Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb

aka: Indiana Jones Be'eretz Hadrakon, Indiana Jones e la Tomba dell'Imperatore, Indiana Jones et le Tombeau de l'Empereur, Indiana Jones und die Legende der Kaisergruft, Indiana Jones y la Tumba del emperador
Moby ID: 8521
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Description official descriptions

Indiana Jones is at it again. This time, he must travel his way through-out Asia to recover an artifact that, according to those who required his assistance, is the most powerful in the world. As usual, Indy isn't the only one who is out to find the treasure, with the Nazi's right on his tail.

Along with a heavy dose of exploration, whip cracking and platform jumping, you will also control Indy through fighting elements against a range of enemies. Hand-to-hand combat and a collection of weapons (from guns to table legs) can be used to defend yourself.

Spellings

  • Indiana Jones: המסע אל ארץ הדרקון - Hebrew spelling
  • 法櫃奇兵:王陵再現 - Chinese spelling (traditional)

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Screenshots

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Credits (Xbox version)

211 People (158 developers, 53 thanks) · View all

VP Production
Creative Director, VP
VP Development
Lead Artist
Lead Programmer
Lead Designer
Lead Engine Programmer
Lead Tools Programmer
Producer
Technology
Additional Technology
Level Design
Additional Level Design
Character Design/Scripting
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 76% (based on 50 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 63 ratings with 6 reviews)

Spot-on Atmosphere, So so Implementation: Great Game!

The Good
This is a surprisingly good game, and I mean very surprising. I expected a cheap knock-off, a badly ported version of the Buffy game that sported a bad Indy stand-in, a worse plot, and platforming gameplay that made the 3rd and 4th Tomb raiders look amazing. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the graphics were fun, the engine worked well, the fighting was fantastic, and the platforming was competent. Plus, Indiana Jones is only kind of bad. To be honest, in less they pulled a From Russia with Love and hired Harrison Ford, there was now way I was going to be that impressed. Onward.

This game is truly epic. You’ll travel from the jungles of Ceylon to old German castles (those wonderful, pesky Nazis are at it again!), Istanbul, China, and ultimately the Underworld. You’ll quickly run into a new character, a Chinese secret agent named Mei Ying. She kicks ass, but my appreciation of her was slightly marred by her stereotypical accent. Honestly, not all people from foreign countries who speak English sound like this. Not even back in the awful, scary, dark ages of the thirties. Still, she provides a good sidekick for Indy, and you really won’t care too much about the details as the story bounces from continent to continent, city to city, and land of the living to the underworld.

Along the way, you’ll use guns, whips, your fists and practically every item you can pick up as weapons. The great fighting mechanics of the Buffy (FULL NAME) game are completely intact here. When Indy head butts a Nazi goon or bashes him in the face with a wooden chair, you feel the impact of every punch. I have never played another game that comes this close to replicating the sudden, violent and forceful encounters portrayed in the Indiana Jones movies. Along those same lines, when Indy takes punches, he staggers, twists and falls. Sure, it isn’t as good as watching Harrison Ford let people beat the shit out of him, but it’s pretty close.

The environments aren’t awfully pretty, but the engine gets the job done, for the most part. Everything looks solid, if not flashy and the animations are all believable, if a bit exaggerated. The platforming and exploration portions of the game are amusing enough, if a bit tricky. Plus, the ability to use that magically lengthening, shortening and tightening whip to swing all over the place is not to be missed.

The Bad
While the game’s engine may provide for amazing fist-fights, it suffers in the platforming and camera-angle department. You’ll curse the camera, and the controls, over and over as you try to line up Indy to leap across a gap or grab onto a handhold. The number of load screens I saw due to missed leaps was horrendous, and remember that there isn’t a save anywhere function in this game, it’s all autosaves and checkpoints. Even worse, the underwater portions of the game are almost impossible to get through. This camera and engine were never designed for swimming.

Likewise, gunplay can be pretty frustrating. Aiming at specific objects is a chore, and the auto-aim function can get you into a lot of trouble focusing on the wrong bad guy (or on nothing at all). Indy himself is not as nimble as you might hope. While he isn’t stuck on a grid like the pre-Crystal Dynamics Lara was, he is tough to control, turn and jump.

