The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
When a player inserts Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings into his or her Wii, the Archaeological Institute of America should be on hand to present an alternative: Play this game, or open the Ark of the Covenant. One choice brings instant face-melting death; the other inflicts a thousand lifetimes of pain and suffering upon a person's inner Indy fan. Choose wisely.
This may seem like a lose-lose proposition, but believe it or not, there is reason to invest in this game. If you dig around in its menus, you'll find the classic PC adventure game Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis tucked away in the special features. Losing none of its magic since 1992, this port utilizes the Wii's IR functionality to secure flawless navigation for the conversation trees, menus, and environment interaction. Like most adventure games, Fate of Atlantis is paced in molasses. It puts heavy emphasis on brain-twisting puzzles, and features an extensive narrative (which is penned brilliantly and accompanied by spoken dialogue). The slow pacing may be a turn off to some, but the time you invest is justified with huge payoffs surrounding the Atlantean and Indiana Jones mythologies. All told, Fate of Atlantis is a finely crafted Indiana Jones experience that does the license proud.
Staff of Kings is the exact opposite. If you thought that the latest film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was a stretch for the famed fedora, this game will twist your perception of Indy to the point that it would make sense for him to French kiss a cobra.
The only aspect that sings of the archeologist's exploits is the object of desire: Moses' staff, a religious artifact that plays off Indy's phobia of snakes. It's a perfect match, yet the narrative seems to be afraid of it, as the story is pushed to the side to such a degree that some scenes don't even conclude. I guess we're supposed to use our imagination to form our own conclusions.
This buthered tale takes Indy to temples and crypts set in Turkey, Panama, and Nepal. All are festooned with gorgeous architecture and sites to marvel. But the architects all make the same mistake of creating booby-traps with obvious workarounds. Nothing kills an adventure vibe more than bad puzzles, and Staff of Kings specializes in them.
Whenever Indy would crack his whip at a foe, I expected to see the Three Stooges join into the fight. The fisticuffs, which boil down to Indy and his foes swinging ridiculous props at each other, end up being comical. The sordid controls that fuel your swings don't help matter, either.
Gunplay boils down to Duck Hunt without any moving targets. Point. Shoot. And move on to the next lame shooting gallery. Driving and flying offer little in terms of gameplay outside of the harrowing challenge: Can you drive or fly straight?
Only approach this game if you intend to play Fate of Atlantis. Staff of Kings hardly finds the Indiana Jones pulse.
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Poor Indy. If Dr. Jones knew George Lucas was going ruin his reputation with The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and The Staff of Kings, he would have opted for a retirement home. This travesty finds our favorite archaeologist chasing through San Francisco, Panama, Turkey, and Nepal in search of the staff Moses used to part the Red Sea. Along the way, he's barraged with terrible shooting mechanics, tough-to-control vehicle chases, weak platforming, mindlessly easy puzzles, and uninspired level designs. The graphics and sound don't fare any better, with frequent stunted animations and skipping voiceovers. With gameplay this hackneyed and frustrating, you're better off playing the classic graphical adventure The Fate of Atlantis, which is included on the disc.