With the Indiana Jones film series over twenty years old and rumours of a fourth instalment on the books, Lucas Arts and Activision have decided to tempt us with another outing of our favourite archaeologist in Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb, the game. Available on XBOX, PS2 and PC this game is an unashamed platform game, which plays almost identically on all formats. PC owners should just get a joypad and spare themselves a lot of pain.
Based in an around China in 1935 you play Indy as he tries to prevent a powerful artifact from falling into evil hands. The game starts in the tombs and temples of Ceylon and eventually takes you to downtown Hong Kong as you battle different enemies from the usual goons, to marital arts temptresses, to the good old Axis forces.
The graphics are akin to Jedi Knight 2 and the early levels are similar in design to the later levels of Jedi Knight with the usual array of jumps, ducks, swings and trouble dodging. The likeness to Harrison Ford, aka Indy, is very good, and the characters response to leaning on ledge edges and swinging on roles will make you want to watch the movie trilogy over and over again.
Gameplay is similar to the Lara Croft series, not surprising really as they are both Tomb Raider-based games. Just like the films, Indy is good at the old punch up, and the Lucas Arts has added a nice feature allowing you to punch with both mouse buttons for that one-two combo. The fighting element is a great strength to the game and it makes fighting with the hands more fun sometimes that trying to rely on gun power alone.
To up the tension and in keeping with what console users have come to expect, there is no in-level game saves. While some will love the tension this brings, to others it can be bloody annoying, especially as the majority of the opening levels are based on you getting jumps right or you fall to your death.
The emphasis, again like the early Tomb Raider titles, is on puzzle solving rather than a baddy at every corner and people looking for gung-ho action should be aware of this before playing the game.
Another disappoint feature is with the annoying, and sometimes confusing camera angle. So build up are the sets, that sometimes the camera has trouble dealing with movement and scenery. It is obvious as a PC user that these problems have occurred from transferring the same code across the three formats and this is common in other games that have been developed for all platforms at the same time. It's a shame that the game is blighted by this. What makes it worse is that it normally happens when you're in the middle of a fight, and this only causes you pain in too many ways.
If you can over come the camera's inability to function properly and want something to fill the void until the next Tomb Raider arrives this is overall an okay game. it won't have you biting at the bit in the same way that Jedi Knight 2, also from Lucas Arts, did. Nor will it probably be a touch on tomb raider when that appears either, but it does act as a worthy stopgap.