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Videogame: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
I'm selling these fine leather jackets.

Two video games by LucasArts released in 1989, based on the popular Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade movie.

The first (and the most well known) is an Adventure Game with painted cinematic screen-by-screen backgrounds, while the second was subtitled "the action game" is a standard Platform Game. Another console game with the same name was released years later; these two are mostly forgotten today.

This article discusses mainly the 1989 Point-and-Click graphic adventure game, developed by Ron Gilbert, David Fox, Noah Falstein and Steve Purcell.

The plot closely follows, and expands upon , the film of the same name. As the game begins, Indiana Jones has returned to his college, after reclaiming the Cross of Coronado. He is approached by businessman Walter Donovan, who tells him about the Holy Grail, and of the disappearance of Indy's father.

Indy then travels to some of the places seen in the movie, such as Venice and the catacombs, after meeting fellow archeologist Elsa Schneider. In the process he finds his father held captive in the Brunwald Castle, after passing through the mazelike corridors, fighting and avoiding guards. Then Elsa's double role is revealed when she steals the Grail Diary from Indy. After escaping, father and son pass through Berlin to reclaim the Diary and have a brief meeting with Hitler. Then they reach an airport, from where they intend to seek the Valley of the Crescent Moon, by Zeppelin or biplane.

Several key elements of the film were not included while many other are revisited and done different. In keeping with Indiana's action-man persona, the game also features pure action scenes. Unlike most LucasFilm adventures, you can die.

Two PC versions of the game were released, one with 16 color EGA graphics, and one with 256 color VGA graphics.

A new Indiana Jones adventure game was released by LucasArts in 1992, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

In 2009 the game was re-released on the PC, directly downloadable through Steam.


Tropes featured in this adventure game include:

