Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings
Not that it really matters on that front since the game sports a brand new “Indy”, and he is a damn good Indy if I do say so myself (does his own take on Harrison Ford, though hopefully if there’s ever a next game I would like it if he played with the character more and gave it more of his own personal spin to the Indy character)… speaking of which I am sufficiently happy with this game (even with it’s critical glitch which I’ll go over at the end of the review) that I am looking forward to hearing him again in a future game (if there should ever be a future game and he franchise doesn’t sputter and run out of steam after this game… again).
As for the story? What is it with Nazis and biblical artifacts of power! Come on! Go find some other religion and/or deity culture to steal it’s powerful artifacts from already (Oh wait, you do change gears in Fate of Atlantis don‘t you Nazis, my bad!!)
First it’s the Lost Ark of the Covenant, then it’s the Holy Grail (and the several times across the omniverse they‘ve been stealing the Spear of Destiny), now it’s the long lost Staff of Moses (The Staff of Kings). Seems, like with the Ark and the Grail, it’s yet another biblical artifact thought long lost which, as it turns out, was just misplaced for a certain someone to find during the dawn of WWII… that’d be you, Indy. Step up and be accounted for man!
Set in 1939 you’ll be doing the whole globetrotting thing to discover the staff, and oh the places you’ll go (and the people you’ll punch in the face or whip into submission -- they call Indy “Mr. Mistress“?). The Sudan (pre Darfur violence era of course), San Francisco’s Chinatown, Panama and more (with a rumored different story arc if you team up with a second player for two player Indy action). Travel the world to learn the location of the Staff of Moses, and keep those Nazis and other assorted bad guys in their place with the liberal use of violence and vehicle control (airplanes and large stone rafts in the shape of Moses’ “ark”, motorcycles and whatever) to get from here to there (and wipe out whoever happens to be attempting to block your journey from said here to there).
Each game (two versions I have my eye on, this Wii version and the PSP version to be reviewed at
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Anyway as this review reveals, to date I am only playing the Wii version, so this review focuses on that version… and it’s glitch. I don’t know if it’s my version or not but at times the game either slows down severely, or crashes altogether (freezes up). This only happens in the Staff of Kings gameplay, (never once happened while I played Fate of Atlantis) so I don’t know if this is just my game or if it’s a more universal glitch… anyway if they sell that little guarantee you can return the game within a year for a few bucks (or whatever your currency is in your neighborhood) do so get it, you may have to swap it.
As for the game itself? The Wii version looks quite well (for a Wii game of course), and graphically snazzy though I heard some people complain about it (oh come off it already, this is perfect for the Wii graphics wise as well as gameplay wise -- the Wii isn‘t as meaty a console as the 360 or PS3 (though the PS3 so screwed the hellhound by botching it‘s release visually of Ghostbusters the Video Game).
You make full use of the Wiimote here, so that’s good. I think this game can be used with the new WiiMotion Plus upgrade for the Wiimote, which is good since at times I feel this game needs a Wiimote sensitivity upgrade as I seem to wiimote wave a lot to do simple whip grabs and drag ins. OK. So at times control sensitivity is abit off, but the game does make excellent use of the control so you swing, whip (for fighting or to help you move from point A to B, influencing environmental hazards as well as drop said environment on enemies heads) and rock on like Indy.
Of course I do wish the game had a target lock during fist fights (since sometimes you do seem to flail rather haphazardly unable to lock onto targets) but that’s minor since you get your mojo on well enough in this game. Learning out of the box is fast, which is good since there seems to be a terrible glitch in the disc (one thing that triggered the glitch is using the Tutorial on the main menu area so don’t play the tutorial from the main menu, that is one of the things that seems to make the game glitch up -- doesn‘t matter since the game eventually does that in later levels of it‘s own free will as well)
Also the game is really riddled with Resident Evil 4 Wii style wiimote waving and button tapping in tight situations (which
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As promised using your brains to think through the environmental puzzles is really rewarding, as they are thought out fairly well and usefully too (of course at times solving a puzzle also triggers an event that requires wiimove seizuring… I mean waving). One of the best pieces of the advice the game gives you from the word go (once Indy starts to teach you the game mechanics) is the usefulness of taking a good look at your surroundings before going into battle, especially when you might think of new ways to beat a situation that you might not have thought out before (using the very environment as weapons against your enemies in a tight situation). Very nice.
