Feb 28, 2007

Ten Unsung Indiana Jones Games

Indiana Jones games have always been a mixed bag really. For every Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis graphic adventure masterpiece there is a trite Fate of Atlantis action game, even though, admittedly, the franchise's average is well above ...uhm... average. Anyway, what's more interesting are the many quirky, old and not particularly well known Indy games. Here are 10 of them.

10. Indiana Jones in the Lost Kingdom (Commodore 64, Mindscape)

The first Indy game that got itself an original plot and also a game with absolutely no intention of helping the gamer understand what's going on. After all and according to the blurb on the box: "Nobody told Indiana Jones the rules. And no one will tell you". As for the game itself, well, it wasn't something particularly special, but was impressively short. Read more @ MobyGames.

9. Indiana Jones and his Desktop Adventures (PC, Lucasarts)

One of the first casual games (along with sister game Yoda Stories) that showcased how boring overly simplified gameplay can be. Minesweeper is fun, Indy's Desktop stuff is not. Don't believe me? Try the demo.

8. The Instruments of Chaos (MegaDrive/Genesis, Lucasarts)

It's a platformer pitting young Indiana against the Germans during World War I. Boring like the Arsenal of yore and definitely nothing to do with Black Adder. Also, quite obscure, as the rotten tomatoes webpage is the best you can do.

7. Indiana Jones and the Revenge of the Ancients (PC, Angelsoft/Mindscape)

Not only is Revenge of the Ancients a text-adventure, it's a very innovative one too. RotA is -thankfully- the only example of its genre I've ever come across, that won't hesitate to kill you if you take a moment to think things over. Action text adventuring at its best, and both MobyGames and Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe would agree.

6. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Atari 2600, Atari)

Obviously the first Indy game ever and also a pretty decent Atari 2600 RPG. An evidently confused and pretty young Spielberg infamously commented "it's like a movie". Well, it's not, but it's a fun primitive little game. Then again, better see for yourselves, as AtariAge has everything you might need.

5. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Arcade, Atari)

The one and only Indiana Jones Arcade, the first Atari System I arcade to have speech capabilities and one of the few coin-ops to allow players to choose one of three difficulty settings. Also a very enjoyable and varied gaming experience that manages to happily combine arcade-adventure action, shooting, platforming and driving. More shocking details available at Wikipedia and KLoV.

4. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (NES, Lucasarts/Jaleco)

Like The Instruments of Chaos, only on the NES. Rightfully unsung, mediocre in every respect and partly ripping off Castlevania. Read a review. Play it here.

3. Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures
(SNES, Lucasarts/Factor 5)

A truly brilliant, technically perfect and impressively huge game that manages to satisfyingly implement every major set piece from the whole Indiana Jones movie trilogy. An absolute SNES must-have. Apparently there's a Mobygames entry too. Who'd have thought?

2. Indiana Jone's and the Infernal Machine (GameBoy Color, Lucasars/THQ)

The game's Gamespot review is appropriately spot on. Heh. Sorry. If you can't be bothered to click on stuff, know it's a decent -if slightly fascist (well, ridiculously anti-communist I mean)- top down arcade/adventure game that has nothing to do with its 3D siblings on other formats. Ah, yes, Game Boy Color games were indeed rare.

1. Indiana Jones Interactive Storybook (Macintosh, ?)

The elusive one. Indiana Jones Interactive Storybook is supposed to have been released back in 1994 for the Apple Macinstosh and must have been some sort of illustrated interactive book. Still, extensive google searching, asking around those rare dedicated Mac game retailers and looking in every possible (wrong) place, has revealed nothing. This game is as elusive as a very elusive thing. It's as if they never actually released it...

Related @ Gnome's Lair: the illustrated history of the FPS, Will Wright's first game, Ratmaze, gaming history and retro features archive

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  1. God you're good Gnome, you've got skills...

    Only ten though? There should be more! How many of these babies are available online?

    My Atari 2600 is either very ill or dead BTW... *Sniff!*

  2. Why, thank you dear Father.

    Mind you though, less than 20 Indiana games where made, and since some of them (like the Lucasarts adventures) where both brilliant and mainstream enough to skip the list, I guessed 10 was he proper number.

    Enough of that now. This is obviously a very sad time. :(

  3. As for the online availability, I've only found two. The Atari and the NES games.

  4. I distincly remember playing a "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" for the SNES a long, long time ago. I had to assemble pieces of the Grail together (like a puzzle) which was a huge pain. Never beat the game.

  5. "slightly fascist (well, ridiculously anti-communist I mean)-"

    I wasnt aware that anti communist meant fascist. Looks like you havent lost any family or friends to communism. I hope you get to experience it some time. Go watchign the killing fields you jack assc

  6. Thanks for dropping by todd and thanks for helping me give out a useful piece of advice: finish the game. If need be by paying GameFaqs a visit... Cheers!

    As for you anonymous, your ridiculous lack of thinking capacity and absolute disregard for historic knowledge -let alone common courtesy- make answering you not worth my time.

  7. Wow! Obviously fascists don't spell that well!

    Can one lose family to communism?

