Indiana Jones. What’s not to love?
He’s smart. He’s brave. He’s a part-time teacher, full-time Nazi-buster.
Still, when he’s not teaching Hitler’s goons the error of their ways, he’s liberating kids from a life of slavery in deepest, darkest India. Got a bit of free time after that? Well, he’ll be finding the Holy Grail or keeping a priceless crystal skull out of the hands of the Soviets, thank you very much.
Sounds like a busy guy, right? Well, these are actually only his silver-screen adventures – he’s been on dozens more in his time. Outside of the movies, Indiana Jones has starred in comic-books, novels, a TV series, and of course, video games!
Obviously, the latter makes perfect sense. Indy’s the ideal lead for games, with his thirst for adventure, rough-and-ready fighting skills, and handy whip. He’s also influenced other icons, including Lara Croft and Nathan Drake (to name the most obvious pair).
While not every Indiana Jones game has been as good as the world’s greatest archaeology-professor deserves, there have been some solid ones, and we’re going to look back at these below …
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
Most fans agree this is the best Indiana Jones video game of all time.
Two versions were released, offering different experiences. One was a point-and-click adventure, the other a more action-focused yarn. Their stories are pretty much the same, but they’re tailored to players with different tastes.
The point-and-click variation is the better of the two, and features different playing styles within it to suit your own preferences. You get to choose the Wits Path, in which Indy goes on his adventure alone and faces harder puzzles; the Team Path, which sees Indy and his pal Sophia work together; or the Fists Path, based around action more than puzzles.
Given how Indiana Jones is all about using his brain as much as his fists, it was a smart move to incorporate them this way, and the end result is one of the truest Indy experiences you can have without grabbing a hat and a whip yourself.
It’s also pretty widely-available today, so check it out if you’re craving some of that Indy magic.
Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb
This is definitely an underrated Indiana Jones game, with plenty to love. Okay, so it’s not a classic and has its fair share of frustrating moments, but it applies the Tomb Raider structure to Indy’s world brilliantly.
While running around ancient locations and solving puzzles is fun enough, this game’s real strength is in its brawls. True to the movies, Indys a rough-and-ready fighter, using haymakers and grabs to take enemies down.
You can also use objects from your environment to spice things up a little: try a bottle to the head or a chair.
Of course, you can also bring your whip into fights, and if Indy takes a particularly hard hit, he’ll lose his hat and have to retrieve it. It’s little details like this that really make this feel authentic, rather than a basic adventure game with the Indy license slapped on it.
Indiana Jones Greatest Adventures
This SNES game lets players relive classic moments from the original trilogy in a Super Star Wars style.
Like Super Star Wars, Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures is pretty darn tough, and we’re sure many a controller was tossed across many a room as the more frustrating moments kicked in. It’s a lot of fun, though, and really captures the spirit of being Indy.
The on-rails vehicle sections, such as the mine-cart ride taken from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, help to break the side-scrolling action up nicely. It’d be great to see this ‘best of’ approach applied to a brand-new Indy game, allowing us to play through the films (well, maybe just the first three) with today’s amazing graphics and mechanics.
This is well worth a play for Indiana Jones fans who missed it first time around. Just be prepared for a challenge.
Lego Indiana Jones (1 and 2)
There are two Lego Indiana Jones games out there, but because the second is basically a repeat of the first with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull content added in, we’re counting them as one package. We hope you don’t mind.
While the Lego formula isn’t for everyone, there’s no denying these are a fun use of the Indiana Jones property, with plenty of moments recreated faithfully. Running from the boulder is well-done, as is the mine-cart chase and the other iconic moments.
You also get to play as dozens of characters, from various versions of Indy himself to Satipo and Short Round.
These might not be as deep and true to Indiana Jones as some other games, but the Lego adventures are well worth playing for completists.
Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine
Like Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine is basically Tomb Raider in a hat and khakis. And that’s no bad thing!
Released on the PC and the N64 (as a Blockbuster exclusive in the US, a canny marketing move by the once-mighty video-rental chain), Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine might not be a classic, but it’s a decent use of the license.
Sophia from Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis shows up again, to help Indy stop the Soviets from getting their hands on an ancient Babylonian device. The graphics haven’t aged terribly well today, but Indy’s still recognisable and there’s some nice locations.
Much of the game’s based around platforming and exploration, though vehicles come into play at several points to help capture that Indiana Jones magic.
If you only play one 3D Indy game in the Tomb Raider style, go for Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb. If you’ve got space in your life for two, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine’s worthy of your time as well.
What’s your favourite Indiana Jones game? Let us know!