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I don't know many people who are not fans of the Indiana Jones movies, who wouldn't love his cheeky quips, action sequences and storylines?
1947. The Nazis have been crushed, the Cold War has begun and Soviet agents are sniffing around the ruins of the fabled Tower of Babel. What are they up to? The CIA wants renowned archaeologist and adventurer Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. to find out. Grab your whip and fedora and join Indy in globe-spanning race to unearth the mysterious "Infernal Machine."
Installation, Settings and Intro
Indiana Jones & The Infernal Machine is an extremely large game and I mean that in terms of levels not hard drive space. Indy comes on 2 CD's and you can do either a regular install of 80mbs or a full install of over 800mbs onto your drive, the 800MB version obviously loads up faster but that is really the only difference between the two.
If you have played any of the Tomb Raider games you basically know what to expect from Indiana Jones, but I won't bore you with the details about Tomb Raider, I'll get those out of the way fast and explain what the main differences are and then I'll judge Indiana Jones on its own merits. First and foremost there is a very good storyline, something the Tomb Raider games never have (I haven't played The Last Revelation yet but don't expect anything new). Tomb Raider doesn't always have large levels, Indiana Jones has massive ones with excellent layouts and design.
So what is new about Indiana Jones, well not a great deal actually but what is here works very well. Here are a few of the new features. As you walk around the 3D environments you find various artifacts that will turn into cash when you complete a level, you can use the money you have gathered at something called a Trading Post, from here you can buy new items such as ammunition or health items. A nice feature that shows that collecting artifacts isn't a pointless task. Indy can also use his whip to swing over ledges etc etc, I know there are a lot of boys out there who would love to see Lara with a whip, but we won't go into that.
As you go around on each level there are a number of puzzles which crop up, some are collect a certain object and use it in a certain place, a cog wheel for instance. While there are still the same old pull the level to open door puzzles, Indiana Jones tends to go for object approach to puzzles which is a far better and more interesting way of going about things. Conversations are very linear, as expected you don't get any choice in what Indy says as this game is more action than adventure, but what is said is well scripted and helps flesh out the story.
So far so good then, but there are a few niggles that crop up. The game can be very frustrating not in terms of difficulty (It is difficult, don't get me wrong) but in terms of jumping and climbing moves not always working when they should, thus Indy can sometimes either fall straight off a ledge or more than likely not move at all.
So how do I sum up the gameplay? Level design is superb, Lucasarts are excellent with their Level design just like they were with Jedi Knight. The puzzles are interesting, well designed, varied and don't go too deep into the realm of "Push Lever" too often. But there still isn't enough adventure based elements and a choice of dialogue would have made the game even better.
Graphics, Sound & Music
Graphically Indiana Jones & The Infernal Machine is a bit of a mixed bunch. I felt that some of the levels looked great in terms of the massive view into the distance you could see but the detail on characters and textures isn't on a par with the latest 3D games. Indiana Jones himself looks pretty much as you would expect, unshaven and wearing his trademark fedora.
Sound is on par with most Lucasarts games, very good indeed. There is a lot of speech spanned across the 2 CD's and the speech is used during the large number of 3D engine generated cutscenes and when certain objects are examined or picked up. The music is pretty good too - but it doesn't always sound like it came from the Indiana Jones movies as there is a mixture of John Williams and an internal musician from Lucasarts doing all of the music.
Indiana Jones has really shown Lara just how it should be done. If you are expecting to see something graphically on par with the latest Tomb Raider game or Unreal then you would be better off looking else where as you won't find it here but what you will find is a game which is extremely enjoyable to play and will take a long time to complete, the level designs are the best you will see in this type of game and the puzzles will keep you on your toes. If you love Indiana Jones you'll love this.
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