    The ideals set down by Marx and Engels were all about egalitarianism. Now if certain power hungry totalitarians twisted those noble ideals to further their own ends, causing loss of life... then they are no different to those who twist the noble ideals of Christianity (or any other religion) to justify their cause...

    Gnome do you just get randomly idiotic souls turning up here or they part of your target audience? LOL!

  8. Couldn't (well, bloody obviously) have said it better myself dear Father. Thanks!

    Oh, and I think this one slipped through my anti-cretin net. Bah!

  9. Where's the N64 game? I'd imagine it would be pretty rare as you could only get it by mail order. I love my copy. Well, I won't marry it, and its kinda buggy, but still, its the answer to Lara Croft at the time for Nintendo fans. Plus Factor 5 made it shine above the PC version.

  10. Well, dear anonymous, to answer the question the game is obviously happy staying near your N64 :)

    And to be frank I never knew a N64 version existed. Thanks for the info mate. I'll surely check it out.


  11. (steps over the beaten body of the first anonymous......)

    ...a most incredibly scholarly piece, i am not worthy to read it...

    (turns head away in shame... but takes a sneak peek when nobodies looking)

    mea culpa... mea maxima culpa...

  12. (steps on first anonynous' body. Jumps a bit)

    Impreesively scholarly use of latin ther Mr. Elderly. So, I gather you enjoyed it? Nice.

  13. i love indiana jones... well not love really, like admire, i've never actually loved indiana, not in that way.. not physically or biblically or .. what i mean is

    (stops when he's ahead....)

  14. Right, yes, picture's clear now. It's platonic, isn't it?

  15. ..yes platonic.... not reciprocal but sort of only one way platonic...

    monoplatonic as it were.....

  16. Hey,

    Have you ever seen a plug n' play style Indiana Jones game? I have a friend that is a hardcore Jones fan. He says there was one that like all the others, is of old Atari 2600 style, and is completely handheld being built into the joystick and jacking directly into your set. he said it looks like a snake's head, but was only released in Japan.

    I look for this desperately, but can't even find a pic.

  17. I'm really sorry cardsmart, but I couldn't find anything and I obviously haven't even heard of the thing. Then again, I do like the sound of it and judging by the popularity of "plug 'n' play" video games I think it should exist...

    You could also give this link a try:


  18. While 'official' Indiana Jones games may be few and far between, the fan community is always alive and strong... 2 great graphic adventure games are currently in progress, with demos available. They are "Indiana Jones and the Fountain of Youth" (http://www.barnettcollege.com/index2.htm), and "Indiana Jones and the Crown of Solomon" (http://www.indylc2.com/). My minor fan homage is "Indiana Jones - Coming of Age" (http://new.bigbluecup.com/games.php?action=detail&id=983)... definitely not in the same league but should a be fun half hour or so. Here's hoping the Crystal Skull brings some more Indy games out of the woodwork!

  19. Why, mr. R, thank you for dropping in, and also thank you for pointing those lovely Indy AGS adventures. To be honest I've only played the demo of Fountain of Youth, but guess I'll soon be checking out the rest. Really appreciate it!


  20. Pretty good review.

    But some are missing:

    Indiana Jones and the last Crusade (1989 available on PC and Atari) which was a pretty good point and click adventure game). Hopelessly it's possible to get through in less than two hours if you easily get though the puzzles.

    Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis (1992 available on PC).
    Here again a point and click adventure game. But this one is one of the best point and clik games I ever played. Three differents paths to clear the the game, a great Indiana Jones type story, great characters Eg Sophia Hapgood - who is back in the infernal machine). Even though the game is almost 18 years old, graphics still really cool.

  21. Thank you so very much for taking the time to comment Anonymous dear. Really appreciate it. Them kind words and suggestions too.

    Thing is I was going for them more obscure Indy games and being an obvious adventure fetishists thought them Lucasarts classics (well, Fate at least was a classic) were too obvious. Then again I might just do a round-up of Indy adventures... hmm..

  22. You're welcome!
    It was my pleasure as I am an Indy since I am 3 years old (when last crusade was released on the French screens - geez already 20 years!- )

    By the way there is also an Indy game on mobile phones (based on the the kindom of the cristal skull) released by Gameloft on summer 2008.
    But actually I don't know if it's good or not.

  23. I update the^^ previous message.

    I mistaken! The game wasn't published by Gameloft but by THQ!

    Reviews say That it is quite good enough.

    THQ also just released a mobile phone "Lego Indiana Jones". Reviews say that this game is quite adverage.

  24. How fast time passes by, eh? Oh well... I was even older back then :(

    Now, to check that new mobile game thingy out. Cheers!

  25. Hey, I enjoyed quite a bit both Indy's Desktop Adventures as well as Yoda Stories. They most certainly did try something new (though the concept of randomly generated stories was more interesting in theory than in practice).

    Anyway, where's your coverage for the many fascinating canceled Indiana Jones games? LucasArts had at least a dozen of those and the Iron Phoenix (or Felix?) was probably the most intriguing one.

  26. Fair enough dear Igor. Never said these Lucasarts attempts weren't novel, mind... Anyway. That's a most interesting research project you're proposing there.