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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

LucasArts

 

Developer

The Collective

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q1 2003

 

 

- Could have been the next Indiana Jones movie
- Some great fisticuffs
- Control never gets in the way of the action
- Well-designed puzzles

 

 

- Stut-t-t-t-t-ering cripples the score and some of the fun
- Limited replay value

 

 

Review: BloodRayne (XB)

Review: Blade II (PS2)

Review: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (PS3)

 

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Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb

Score: 7.4 / 10

 

indiana jones and the emperor's tomb xbox review          indiana jones and the emperor's tomb xbox review

 

I just can’t say, “Indiana Jones” without hearing the strains of John Williams’ score. It’s hard for me to even separate the words “fedora” and “whip”. This is why I was so looking forward to seeing what today’s technology could do with the world’s most famous “archaeologist”. And for the most part, Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb satisfies as an action game save for one crippling flaw that I really didn’t expect.

For reasons only known to the Collective and LucasArts, Emperor’s Tomb (ET) turns into jittery slideshow at the worst occasions. Indy’s just running along, beatings Nazi’s senseless when the Xbox hard drive or ROM drive (not sure which) goes berserk. The soundtrack starts cutting in and out and the action on-screen tanks,

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more often than not resulting in death. At first I would let the seizure run its course, but then I found I could pause the game, wait a couple of seconds, unpause it and everything would be back to normal. This was a “fix” in the loosest sense but on one level I went the last half of it under these crappy conditions. How’d this get by the QA testers? Is it a fault in the disc manufacturing? Who know, but it does make playing a (sometimes) frustrating

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experience since it seems to crop up in the same places all the time.

That being said, most everything else is faultless. The fisticuffs are good, the camera is above average, the graphics suitable, the puzzles well designed, and the control very good.

Like Jedi Knight II’s lightsaber, my weapons of choice always put me in close quarters. While Indy isn’t above using a gun, his best weapons are his fists and versatile whip. (Although if your opponent has a flamethrower you may want to rethink this strategy.) His inventory can be stocked with a whole assortment of weapons like Mausers, swords, spear guns and machine guns. In true Dr. Jones fashion, objects found in the environment can also be used to pummel opponents, including shovels, table legs and chairs.

The combat itself is quite enjoyable. You’ll be looking for opportunities to heave enemies off catwalks or crack them against a wall so Indy can smack them silly. But sometimes only a grenade will do. Any issues with the control are directly attributable to the episodes of stuttering; otherwise it’s very good.

 

indiana jones and the emperor's tomb xbox review         indiana jones and the emperor's tomb xbox review


The enemy AI varies from level to level so each new enemy has to be considered. Some areas, when they spot you, they’ll run to raise the alarm. In pairs, it’s typical that one will brandish a gun and the other will attack with fists, blocking when appropriate. This makes every situation a little different than the one before it (especially when dealing with sharks). But the big thing here is that I didn’t see any of them do stupid things, like get caught on corners, etc. You might think this would extend the replay value but it doesn’t. Levels are designed in a very straightforward manner, eliminating surprises for any further play-throughs. (I have to admit, some levels really are fun to replay – the closing level, the sunken city especially – even though you can walk through them "blindfolded" after a few attempts.) Your progress is saved after each mission and becomes playable at any time after.

LucasArts claims that ET is broken into equal thirds – action, puzzle, navigation – and this seems to be a fair assertion. Most levels do a good job mixing the three to drive the story forward, which has Indiana neck-deep in a plot to uncover the Heart of the Dragon in China. The story is quite cinematic complete with chase scenes. With a few modifications this could have been another Indiana Jones movie.

Eye and ear candy (now 100% wax free!) is good. There are some that may decry “low-res textures!” (which I just can’t take points off for because I didn’t notice) or the occasional clipping, but the entire package oozes style and distinctiveness. The sound-alike for Indy gets a special mention – he does a very good job.

If you’re an Indy fan, I’d recommend Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb even with its low replay factor and seizures. It has enough to be very playable and enjoyable for the most part thanks to the strengths of the other aspects of the game.

- Omni
(March 22, 2003)

 

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