Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure
Critic Reviews add missing review
Average score: 78% (based on 21 ratings)
Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 120 ratings with 7 reviews)
It's a licensed game based on a movie, and it's not bad! That wasn't just an unprecedented example; it's also an achievement many other games failed to repeat.
This is also probably the first game to introduce the immortal LucasArts system of optional dialogue lines. Surely, the usage of this great discovery is rather rudimentary here, and the dialogue is generally not very widely used. Besides, the emphasis here is not on the humorous side of those optional lines (like in Monkey Island), but rather on the correctness of the answer: if you choose a wrong line, you can die.
Yes, this game is quite different from most other LucasArts adventures: you can die here, and pretty often. There are some very tricky action sequences, especially the very hard ones near the end of the game (where you also can't save your game).
The gameplay is fluent, with frequent changes of scenery and locations. The puzzles are for the most part not too hard, though the game can become confusing thanks to occasional obscure tasks and mazes.
And it lets you beat up Nazis! I really enjoyed fighting the bastards. I preferred entering a combat with every single soldier and beating him up rather than solving a puzzle in order to surpass them. The possibility of choosing your own way to deal with them (and with some other situations as well)is probably the most interesting aspect of the game. It adds a bit of replay value to a representative of a genre that lacks it most.
Technically, the game is superb: stunning 256 colors VGA graphics, great sound effects and atmospheric (though unfortunately very sporadic) MIDI music. The controls are the famed SCUMM system; nothing original here, but slightly more comfortable to use than in earlier games such as Maniac Mansion.
If I'm not mistaken, this was LucasArts' first attempt at a licensed game, and the results are mixed. I think they were feeling too confined by the requirements of the license, and made a game that took only a few liberties with the source material. The linear, streamlined plot of an action movie made it impossible to create a vast world with varied and elaborate tasks, which the developers succeeded in doing in almost every other adventure they made.
The "movie to game" conversion problem becomes obvious when you compare the structure of Indy 3 to that of other adventure games made by the same company. The lack of creative freedom shows: not only the story and the dialogues, but (more importantly) the gameplay suffers from being forced onto the events from the movie, unable to deviate from them.
Zak McKracken might have been too confusing, but it was a much more ambitious game, with a richer, more challenging gameplay. Even Maniac Mansion had considerable degree of exploration and non-linearity, not to mention tricky puzzles. This game, on the other hand, is a very linear experience in which you follow a less-than-exciting plot, with puzzles being more similar to obstacles than to real challenges to your brain.
Like the movie, the game's plot is very much on the naive side: black-white characters, simple plot, corny Holy Grail stuff, etc. It lacks the charisma and the typical warmth of other adventure games made by LucasArts. Playing this game is just like watching an Indiana Jones movie, which is fun for the fans, but not particularly thrilling for those just looking for a good adventure.
The combat is rather primitive, failing to make up for lack of solid puzzle design. And adventure game purists who can only accept LucasArts' "you can't die or get stuck even if you are forced to listen to Kenny G records" design philosophy they developed later should definitely skip this one.
The Bottom Line
Well, it's an adventure game which is based on a blockbuster movie and does not suck. That alone makes it a rare phenomenon. But if we honestly compare it to non-licensed LucasArts' products, we'll see the difference. It's an entertaining ride, but it lacks the scope, the ambition, and the gameplay finesse of other adventures made by this legendary company.
DOS · by Unicorn Lynx (180476) · 2013
The 256-color version boasts nice graphics. The game departs from the plot of the movie in some instances, some of those departures stemming from early drafts of the film (the chase in the zeppelin, for instance). There is also a good bit of humor (similar to that in Monkey Island) somewhat uncharacteristic of Indy's character, but it fits the game well. Roaming the castle and the catacombs is a lot of fun, too. The puzzles are challenging but not impossible, with the exception of some dead end elements.
The fist fighting is very difficult, as are the dialogue puzzles. It's possible to run into dead ends throughout the game. It's a bit too short, especially if you bypass the zeppelin chapter. The "What Is" command... grr!
