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Analysis Retro Indiana Jones: let's take a look at some of the most important games in the series (1982 - 2013)

KyoShiRo330

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While Indiana Jones has greatly influenced the world of video games from Pitfall! and Rick Dangerous to Tomb Raider and Uncharted, the famous adventurer has, ironically, always been very cautious when it comes to adapting his own stories.



Judge by yourself: in 39 years, there are only twenty games (not counting edutainment), where Star Wars has nearly 80 games (still not counting educational games).
This come as a surprise in the sense that the universe of Indiana Jones is a perfect mixture of action, humor and romance. The licence seems to have everything it takes to lend itself to this exercise.
Let's see the character's video game journey, paved with a few masterpieces and several disillusions.


Beginning of the 80's, first attempt for Mr Jones

Although the license adaptations are few, from 1982, the date of release of Raiders of the Lost Ark in the cinema, we find in parallel Raiders of the Lost Ark on Atari 2600. The title is lightly inspired by the film since several important characters (including Belloq) do not appear.
We can nevertheless understand this state of affairs since at the time, the power of the console absolutely did not allow the emphasis on the narrative aspect. We will also point out the absence of Nazis, main enemy of Spielberg's film, here replaced by snakes, spiders and other Tsetse flies.
The result is a very dispensable game that is strongly linked to its time and to the machine that drives it.



In 1984, Indiana Jones in the Lost Kingdom was released on Commodore 64. This is not an adaptation of the first film, but a new adventure.
We remain on familiar ground, however, as Indy finds himself once again in a temple buried in the middle of the jungle in search of an artifact allowing him access to a lost civilization.
Like the first title, developed by Howard Scott Warshaw, it will also be the work of one person, in other words Michael J. Hansen.
Last highlight, this puzzle game composed of puzzles based on different elements (colors, music, environment) offered clues in the booklet included with the game, decipherable using a kind of pair of 3d glasses.
One way like any other to increase the Indiana Jones vibe, this is a gameplay idea that will be taken up by other games in the LucasArts Point & Click library. It must be said that the game was so cryptic that it was difficult to understand what was even expected of us.

A year later, we move up a gear since the adaptation of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom will be released on a plethora of machines, from the Arcade to the Amiga 500 via the ZX Spectrum or even the NES a few years later.
Visually, there is a graphic leap, but on the bottom, it is a very classic action game in which we had to survey the mines next to the Temple of Doom in order to free children captured by Mola Ram.
In addition to the action phases, there were also several sequences in isometric 3D during which Indy led a cart to connect the different places, all against the backdrop of a cover of the musical theme Parade of the Slave Children, from the film.



In 1987, the character timidly returned to Apple II and PC via Indiana Jones in Revenge of the Ancients, a text-based adventure game offering us here also a new story although we find Marion Ravenwood there.
Commissioned by the US Army to find the Mazatec Key, an artifact found in Mexico inside the El Tepozteco pyramid, Indiana will once again face the Nazis, determined to find the object before it does.



End of the 80s, LucasArts unearths its war chest

The end of the 80s marked a turning point for Indiana Jones. It was in 1989 that Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade hit screens around the world. LucasArts then decides to take matters into his own hands by proposing not one, but two adaptations.
The first, developed by the English studio Tiertex Design, is an action game based on the important events of the film set in Utah, at Brunwald Castle, passing by the zeppelin and the Crescent Moon Canyon.
The acting was not bad in itself, but it unfortunately obscured the relationship between Indiana Jones and her father, yet central in the feature film. Nevertheless, the idea here was to offer two very different games in their approaches.
Where Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Action Game announces the color from its title by targeting mainly action lovers, the second game, developed by LucasArts, is much more ambitious at all levels.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure is interesting in more ways than one. Already, this is the first point'n click developed by LucasArts based on an in-house franchise.
The team having already released two small gems of the genre (Maniac Mansion and Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders), the idea of seeing what will give a point'n click in the universe of Indiana Jones is exciting for more 'a title.
Then, the idea is to offer the character much more thickness than in other games mainly centered around what defined the universe of Indiana Jones without dwelling on the character itself. The title will take the plot of the film while adding some new sequences.
It is good to remember that Spielberg and Lucas will be in direct consultation to know their vision of the project. This will result in a completely new story, proposed by friend Steven, taking place in South America.




Developers will therefore have carte blanche and find a perfect mix between faithful adaptation and reinterpretation in order to add interactivity while extending the lifespan. We regret the absence of the big action scenes of the film (the motorcycle chase then that of the tank).
For their part, the puzzles being for the most part identical to those of the feature film, the complementarity is unprecedented and allows spectators who have seen the film to have a head start on the others.
Smart! This idea will also be taken up and improved (marketing speaking) by Bandaï who will release in 1993 the game Dragon Ball Z: The Plan for the Eradication of the Super Saiyans and an OAV that can serve as a walkthrough.
In addition to being a precursor, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure is an excellent adventure title, taking advantage of an improved version of the SCUMM engine and John Williams' themes which are still just as magnificent despite the MIDI format. .

