Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings
Jim "txshurricane" McClaughlin
LucasArts - PSP
While portable gaming hardware is powerful enough for ported versions of next-gen games, being portable is still its main draw. Simplicity holds a lot of water. Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings is simple.
The campaign is forever long, and consists mostly of dodging boulders and beating up Nazis. You're given your trusty whip and Webley revolver, the latter of which is a one-hit kill weapon. Presumably to keep the game challenging, you're only provided with six bullets per level; beyond that, you have a variety of interactive objects to use as weapons. And let's not rule out the fists...Indy's right hook is a thing of beauty in any medium. Brawling is performed by mashing a combination of the square, triangle, and X buttons; much like Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb, getting into a fistfight is fun and satisfying. If you want to mix it up a bit, you can grab a nearby bottle, shovel, wrench, crowbar, shield, or even stage microphone stand as an instrument with which you can bludgeon enemies into submission.
Aside from the fighting, there is very little else to redeem from this title. The sound effects are accurate, the storyline is very forgettable (even for an Indiana Jones fanboy), and the levels -- while numerous -- are small in size and simplistic. The set pieces are pretty bland, with a few imaginative textures here and there. In each level, there are certain objectives that you can fulfill and not-so-well-hidden treasures: rewards from these can be used to unlock perks (like 125% health, unlimited ammo, etc) and extras (mostly concept art), respectively. The twist on the perks is that you can't use them until you've beaten the campaign, so the incentive wanes considerably.
After you beat the campaign, you're offered several instant action levels in the form of timed challenges and on-rails sequences. Since this is a portable title, instant action is always welcome, but without a decent incentive to complete them, they're too tempting to pass up for something more worthwhile. In comparison to the Wii version, Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings for PSP benefits from the classic button-mash configuration, but still falls short without any co-op or replay value. It's fun for one good romp, then into the yard sale it goes.