The LEGO Star Wars games worked on a lot of levels. They were casual games for hardcore nerds, and they turned a space epic into a comic adventure while mashing up the memories of anyone who grew up mixing their Hoth battle sets with LEGO's spaceship kits. But rendering Indiana Jones as a bulbous, smiling toy doesn't cause much friction: The Jones flicks were already campy B-movies, winking at themselves long before these games took their stab at it.
LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures covers the first three movies, and in a weird twist, the Temple Of Doom levels work the best: The exotic palace and lava-scorched tunnels make the richest settings, and the mine-cart chase is one of the only exciting scenes. As with the LEGO Star Wars titles, your job is to collect studs (coins) and uncover treasures; everything else is secondary. There are plenty of Nazis to clobber, but the fights just get in the way. The guns are tough to aim, and Indy's bullwhip can't compete with a lightsaber. In fact, while Indy is the hero, you may start to favor the dames. For some reason, they can jump higher, which will help you reach all those coins.
Beyond the game: More gamers should call bullshit on the idea of asking kids to play with pre-built LEGOs on a computer, instead of getting on the floor and building stuff straight out of their imaginations.
Worth playing for: …but if you do play with a kid, the co-op is slick. It gives two players a chance to cooperate on the puzzles without causing hassles for solo players.
Frustration sets in when: Indy's bullwhip is iconic—and it's a constant hassle. Crack it near a ledge and you'll accidentally step off. It's next to useless in combat. And thanks to poor button assignment, it keeps misfiring whenever you assemble a pile of bricks.
Final judgment: Take away the LEGOs, and there's nothing here you won't find in other movie tie-in games. But few movie tie-ins are this much fun, or show this much love for the source material.