While the character will begin a very long crossing of the desert in the cinema, in 1992, we find him on television with The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones which, as its name suggests, will focus on Indiana's early youth.
Two games will benefit from it, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and Instruments of Chaos starring Young Indiana Jones, released in 1992 on NES and 1994 on Megadrive respectively.
The first offers various small stories brought together under the banner of action / platforms and is also very classic in its development although it notably includes a horizontal scrolling shoot phase on board a plane.
From a narrative point of view, although the game resumes the events of the pilot of the series, it then branches off towards new stories like Instruments of Chaos. Of an unnamed difficulty, the title will not have really marked the video game sphere if not through the animation of Indy's whip, who seems possessed (the whip, not Indy).




Small flashback, in 1992, to quote another small masterpiece of the point'n click genre: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.
Inspired by the eponymous comic book released a year earlier, this new title from LucasArts benefits from even more detailed animations, digitized voices (in its CD ROM version) and a story in the great vein of previous adventures.
This time it evokes a weapon more powerful than an atomic bomb capable of changing the course of history and moreover, interesting the Nazis.
Notably, in addition to an alternate ending, the game offered three different modes influencing the puzzles, the fights or even the places crossed. One of them also allowed Sophia to be managed.
This detail might seem trivial today, but back then it was unusual to portray women in a video game. Fate of Atlantis transcends the previous part and immediately arises as one of the best point'n click existing and incidentally one of the best games starring Indiana Jones.
Let us add that, like The Last Crusade, Fate of Atlantis will be entitled to its “action” version, in isometric 3D, allowing us to embody here too Sophia alongside Indiana.
A little extra that will unfortunately not be enough to not make this version fall into oblivion, condemned to remain in the shadow of its illustrious big brother.




A battle lost against Germany

That same year, LucasArts worked on a title called Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix. The script, set in 1947, revolved around the Philosopher's Stone sought by the Nazis to resuscitate Hitler.
This Point & Click will unfortunately never see the light of day, mainly because of Germany. In fact, at the time, the German market was very important for the Point & Click genre.
The problem is that at this time, any symbol related to Nazism (including of course the representation of Hitler) was banned from video games in the country.
Thus, after one year of development, LucasArts will cancel this project of which only the few artworks below remain today as well as the Dark Horse comics which will adapt the scenario of The Iron Phoenix and Spear of Destiny, a sequel, also canceled.



In 1995, all three films are adapted via an action / platform game on SNES.
Developed by Factor 5, Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures takes advantage of the same engine as the game Super Star wars (1992) as well as a similar structure and graphic identity.
Very nice, pleasant to play, offering a significant number of levels featuring all of the most important scenes of the film, the game nevertheless benefits from a much too high difficulty.
We can also find some interpretations of quite funny cult sequences like the meeting between Indiana Jones and the Grail Knight transforming here into a boss fight with a knight invoking the skeleton of Walter Donovan!




Indiana Jones strikes back during the 2000's

Let's move quickly over Indiana Jones and his Desktop Adventures (1996), which will pave the way for other titles of the same kind including Star Wars: Yoda Stories, to dwell on Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine which will be released on PC then a little later on Nintendo 64 (2000) and Gameboy Color (2001). This game arrives three years after the first Tomb Raider, openly influenced by Indiana Jones.
One could therefore wonder if the famous archaeologist would find something to compete with Lady Croft by reminding her who the professor is in this story. Unfortunately, without being bad, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine disappoints in its situations, its handling or even its many bugs.
Worse, there is an taste of unfinished business and a huge feeling of déjà vu, especially since the title comes out two years after Tomb Raider II (1997) and one year after Tomb Raider III: The Adventures of Lara Croft (1998).
Too bad because beyond its little meta side integrating Sophia Hapgood (Indiana Jones and the Mystery of Atlantis) and her story revolving around Babylon, the promise was enticing.



It will take a few years to see Professor Jones again on consoles and PC. In 2003, Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Emperor again opted for action/adventure by mixing first and third person sequences.
It is The Collective Inc. (the excellent Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Fallen & the very nice Buffy the Vampire Slayer) who is in charge of the project and if we find all the elements of an adaptation of Indiana Jones (action, infiltration, underwater passages, all sprinkled with a good dose of fantasy), the whole is revealed without surprises, but in a completely acceptable level.
Let's also pay tribute to the superb cover of the game created by artist Drew Struzan (already at work on the most beautiful posters of LucasFilm productions) or even to the rickshaw chase during which Indy's driver succeeded in outrunning adversaries following him on motorbikes or cars.
A hell of a performance that would have deserved a very generous tip.




