Indiana Jones and The Staff of Kings is a game released in 2009 for the Nintendo Wii, based on the long running Indiana Jones franchise.
Staff of Kings was originally announced in 2005. It was expected to be released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles, and people were very excited. And then they waited, and waited and waited.
As rumors began floating around that Staff of Kings had been cancelled, it was revealed that development had been switched over to the less powerful Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 2 platforms. But at least the game would finally see a release! And despite it not being on the most powerful hardware, you could experience Indy’s adventures in all new ways, thanks to the power of…Wii Remote…technology. Oh boy.
Motion control woes
Indy starts his journey in Sudan, scoping out an ancient temple. After catching a glimpse of threatening German activity nearby, our brave hero quickly jumps into action! And then the problems begin. Remember when we were talking about Wii Remote integration?
It starts with our hero’s whip action which in this game is done with a wrist movement. But that makes sense though right, it’s the Wii! Motion controls were the thing for the system. And the whip would make a perfect motion movement. But then we have to light a torch and yup, you need motion controls to spark the torch too. Now as we cross the bridge, we’re attacked by a horde of spiders and how do you fend them off? That’s right, more motion controls. This one isn’t even specific, the game just tells you to flail your hands wildly, it’s like you’re shaking maracas!
You getting the picture yet? This whole game IS motion controls. EVEN when they don’t need it. You’ll flail your hands to activate just about any action in this game. Sure, that doesn’t sound like such a big deal at the start, but try doing it about 5,000 times over the course of the game. It starts to wear your joints down to a nub.
A little further into the first level, we finally get into some hand to hand combat. A pleasant change of pace from the overused wrist flicks that weighed down the first parts of the game, right? Wrong. There is a long list of hand combat moves Indy can use and they ALL have their own motion prompt. Which they teach you in an ultra slow, joyless 10 minute tutorial!
This combat system is so complex they knew players would never be able to memorize every move. So in the main menu there is a big book on Indy’s professor desk that shows you all the moves that you’ll need. So you can write them down and memorize to use them BACK IN THE GAME BECAUSE YOU CAN’T REFERENCE THIS FROM INSIDE THE GAME!
As bad as the motion controls are they aren’t going to be your only problem. We ran up against glitches, awful dialogue and a confusing and vague story with characters you aren’t invested in. The one redeeming part of this game? In the bonus features you’ll find the full version of the LucasArts classic point-and-click adventure Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. This alone is worth the cost of admission. But Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings?
It’s Just Bad.
There are good games, there are bad games and then there are Just Bad Games. Just Bad Games is a Rerez web-series that takes a look at some of the unnoticed bad games in video game history. As part of our review process we ensure we play through the entire game regardless of how difficult it may be on our souls. This ensures we have squeezed out every possible bad element of these Just Bad Games to showcase them to you – the viewer. If there’s a game you think should be covered as part of this series be sure to let us know in the comments below!