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Video Game / Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine

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Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine is a 3D action-platformer game based on the Indiana Jones film series, developed for the PC by LucasArts and published in November 1999. Ports were subsequently developed by Factor 5 and HotGen for the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color respectively.

Indiana Jones is hard at work in Utah, doing some archaeology (and not finding a lot) when old flame Sophia Hapgood drops in on him to elicit his help investigating a strange machine part and Russian activity in Babylon. Soon Indy finds himself travelling to the four corners of the earth in search of more machine parts, before the Russians do something everybody's going to regret.


Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine provides examples of:

  • The '40s: The game takes place in 1947.
  • Abnormal Ammo: The Easter Egg cheat makes your bazooka fire rubber chickens.
  • Acrofatic: Volodnikov proves to be surprisingly fast on his feet for an overweight bookworm when you chase him down for a gear you need in Nub's Tomb.
  • A.K.A.-47: All of the weapons Indy collects over the course of his quest are referred to with generic descriptors. The official strategy guide reveals their real-world basis, however.note 
  • All the Worlds are a Stage: There are sections of the Aetherium that revisit past locations, and items found there are used in the boss fight.
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  • Angelic Abomination: Marduk, the Babylonian god, is revealed to actually be a strange Energy Being from an equally strange realm known as the Aetherium, which is home to several other Energy Beings. He is also capable of possessing the bodies of mortals, and compelled the Babylonians to build the Infernal Machine so he could conquer Earth.
  • Artifact of Doom: To an extent, the Machine Parts. Using them depletes a special meter, and Indy dies if the meter empties.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Indy's whip. Awesome, because it's Indy's whip, and it can be used to disarm Communists. Impractical because it's very slow.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: Turner is introduced this way, courtesy of an unfortunate mook.
  • Bag of Spilling:
    • Any 'key' items from a level that Indy still has in his inventory when he passes to the next level will disappear, even if that next level begins immediately following the events of the previous one.
    • Also inverted. Between each level Indy is able to visit a 'shop' in which he can exchange the credits earned from finding treasure for health restoration items and ammunition.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Volodnikov, Turner, and Marduk.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Soviet enemies all speak grammatically correct Russian.
  • Book Worm: Volodnikov, according to Turner. Later proven right when Indy discovers an elevator under the ruins of Babylon, confirming Turner's claims.
  • Bottomless Magazines: None of Indy's weapons need to be reloaded. In addition, his standard revolver has infinite ammunition.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In Volodnikov's first scene, a message from his superiors reminds him that "Socialist Theory disavows the existence of supernatural powers." At the end of the game, when Indy reveals to him that God was not on the other side of the portal, he remarks that "Socialist Theory disavows the existence of supernatural powers."
    • The climax of the Return To Peru level. Indy retrieves an incredibly more valuable and ornated golden idol, much like the one René Belloq stole from him. Due to how elaborate its traps were this time, it is suspected Belloq's idol might have been nothing but a decoy.
  • Call-Back:
    • The secret level, Return to Peru, is exactly what it means. Indy returns to the location where the first movie began. Also serves as Book Ends, if and only if the player didn't purchase the Secret Map; in which case, the level will take place after the end, and will feature closing credits.
    • The cheat codes for the game require you to pair up the parts of the eponymous machine with Indy's previous love interests: Urgon_Elsa, Taklit_Marion, Azerim_Sophia and Nub_Willie.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, as is standard naming convention for the franchise.
  • Chase Scene: Indy chasing after Volodnikov in a Benny Hill-esque fashion in the Nub's Tomb level, much like chasing a chicken. Blocking a path with a mid-sized statue is all it takes to trap Volodnikov.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • That mirror you find in Teotihuacan and use to solve one puzzle turns out to be the key to defeating Marduk's first form.
    • King Solomon's three gems return in the final level and are used to open doors to reality which weaken Marduk's second form.
  • Color-Coded Speech: The subtitles are different colors depending on who's speaking.
    • Indy is orange.
    • Sophia is purple.
    • Volodnikov is green.
    • Turner is blue.
    • The Shambala caretaker is pink.
    • The Nubian boy is teal.
    • Marduk is gray.
    • Mooks are white.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Indy can hop across stone blocks floating in lava with no ill effects. He only dies horribly if he actually comes into contact with lava. The same goes for enemy Mooks (who explode if they touch lava).
  • Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: Indy spends King Solomon's Mines and Nub's Tomb in underground caverns, and flinches in pain when Sophia opens a trap door leading to the surface and blinds him with sunlight at the end of the sequence.
  • The Day the Music Lied: At the end of the game, a rather sinister musical stinger heralds Volodnikov's approach. It quickly turns out he's not looking to pick another fight, and simply asks Indy what he found in the Aetherium.
  • Developer's Foresight: There's a segment of King Solomon's Mines (to be specific, the stretch of track immediately to the left of Switch 3) which always puts Indy into a cutscene. This is because if the player were to hop out of the cart in the room beyond, and then jump to a lower level, there'd be no way of returning to the cart.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Indy's reaction upon finally meeting Marduk face to face is rather flippant.
