Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures

Go To
Roguelike meets Adventure Game, sort of.

Indiana Jones and his Desktop Adventures is a 1996 Windows and Mac game by LucasArts. Instead of the epic plot and puzzles of the previous Indiana Jones adventure games, it offers quick, "bite-sized" games; each time you start a new game, the world is generated randomly, and the puzzles are picked at random too from a large pool. As a result, every playthrough is different, and even after a couple of playthroughs you're likely to come across something you've never seen before.

It is a simple adventure game with elements of action, set in Central America. The puzzles are typical adventure fare: using items on the environment, giving stuff to people, pushing around blocks and furniture, and pressing switches. There are also enemies, and an assortment of weapons with which to fight them. The game allows adjusting the size of the game world (from tiny to sprawling) and combat difficulty (from simple enough that you can mostly ignore enemies, to brutal.)

Another game in this vein was Yoda Stories, which, as the name implies, focused on the Star Wars universe.

Indiana Jones and his Desktop Tropes:

  • Alien Episode: In a specific story, Marcus asks Indy to investigate a mysterious location. If everything is done correctly, a UFO will be summoned and an Alien will invite Indy to follow him on his home planet.
  • Back from the Dead: The Nacom, an ancient Mayan warchief, rise from his grave in one story and must be defeated by Indy by using a magical Aztec Sword.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Giant arachnids are some of the common enemies.
  • Boring, but Practical: Indy's whip, the starting weapon. Its strength? It strikes enemies up to two tiles in front of you, which means it can be used to kill them through impassable rivers or walls.
  • Chain of Deals: The Fetch Quests can sometimes extend into this, when the game places a lot of these on the same map.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: Melee enemies can attack you diagonally. You cannot do the same to them, unless you equip the Machete weapon (which has no range, but can hit diagonally as well).
  • An Economy Is You: The village Lucasio has the following inhabitants: the tutorial guy, a herb vendor (for healing), a barmaid (for occasional healing), Marcus (for the initial briefing), and you. Not really an "economy", though, since you don't pay any money and the only thing you receive in the village is healing.
  • Empty Room Psych: Most locations contain nothing whatsoever of interest (sometimes they have a hidden health pickup under a random rock, but it's rare.) Thankfully, your map, once found, tells you which locations contain something and which are empty.
  • End-Game Results Screen: The game shows you your "Indy Quotient" (IQ) at the end, affected by the difficulty level you chose and how fast you completed the game.
  • Fetch Quest: Expect to meet a lot of people standing around who ask you to bring them a specific useful or highly valuable item.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Speaking with the barmaid randomly results in Indy getting either nothing, bananas, or tequila. When she doesn't give anything, she advices Indy to sell some items to get cash and be able to pay her. The game has no money and no stores.
  • Giant Spider: Big spiders about the size of Indy are among common enemies. At least they do not deal much damage.
  • Gratuitous Nazis: Included among human enemies. Upon first encounter, Indy will always complain about their unusually large presence in Central America.
  • Healing Herb: Yerba Buena.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Bonifacio, a guy in the Lucasio village whose entire function is to explain to you the controls and rules of the game, including hinting you to click where you wish to walk, etc.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Bananas, and the herb Yerba Buena.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: Sometimes, trying an apparently logical solution which the developers/random generator didn't intend (e.g. trying to use a branch as an oar when you're supposed to use something else instead) will result in Indy handwaving as to why it wouldn't work (e.g. the water is too deep for the branch), or just saying "Hmm... not a bad idea, but it didn't quite work."
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: Every game typically begins with Marcus giving you a briefing and giving you "something to get you going" - usually a priceless Ancient Artifact which inevitably turns out to be just the thing a NPC needs.
  • Javelin Thrower: Natives and Indy as well if he equips the Spear.
  • Life Meter: A circle-shaped life meter, initially completely green. As you receive damage, the circle loses more and more "slices" (like a pie graph), gradually turning yellow. Once it's completely yellow, the yellow begins to peel away in the same way, revealing red. Then, once it's all red, it begins giving way to black. Once it's all black, guess what happens.
  • Living Statue: Sometimes encountered in final dungeons, they look harmless but if you interact with them they'll become alive and attack you. One quest has also a giant statue that blocks the path and demands a stele to move away.
  • Magical Mystery Doors: The occasional puzzle where there is a number of dark tunnel entrances around a rocky mountain, etc. and each tunnel entrance will redirect you to another. They don't always have two-way connections either.
  • MacGuffin: Most of the time, your quest is to find a specific ancient artifact.
  • Panthera Awesome: Certain areas hosts jaguars, who'll signal their presence by roaring as you enter and can deal a lot of damage. Unlike other animals, they'll also more likely to go specifically for Jones.
  • Physical God: The Smoke Mirror God will show up in the Aztec Mirror quest as a Final Boss, in the form of a floating stone mask.
  • Playable Epilogue: Once you fulfill your quest you can walk around the entire gameworld and talk to people, though only two or three people have new lines.
  • Poison Mushroom: Tequila, sometimes given to you by the barmaid. It takes away a negligible amount of your health if you drink it. You can trade it with a decently healing banana at the banana trader in the same town.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Pretty much the point of the game.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Snakes. Indy will often complain about their presence and they can also deal moderate damage.
  • Scary Scorpions: Giant scorpions are common foes, but not very dangerous.
  • Shout-Out: A bandito who says "Hey, I don't got to show you no stinking badges!"
  • Stealth Prequel: Some of the quests build up or provide indirect explanation to the golden idol at the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Glyphs, which can be used to teleport to any other Glyph in the game world, as long as you have a map. That said, they are located randomly, so their usefulness is often questionable (they frequently end up placed in almost adjacent locations).
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: The only way to get an alternate weapon beside the whip is to complete an optional screen, either finding it lying in the area or getting it as a gift from a NPC. Regular Nazi or banditos will never drop the Luger or the machete, and regular natives will never drop the spear or the bow.