Did I mention there’s also a little bit of borrowed gameplay from Gears of War here too, with you using cover to your advantage as you go through shootouts with the bad guys (learning when to shoot and when to duck and cover, and what to shoot at as well to make for the best shot). Oh, and then there’s the vehicles to ride like the airplane and raft and motorcycle and even a wild elephant. Oh the things you’ll ride on in this game. Back quickly to Gears of War, it looks like slowly more and more games are adapting the duck and cover gameplay mechanic of Gears of War (where you take cover and shoot it out with your enemies). That’s nice, because that is one of the better innovations in gameplay mechanics in this new generation of consoles, and one I hope to see more often (as opposed to the overtly taken and used Violence O Meter Rama hack and slash beat down gaming “borrowed” from God of War, which only takes the most base and primal aspect of it without the depth of gameplay and oh the many wonderful tools you can use to deal out death, making the borrow only a half arsed one without much depth… for further details, play “Beowulf” on the XBox360).
And did I mention this game’s best extra? The 1992 point & click PC adventure game Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis? This game got that too. All you have to do to unlock it is unlock a single solitary “Glory”, which is actually easier than it sounds.
First off if you are a good shot then you’d want to down four airplanes during the chase sequence in the plane
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If not then you want to be careful in the hidden storeroom of your friend. When you go on the ledge to take out the first of the Chinese thugs in the room bypass the barrel and go right to the chandelier to use the whip to bring it down on the two thugs beneath it. Instant glory and Fate of Atlantis is open (complete with it’s own Indy voice actor and everything).
For a 1992 era point & click that reminds me a lot of Sierra’s best (like King’s Quest and Space Quest) it’s actually majorly fun to play through, and (something I haven’t seen in a long while) the game features a randomizer! That means you can play this game several times over and certain areas will come out differently! Sure it’s mostly in terms of where to find certain things, or answering certain questions, but it’s just enough to provide some amount of replay value… even moreso when you go back to find all the stuff you probably missed the first play through (and all the things you could do), as well as the fact that halfway through the game the story diverges into three different paths (two solo, one teamed up with female costar Hapgood) so that‘s even more replay value right there!
Hmm… I have to say when it comes right down to it I had more fun playing the game within the game (Fate of Atlantis), but Staff of Kings was nice too (glitch be damned). As far as Wii games goes it is a good pick up and I didn’t mind paying the full price for it either. Now if only Lucasarts would crank out a collection of their Point & Click games for the Wii! (And I heard there’s quite a collection to be ported from all their series!)
So what to score.
On the plus side it really does make good use of the wiimote and it’s one of the more fun games based on movies I played on the Wii. And the bonus game is fun too.
On the downside the unlockable extras (the Indy hats) isn’t worth it since it only unlocks trailers to the four movies, skins for multiplayer and a Combat Arena… really? A Combat Arena? That takes two glories to unlock, and sufficient to say once I unlocked Fate of Atlantis I didn’t try to unlock anymore. That extra was extra enough for me.
Back on the plus side I heard two player co-op is supposed to have a fresh storyline unique from the main gameplay, so that should be worth checking out… if I can find that second warm body to occupy the second player slot that is.
I’m going to give this one a 4 out of 5. It has just enough good over bad to make it a nice recommendation for both Indiana Jones fans and those looking for a solid platformer on the Wii (double kudos if you also are a fan of the Point & Click genre).
Now get me more Point & Clicks, Mr. Lucas! You’re our only hope!
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