  • 100% Completion: The game has "Indy Quotient" as a score. It's two separate scores: one for what you had gained during the current playthrough, and another one which kept track of all score-giving actions you have accomplished in the game on any play. To gain full score in the latter includes doing things which are nearly impossible or result in an instant death, such as punching Hitler in public.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality : Nazis Speaking English
  • Actor Allusion: Well, to Harrison Ford, anyway:
    • In Indy's office there is a thousand-year-old falcon, it means a lot to him.
    • In one line of dialogue, Indy introduces himself as "Robert McFalfa", a nod to the Bob Falfa character played by Ford in American Graffiti.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Many locations from the two hours long movie are logically expanded in the adventure game. Most notably Venice's catacombs and Castle Brunwald.
  • Adolf Hitler: Indy meets Der Führer himself, and can even punch him as above-mentioned. Reality Ensues. Game over screen
  • Adventurer Archaeologist
  • The Alcoholic: A guard in the first floor of the castle.
  • All There in the Manual: The game has metapuzzles. Guessing the correct (and randomized) Grail requires a combination of in-game information and contents / tips from the manual. The game originally came packaged with its own Grail diary but such booklet was omitted in some editions. See also Feelies and Pixel Hunt below.
  • Angry Guard Dog: At the castle top level.
  • Artifact of Death: Any of the false Grails.
  • Balcony Escape: Prominent during the castle segment.
  • Black Comedy: Loaded with it far more than even the original series. Even the shooting of Indy's father is treated with a touch of comedy!
    Indy: Donovan, Donovan, Donovan. There is nothing, absolutely NOTHING that could convince me to get the Grail for your purposes.
    Walter: (Shoots Henry)
    Indy: Except maybe that.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall : "Hi, I'm Indiana Jones, welcome to my game" , right at the beginning. Indiana also reacts to the soundtrack playing his theme when he changes clothes.
  • Censor Box: A Running Gag. It covers cloth changing and some gory things.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase
  • Checkpoint Charlie: Up to seven controls before Indiana leaves Germany.
  • Chekhov's Gun / Chekhov's Boomerang: The objects picked up by indy, a trait of the adventure game genre.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The boxing training at the start of the game. Indiana fights several crucial fights against the nazis later. Some of them warn about their proficiency
  • Circular Reasoning: Indiana pulls it with varying degrees of success when the guards ask about his authorization, he points out he wouldn't be there if he didn't have authorization.
  • Conveniently-Placed Sharp Thing: The axe of the armour suite that releases the Joneses. It can also lead to a family unfriendly-Cruel and Unusual Death.
  • Copy Protection:
    • Marcus would ask Indy to translate some symbols for him, which would need to be looked up in the manual. Failing to do so would let the game continue as normal - until a crucial point where Indy, at Donovan's place, would fail to translate a tablet concerning the Holy Grail (Indy mistakenly translates it as "Holy Grain"), prompting Donovan to say "Seems you're just an illegitimate copy of the man I thought you were." This protection was removed in later versions.
    • The randomized final puzzle is solved by a combination of in-game and external information from the manual. See also All There in the Manual above and Feelies below.
  • Diagonal Billing: The above-mentioned Ron Gilbert, David Fox and Noah Falstein are credited in this way during the intro.
  • Dialogue Tree: First appearance in a SCUMM game.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Hitler, close enough. Then you break more than your arm.
  • Disappeared Dad: Indiana's father. Looking for him is a major arc of the game.
  • Disc One Nuke: At the point where you meet Adolf Hitler, you have to offer him one of your inventory items to sign to continue the game. You can offer him the Grail Diary as in the movie, which does nothing, or it's possible to have him sign a travel pass, which will automatically let you bypass all Nazi roadblocks by showing it, avoiding a lot of dialogue and other inventory/fighting puzzles. A third option is to have him sign a copy of Mein Kampf, which is only useful to gameplay in that it will allow you to bribe one road-guard.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: An important gameplay aspect, in Castle Brunwald most guards can only be persuaded while wearing a specific type of attire.
  • Dungeon Bypass: The whole Zeppelin part of the game can be skipped if you just steal the biplane from the airstrip. Doing so requires a complex series of button presses that are only detailed in one book in the library that you're likely to miss, but it lets you skip one of the most difficult parts of the game, including a giant top-down maze with many baddies to fight.
  • Earthquakes Cause Fissures: If the grail crosses the seal. Also Collapsing Lair
  • Fake Platform: Titles in the third grail trial.
  • Feelies : The game came packaged with a hard-copy Grail Diary. The very detailed 34-page booklet contains Henry's field research about the Grail and doubles as a subtle Copy Protection method, as the in-game information resorts to it. The fine quality of the book made it look like a collector’s item and some editors didn't realize the booklet was not a cosmetic addition so it was not included in any form in some versions. Wired wrote an article praising the quality of this feelie. The Steam version fortunately has it in a PDF file.
  • Ghostapo: Nazis and the Holy Grail, immortal Hitler... Indy's quest is the prevention of the trope.
  • Giant Mook: Biff in the castle, unbeatable by normal means, he has to be dozed first. He drinks from a metal trophy and has a Can-Crushing Cranium...
  • Historical In-Joke: A lot of plaques in the library are attributed to historical figures, though mostly to poke fun at them or some other kind of Shout-Out, for example:
    "I love the military books here, but they had the gall to divide them into three parts."—J. Caesar
  • I Can't Use These Things Together.
  • Immortality Seeker: Hitler and the Nazis. The Holy Grail is the Immortality Inducer.
  • Ironic Echo: "Why are you all wet?" "Don't ask."
