Set in the year of 1936, the player assumes the identity of Robert Ripley. Ripley and his "constant companion", Mei Chen (a mistress of the Martial arts), must find the key to the tomb of China's first emperor to prevent a relic that has the ability to destroy the world from falling into the wrong hands.
This Video Game contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Mei Chen is really good at kung fu and gets to show those skills a couple of times.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Though Dr. Twelvetrees for one is fast to point out that Ripley is a showman, not a real archaeologist, he sure gets around exploring tombs and solving ancient riddles to retrieve artifacts and MacGuffins a lot.
- Disney Villain Death: Emilio Menendez falls to his death when trying to cross a chasm while cursed. Ripley can also suffer a similar fate in more than one place, as the game's way of telling you your method of trying to move over a depth wasn't reliable.
- GASP: Mei Chen's reaction in the ending to seeing the chief villain's body floating in a lake of mercury in the tomb.
- Gotta Catch 'Em All: The vast majority of the game is spent collecting the pieces of information that comprise the titular riddle. Lu built the tomb of China's first emperor so that it can only be entered after interpreting a tablet he left behind, requiring knowledge of ancient scripts from three different places around the world he'd traveled to and a sort of key that shows which parts are to be read. The scripts, so far unknown to science, are to be found in a lost city in Peru, the Easter Islands, and Sikkim, and the key was held by Baron von Seltsam in Danzig, who died and isn't around to tell where he put it.
- I Know Karate: Or rather, "My girlfriend knows kung fu."Shen Guo has Ripley pinned on the ground at gunpoint and is preparing to finish him off.
Ripley: "I think I should warn you, you're not the only one who knows martial arts."
Shen Guo: "You?"
Ripley: "Heck no! If it were me, you wouldn't be in so much trouble right now."
Mei Chen: [kicks the gun away from Shen Guo's hand]
- I Meant to Do That: Ripley peeks down into the emperor's tomb with a matchstick and drops it when it burns his fingers. It hits a line of oil that lights up all the ancient lamps within. When Mei Chen asks what happened, he says he saw that would happen and dropped it on purpose.
- The Key Is Behind the Lock: Trying to leave the first area in Peiping leads to the following conversation.note Ripley: "I'd like to go through there."
Guard: "You must have a pass."
Ripley: "Where do I get a pass?"
Guard: "Through there."
- Lost Superweapon: There is a relic in China that can destroy the world.
- MacGuffin: The entire game is spent looking for the Emerald Seal of the first emperor of China, and more than one unscrupulous party besides you is after it as well. What it actually does is vague.
- MacGuffin Delivery Service: It turns out the younger Baron von Seltsam wants the power of the Seal for himself, but is willing to let you do all the work for him.
- Magic Realism: Cursed emeralds, possibly haunted towers, and an ancient artifact somehow so powerful it cannot fall to the wrong hands. Otherwise it's just the world before World War II.
- Mineral MacGuffin: The Emerald Seal is presumably of emerald and presumably magical, although it's such a McGuffin it's hard to tell.
- Non-Action Guy: Ripley doesn't fight anyone. He can use the environment to attack enemies whose attention is drawn elsewhere, but the closest he gets to a fight is being summarily shot in one of the "game over" scenarios or being smacked aside casually by a big thug when trying to interfere with his fight.
- Self-Destructing Security: Downplayed. When Ripley finally grabs the Emerald Seal from the tomb of the first emperor of China, he finds out that Master Lu had some final mechanism designed to keep it from falling to the wrong hands whose secret Ripley didn't uncover, and which causes liquid mercury to start flooding the place. It happens so slowly you can just walk away, so it should be useless, but it just happens that the game's last villain shows up to slow Ripley's escape and ends up taking the Seal with him as he gets flooded by the mercury, effectively helping the mechanism do what it was supposed to do by burying it forever.
- Tempting Fate: In the beginning cinematic, when Mei Chen and Ripley are travelling comfortably in a blimp over the ocean, she tells him that the men who tried to kill him in Egypt are "far behind you now." Cue the view shifting to another table, where those men are spying on the two. In the ending cinematic, when Ripley and Mei Chen are sitting very similarly in a blimp again, she says all the danger is behind them now. Immediately after that, a submarine starts firing upon them from below.