Video Game / Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Indiana_Jones_and_the_Emperors_Tomb_Coverart_4885.jpg
Cover art by Drew Struzan.

Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb is a third-person Action Adventure game developed by The Collective (using the same engine they developed for Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and published by LucasArts in 2003 for PlayStation 2, Xbox, Macintosh and Windows.

The story is set in 1935, just before the events of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and involves a quest to explore the tomb of the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, and retrieve the mystical Heart Of The Dragon.

After a Forced Tutorial level in the jungles of Ceylon, the quest proper takes Indy to Prague, Istanbul, Hong Kong and on into China. On the way, he must run, puzzle-solve, platform-jump and fight his way past smugglers, Germans, Arabs, Germans, Chinese gangsters, and Germans, before finally entering the titular tomb for the climax.


Has examples of:

  • Action Girl: Mei Ying has serious martial-arts skills, but see Damsel in Distress below.
  • Action Prologue: A deliberate Shout-Out to the opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Artistic License History:
    • Chinese men of both the 1930s and circa 210BC are depicted with shaved foreheads and pigtails. This custom dates only from the Manchu conquest of China in the 17th century, so it did not exist in Qin Shi Huang's time at all, and it had been abandoned by the period in which the game is set.
    • German troops are equipped with MP-40 sub-machine guns. That 40 refers to 1940, five years after the game is set. Even its ancestors, the MP-38 and MP-36, would be anachronistic. Oh, and the Mauser 1896 carried by the German soldiers in the Istanbul levels was never standard army issue.
    • In one section, Indy is attacked by German Bf109 fighters. In 1935 this aircraft was still in prototype so this is Just Plane Wrong.
  • Automatic Crossbow: The ones used by the Black Dragon members, which Indy can use. Oddly enough, they still make gun-like sounds when loaded and the arrows are referred to as "Ammo" like all the other gun's bullets.
  • Bag of Spilling / Cutscene Incompetence: Indy's inventory normally resets whenever he travels from one country to another, but it also happens inexplicably during the transition between the German Base and the Black Dragon Fortress on Peng Lai Island; the effect being that Indy abandons all of his heavy weaponry just as he's about to enter a heavily guarded enemy base.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Marshall Kai and Von Beck.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The enemy mooks shout various threats at you in German and Chinese, which will only be translated if you turn the game subtitles on.
    • Oddly, the game starts without subtitles by default, which can make several cut-scenes where characters speak Chinese - notably, the opening where Indy is recruited, and Qin Shihuangdi's speech when he briefly returns to life completely incomprehensible if you don't speak the language.
  • Blade on a Stick: Spears can be found in the later levels of the game, but they break after a while and cannot be carried with you.
  • Blasting It out of Their Hands: A variant: Indy can use his whip to yank enemies' weapons away from them.
  • Bloodless Carnage: To preserve a "Teen" rating, nobody bleeds at all even when stabbed with a spear, shot at point-blank range with a shotgun, riddled with bullets from a submachine gun, hacked up with a machete, bitten by a shark, mauled by an alligator, impaled on spikes, or drilled through the back by the Advancing Boss of Doom.
  • Bodyguard Babes: The Feng twins, Marshall Kai's personal Dark Action Girl bodyguards.
  • Cable-Car Action Sequence: Indy must ascend the Penglai Mountains in a cable car while under fire from fighter planes. Luckily the cable car comes equipped with a mounted machine gun.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase
  • Continuity Drift:
    • The game includes Indy meeting Wu Han for the first time, but one of Indy's final lines directly references meeting the mob bosses for the sale of the Nurhache urn, and at the beginning of Temple of Doom, when the meeting takes place, Wu says that he has accompanied Indy on many adventures. Also, Indy and Wu Han's first meeting happened in McCoy's novel Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs.
    • No mention is made of Short Round in the game, and yet Temple of Doom states that Indy was practically his guardian for a time before the events of the movie.
  • Continuity Nod: In a nod to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Wu Han appears, and Indy wears his white dinner-jacket.