Gameplay-wise, there are a few awful design choices. Some enemies have unfair vantage points from which to shoot at you, and you’ll often find yourself dying because you can’t shoot back at them, despite their being in plane sight.

Much worse is the advent of a new enemy, in the later portions of the game. I won’t give anything away, but he is triggered by alarms, is invincible to melee attacks, and takes a hell of a lot of shots to take down. Plus his weapon is almost instantly deadly. Speaking of alarms, the stealth mechanics in this game should have been completely erased from the game. Indy hardly ever sneaks in the movies, and when he does, he gets caught and has to throw a few quick punches. He doesn’t have to fight nigh-invincible enemies, except once or twice a movie. Why should I have to do the same every two or three minutes?

The Bottom Line
Despite its problems, Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb is just what it should be: a rollicking good time, a worthy successor to the films (better than one of the films, to be honest), and a good game in its own right. The combat, setting and gameplay are all classic Indy, and you’ll have a lot of fun on the way to the game’s silly conclusion. In the end, you’ll love this game if you can get past the most dangerous enemy, the camera.

Windows · by Tom Cross (28) · 2008

Doctor Jones opts for fists over story yet again.

The Good
I've already ranted a bit in my review of Indy's previous outing, 'The Infernal Machine' about trading in narrative and drama for out-and-out action. I had hoped the situation would improve in this outing, but sadly action wins the day again. To be fair the action this time around has improved immensely.

Switching time frames from the Infernal Machine, which presented an older (though strangely more healthier – more on that later) Indiana, here we have the youngest occurrence of the adult Dr. Jones in film or game. Set just prior to the events of 'The Temple of Doom' Indy is once again embroiled in an oriental adventure that also finds time to visit other locations. Too much time for my liking, but I'll save that for the negative section. A chance discovery in a Ceylon temple puts Indy on the trail of the Mirror of Dreams which in turn will lead him to the Heart of the Dragon lying within the tomb of the first Chinese Emperor.

It also brings him into contact with his German nemesis Dr. Von Beck who is also after the heart of the Dragon in the name of the budding Nazi state. To add another dimension to the tale Indy is doing all this in the name of a general from the Chinese army and his beautiful assistant Mei Ling.

This story all happens around you in cut-scenes which set up reasons to send you off to Prague and Istanbul before finally closing in on China with levels set in Hong Kong and Xi'an. The actual game play mainly consists of fighting your way through about 60 levels following a linear path. Each location has a cluster of levels capped off by a 'boss' who requires a special tactic to beat. Indy is controlled using the keyboard with the mouse controlling the camera view, playing from a 3rd person viewpoint. This is a massive improvement over 'The Infernal Machine' as you can finally see everywhere and don't get frustrated. The puzzle element has been greatly toned down, so there's less trouble figuring out what to do, handy given the huge number of levels. Plus the mid-thirties Indy we have here feels a lot more like the movie Indy than before, complete with panting after exercise and the combat system.

The combat system is definitely the best thing about this game, I don't think I've ever enjoyed fighting so much – it's much closer to the fighting in the films. I complained that in 'The Infernal Machine' Indy tended to become a one-man killing machine armed to the teeth with machine guns and rifles, in this game the violence often gets more – personal. The engine is designed for more cinematic slug fests, with free-wheeling combat making use of any objects laying to hand. Get it wrong by picking a fight with too many people and you're in for trouble as you get thrown around the room without remorse. Tapping the mouse buttons in sequence produces a gratifying series of combos. Finally the whip becomes useful for more than just the trademark swinging. One final note about combat, finally Indy can get his hat knocked off, and if he doesn't pick it up he leaves it behind for the rest of the level (though it does re-appear in the next), a small feature I know, but a fun one.

The Bad
It's a good thing the combat is so good as you have to do a preposterous amount of it to progress through this otherwise lifeless game. As if to make up for the lack of any drama and plot development the levels are packed with a crazy amount of people all to slug your way past. This is often done at the expense of story and level design.

The control system is on the whole pretty solid, but I do have one important niggle with it. For some reason the system would get confused as to what direction Indy was facing relative to the camera, which could cause my command to jump forward resulting in a side jump to Indy's doom. Very frustrating when you have to play the whole level again to get to that point. My other control related niggle is the awful, awful arcade sequence near the end as you avoid a tank and lose control over the mouse camera which just becomes painful and took me over an hour to complete a two minute sequence!

