Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine is a big game, to be sure, with enough levels to keep you busy over a three-day rental period.
It took five games starring Lara Croft to arrive before the character that inspired her in the first place finally returned to video games in a 3D adventure for the Nintendo 64 - Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine. The game itself is a port of a PC game that was less than well received when it came out last year. One might assume that LucasArts must not have too much confidence in the game, having released it directly to rental through Blockbuster (and for sale in limited quantities through its Web site). This fact sets your expectations for Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine at an ideal level, though, as it's a good rental for the N64, but nothing more.
The game is set several years after the last Indiana Jones film, after the end of the second World War. Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones has been coaxed back into the field by the CIA to keep an ancient Babylonian device from falling into the hands of the Soviets. Oddly enough, the parts of the device have been scattered around the world, left in remote tombs that are as hard to get to as they are to penetrate. Indy must face many creatures and foes along the way, ranging from mystical beasts and Soviet troops to spiders and snakes. To help keep you alive in this journey, you have your trusty whip, antivenom kits, and whatever firearms you can take from the Soviet forces, such as an automatic pistol, a machine pistol, and a combat rifle.
The gameplay is similar to that of Eidos' Tomb Raider series. It involves a lot of running, jumping, climbing, pulling levers, and pushing buttons, though Indy can be found doing a few things that Lara Croft doesn't. For instance, your whip is more than just a weapon - it can be used to latch onto objects to allow you to swing across chasms or climb to higher ground. The puzzles in the game are very straightforward and simple, but they are also often hard to perform. Sometimes they involve different gameplay elements such as riding along a river on a raft or barreling through underground tunnels in a mining cart, which are less fun than they should be due to the game's graphical and control problems. For example, the raft ride feels similar to games that you play at carnivals for prizes; it's so tough to keep Indy from hitting the rocks that sometimes you start to think that the whole thing is rigged, and not in your favor.
What doesn't help is that the controls from the PC game have been adapted to the Nintendo 64 controller in a rather clunky and unintuitive way. The A button jumps; the B button initiates actions such as opening doors; the shoulder button crouches; and the C buttons can be assigned to items such as your whip, lighter, and gun - with the top C as a free look. It's a setup that you'll eventually get used to, but it never comes easy. The response that you get from the character is even less suitable for the action you need to pull off in the game. Indy may jump and swing well, but try to get him to climb the step in front of him and you'll likely see him jump straight up a few times before he realizes he can simply shimmy himself forward. The combat is similar to the lock-on system found in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. When an enemy comes into view, a moving circle will appear around it, and your character's movement will revolve around it until it's dispatched. It worked well in Ocarina of Time, and it works well here. Fans of the Tomb Raider series will likely prefer the fighting in this game due to its simplicity.
- Player Reviews: 5
- Game Universe:
- Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine (PC, GBC, N64),
- Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb (MAC, XBOX, PC, PS2),
- Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (PC, MAC, AMI, C64, CPC, FMT, AMI, ZX),
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (PC, SMS, C64, AMI, MAC, GEN, GG, PC, CPC, MSX, AMI, ZX, ST),
- Indiana Jones (PS3, X360),
- Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings (PSP, DS, PS2, WII),
- Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures (SNES),
- LEGO 3-Pack Wii Bundle (WII),
- LEGO 3-Pack DS Bundle (DS),
- Indiana Jones and his Desktop Adventures (PC)