There followed a new period of lean cows since apart from three educational games (The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones Vol I, II & III), it will be necessary to wait until 2008 to be entitled to an adaptation of the fourth film releasing the same year.
However, the ambitions are drastically revised downwards since Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will only be released on mobiles. The same year the first LEGO Indiana Jones was released, adapting the first three films with a lot of humor.
The release of this game is interesting for several reasons: first, it is part of a long, very long line of LEGO games adapting many large film franchises whose origin dates back to 2005 and which continues today.
The LEGO saga having started and experienced success with Star Wars, it was logical that she was interested in Indiana Jones, especially since the omnipresent humor of the cinematographic saga lends itself perfectly to such an adaptation.
Then, this solution remained, in my opinion, the most viable (economically speaking as well as in terms of risk taking) since proposing a new more realistic, more mature adaptation, would have been found in front of the Uncharted sagas, initiated in 2007 and that very well installed of Tomb Raider, which will benefit from an excellent reboot in 2013. The Lego option was therefore the safest option and landed as a great deal for them since LEGO Indiana Jones and its sequel, LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (including the fourth film as well as a level editor) released the following year, will prove to be nice if not surprising for anyone who has already played a LEGO Star Wars.



The archaeologist will try to return via a new and more realistic adventure in 2009. Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings also has reduced ambitions.
The title will only be available on Nintendo DS, PSP, PS2 and Wii and will elude the PC as well as the Xbox 360 and PS3 while development had yet started on these last two machines.
Unfortunately, many delays will get the better of these grinds. The end result will be very fluctuating with a game (developed by Amaze Entertainment) of the most honest on PSP and three other versions (of Artificial Mind and Movement) rather bad.




Two years later, in November 2011, the last game to be licensed via Facebook arrives: Indiana Jones Adventure World.
Without wanting to denigrate Social Gaming, we can only be disappointed to see what the license has become, especially as the title is grafted to an already existing brand of Zynga which has only adapted its game to the Indiana Jones universe following a deal with LucasArts.
The premise didn't really change from what the genre usually offers and required players to use energy and coins to achieve goals tied to various cards "branded" in the colors of Indiana Jones.
The formula will not last very long since the game will refuse new players a year later (this decision following that of no longer producing new content) while the servers will be officially closed on January 13, 2013. A short-lived adventure for a game quickly forgotten.




After this small inventory (having knowingly avoided two or three edutainment without great interest), we understand better why the announcement of a new Indiana Jones game is so important.
This is all the more true as the Swedes of Machine Games brilliantly brought up to date in 2014 Wolfenstein, an old FPS franchise which had not had the right to a new episode since 2009.
We can't wait to see what the future of the archaeologist will be made of and if, like the Ark of the Covenant, it will consume us or on the contrary, make us dream and glimpse a video game future paved with good intentions for Professor Jones.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, it was quite some work even if the base was there thx to the amazing job JeuxVideo.com has done.

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MrRogers

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Awesome op man, im psyched for the new indiana jones game and i think ill check out some of these old titles that i missed.
 
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RJMacready73

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excellent walk through there chap, well done... absolutely fucking loved Atlantis back in the day
 

NeoIkaruGAF

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The Last Crusade: The Adventure Game is an incredible classic.
Back in 1992 I desperately wanted to play Fate of Atlantis too, but I couldn’t find it in stores, nor did I have a friend who could *ahem* lend me a copy like it happened for TLC (original floppy disk games in Italy in the early 90s? A very rare thing, let me tell ya).
Having a non-original copy of TLC, I didn’t have the Grail Diary, so my friend and I finished the game through strokes of luck and genuine epiphanies (I remember figuring out the musical skulls puzzle in the catacombs), coupled with some heavy trial & error. I also had a book with several PC games solutions, but it only had a walkthrough for a single path through the game, so I still had fun trying out all the available options. And not even the guidebook could help me with the “penitent man” puzzle (it was translated from English, and some parts just didn’t make any sense), so when I finally stumbled upon the right spot to click, I almost jumped from my chair!

I finally bought FoA on Steam a few years ago, but at that point it was one game in a sea of available games and the magic was lost. I still got to Atlantis, but I still haven’t finished the game.

I remember renting and beating IJ’s Greatest Adventures on the SNES, but when I tried it again via emulation a few years ago, I couldn’t beat the first level. It’s much harder than I remembered.
 

amigastar

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Just bought Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb on Steam, remember playing it back in the days and liking it.
Gonna give it a go.
 
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RAIDEN1

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As I said last-week, Fate of Atlantis has NOT been bettered even since its release in 1992...so the heat is on to see whether the next installment will be any good..
 

Erdrick

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Pretty sure I bought Indiana Jones & The Staff Of King's for the Wii a decade ago just so I could play Fate of Atlantis again. The main game itself was an afterthought to me. I mean, compared to Uncharted 2 at the time and... Not so hot.

The LucasArts Indy adventure games were so good though. I wish more had been made.

Also I played the hell out of Temple Of Doom in arcades. Never could survive when Mola Ram showed up...
 
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MiguelItUp

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Man, this really does remind me of how many solid Indy games we had. I really hope the next one is up there as well!
 

AJUMP23

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Fate of Atlantis was a blast as a younger player, but I think the Lego games are some of the best iterations. LEGO games are great.
 

carlosrox

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I've only dabbled in any of the Quake games before but I would definitely be down for a proper game.

Only played them all briefly. Would be great to actually put real time into one.