Gameplay-wise, the fundamentals of Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures are unchanged since Lego Star Wars – which itself fits nicely into the same mould as classics like Crash Bandicoot and its predecessors.
At its simplest, the game is divided into three different acts laid around a central hub. Each act represents a movie in the first three titles of the quadrilogy. Kingdom Of… is cut out of the mix, as are the Young Indiana Jones spin-offs.
Anyway, each act is split into a number of levels and players progress through each level in term, either with the help of predictably pathetic AI or with a friend in a regrettably offline-only co-op mode.
Levels are essentially linear, but once you finish a level in story mode then you can revisit it later in free-play. The difference is that in the story mode you’ll be limited to just using the items, abilities and characters featured in the game canon, whereas free-play will let you experiment a bit more with the multitude of unlockables you’ll slowly amass.
If you’re new to the series of Lego games then you might question the worth of this dual-mode option. After all, once you’ve done a level once for the story then you aren’t likely to want to play it again straight away are you? It isn't like the game has multiple endings after all. Maybe you’ll revisit a good level at some point, but not straight away?
Wrong. Just as with Lego Star Wars, the core design facet of Lego Indy is the discovery of secret items and on any given play session you’ll probably play a level twice over at least. That’s because each and every scenario bears the distinction of being even deeper than the combined total of all the Emo kids in the world. Angsty poetry, eyeliner and all.
There are paths you can only access as a woman (they can jump higher than their dangling counterparts), statues that will only respond to the prayers of certain character types and blockages that can only be cleared with the use of certain weapons. Some of these hidden areas and items can be accessed by any character of a certain gender or alignment, while others need more personal skills – such as with Willie, who can shatter glass with her singing. The gauntlet is then thrown at the player to try and find all they can.
And there’s plenty to find too – treasure chests and artefacts, extra studs and so on. Then, in between Groundhog Day-like jaunts through already completed levels, you can retire to Barnett College, which is the hub from where all activities are co-ordinated.
From Barnett you can do all sorts of things and there are even various areas to explore from within the college grounds. Mainly though this is where you’ll be spending your hard-collected studs and buying new characters, items and cheats – like the Ice Rink cheat which makes the floor all slippery and is our personal favourite.
From Barnett you can also assemble a character of your own from the mish-mash of pieces at your disposal and take a gander at your steadily growing throng of followers. You’re also able to watch your mini-kits and artefacts get assembled based on how many specific items you gathered in your travels, though you do have an option to buy blocks you can’t locate.