  • Damsel in Distress: For someone with her combat skills, Mei Ying sure does need rescuing a lot.
  • Demonic Possession: One of the boss fights is against Mei Ying, who has been possessed by the demon Kong Tien.
  • Disney Villain Death: While fighting it is possible to send mooks to their doom if there's a cliff nearby. This is also how Von Beck finally dies.
  • Do Not Drop Your Weapon: Subverted. Enemies lose their weapons when you hit them hard enough, but they can do the same to you. It's even possible for Indy's hat to fall off, requiring you to go pick it up.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: When Indy infiltrates a German base.
  • Drill Tank: Von Beck tries kill to Indy late in the game with one in "Von Beck's Revenge", the hardest, most frustrating level in the game.
  • Dual Boss: The Feng Twins, who're fought like standard human enemies but are faster and can use combined attacks.
  • Elemental Powers: Downplayed but present: if you take a close look during the final boss battle you'll notice that the four power ups you need are themed with the four elements. Too bad though that Chinese lore has five elements (earth, wood, metal, fire, water).
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: Pa Cheng, the "Dragon's Claw", a precision guided Fuuma Shuriken which is used to defeat the last two bosses and navigate the last levels.
  • Elite Mooks: A lot.
  • Escape Sequence: The aforementioned Drill Tank segment.
  • Evil Sorcerer: What Kai really is.
  • Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: Sharks menace many of the watery areas, and can easily ruin an unwary swimmer's day. Luckily, Indy can spot them from dry land and can potentially drive them off with explosives or gunfire. Also, as they are also happy to attack Mooks, Indy can use them to his advantage in a fight.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: In the Prague level.
  • Faux Fluency: Indy's attempt at speaking Chinese is pretty miserable.
  • Fedora of Asskicking: It's Indiana Jones. Of course he's got his fedora. Which can be knocked off in a fight and must be retrieved afterward.
  • Foreshadowing: One of the keyes to the inner sanctum of Poseidon's Temple is the "Kraken Coin", pictured on a pillar outside of the hall as a octopus-like being with red "eyes" in his mouth. You get to fight the very same beast in the final area (aptly named, The Lair of the Kraken).
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The German flamethrower units are clad in gas masks and long black coats.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: After Von Beck's encounter with the crocodile, he is left with jagged scars across his face and a missing eye.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: The primary method of fighting.
  • Giant Squid: There's a boss fight against one, the Kraken, under Istanbul. This one, however, doesn't attack with Combat Tentacles, but by sending poisonous jellyfish at you.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Thrown wine bottles are surprisingly effective against mooks.
  • Groin Attack: Possible to use against enemies, resulting in a scream of pain and few secs of stun. Indy can be on the receiving end against the Feng Twins.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The Emperor Huang Di, if his first words during his short resurrection near the end are of any indication.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Upon losing control of the Heart of the Dragon, Kai is devoured by the very dragon he summoned.
  • Hollywood Acid: You have to use vials of this (later a broken pipe oozing it) to defeat the Experiment.
  • Human Sacrifice: Of Mei Ying, of course. To a demon.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Marshal Kai's scenes with a caged Mei Ying.
  • Impossibly-Low Neckline: The Feng Twins, again.
  • Improvised Weapon: One of the features of the game is to allow you to use random objects like bottles as throwing weapons, and furniture as clubs.
  • Indy Hat Roll: Some closing doors force you to do this.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: "That's not gonna work."
  • Machete Mayhem: One of the first additional weapons.
  • McNinja: Mei Ying's fighting costume is heavily based on the ninja stereotype of an agile stealthy assassin in a black suit and mask.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: The rivers of Ceylon and Penglai Island are infested with them, and the Temple of Koru Watu is guarded by a giant albino croc, to which Indy personally introduces Von Beck.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: The last two levels features undead ghouls possessed by yellow wraith thingies that you must kill. In the tomb of the Emperor, some of these spirits will actually possess freshly killed mooks.
