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Suddenly, you hear a rumble. You swap the machete for a whip just as the floor gives way, revealing a spike-filled graveyard. You lash onto a wall ornament with the whip and swing across the deadly pit.
Safely on the other side, you stand up and see your prize in the distance, a rare relic sitting on its pedestal at the far end of a vast courtyard. As you start walking toward it, though, three mercenaries brandishing knives and guns come out of hiding.
And you thought you had a bad day at the office.
Pow! Indys fists are useful in close quarters.
An Exciting Time
Your chance to play one of the most popular characters in film history has arrived with Aspyr Medias Indiana Jones and the Emperors Tomb. Set in the year 1935, the storyline features Indys quest for the Heart of the Dragon, a powerful black pearl that supposedly gives its owner the ability to control the minds of others. Many think it was buried with Chinas first emperor, but before Indy can access the burial site, hell have to find the three pieces of the Dragon Seal that will unlock it.
1935 is an exciting time, notes Jim Tso, producer of the game for LucasArts. Its close to the start of World War II, so theres a lot of built-in intrigue around the world. And we could use the Nazis as villains without having to worry about stepping too close to historical events.
He adds that his development team did some research and discovered that the first Emperor of China really did go on an epic search for the secret of everlasting life and he did order a huge book burning. We spun those elements into a pact with the devil for immortality.
Play the Movies
The storyline takes you around the world, from the formidable jungles of Ceylon (in Sri Lanka) to the streets of Hong Kong to an underwater palace in Istanbul. In addition to the pieces of the Dragon Seal and the Heart of the Dragon itself, Indy can pick up a variety of artifacts along the way and add them to his collection, which you can view during the game to see if you missed any. There are 30 in all.
Get Into the Swing of Things. Use Indys whip to cross chasms and reach treasures.
The game also stays true to its cinematic roots by giving Indy a female sidekick. This time shes Mei Ying, the assistant to a businessman named Marshal Kai, who hires Indy on behalf of the Chinese government. An underground Asian society called The Black Dragon Triad has joined forces with a German mercenary named Albrecht Von Beck to find the Heart of the Dragon, and Kai fears what will happen if it falls into their hands.
In their race to beat the bad guys, players can rely on Indiana Jones trademarks, such as the bullwhip that he uses to disarm opponents and swing across pits, his ability to take a beating during a fight but still remain standing, and even his penchant for dry quips in the middle of tense situations.
We studied the movies extensively, says Tso, not only to model Indys moves but to gain a sense of his character lets just say hes willing to do whatever it takes to win a fight.
He adds: Youll see moves that Indy didnt do in the movies but feel like things he would do. For example, in one sequence Indy rides in a gondola on the way to the Black Dragon Fortress. When Nazi fighter pilots attack, he can get behind a gun turret and shoot them out of the sky. It sure feels like a scene that wound up on the cutting room floor during the making of the films.
Ive Got a Bad Feeling About This An ancient structure, torches, snakes; somehow this seems familiar.
A Lot of Freedom
Like all great adventure stories, Indiana Jones and the Emperors Tomb features plenty of twists and turns along the way, in addition to a double-cross or two. And when hes not taking on the bad guys, hell have to contend with levels in which sharks and crocodiles lurk.
True, he never battled animals (other than snakes) during the original films, but Tso says his development team generally has a lot of freedom, as long as we dont break the continuity established in the movies or other media. (If you want to learn more about Indys history, read The Indiana Jones Phenomenon on page two.)
Dont Lose Your Head. Help Indy defeat supernatural forces in addition to natural ones.
Such characters as Lara Croft and even Pitfall Harry have come along during the past two decades to challenge Indys crown as top finder of ancient artifacts, but Tso says that hes the original. I think as long as we stay true to his character, we dont really need to worry about anyone else.
You, on the other hand, will have plenty to worry about as you make your way toward the Emperors Tomb.
If you liked this game, check out:
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Tomb Raider: Chronicles
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