawn you in the same exact spot when you die. This means that you will often respawn and die again right away. The aforementioned friend once died in this way over five times in a row (you lose money each time you die) which is just ridiculous and bad design.

    Using keys to lower platforms or open doors play a huge role in Lego Indiana Jones

    Your partner character can also get in the way if you are using the computer and is about as smart as the Lego bricks it’s made out of, as they’ll often die and cause you more trouble babysitting them than anything else. Thankfully there isn’t any penalty for the computer dying. Some of the hidden Treasure Chests are almost impossible to do with the computer so you’ll want to bring a friend in to accomplish them. And when a friend does jump in look out, there is plenty of friendly fire in this game which means that you can accidentally kill your partner, something that I think the developers would’ve been best leaving out, as it can be frustrating especially since the game auto-targets so you can sometimes accidentally kill them when you were meaning to hit an enemy.

    It’s also interesting to note that I have not seen the Indiana Jones movies myself (yeah yeah yeah, I can hear your shock from here) and yet I enjoyed the heck out of this game, even if I was originally playing it just to get the game’s Achievement Points on the Xbox 360.

    You can ride vehicles and certain animals like elephants in Lego Indiana Jones

    Which if you are going to do so it’s worth noting that although the game may seem easy at first, it is not only challenging but it is also very long. And if you are planning on completing it 100% (which will give you a 100 GamerPoint Achievement) then you can expect to be playing this game for at least a few weeks. There is THAT much stuff to find and known of the hidden things are easy. As mentioned, I had to turn to a guide on multiple occasions to find the many hidden Treasure Chests and packages.

    And some of them are even a bit wonky, such as one where you need to climb up steps to put the parcel in the Mailbox, and the steps are unclimbable unless you figure out that you need to jump at the back end of the step instead of up against the next one as you’d likely do. There’s another Treasure Chest that requires you to dive underwater by pressing a button (X on the 360) something that is NEVER used in any other part of the game and the game never gives you any indication that you can dive . . .

    Regardless, Lego Indiana Jones is like a summer popcorn flick. It’s fun if you allow it to be. And if you go into it not expecting a lot, you may even be pleasantly surprised.

    The Mola Ram Wants YOU!

    FUN FACTOR: 8.0
    I know an 8.0 may seem like a high rating, but I came back to this game to complete it 100% and that’s saying something. It’s a fun game with a ton of stuff to uncover and is very challenging. Although it’s also frustrating and more complex than it seems. May not be suitable for younger children given the complexity of the game’s puzzles and the frustration factor.

    Graphics: 7.0
    The game has a nice clean look and some of the ground environments like in the jungle are impressive. But it’s also a bit simple and can be rough around the edges.

    Music and Sound: 7.0
    The game uses the main theme from Indiana Jones quite heavily and the music can sometimes repeat and get very annoying. The CG cut-scenes don’t feature voice but are very funny regardless, and the “blocky” sound effects are a perfect fit and sound just like you’d imagine. I love the explosion sounds!

    Ingenuity: 6.0
    This game apparently does nothing new if you have played the other Lego games. Regardless it makes good use of the Lego theme and features some truly cool puzzles.

    Replay Value: 9.0
    This game has a TON of stuff to find and can be done either in single-player or two-player (although you may want a friend to help you uncover some of the hidden chests, some of them can be hard to accomplish with the computer). It will last you quite a while and I challenge ANYONE to finish the game 100% without using a guide. I think it’s impossible.

    Lego Indiana Jones Artwork