Indiana Jones And The Emperor's Tomb
Review By: Gringo

I opened my review of the game Indiana Jones And The Infernal Machine with a really bad joke. So, as the Beach Boys urged, let's do it again!

Q. What did Dr. Henry Jones call his band?
A. Indiana Tones.

Wasn't that awful? Hopefully by the time LucasArts release a third clone of Tomb Raider - but with a graphic of Dr. Jones instead of pixellated boobies - I'll have found a genuinely funny joke to put in the introduction of my review.

Until then, you're stuck with the usual boatload of unfunny. And guess what?! It's just docked at Sucksburg! I thought I could smell fish.

Owners of X-BOXes and PCs everywhere can do Mexican waves for one (come on, you haven't got any friends. Admit it to Gringo. Why the hell else would you be here?), because Indiana Jones is back, and you can play with him! Sexually, if you unlock an X-rated Easter egg in the game!

Based on the adventurer everyone knows about, it's the fourth recent Jones game that isn't based on one of the three movies. The others? Fate Of Atlantis (review soon!), The Infernal Machine (review linked above!) and Desktop Adventures (it made me cry), and it's the second that's more action than adventure.

Anyone who's played the Tomb Raider series will be able to guess what's happening in this game. Well, that is when they remove their penis from hand after getting the desperate, soulless flagellation of themselves over a pair of computerised breasts over and done with. It's a lot of running, jumping, pushing blocks and solving basic puzzles. Oh little joy!

However, while I've despised the aforementioned Lara Croft series because it's a blatant Indiana Jones rip-off, when you're dealing with the material that's been stolen from, you get a better quality of game. It's the original, undamaged by cheap alterations - just like Michael Jackson's face when he was two.

Sorry, I just got called back to the 1980s for that joke. Back in the present day, Indiana Jones And The Emperor's Tomb sees Dr. Jones (JUNIOR?!) going after the Heart of the Dragon, some ancient Chinese talisman that gives the person holding it godlike powers of ruling the world. Naturally.

Set in 1935, the Nazis want this device, in particular Ivory hunter Von Beck, who seems to have been born with a bad case of over-acting. Also after the wacky doomsday fun-machine is a sneaky Chinese man called Marshall Kai. You, as Jones, have to stop them both and find time to smooch with a Chinese (getting the theme yet?) lady called Mei Ying.

But before you can get down and dirty (yo, diggy) you have to explore 10 levels of craziness. From an archaeological find in Ceylon - I'm a thick bastard and hadn't heard of this place before playing the game - to a Nazi castle in Prague (which is somewhat like that German castle in the movie Last Crusade) and finally the tomb of the title.

Yes, there's some netherworld nonsense going on, as you eventually infiltrate the tomb of the first emperor of China, Ch'in Shih-huang-ti, that guy buried with a bunch of terracotta soldiers and - according to this game - the Heart of the Dragon. I knew a woman (just the one!) everyone called a dragon. She was a bitch, admittedly, but she didn't fight King Arthur or breathe fire. Two awful jokes in one review! Your luck's in!

Essentially, this game is all about running forwards, and it plays like a platform game. There's no doubling-back on yourself, which I like, and the puzzles in the game are difficult but won't leave you needing to go on the Internet looking for the solution like a sad, beaten old man whose brain has finally melted out of his ears.

Controlling Jones takes a bit of getting used to, with the keyboard being used to move him around, while the mouse does the punching and firing of weapons. After about 25 days, though, you're all set, and once you cross the border away from not being a simpleton, the controls work well.

Helping the game is the fact everything looks fantastic. Whereas Infernal Machine was a bit glitchy in places and Jones looked like a Lego man, here the graphics are spot on, old boy! Seeing some of the locations is like looking at a postcard from a friend in an exotic place, except it's not a postcard, and it's not a genuine picture of the place, and you don't have any friends. Besides that, it's amazing.

Levels are well planned out, and the fighting, which can sometimes be a bore, is one of the best things about this game. As well as using the iconic whip to jump around tombs, canyons and Chinese opera houses (no, really), you can use it to knock a bad guy's gun out of his hand than flog him like some cheap S&M client.

There's even some fun sub-games, like a rickshaw ride through the streets of Hong Kong that involves you firing a machine gun at people, or the ability to shoot down Nazi fighter planes while trying to keep your balance on a moving cable car. This is one of those rare games I've actually enjoyed every level of. Nothing is a chore. Except washing the dishes. Bad Jokes - 3, Laughs - 0.

Actually, I think I'm being modest about the number of bad jokes.

In many ways, this is as close to an Indiana Jones movie as has yet been achieved by LucasArts. Sure, Fate Of Atlantis is a very good game, but only now has the energy and sheer satisfaction of throwing a Nazi off a cliff been achieved in computer form.

What probably helped to make this game quite possibly the best so far based on the adventuring professor is the fact it seems to have been made by movie geeks.

I don't mean that in a bad way (other than wanting them to get washed and stop posting on the forums at every hour). There are many references to Jones' past exploits both in the game and the accompanying manual, which is something worth reading - the first time it's happened with any game I've bought. There are lots of facts, stories and notes worth your time.

There's also a poster in the manual advertising Willie Scott at Club Obi Wan, a reference to Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom. When I saw that, my face almost exploded with rage, because I can't stand that character. Thankfully, it's just a reference.

The only person you do meet from the series is Wu Han, the waiter who gets shot during that stupid, stupid Anything Goes number that opens the second movie.

I should mention something about the music. It was recorded by a major orchestra, something that isn't really done enough for games. The infamous main theme is abundant on nearly every level, and everything sounds so crisp and fitting it's enough to make me need a change of underwear. Wait, sorry, I'll be back in a moment.

New pants are always best! Anyway, time for me to go to bed and you to read this site until you start to cry. I like this game. A lot. Simple enough. In the later levels of Infernal Machine, the developers went overboard on the supernatural shit, and I hated the end of the game for it. Plus, the thirty-second end sequence just stank.

By contrast, the netherworld nonsense in this game is kept to a tolerable level, and never feels thrown in for the sake of a LucasArts project director to be able to say to his boss "You asked for mythological whimsy! I provided! Give raise!"

In addition, the last few levels - no prizes for guessing which tomb they take place in - are vastly superior to the finale of Infernal Machine. I won't say what happens (secrets stay with Gringo!), but the entire end sequence is possibly the greatest of the Jones games available.

It's now 1,371 words later, and if you've still not got the hint, then you're a dumb son of a bitch, and hopefully now you realise why mother put you in that classroom with the circular paper and the inedible crayons. Stop drooling and buy this game!

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