(Game Boy Color)
Review by Mark Isaacson
Not so long ago I went through the first of the THQ/Lucasarts combos, Obi-Wan's Adventure's. Well, now it's time for Indy to step up to the plate, and although the games are slightly similar in presentation, The Infernal Machine is a much better title all over.
Check out the story line for the N64/PC review, because it is exactly the same.
After going through many hours on the N64/PC version of the same game, I actually found the Game Boy Color Indy an entertaining challenge. And I think this comes from the actual limitations of the system and the fact that graphics aren't the most important issue when making a game for this small screen.
In this case, Indy has a very polished presentation. You view the game in a top down/ side-on perspective, which makes it easy to see what lies ahead and helps greatly when jumping from one level to another (especially when it comes to using the whip to get to those hard to reach places). The colors are used neatly to show the differences in land conditions (sand, snow, ice, grass, water, etc.). Indy himself isn't all that detailed, but you can easily see the trademark clothing.
As I have mentioned before, the Game Boy isn't all that happy when it comes to blasting out music. With Indy, LucasArts have done a good job of re-creating the classic tunes, and have added some new ones here and there. All those little sounds like gun fire and whip cracking can get annoying after a couple of hours play, but you can simply turn the sound down if you wish.
Now, unlike Obi-Wan, Indy has a very smooth control system too, making this a much more worthwhile experience. You can easily get Indy from one ledge to another, whether it be jumping or using the whip. And attacking your enemies is a breeze, as you don't have to aim or lock on. Some enemies are your typical human scum, while scorpions and other dangerous animals pop up out of the blue. But there is so much more to this game then simply shooting the bad guys. One level lets you ride through the rapids, which is not only heaps of fun, but helps to break up the gameplay (instead of putting you through the same things over and over again).
Collecting items is the main aim of the game, with the many pieces of the Infernal Machine scattered among the levels, as well as a few other little things hiding among the rocks and so forth. Some items are hard to find, making it impossible to go through the entire game in one shot. Again, this isn't a bad thing, unless you are impatient.
Puzzles are another major area of Indy GBC, and most are actually challenging. At the beginning they are easy to accomplish, but once you make your way further into the game, you will find some puzzles that can become difficult to master. And thanks to the simple control system, moving items here and there is an easy task.
To tell you the truth, I couldn't really find much wrong with Indy. Every aspect of the game has been taken care of neatly. I suppose the only things that I can complain about is the lack of a multi-player mode (capture the treasure maybe. Trust me, it could have been done) and the music, as I mentioned above, can become annoying after a while. But really, they are only tiny things that won't hurt the score at all.
I just wish that THQ worked through Obi-Wan the same way that they did here. The control system in OWA just didn't feel right (check the review for more), and let it down overall. I truly believe that OWA could have been a better title, and Indy proves my point.
I'm glad to see that, for once, a Game Boy game conversion of a 64-bit title has worked well. In the past, titles like Turok or But-A-Move just didn't fair well on the small screen and sports games (all of the EA Sports series and more recently, Tony Hawk) just don't work at all. So a huge amount of credit must go to THQ for bringing such a big game onto the GBC, and not just throwing it together, but actually taking the time to give Indy an adventure to enjoy.
So, is smaller better? Personally, I prefer the classic 2D gameplay compared to most 3D titles out these days, but what do you think? Send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org. The best responses will be posted here soon.
For comments or questions email the TFN Games Staff
and thanks to Mark Isaacson for the review!