Reader's Review: LEGO Indiana Jones Temple Escape|
LEGO Indiana Jones Temple Escape reviewed by Chris Perley.
I'm really enjoying the box design for this series. Striking colors, good photography. And the small areas of gloss varnish on the matte finish really makes the details pop. The Dan Struzan Last Crusade Indy is looming in the top right corner. I would have much preferred Richard Amsel's Indy, or at least some new art, but it looks as though this version is the one being used for all the marketing. The box itself is collector friendly and is only sealed with tape (only the motorcycle set is glued).
Man, there are a lot of bags in this one! And TWO instruction booklets! Ignoring the first two steps advising against pouring the pieces onto carpet in a big pile, I poured the pieces onto carpet in a big pile. Far more fun that way. As is my habit, I built the minifigs first. Indy, Satipo, Jock, Belloq and two skeletons (Forrestal and... some other poor sap).
The first project is the seaplane. Not much going on here, but then, it's not the focal point of the set. I'm just stoked that Jock's shirt says "Air Pirates" on the back. Nice attention to detail, LEGO! I suppose you can say that this set includes a "Reggie" minifig (insert _Snakes On A Plane_ joke here). Jock also comes with a fishing pole, which will give him something to do while he waits for you to build the rest of the temple.
The temple is broken into 6 sections, or vignettes, and you build them one at a time. The first section is the temple entrance. This uses one of the three rather large, yet well-decorated, stone blocks as the main wall. I normally don't like specialty pieces like this, as it cuts down on the number of pieces available for other building, but this one works pretty well here. The one thing I do dislike though is the use of decals. I would prefer a printed brick, as I feel they would last longer. The ramp leading into the temple uses the largest decal of the set, and while it's a nice graphic, I'm still not convinced it's the best answer.
The dominant feature of this section is the skull over the entrance. Nice use of bricks here. The part that baffles me though is the decorations on either side of the entrance. Suspended upside down are... baby T-Rexes. Not quite sure what they were thinking here.
The next section is the dart room. This part has a really cool two-color tile checkerboard pattern with dark floor showing through. While not totally screen accurate, it gets the point across (point? Dart room? C'mon, it's funny!). The back wall is made up of stylized skulls, which hold the spears. Best not step on the dark tiles, lest someone flick a spear at you!
Leading up to the dart room is the bottomless pit. No, really. It's a gaping hole. A single panel with a Peruvian-looking decal dominates the back wall. Getting this decal lined up properly is quite a trick. Hope you apply it well, as you have one more to do down the road. Above this panel is a post that Indy can swing from, I guess. Sadly, getting the whip to uncoil well enough to hang him off of there is near impossible. A small complaint.
After the pit comes the falling door. Really cool gear mechanism here to make the door drop. This is where the second Peruvian panel comes in. The coolest part here is that the door falling triggers an action in the next section. More on that in a minute.
Next up is the spike room. Pretty basic setup here. This is where the Forrestal skeleton goes. He is attached to the wall, and held in by some curved spikes. Right next to him though is the action feature. Pull the pin, and release a double blade! Quite menacing! The photo on the box shows a skeleton with an angry expression, but it's just a standard skull.
Now for the cool part, the rolling boulder! A post on the falling door triggers the boulder, so when you drop the wall it releases the rock. My only complaint here is that the action is too fast. Indy barely has time to grab his hat from under the door before the boulder has blocked the entrance. A small detail that I'm sure kids can get around.
The final stage of the build is the reason why we're here. It's the Golden Idol room. This requires the application of four decals to a curved surface. Not crucial that they line up perfectly, but this may prove difficult for younger builders. The action feature here is made out of Technic pieces, and hidden under the floor. The room is dominated by a large "stone" head and flanked by clawed hands holding skulls. When the Golden Idol is removed, the head pitches forward dropping a pair of column bricks down on our hero. It's a really cool effect overall, though I think the sculpt of the Idol could have been a bit cleaner. Kubrick included an Idol with their Indy, and it's much more detailed for the same size.
Once all the sections are put together, they form one giant game of Indy Mousetrap. Satipo and his burning carrot light the way, while the nefarious Rene Belloq lurks just outside. Originally, this set was to include a Hovitos warrior, as seen on the preliminary box design. Sadly, he was left out of the final product. The price of this set is a tad steep. $50 would have been a nice solid value, but $70 is a bit much. There are a lot of features, though, so playability is exceptional.
I give this set four out of five hats, with a point taken off for the lack of a Hovitos, the use of decals and T-Rexes.
About the reviewer: Chris writes for IndyFans. Follow this link to check out it out: IndyFansFilm.com.