The game follows the original Indiana Jones trilogy fairly faithfully, consisting of 12 levels based on Raiders of the Lost Ark, 8 levels based on Temple of Doom, and 8 levels based on The Last Crusade. As Indiana Jones, players must go through each level, avoiding traps and fighting enemies, and occasionally fighting a boss at the end. To break up the platforming, there are also MODE-7 levels that find Indy in control of a vehicle, such as the raft and mine cart in Temple of Doom and the bi-plane in The Last Crusade. While Indy starts each level with only his fists to fight with, you can break open containers to acquire his whip, a revolver, and screen-clearing grenades.
Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures is from the same developers as the Super Star Wars series, and the similarities are evident - in fact, the Indy sprite shares the same head as the Han Solo sprite from Super Star Wars. And while it's nowhere near as difficult as Super Empire Strikes Back, the game also retained the Super Star Wars series' often blistering difficulty.
- Adaptational Badass: Given all the movies had their Big Bads firmly in the non-action camp, liberties were taken to make boss fights out of them.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark: Belloq calls forth apparitions from within the Ark to attack Indy while he himself does his best to keep out of reach.
- Temple of Doom: Mola Ram faces off against Indy on a rope bridge and throws Sankara stones both to attack and destroy sections of the bridge.
- The Last Crusade: Donovan turns into a very agile skeleton that attacks Indy by throwing pieces of itself.
- Adapted Out: Neither Willie Scott nor Short Round are present during the Temple of Doom part of the game.
- Bottomless Pit: Almost every level has them.
- Convection Shmonvection: All over the place near the end of the "Temple of Doom" portion. Not only does one level have you riding rock rafts through rivers of lava - complete with lava waterfalls - but in the mine cart level, the tracks were seemingly built right on the lava.
- Crosshair Aware: The escape from Club Obi-Wan at the beginning of "Temple of Doom" has you avoiding crosshairs that try to pelt you with machine gun fire. Luckily, there are plenty of tables and pianos to hide behind.
- Dem Bones: After Donovan chooses the wrong grail, he becomes an insanely agile, bone-chucking skeleton that acts as the game's Final Boss.
- Everything Is Trying to Kill You: In addition to Nazis and thugs, you will also have to deal with wolves, rats, and even birds that drop rocks on your head.
- Fisticuffs Boss: The fight against Colonel Vogel on the tank requires you to use your fists. Nothing else will hurt him, not even grenades.
- Indy Escape: The second level consists of the iconic boulder scene.
- Minecart Madness: The penultimate level of the "Temple of Doom" portion.
- Nintendo Hard: While it's a bit more forgiving than the Super Star Wars series, the game can still get extremely tough.
- No Swastikas: Here, they've been replaced with black X symbols.
- Password Save: The only way to save your progress, so you'll want to have a pen and paper handy.
- Rise to the Challenge: The level at Marion's bar has you hurrying to the top of the level as fire rises from the bottom of the screen.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Downplayed examples with two villains, both of whom survive the magical events that kill them in the films so that Indy can kill them in Boss Battles instead.
- Super Drowning Skills: There are many deep pools of water that act as bottomless pits. The catacombs in "The Last Crusade" portion do have shallow areas that you can wade around in, though.
- Whip It Good: Of course.