Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb
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8  |  Buffy Wears a Fedora - Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb (XBox)
larsoncc , 3/17/2003 5:10:56 AM

Close Up (pic) Before purchasing Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb (for the XBox),  you have to ask just one question: "Do I Own Buffy The Vampire Slayer?"  If the answer is yes, well then, you already OWN Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb - you just have a different star.  Granted, copying a great game isn't a bad thing, not by any stretch of the imagination.  Indiana Jones plays smoothly, has a great theme, and looks graphically sharper than any other Tomb Raider style game before it.  Indiana Jones is a license that has the potential to have a far greater reach than Buffy, or even Tomb Raider, so there's a good chance that you HAVEN'T played a game like this before. 

Still, I've GOT to tell you how similar this game is to Buffy.  This isn't the meat of the review, and I don't want to give the impression that the game isn't worthy as a result.  Still, the similarity is shocking, and yes, it does reek of uninspired design:

  • You kick boxes to reveal items.
  • The entire control scheme is copied verbatim.
  • Some of the weapons are the same (I mean, come ON, how are Vamp slaying and Indiana Jones related?).
  • You even breathe heavily in the similar situations
  • Level designs / switch flipping / challenges are VERY similar in structure and style
  • Cut-scene mini cinemas when enemies walk through doors.

I mean, if you've played Buffy even ONCE, you know you've been here.  The similarities make sense, as the game was developed by The Collective, the same company that did such a great job on Buffy.

swing (pic) Like I said, that doesn't impact the fact that Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb is a fantastic game.  Indiana Jones wears the fedora with pride, and yes, he'll fight Nazis, thugs, and even make his way through Hong Kong again.  Yes, you'll shoot your trusty pistol, and YES, your whip is your freaking co-star, for heaven's sake.  

The objective in Indiana Jones is to recover the Dragon Seal (more specifically, pieces of the Dragon Seal), before the bad guys get to it.  To gather the Dragon Seal, you'll journey across the globe, exploring ancient ruins and...  Well, come on - it's Indiana Jones, you KNOW what you'll be doing for heaven's sake.  

The controls in Jones are very well done, but somewhat complicated for the casual gamer.  This is a necessity - Indiana Jones is capable of a lot of actions, mostly related to climbing, swinging, and fighting.  The combat system is the one area of the controls that happens to work the best.  A simple series of A and X button pushes will get you fairly far.  The game quickly introduces other, more advanced fighting techniques, like hugging the walls while you're in gun fights.  

Obviously, one of the best features of Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb is the sound quality.  NOTHING, and I repeat NOTHING will put you in the mood for exploration like the Indiana Jones theme song.  All of the sounds / music are environmentally aware, as well.  An enemy approaches- queue the scary "watch out" music.  Life is good after a beat-down, queue up the "I'm so relieved" music.  It's quite well done with some nice surround sound effects.  

The graphics and level design represents the cream of the crop.  It's tough to imagine when the graphics (in this adventure style of game) will surpass Indiana Jones.  The tropical ruins are lush, the streets gritty, and yes, Indiana Jones is in desperate need of a shave.  Likewise, the character animation is fluid, responsive, and makes me wish the designers of Resident Evil would take note.  You will have fun playing Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb - everything about the game will draw you in.

Shooting (pic) Once you're drawn in, expect to stay a while.  The game is long.  The game is based on the two principles that made Buffy so good, remember?  Fighting and puzzle solving win the day here, and if you need to give it a rest for a bit, the way that saves are handled (automatically) will have you wondering how they ever did it any other way.

Is this game a recommended purchase?  NO.  Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb provides us with yet another reason why rentals are a good way to go.  It's quite possible that you'll find yourself buying the game anyway - BUT, only if you don't own or want Buffy. Only if you're prepared for yet another Tomb Raider style game to suck away hours flipping switches and doing repetitive combat moves.  I'm not going to be a downer here, the game scores very well - it's the cliché perfected.  You may be ready for another Tomb Raider; I know that I was.  Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb gets an 8/10 - despite the fact that you probably have played this before.

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