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A whip-smart Indy

June 05, 2008|Pete Metzger | Special to The Times

One of the best surprises in gaming a few years ago was Lego Star Wars. The combination of familiar stories, told with a whimsical sense of humor, and the ease of its game play made it a delight to play.

Now, with a desire for all things Indiana Jones -- thanks to the new blockbuster film -- comes Lego Indiana Jones the Original Adventure.

With the same successful formula applied to a different set of classic films, Lego Indy doesn't disappoint. From the giggle-inducing cut screens that (very) loosely match the plot of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" et al. to the challenging, yet simple platform-style gaming and the pick-up-and-play style of control, Lego Indy is a must have for anyone who liked the films and likes to smile. (And who doesn't like to do that?)

Because any unlocked character can replay any level (and some of the puzzles can only be unlocked with certain people), Lego Indy is eminently replayable, meaning more bang for your buck.

Like the Star Wars games, different Lego parts can be combined to create one-of-a-kind characters to use in the adventures. And as a bonus, gamers get to hear that amazing John Williams score during the entire game (da da da duh DA DA DUH!).

We've always wondered if Short Round could have outrun that giant boulder in the first flick; now we'll be able to find out.

Grade: A (delightful adventures in little plastic form)

Details: All platforms; $49.99-$29.99; rated Everyone 10+ (cartoon violence)


Hard to kill

New games don't get much more old-school than Ninja Gaiden 2, or more gory.

First the old school: With a seemingly endless supply of bad ninjas to fight and a very linear path to follow, not to mention all the button-mashing action, NG2 harks back to a simpler time in games when there was only one possible outcome.

But then there are the guts: During the blood-splattering fight scenes, bad guys can sometimes lose an arm or a leg before visiting the great dojo in the sky. The sick part is, even with only one leg, they'll still crawl over to attack you. (Who says bad ninjas aren't dedicated?)

The high-resolution graphics are a sight to behold (NG2 is made by the same people who made the amazing Dead or Alive 4) and the game play is decent, if not thumb-crippling. But the third-person camera's movement gets sloppy at times and the game gets a little repetitive after a while, which is unfortunate.

Grade: B- (Beware of flying body parts.)

Details: Xbox 360 platform; $59.99; rated Mature (blood and gore, intense violence, partial nudity, suggestive themes)

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