The story here is pretty thin on the ground, taking a long time to get anywhere. I found the opening levels dull as you had no clear clue to why Indiana Jones was in a jungle other than a quest for an idol (but why?), yet you have to fight through about five levels before you even see the prize. Not only that but the levels are populated by possibly the densest collection ever seen – of ivory hunters! Why they are in the jungle miles away from any ivory bearing animals is a mystery. As is why they take particular exception to Indiana Jones, maybe he's on a secret mission for the WWF. This use of any old stock villain is further trivialised by having them camped in parties of one and two around an old temple rather than all together, it's as if they don't know each other are there. Here the game broke my suspension of disbelief. Having dealt with another set of curiously similar looking hunters, I then blew up a temple wall and swung past a few deadly traps only to be confronted – by more hunters! How did they get there when there's no other passage?

This kind of sloppy and clichéd plotting abounds in the game. In a city like Prague there's no one around who isn't connected to the Gestapo and again in Istanbul, where everyone is either a Nazi or mysterious Arab raider. The story is straight-forward and predictable with the plot doled out in brief cut-scenes where you have no choice over the outcome and Indy displays even less personality than before. In fact he's noticeably quiet in the whole game seemingly switched off by the tedium of fighting and climbing, of course that is apart from when he's panting incessantly which he does an awful lot. Instead you have to follow the obvious path through the levels, taking out everyone you see with barely a quip to be had.

The story only begins to get interesting nearly halfway through the game when Mei Ling gets kidnapped (quizzically after displaying combat prowess far in advance from Indy). This section does entail an absolutely hilarious rail-shooter sequence where your rickshaw can outrun cars and bikes! By then most of the critical thinking had left me and I was intent on completing the game, even ignoring Indy's ability to hold his breath for minutes at a time after apparently swallowing a canister of oxygen.

I've already mentioned the story is pretty dull and poorly told, but at least it avoids the other-worldly nonsense of 'The Infernal Machine'. Well almost. For some reason it's still necessary to have Indy travel into the netherworld and once again fight against a woman possessed by a demon! I should have been for warned of this potential rubbish by some of the end of level bosses being mythical creatures (a Kraken) and a bizarre mutated alchemical man.

The Bottom Line
One day an Indiana Jones game will be released that actually involves Doctor Jones doing some archaeology. He'll have to do some quick thinking and fast talking to get out of a tight spot. He'll have to win that tomboy lady round. Of course things will escalate and his fists will do the talking but it will be worth it to save world from the evil powers that want to abuse the near mystical treasures of the ancient world.

In the meantime he'll continue to run through improbable temples, fighting thousands of nameless enemies in order to reach that cut-scene which transports him to a demonic plain. All of which will leave him – and me – strangely unmoved.

Windows · by RussS (807) · 2011

Lame control system.

The Good
The graphics and music were very well themed.

The Bad
I admit I gave this game up only a few levels in because of the awful control system. The left control stick makes Indy run in the direction you want, so when pressing right he starts to run around to the right rather than strafe right, so, when you do this and move the camera the whole system becomes distorted. Also the lame way you have to cycle through the inventory to get to the most used items, the game should have an inventory memory so you access where you left it.

The Bottom Line
Don't bother, even Indiana Jones fans.

Xbox · by Gareth Day (7) · 2004

[ View all 6 player reviews ]

Trivia

German version

Swastikas, SS runes and iron crosses were removed or replaced in the German version. Other changes are removed Nazi salutes, avoidance of the word "Nazi" in texts or dialogues and in one instance Hermann Göring was translated to General Gering.

References

Leading up to the events featured in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), it's no surprise that there's an off-hand reference to Lao Che, a mention of Willie Scott in the manual, and an important role for Wu Han (the "waiter" in Temple of Doom who makes and early exit).

Voice actor

David Esch, who voiced Indiana Jones in this game, also voiced Han Solo (also played by Harrison Ford in the movies) in Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds.

Information also contributed by Terrence Bosky.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kartanym.

Xbox One, Xbox 360 added by MAT. Macintosh added by Jason Savage.

Additional contributors: Indra was here, Jeanne, Rantanplan, Daniel Albu, Xoleras, Gian Maria Battistini, Crawly, Zeppin, DreinIX, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger.

Game added February 27, 2003. Last modified June 10, 2024.