Earlier this week, you got a taste for classic co-op in Broodax's column, featuring ToeJam and Earl. I felt it would be a good idea then, to discuss co-op games I played this week in my column. As it turns out, I played one classic co-op game, one that will be a classic, and one that isn't a classic at all, but was a decent way to spend an hour or two. I'll leave it you to decide which was which from this list: Diablo II, Lego Indiana Jones, and Ben 10.
Diablo II was my co-op classic for the week. With the recent Diablo 3 hype, many folks have been replaying previous Diablo games. I myself replayed the original solo for a while, but got frustrated by that jerk the Butcher. Anyway, when some old friends of mine wanted to play throughDiablo II again, I was only to happy to join them. We started from the beginning, and I chose to play a sorceress. The allure of cold spells is just too much for me to resist, especially in co-op, when I can freeze baddies, and my friends can beat them up. All of the memories flooded over me as we teamed up to take downDiablo's minions. It wasn't just nostalgia though that made Diablo II fun; I was surprised at how enjoyable the game was, after several years, and dozens of playthroughs We played for two or three hours that first night, and I totally lost track of time. I found myself logging in often through the week, just checking those vendors for an awesome staff or orb. The game is totally addicting, even to this day. I fear for my social life and my productivity at work when Diablo 3 finally arrives!
Most of my co-op time this week, though, came with my 7 year old son. We rented Lego Indiana Jones, since the boys enjoyed Lego Star Wars on the Gamecube, and we just re-watched the original Indy movies a month or so ago. I didn't play the earlier Lego games much, I must admit, but after playing through Lego Indy, I certainly will go back and check them out. This game is so fun! The music, the cut scenes, and the funny little things the characters would do all worked together to make a really appealing experience for fans of the Indy movies. My son absolutely loved it. The episodes are fairly short, which is perfect for the attention span of a 1st grader (or a 34 year old computer teacher, as it turns out). Also, since you can never die, there's not much reason to ever get frustrated. Overall, I think my son put it best when I asked him for his review: "Lego Indy is awesome, and I love it. I like being Indy the best!" (That means poor old dad had to be the GIRL quite often, can you believe it?)
My only gripes with Lego Indy were small. The camera was a bit wonky at times, and often the controls felt extremely loose. The control issues were worst when you were on a vehicle, especially the motorcycle sections. Climbing ladders was tough at times too, which was especially irritating since you climb ladders all the time. One final quirk was that during boss battles, it is often unclear what you need to do. The "Temple of Doom" levels were the worst offenders here, by far. In in all, though, these were minor distractions from what was otherwise an amazing time. Lego Indy will become a classic co-op title, I am certain.
The last co-op title for the week was a strange one: Ben 10, Protector of Earth, for the Wii. My boys are fans of the Ben 10 cartoon, and we picked the game up when it dropped down to $20. For those who don't know, Ben 10 is about a boy who controls an alien wristwatch that allows him to change into several different types of aliens. The show is pretty cool, and the alien designs are particularly imaginative. I sat down to play through the last four levels of the game with my son (who has beaten it once already). Knowing the track record for other TV tie in games, I didn't expect much. I was certainly surprised to see a solid co-op experience. Players control one of two Bens, identified by a blue or red circle at their feet. By changing into different aliens, you can solve the platforming puzzles, down hordes of bad guys, and defeat the boss characters. The best thing about the game is the aliens; they all play totally differently. A plant alien named Wildvine can stretch his body to great lengths, perfect for platforming. A weird guy named Cannonbolt rolls up into a ball, which can jump over ramps or even up walls. A four armed strong guy, a blue speedster named XLR8, and a Human Torch clone named Heatblast round out the mix. The stages were well designed, challenging enough to make you think, but easily forgiving when you made a mistake. The last boss battle was intimidating, and swapping aliens often depending on his actions was hectic but fun. The game isn't very deep, nor is it challenging for an adult gamer, but if you have kids, you could do a lot worse than Ben 10.
This was a truly enjoyable week as far as gaming is concerned. Revisiting an old favorite like Diablo II was as fun today as it was the first time I played it. Lego Indiana Jones is a masterpiece, and should go down as a co-op classic in the future. Ben 10 won't make any top ten lists, but it had a few cool moments here and there. Each game was even more enjoyable due to the fact that I was sharing it with someone else. All in all, it just goes to show you that co-op games are the best games to play!