  • Nintendo Hard: The game can be rather challenging, owing to tricky controls and Check Point Starvation. You can only save your game at the end of the fairly lengthy levels, and if you die the level restarts at the very beginning. The "Von Beck's Revenge" level is notoriously difficult.
  • Optional Stealth: There are some missions where you're told to be "stealthy" and sneak unnoticed into buildings. You can still punch and kick the ass of every single mook you come across without penalty. In certain areas however, if you're spot by the Nazis they'll activate an alarm that will close some of the doors, forcing you to turn it off.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: In the Final Boss fight, Kai summons one with the power of the Heart of the Dragon. Unlike typical chinese dragons, this one is mindless and breathes fire.
  • Painting the Medium: Taken Up to Eleven in quite possibly the coolest manual ever. It's presented as Indy's journal, with notes jotted down every and various scraps of paper fixed in with paper-clips. Everything in the game is presented as something at least tangentially related to the topic. Basic controls? Doctor's orders. Combat? Some pages from a hand-to-hand training manual sent to Indy by his father. Items and inventory? A materials release form from Barnett College. The cast and crew? A list of Indy's colleagues to which he owes thanks. Even the warranty is presented as a certificate of ownership from the American Bullwhip Manufacture. These are interspersed with notes, newspaper clippings, and even advertisements that both create a feeling of being in the 1930's, provide some foreshadowing, and even throw out a Continuity Nod here and there, including a reference to the Dark Horse comic series. Check it out here.
  • Puzzle Boss: The first two bosses, the Experiment and the Kraken, cannot be fought with conventional means: the former is immune to everything you can throw at him, forcing you to douse him with the acid vials scattered in the lab. The Kraken has to be driven away with the special speargun so that you can destroy the four pillars with the demo charges.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Indy's revolver is the strongest handgun in the game, but ammo for it becomes increasingly scarce as the game goes on.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Mei Ying makes quite an impression on Indy when he sees her dressed up in a pink qipao, rather than the dowdy business suit or McNinja combat uniform she'd worn up to that point.
  • Shovel Strike: A shovel is one of the obtainable weapons.
  • Sinister Scimitar: Seen in Istanbul with the turkish guards wielding yatagan and in China with goons armed with curved swords. While Indy can pick up and use them, he can only take the yatagan with him, but will exchange it for a machete asap.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Mei Ying suffers from this. Then again, she was at a disadvantage.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: In Prague you face an experimental super-soldier in a typical mad scientist's laboratory. And then later there is Von Beck's notorious drill-tank.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Averted with Indy, who can hold his breath for a pretty decent amount of time underwater. Played straight with enemy Mooks, who die instantly if they fall in deep water.
  • Take Over the World: Kai's real objective.
  • This Is a Drill: The infamous Drill Tank chase sequence.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Albrecht Von Beck and his goons are the main antagonists on several levels. Subverted later on when is revealed that Kai's the real mastermind.
  • Threatening Shark: Featured on some aquatic levels, such as the Temple of Belisarius in Istanbul and the lagoon on Penglai island. Indy can even be Swallowed Whole by them! Fortunately, if you have a spear-gun handy, you can fight back. Even the machete will do.
  • Underwater Boss Battle: The Kraken. Namely, the room does have areas out of the water, but the battle itself must take place underwater. Fortunately, the monster doesn't leave his nest.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level: Several times, including a chase scene through Hong Kong and defending a cable car from fighter planes.
  • Weapon of X-Slaying: Pa Cheng can be used to harm demons and permanently get rid of those floating yellow wraiths.
  • Whip It Good: This is an Indiana Jones game; what were you expecting? His bull-whip serves as a weapon and platforming tool.
  • Yellow Peril: Marshall Kai, and the Black Dragon triad.


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