    Indy: Marduk! You're one of those angry gods, I'll bet. Ugly too!
  • Dirty Communists: These play the role of the Nazis, years before the fourth movie.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Volodnikov is the leader of the enemy forces who harass Indy for the first three quarters of the game, but once Indy obtains all four parts of the Infernal Machine he bows out of the plot and Turner and Marduk become the main villains from that point forward.
  • Easily Forgiven: Volodnikov. Indy doesn't seem to have too many objections to him sending hordes of mooks to kill him in the end, and they all go out for vodka after Indy (truthfully) denies meeting God in the Aetherium.
  • Eldritch Location: The Aetherium, home to the beings that compelled the Babylonians to build the Infernal Machine. It looks entirely mechanical inside, but has shafts filled with toxic air that can be swum through like water, is populated with hostile Energy Beings, and has portals leading to different parts of Earth.
  • Emergency Weapon: Indy has three weapons with infinite ammo but not a whole lot of damage output — his bare hands, his whip, and his revolver. Eventually he gains a fourth: a machete, which does solid damage, but obviously only up-close - its main use is the boring reality of cleaning paths in thick foliage and cutting ropes, although it has some niche usage in being the only one of Indy's weapons to be viable underwater.
  • Eternal Engine: The Infernal Machine, a giant interdimensional portal created by beings from another dimension.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: The Marduk fight takes place in his home dimension, the Aetherium.
  • Fun with Acronyms: There's an arbitrary rating under gameplay options called the Indy Quotient.
  • Fusion Dance: Marduk's One-Winged Angel form is this, when he possesses Sophia for the final confrontation.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: A little into King Solomon's Mines, a Russian minecar will enter the system. After a chase sequence it appears as a little green dot pinging around on the mine's network map, and Indy comments on it. However he won't ever see it again until he accidentally makes it crash because the rail network has no passing places, so it would be constantly phasing through Indy's minecar whenever he's stopped.
  • Gang Up on the Human: Enemies will never attack each other, except by accident. This of course makes sense between the Russians but none of the game's aggressive wildlife will attack the Russians either.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Marduk, in and out. His hostile behavior, incentive, and desire to lure the Babylonians into building a portal for him to invade Earth, a realm whose atmosphere is lethal to him, are never explained nor justified.
  • Gratuitous Russian: Volodnikov speaks in this manner, throwing Russian words into English sentences at random. While it makes sense when he's talking to the American Indy, it is baffling when he does this to his Soviet comrades.
  • Hammerspace: In addition to his Hyperspace Arsenal, Indy can be carrying at any one time several variants of health restoration items, up to four machine parts, plus whatever key items from the level he's found so far. This goes up to including a plank of wood that's bigger than he is.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Volodnikov, to some extent. He lets Indy go and cancels his search after Marduk once he realizes how dangerous the outcome is (assuming he ever actually intended to use the Machine in the first place).
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: At the same time, Indy can be carrying his whip, three different sidearms, two rifles, a shotgun, a machete, grenades, satchel charges, and a bazooka.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: A possible fate if Indy falls into a trap, particularly in Palawan Temple. It's also how you defeat Quetzalcoatl.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: The final scene of the game has Indy ask Volodnikov for some good socialist vodka.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Taklit's part allows Indy to turn invisible. It's great for slipping past foes Indy can't actually damage.
  • It Belongs in a Museum: Surprisingly Zig-Zagged considering that this is Indiana Jones. Indy makes a plea to Turner to turn off the Machine so it can be studied and understood properly, while at the same time any treasures he finds during each level can be sold off between levels for first aid items and ammunition.
  • I Want Them Alive!: Volodnikov makes it very clear he wants Indy captured alive, intending to force him to help the Russians find the parts of the Infernal Machine.
  • Jungle Japes: Peru, a large jungle infested with snakes and the like.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The second and third Philippines levels take place in an active volcano.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: In an interesting variation, the Russians ambush and capture Indy at the 3/4 mark instead of the end, but otherwise this is played straight when they relieve him of the three Infernal Machine parts he's collected up to that point. Happens again when both Volodnikov and Turner show up at the end of Nub's Tomb to demand the parts from Indy, who surrenders them to his fellow Americans.
  • Made of Explodium: If the game wants to get rid of an entity without it being shot, then it explodes. A broken bamboo walkway falling into lava? Explosions. A mook trips and falls into lava? He explodes. A minecart plunges into a pit? It explodes. Quetzalcoatl, the giant snake boss of the Olmec Valley level, dies in a series of explosions that destroy each segment of its body.
  • Malevolent Architecture: The Aetherium. Its primary traversal method is through pipes of, well, aether, that Indy can swim through. Spend too long in it however and it depletes the same life meter as the Machine Parts, killing him if he doesn't recover the meter by stepping briefly into the real world.