The Bottom Line
One of LucasArts' more mediocre games, but only relative to the rest of their classics. On the whole, a fun adventure that you shouldn't miss, especially if you are a fan of the franchise.
DOS · by Clint Smith (1) · 2008
Yet another title that cemented LucasArts (LucasFilm Games at the time) reputation as one of the best graphic adventure makers out there. And this time with a movie tie-in!!
The game casts you as the legendary Indiana Jones and places you on the same settings and situations as in the classic third movie of it's saga, only some areas are reworked for gameplay reasons, and you get to change the outcome of some actions as you see fit. You'll have to contend with some pretty challenging inventory puzzles as well as some other brain challenges in your quest for the Grail. That would take you to all sorts of locations to explore and investigate. New to the genre would be the implementation of dungeon-like sections, that combined the puzzle solving aspects with a more bare-knuckle approach that would let you take a swing at your enemies instead of having just to think your way around them. Now, while this fighting mini-game was pretty arkward and un-appealing it provided a great change of pace and you also had a phletora of dialogue options (at least when compared to other games of the time), with which you could smart-out guards and other NPCs in order to proceed. The game used that to add a little variation since you could fool your enemies by carefully selecting what you said, or make use of some inventory puzzle, or just beat the crap out of them. Pretty novel wouldn't you say?
Graphically speaking this was the first Lucas game with a real beauty to it. Gone are the waaay retro flat graphics from Maniac Mansion or Zack McKracken. Now we get sharper graphics with much more detail, beautiful backgrounds not to mention more and better animations, things still look way to pixelated for today, but they for the first time would get that "Lucas-Look" that made their games seem lovingly crafted and lavishly detailed. The sound department is polished as usual, tough of course the game doesn't get to flesh those muscles too much due to the limitations of the time.
As I mention earlier, the fighting mini-game didn't hold a candle to any action game out there, and it could prove a very tedious affair to get over with, other than that there's the fact that some puzzles were pretty hard.
The Bottom Line
Classic Lucas. Takes one of the fantastic Indiana Jones movies and manages to churn out an equally fantastic game. Don't miss it if you even remotely care about adventure games!!
DOS · by Zovni (10502) · 2002
Well, graphics, storyline, SCUMM system, etc. are all the usual LucasArts quality - which is to say, excellent. The game had an epic feel to it - you travel around Europe to fight Nazis, rescue your father, fly a zeppilin, meet Hitler, and find the holy grail. The difficulty level is also a lot higher than in other LucasArts adventures - not only the fact that you can die, but I had to consult a walkthrough way more often than in all the other LucasArts games combined. Not sure if that's a good thing, but the LucasArts games usually are a bit on the light side.
As I said, rather difficult, and the Nazi castle could get quite frustrating. Adventure purists will rejoice the difficult puzzles but dislike the presence of action/boxing scenes.
The Bottom Line
I felt a greater sense of accomplishment after finishing this game than after any other LucasArts adventure I solved. That doesn't mean it's better or worse, just different - not as light-hearted or humorous as Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, or Zak McKracken, but a lot grittier and harder. Bear that in mind if you plan on getting this game just 'cause you like usual LucasArts sillyness.
Recommended game. Just be aware that it's not Monkey Island.
DOS · by Gothicgene (66) · 2002
It's difficult to write a review of this game as a stand alone entity as it's so heavily tied into the film. The manual explicitly recommends seeing the film first and even provides a synopsis of the story, including the dramatic twists and what happens at the end.
The game then unfurls like a parody. It recreates certain scenes from the film with a loose explanation of progression as it assumes you know what's going on anyway. Not that it always sticks exactly to the story, often events happen for different reasons and being a game it can tell the story in a different way. For example at the end the game can show the effects of drinking from the wrong grail on Indy, rather than Donovan as you can always reload and try again. Instead Donovan meets a different fate.
The story is also heavily abridged, gone are Sallah, the tank scene, and the Brotherhood. Instead certain scenes are greatly expanded to add some typical adventure elements, now the Venice catacombs are a maze, as is the Zeppelin. Where the story does differ, it is often used as a humorous point, with a sarcastic remark or with Marcus apparently filling in for Indy. He turns up in Venice dripping wet and later with tank marks on him. This self-referential nod is good and exemplifies the light-hearted tone of the whole game. Die at the final trial and Indy mutters comical phrase when you re-start about having to go through the sequence again.
