Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
First posted on 03 April 2006. Last updated on 11 August 2009.
In 1989, Lucasfilm releases Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the last movie in the Indiana Jones trilogy. A year later, Lucasfilm Games publishes its first game in the Indiana Jones series that is based on this movie. While the main storyline of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (also known as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure) remains faithful to the film, the game contains many scenes that have never appeared in the movie (and vice versa). The game also does not include any clip from the movie, albeit knowledge of the film can give clues to solving many of the puzzles in the game. True to the style of Indiana Jones, the game features plenty of action play, enough to satisfy any diehard fan of the series.
It is the dawn prior to the Second World War, 1938 to be exact. The search for the Holy Grail has begun. The Nazis are doing whatever it takes to locate this sacred treasure, and so is Indy. The stake is high as Indy discovers that his father Henry Jones, who has a life passion for the Holy Grail, has been kidnapped by the Nazis. The Nazis has also robbed his father's house, looking for a notebook which Henry has written that tells the location of the Holy Grail. Unbeknownst to the Nazis, Henry has sent his notebook to Indy, who then travels to Italy in attempt to locate the grail and save his father. As Indy, you must now use your wits as well as your brawns to rescue Henry, find the Holy Grail, battle the Nazis, and even get Hitler to help with your last crusade—that is, if you are clever enough!
There have been 2 versions of the game—a 16 color EGA version and a 256 color VGA version. Both begin with the opening credits and the well known Indiana Jones theme. The game supports only AdLib sound card (not SoundBlaster) and defaults otherwise to the PC speaker. The game uses the old SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) 3.0 engine which makes use of written verbs and lists inventory items at the bottom of the screen. Mouse is supported, and a joystick can be used to move the pointer but not the game character. There is no background music playing when you are in control of the game, but some music can be heard during cut scenes where you cannot control the action. Sound effects, in contrast, are abundant in the game. Footsteps are heard when you walk, and fight sounds are played when you engage an enemy. Even better is the sound of the first few notes of the great Indiana Jones theme playing whenever you have done something right in the game, usually with your whip. The original release includes a 63-page authentic looking Grail Diary as part of the game package. This diary is filled with clues to solving many of the puzzles in the game.
While Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is classified as an adventure title, Indy has to fight (literally) his way throughout the entire game. The game introduces a real fighting mode for Indy, and there are a lot of guards whom he must overcome. Most of them must be boxed down; others may be tricked or bluffed to get past. If you are daring enough, you can always try fighting all the Nazis, but do not expect it to be an easy task! There are a number of puzzles in the game, including the new dialog puzzles. Unfortunately, most of the puzzles require either luck guessing or repetitive trial and error to solve. Some puzzles change each time the game is started or restarted. Other puzzles have multiple solutions. An example is the airport scene where there are 4 ways to get further. You can steal the tickets to the Zeppelin, or you can buy the tickets to the Zeppelin, or you can fight the ticket controller to get on the Zeppelin, or you can hijack a biplane at the airport to bypass the Zeppelin altogether. Near the end, you are given a choice to make that ultimately changes the ending of the game. There is a point system that rewards you with IQ (Indy Quotient) points for what you do. Even when you find objects that are not necessary to win the game, you are rewarded with extra points. Most of the objects you find can be used to solve the puzzles, but there are many puzzles which can also be solved without using those objects.
As an adventure game, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a mixed bag. Some puzzles in the game are well done in that they change from game to game and can be solved in multiple ways. These puzzles add greatly to the replay value of the title. The biplane sequence is great fun to play and pays homage to the film. On the other hand, this game can be very difficulty because of its action elements. Fighting is nearly constant and always challenging. There are also several difficult and timed sequences near the end that require luck to survive. There are only 14 save slots available, which can be problematic given that death is frequent in the game. Understandably, the technology at the time does not allow for the proper amount of music, speech, or animation to be included. None of these shortcomings, however, can overshadow the trademark humor that Lucasfilm Games has instilled into Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. You can find numerous parodies and in-jokes, such as a Sam & Max totem pole! A sign near the end of the game even reads, "If thou thinkest life is but a game, be warned: beyond this point, THOU CANST NOT BE SAVED!"
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the first adventure game Lucasfilm Games has produced with its Indiana Jones license. Notwithstanding some of the frustrating action play, it is still a fun adventure that provides an enjoyable gaming experience. The humor is plentiful, beyond that of the film on which this game is based. Overall, it is a game that is absolutely worthy of playing at least once through. As for most games from a company that is now known as LucasArts, it is great for its time.