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March 15, 2003
Indiana Jones & The Emperor's Tomb - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
31/8/2003LucasArtsIn-House1$99.95

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Indy looks like Harrison Ford.
If there is one trilogy of movies that gets anywhere near the revered following of the (original) Star Wars movies it has to be Indiana Jones. The last movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was released way back in 1989 but with talk of a fourth movie beginning to gather momentum the time was right for a new game featuring the legendary archaeologist. Indiana Jones & The Emperor's Tomb is LucasArts' latest game with an original storyline. This time Indiana will be travelling around the globe and through China to complete his quest.

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The architecture is impressive.
Indy's whirlwind adventure, set in the Far East in 1935, plunges him into an international crisis of terrifying magnitude. As the game begins, a powerful underground Asian society, the Black Dragon Triad, and a German mercenary, Albrecht Von Beck, have formed an unholy alliance in the hopes of acquiring the Heart of the Dragon, a black pearl that gives its possessor the power to mould minds. Rumoured to be buried in the crypt of China's first emperor, it has been safely hidden for more than two thousand years. Now, with this unwelcome coalition in desperate pursuit of one of the most powerful artefacts known to man, it's up to Indy to prevent the Heart of the Dragon from falling into the wrong hands. Indy enters the race for the Heart at the behest of Marshal K'ai, an Asian businessman who asks him to retrieve the pearl and return it to the government of China. But in order to retrieve the Heart, Indy must first traverse the world to find and assemble the three scattered pieces of the Dragon Seal, the key to unlocking the crypt. Jones is aided in his search by K'ai's stunningly beautiful assistant, Mei Ying, who helps him throughout this epic conflict. Do you have what it takes to possess the mysterious "Heart of the Dragon?"

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The good old machine gun.
Indy's latest adventure plays out in dramatic fashion thanks to new gameplay features such as brawling combat. This time, in addition to using his trademark whip and pistol, Indy can engage in hand-to-hand combat against foes, many of whom are well-versed in martial arts. Improvised weapons such as shovels, chairs and table legs also can be used to fend off adversaries. The result is a more immersive and more Indy-like gameplay experience, set amidst spine-tingling movie-like action sequences, such as a rickshaw chase in Hong Kong and a spectacular battle atop moving gondolas in the South China Sea area.

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Now that's a wierd enemy!
Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb features The Collective's proprietary 3D engine that supports completely immersive, highly interactive environments. The game will include 10 levels, all set in unique locales such as a 15th century castle that looms over Prague, an underwater palace in Istanbul, and a mountaintop fortress in China. A sophisticated camera tracking system makes sure that the player always has an optimal view of the third-person action. "Indiana Jones is back in a bold new way that players have never seen him," says Tom Byron, director of product marketing for LucasArts. "Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb faithfully recreates all the heroism, action and edge-of-the-seat adventure of the blockbuster film series thanks to a state-of-the-art game engine, a rich story, and compelling gameplay."

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Sock it to him.
While little has been seen of the actual gameplay to date these surrounding screenshots (which are all from the Playstation 2 version rather then the PC or XBox version which earlier screens came from) are certainly impressive. Indiana Jones looks like a wonderful representation of Harrison Ford. We can also expect plenty of John Williams' legendary score to back the action. The only downer is that Harrison Ford won't be providing the voice.

Expected to be released in August/September 2003 Indiana Jones & The Emperor's Tomb does look stunning. Indiana Jones is one of the most charismatic characters in the movie world, and this game looks as close to the real thing as we are going to see for a couple of years. One thing that could make this game even more exciting is if Harrison Ford does the voices, although that is highly unlikely given his busy schedule, and high fees. Still, this is one game to keep an eye on.