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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The savegames are also disabled in the middle of dialogues and action scenes, a recurrent issue with SCUMM-based games those days.
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.
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.