Well, I am a major Fan of the Indiana Jones Films and Have Played, but not finished, all of the games. The last one I remember was well back in the good old days of the original Graphic Adventures. Since then everything has gone 3D, and following the trend, Lucasarts have updated Indy to the latest Looks and Methods in his very own 3D Adventure Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine (IJIM).
The whole point of the Story is that the Cold war continues and the Russians are after some kind of Artefact in Babylon, this artefact will supposedly win them the war and make them unstoppable. If your think this sounds familiar then your kinda right, its basically the plot of the first film, just with Russians and a Babylonian artefact, not Germans and a Jewish artefact!
But lets not take this away from the Game, first impressions are everything, and my first impressions are that it could be a great game, lets see...
Now we have all played Tomb Raider, no, don't know what the game is, well it's a bird running about in a tomb shooting bad guys, bats, wolfs, things, etc. and finding an artefact and killing some big bad guy at the end.
Simple, and the same as Indiana Jones I hear you say, well you'd be right, that was what I thought. Now the main difference is that most people grew up watching (and Loving) the Indiana Jones films, then the games and in true Lucasarts style, these were great, now comes the 5th (or so) Indy Adventure, and here it starts....
The intro is a bit wild, Lots of papers swishing around the screen, different articles coming into focus so you can read a bit until the papers stop on 1 particular article about a dig somewhere, somewhere you are going to be.
Now you start the game standing on a small ledge on a cliff with only 1 way to go, this is the part you learn to jump, run, climb, push & pull objects, pick stuff up and crawl! So within 2 minutes you master the controls and get to play the game, which is great.
The first few levels are laid out in a learning kind of way, each time you have different challenges to overcome and have to do a certain task. These tasks are not always evident at first, and a few times your just thrown into the fray to figure it out yourself, which is nice, thank you Lucasarts.
On the first level you don't get to fight anyone, this obviously has been designed to be 'the' learning level and a story builder. This works well, no sooner have you completed this level you are shown a nice cut scene, which uses the in-game 3D graphics and results in no loading whatsoever for the cut-scenes and they also add to the game, then you are whisked off to your real adventure.
For most parts of the game you will be walking around. This action has been set on by default and if need be can be removed to make Indy run automatically, which is not advised as there is always something ready to kick your ass when you run round the next corner!
When you have to fight anything, you always seem to know about it beforehand, especially if its more than 1 baddy. You can come across anything from Russian soldiers to small poisonous spiders and snakes and to combat these array of enemy's you have your trusty whip, which ain't no use whatsoever and a wonderful array of weapons. The weapons can range from your first gun, a .45, to a fully fledged machinegun you pick up on the 3rd or 4th level, and on to bigger and better weapons needed for the later levels.
Your whip, which is an Indy trademark can be used to swing from platform to platform via conveniently placed bars or posts on the ceilings or walls. The whip can also be used on enemies as well but I found that the gun worked better and your seemingly unlimited amount of ammo for you .45 really pointed to the fact that the gun was the way to go.
The controls are really easy, one more reference to a similar game coming up, the Tomb Raider (ooh there it is) controls seem to have made their way into this game, well the controls are pretty standard in most games but its nice to see that its all kept across the board. The only difference is that Indy has a crawl manoeuvre, this is the 'C' key and adds to the game immensely.
Now this may seem to be in the wrong section of the review but I took some time and thought that it fits well here. The puzzles in the game start off easy, in the first level you have to find your way off the little ledge, its mostly 1 way so you cant fail. Later on they quickly become really difficult and the game sort of becomes a brain teaser with large rooms filled up with puzzles for you to solve, a lot of the time you really need to stand back and look at the puzzles for a while until you think of a way you might be able to do it.
The puzzles in true Tomb Raider style involve a lot of block pushing and pulling, the puzzles also involve things like lifts, diagrams, locks and anything else Lucasarts could think of. It's a really taxing game at times!
One small thing is the camera angles, In other games the camera would sometimes suddenly appear behind the character and totally obscure your view. In IJIM however when the camera gets anywhere near Indy he fades out so he is slightly transparent and you can see straight through him. If you have you back to the wall and turn to face away then Indy completely disappears and the camera shifts to the view of his eyes so if you jump the camera jumps too. The camera problem in a lot of other games seems to be sorted out here, I did not find 1 problem with it while playing.
The graphics in the game are great, as I said earlier all cut-scenes are done through the in-game 3D graphics with small sequences between each level usually describing what the next one is or showing you what your up against. The loading screen is another Indy trademark, where the path to the place your going is mapped out with a thin red line moving across the screen to the point of the level. It looks really nice and adds to the whole feel of the game.
Texturing was all nicely done and was varied among the different levels with different types of sand/mud and rocks. With textures like cobwebs, grating, fencing and tents adding to the look of the game. The water texture is a lot better than Lucasarts last offering, where last time it looked stale and I moved oddly, this time its transparent and looked lifelike and while Indy was in the water the ripples he created were nice and added to the whole effect.
One small problem with the characters I did find was that the heads at times seemed a little too big for the bodies. Some characters, especially Indy and Sophia were more prominent with big heads while the Russian Scientist looking almost right.
Sound in the game was good but nothing special. each weapon/enemy made its own distinct sound, from the crack of the whip and the hiss of the snakes to warn you they are near to the shouts of the guards when they see you. The voices in the game all sounded clear, and all but Indy's were authentic, mainly because they never really talked before, Indy's voice was not played by Harrison Ford and I thought it was a disappointment to the rest of the game which was by my standards very, very good!
As the characters spoke the mouths moved in time, possible not with each letter but they seemed as close as possible with 3D characters whose models were built well and only a small amount of clipping was evident when they moved.
Wonderful game, Far Better than one other game that's very similar (no names mentioned), Small problems in the game don't take too much away and makes it a great game that will last for a while!