  • It Belongs in a Museum
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: Most of the objects, with the occasional Red Herring. Given the alternative ways to solve the puzzles, an object could be useful in one game and left unused in another.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: The Have a Nice Death screens include a brief text about Hitler and the Nazis taking over the world once Indiana Jones is not there to stop their plans. Indiana becomes a servant who cleans nazi relics and junk for the rest of his life.
  • Killed By The Adaptation: Indiana himself can die in one of the conclusive endings.
  • Kill It with Water: The alarm system at the castle is disabled by pouring liquid over it.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero. Including a Five-Finger Discount to get Zeppelin tickets.
  • MacGuffin: The Holy Grail. Arguably a Plot Device since it's actually used once or twice at the end of the game.
  • MacGyvering
  • The Maze
  • Multiple Endings : Depending on the actions done with the Grail in the final temple. Indy can also die midgame.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • All the grails look like "the cup of a carpenter" when examined.
    • If the temple is left intact in one of the endings, the inmortal knight praises Indy and remarks "You should have seen the wreck this place was in after the last guys left". Also a Noodle Incident.
  • No Swastikas in the German version. Replaced by the Iron Cross and black squares.
  • NPC Amnesia: Averted both the password variant and this trope in general by making you fist-fight any guards you fail to bluff your way past. Also, if an already bluffed guard sees Indiana in an attire different than the one used for his cover story, the guard will spot the ruse and become hostile.
  • Off with His Head!: One of the Grail traps.
  • Pixel Hunt:
    • There is a library filling five to ten screens, in which three individual items labeled "book" have to be found in a large generic mass labeled "books". However, it at least has a command ("What is") that displays item names when hovering the mouse over them, even before a click.
    • Even worse is right near the beginning of the game, where you need to find a piece of "sticky tape" stuck to a fallen bookshelf, as said object is only a few pixels wide.
    • There's a puzzle towards the end that, initially, can seem even worse. Just like in the movie, the buzzsaws in the Grail temple have to be passed by kneeling...however, there is no "kneel" command. The actual solution is to click the walking cursor on a small, specific patch of ground when trying to pass through the trap's trigger zone; while this seems like unfair pixel hunting at first, it's actually a meta-puzzle. The game comes packaged with its own Grail diary, a booklet containing veiled hints on a number of game puzzles; one of the drawings in the diary is an illustration of the tunnel floor, with an X mark clearly indicating where to stand to avoid being decapitated. This is meant to be a parallel to the movie; just as Indy uses his father's diary to solve puzzles throughout the movie, the player is meant to use the diary booklet to assist in their own puzzle-solving. That doubled as a brutal piece of Copy Protection, if you gave up too quickly.
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something: Henry's Diary of the Grail, with vital information for the quest.
  • Public Domain Artifact: The Holy Grail.
  • Ransacked Room: Henry's.
  • Rapid Aging: The fate of anyone who drinks from the wrong grail.
  • Replay Value: Multiple Endings and non linear puzzles, there are alternative ways to bypass guards, enemies and Hitler.
  • Running Gag: Indiana starts the game with his clothes soaked, and answers Don't Ask when the question is raised. The situation is repeated with other characters later. A nod to the movie too where adult Indiana is first shown in the middle of a tempest at sea and ends up in a lifesaver.
  • Save Scumming:
  • Self-Destructing Security: The Holy Grail is protected by many layers of secrets, guards and traps. The final resort, however, is that the Grail can never pass beyond "The Great Seal". Doing so results in the place self destructing and the Grail being Lost Forever if you fail to retrieve it.
  • Shout-Out: Many to other LucasArts / LucasFilm games and works, a customary house tradition.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: If you're very quick with your Pixel Hunting, it's possible to pick up the Holy Grail before Elsa can grab it and then return it to the immortal knight, allowing Elsa to live. If you do this, she gets a line in the "We named the ''dog'' Indiana," discussion.
    Elsa: "Hm... didn't my father have a secretary named Elsa?"
  • Storming the Castle: Castle Brunwald. Subtlety is better than force, since Indiana's health does not regenerate fully after a rough fight.
  • Teamwork Puzzle Game: A few puzzles require switching between Indiana and Henry Jones.
  • Temple of Doom. With DurableDeathtraps.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: The villains of the game.
  • Travel Montage: As in the movie.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The action sequences.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Indiana Jones is an adventure game written just before the "no-die" and "no-fatal-mistake" Ron Gilbert's policy. Rare but possible:
    • In some early versions Indiana can be banned from the library.
    • The beer keg needed to drug and beat Biff can be drained if Indy leaves the spigot open.
    • The crossed references needed to identify the true Grail -it's random every game- can be missed in Venice (by design if the wooden plug is removed before examining the contiguous room) and in the castle if Indiana didn't pick up the -inaccessible by then- painting at Henry's house. Not fatal per-se but it makes the deadly last puzzle a luck based pick. Aggravated in many versions that don't include the booklet with the off-game information needed to deduce the matter.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: You can't save in it (and there is a sign right outside implying such). When you go in, you see a severed head go bouncing by.
    Indy: Yep, this is the place.
  • Whip It Good. And other related Indiana's trademark whip antics.
  • Wicked Cultured: One of the guards in the castle is an intellectual that can be bypassed if Indiana gives him a first edition of Mein Kampf. Is also one the toughest fighters.
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