I have a love-hate relationship with the Lego videogame franchise – by which I mean the recent run of Star Wars titles mainly and not the ever-so-awesome Lego Racers games. My relationship with Lego Racers is more love-love than love-hate.
On the one hand, the recent Lego Star Wars games have been fantastic. Great little casual puzzle-filled platformers, they are, that make you speak like Lego Yoda, they do. The characters are bile-spewingly adorable recreations of the icons we all know and love and the level design is the type of thing a Cubist artist might see when they pop their pretentious clogs and barefootedly hop through the pearly white gates.
From the other side of the coin though, for completionists like myself who find themselves needing to unlock each and every secret before moving on, the game is less of a heavenly vision and more of a deeply nihilistic nightmare. You can complete every level, collect every brick and stud, but your ‘percent complete’ score won’t have climbed at all because there's just so much content there to unlock.
That division and level of beneath-the-surface content, which is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on how obsessive you are about your games, has become a trademark of the series and it’s something that Traveller's Tales has carried over into the latest Lego game too – Lego Indiana Jones, just in time to coincide with the release of Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull.
But Lego Indy isn’t about The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull – instead it looks back at Indy’s adventures in a time when film titles were much shorter, less pretentious and just generally better. Nowadays we may have The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull and The Quantum of Solace, but when you get down to it what was wrong with just calling a film Raiders of the Lost Ark?
Speaking of which, that’s where Lego Indiana Jones starts – with Harrison Ford’s iconic journey through the jungle, past the bats and down into that big scary temple with the big rock and the overly-elaborate traps.
Immediately Lego Indiana Jones is showing its strengths, lifting players up on a rising wave of melancholy and adoration, gently dropping them on the sandy beaches of a land filled with childlike giggles. That's a pretentious way of saying that the cutscenes are pretty funny. In a world where the new Indiana Jones film is called Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of The Crystal Skull, it seems only fair that I can let my descriptions run away with themselves too, like wild gazelle running across the furtive plains of our...
Screw it, you get the point, right?
If you’ve played the Lego Star Wars games then you’ll know exactly what to expect from these cutscenes because they play on pretty similar themes and unleash the same surreal type of humour.
If you haven’t played Lego Star Wars then just trust us. From the moment that Lego Indy is pinned down by Belloq outside the temple at the start of the game and offers up the head of C-3PO as a bribe then you know the game is going to be filled with wry chuckles – especially when Belloq responds by doing a Lego interpretation of the robot dance.