  • Meta Twist: The entire plot is arguably a subversion of the old movies. At first it seems that the Russians want the machine to conquer the world, but that was really just Turner's delusion. Volodnikov reveals that he knew how dangerous the machine really was, and it's implied that he only looked for it because otherwise the Americans could have tried to actually use it (which indeed Turner does in the end, putting America squarely on the villains side for once).
  • Minecart Madness: King Solomon's Mines. Indy even gets to ride the minecarts.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Sophia Hapgood. Forced to betray Jones under Turner's orders, something she doesn't feel particularly guilty about.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Infernal Machine level. Indy spends the whole level fixing the titular Machine after Turner put all the parts in the wrong places. His subsequent attempt to free Sophia knocks both of them into the Aetherium dimension.
  • No-Gear Level: The V.I. Pudovkin, where Indy is captured by the Soviets after gaining the third part and is stripped of all his gear and imprisoned.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: While Volodnikov carries a pistol around, he never actually faces Indy in direct combat and pulls a Heel–Face Turn before he gets the chance.
  • Obvious Beta: The N64 version. One of the most memorable glitches had to be the fact that in one level, when you tried to drop into a cave since access seemed impossible, when Indy fell in the water and you tried to resurface, he just swam through the air. Effective for getting in the cave, but he just drowned.
  • Pet the Dog: Enforced. While Indy has no problem killing Communists, sharks, and hyenas, he can only shoot to ward away wolves in Kazakhstan and leopards in Olmec Valley. You can't shoot them directly. They're endangered.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: The machines and puzzles designed to safeguard the parts of the Infernal Machine still work like a charm even after several millennia, not to mention the Machine itself. Duly lampshaded by our erstwhile protagonist in Teotihuacan.
    Indy: After two thousand years, the machine still works. And old Azerim didn't even have a college degree!
  • Riding into the Sunset: At the end of the game, Indy, Sophia, and Volodnikov walk off into the Babylonian sunset.
  • Roaring Rapids: Tian Shan River is all about navigating the titular river's rapids in a small rubber dinghy.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Meroë is in the middle of the Sudanese desert.
  • Ship Level: The V.I. Pudovkin takes place aboard Volodnikov's personal ship. Part of Palawan Island also involves swimming through a sunken Japanese freighter.
  • Shock and Awe: The robots encountered during Nub's Tomb and Infernal Machine attack with lightning bolts.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Kazakhstan, a snow-filled country just south of Russia and just as cold.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: The V.I. Pudovkin starts with Indy stripped of all his weapons and gear. He is forced to make good use of trickery and Taklit's part to slip by the guards and retrieve his belongings.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Heavily implied with Marduk, who lives in another dimension that can be accessed by portal (also years before the fourth movie).
  • Take Your Time: The very last segment of the game has you scrambling through a collapsing Babylonian ruin. However, despite the screen shaking, crumbling noises, and falling masonry, Indy's path will never be blocked and the only way to fail is to miss some jumps.
  • Temple of Doom: Teotihuacan and Olmec Valley take place in ancient temples.
  • Timed Mission: A particular puzzle in Olmec Valley requires the player to unlock a door and then perform a series of jumps to reach that door before it closes. The amount of time the player has varies depending on the difficulty setting.
  • Too Dumb to Live: From Meroë, Indy starts encountering Russian soldiers who only attack with grenades, no matter how far away Indy is. Most of the time they just end up blowing themselves up.
  • Translation Convention: Volodnikov's dialogue is in English even when it would make more sense for it to be in Russian. This causes a problem in Babylon when he refers to a 'plane', his radio operator assumes he means an airplane, and Volodnikov upbraids him for not understanding he means a plane in the dimensional sense. As the two are - canonically - speaking Russian this exchange makes no sense. In Russian the word for an airplane is самолет (pronounced sam-uh-lyot) whereas in the mathematical or physics sense the word for plane is уровень or слой (pronounced oo-ruh-vyen and sloy respectively), meaning there is no way the radio operator would ask whether such a plane was 'Soviet or American' but instead might ask how deeply they need to dig to reach this 'level' or 'layer.'
  • Travel Montage: While not a montage, each level's loading screen takes the form of the Indiana Jones franchise's famous red line maps.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: The Palawan levels, which place on a tropical island chain in the Philippines.
  • The Unfought: You never battle Volodnikov; the closest you get is chasing him around to get a gear he found that you need.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: At one point in the Olmec Valley, Indy is faced with a boulder trap that he must trigger (because he needs the boulder/monumental Olmec head elsewhere in order to proceed). However, there's a ledge inside the boulder slide. It seems like it's the obvious safe space to run to to not get squashed, but all climbing onto it will do is get Indy permanently stuck in the slide.
  • Visible Invisibility: When Indy uses Taklit's part, he is rendered 90% transparent, but the player can still see him if they look close enough.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Indy has a set of canned responses used for picking things up. Most (but not all) key items get their own dialogue line, though.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Namedropped in one of the later levels when Indy breaks into a room full of them.