The puzzles are well though out and typically hard, often requiring a lot of to-and-fro-ing to complete. I found the castle Brunwald sequence to be the longest, requiring mush traipsing and re-loading to get it correct. Several of the puzzles seem to implement a couple of alternative solutions, which is innovative for the time. I've read that you can complete the game without fighting, but I didn't seem to get much chance to avoid it. Still, this is Indiana Jones and fighting is never far away. I did get a little excited to see him using the whip to swing across a gap
The graphics are good for their time and provide a lot of richness. The locations are all distinct though Castle Brunwald does get very repetitive. The characters all have the typical Lucasarts animation style; quite cartoon-like but very expressive making the most of the limited size.
It's a shame that the game doesn't seem to be able to tell the narrative by itself. It is a parody of the film rather than it's own entity. I suppose the memory limits of the time had an effect, the locations are few and the sounds are sparse. Often there's only short musical cues and the odd sound effect to bring a location to life. It ends up feeling like a collection of 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' puzzles more than a narrative adventure game.
Those puzzles can be baffling too. Often Indy says a hint, but that too can be baffling and I found myself in a classic adventure game conundrum of being unable to translate what I wanted to do into game commands. I expected this due to the games age, as it displays many loop-holes which have been subsequently closed. The principle one being in the SCUMM engine. Being the third game to use the engine it seems still heavily influenced by text adventures, including the pointless 'what is' command, needed to identify hot spots on the screen. It took the first fifth of the game to fully get used to the old style interface.
One much loved feature of the game is the Grail Diary which came in the box. This printed book contains information necessary to completing the game. In the game Indy carries his computer copy too. Unfortunately these two copies do not match and the computer version contains information not found in the print version, which caused me some trouble. You can only look at the computerised Grail Diary at certain points, so there's no chance just to casually peruse it to spot this.
The Bottom Line
This wasn't quite the adventure classic I had expected it to be, that honour belongs to it's successor, 'Fate of Atlantis'. Instead this is a parody for those who have seen the film. It is a good well conceived parody, but often forgets narrative exposition, relying on familiarity with the film to know why you're doing something. Instead it focuses on puzzles trying to strike a balance between mazes and inventory. The multiple solutions are nice though often result in resorting to the lowest common denominator (fists) to succeed. In only the 'clever' solution weren't so obscure.
DOS · by RussS (807) · 2011
This is a solid adventure game and it has a good story and characters (very close to the movie). This game has a few good puzzles and often has multiple solutions, the easier one resulting into more effort later on. Even funny at some points.
Some puzzle solutions are not very logical (avoiding combat with nazi soldiers, for instance, requires a certain conversation, but most of the time it's unclear what you have to say to get the guard to let you pass). Some jokes are just too corny. There are parts in the game in which you unable to save, but you are able to die and when you do, you'll have to do the whole thing all over again. This can get annoying.
The Bottom Line
A good, fun adventure game with a nice story. Not too easy but not too hard either. The second indiana jones game is a lot better though.
DOS · by Robert Pragt (27) · 2001
The graphics and animation cannot be faulted. The interface works well, though slightly differently from most of the other Lucasarts adventures, and the plot develops nicely. I liked the Nazis too. They make very kitsch enemies, with their armbands and little moustaches!
The gameplay was a bit unimaginative at times and prolonged unnecessarily by maze sequences which lacked atmosphere. Instead of being absorbed in the story, as happened with the best Lucasarts games I've played, my attention wandered at these times and I stopped caring what happened. This is usually a bad sign in any PC game, and especially an adventure game.
The Bottom Line
Everything else about the game is top notch, and I would recommend it. The sound is rudimentary though, and be warned: you cant hear the characters talking. In my view Last Crusade is better than Sam and Max, the Dig and MI4 - but not as good as the other early Indy adventure or the other MIs.
DOS · by jossiejojo (37) · 2005