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Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures

Box Cover

Developer: Factor 5, LucasArts
Publisher: JVC

Release date:
November 10, 1994

Designed by: Kalani Streicher, Thomas Engel, Julian Eggebrecht, Willi Bäcker
Programming by: Thomas Engel
Music & Sound Effects by: Rudolf Stember
Original Music by: John T. Williams
Graphics by: Frank Matzke, Jon Knoles, William V. Tiller, Andreas Escher, Ramiro Vaca

Technical Info:
Platforms: Super Nintendo

Genre: Action, Platform Game

Mode(s): Single-player


In the early nineties the trusty Nintendo Entertainment System, already a gaming legend, finally ran out of steam. Nintendo had kept it alive and in the number one spot even in the face of Sega's 16-bit Genesis gaming system for quite a few years. Time had finally taken its toll and America said good-bye to NES as it passed its 8-bit torch to its 16-bit baby brother, Super Nintendo, which boasted Mode 7 scrolling capabilities and a whole slew of bells and whistles that sent the Sega Genesis running for cover. LucasArts embraced the system immediately, and teamed up with JVC to develop one of the earliest games for the new console, the best-selling Super Star Wars, which showed off all of the Super Nintendo's then amazing capabilities.

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Screen to next level.

Super Star Wars was so successful, that LucasArts and JVC made two sequels, Super Empire Strikes Back and Super Return of the Jedi. All of these games were very well done platform action games with beautiful graphics, amazing play control, and gaming atmospheres that captured the essence of the Star Wars films more so than any other movie game to date. All of them also had simulator levels that utilized the Mode 7 functions of the SNES to their full advantage so players could fly X-Wings and snowspeeders with amazing realism. The one criticism of these games was the fact that each one was the same as the last with only "new outfits and new levels". Regardless of this criticism, all of the games did extremely well.

In 1994, just after the release of Super Return of the Jedi, LucasArts took this best-selling game formula for one final spin and released Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures in collaboration with Factor 5. This game is essentially Super Star Wars made over to look like Indiana Jones. The game structure is exactly the same. The player controls Indy through a whole series of platform based levels that highlight the major action scenes from the film trilogy beginning with Raiders and ending with Last Crusade. In between some of these platform levels are some "vehicle" levels that use the Mode 7 ability of the SNES, such as the rafting level in the Temple of Doom section of the game and the biplane level from the Last Crusade section.

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Screenshots of 3 Raiders of the Lost Ark levels.

Story and Gameplay

This is not to imply that the game is poor. The game is far from poor. It boasts fun levels, impressive graphics, very nice cinema scenes that use high quality scans of production stills from the films, authentic sound effects from the trilogy, and actual voice clips from the characters. For example, when Indy bites the dust, a large photo of Henry Jones Sr. appears and Sean Connery's voice is heard saying, "I've lost him". Indy runs and jumps and takes advantage of his whip and revolver while swinging over pits, fighting off baddies, dodging traps, and driving vehicles from the entire trilogy in settings that parallel the films excellently. When Indy changes levels, we get to see the familiar red line go across the map and when the films change, the game emulates the opening shots from the films with the credits (e.g. the mountain in Raiders). Indy himself is very well rendered and LucasArts once again provides great atmosphere with John William's original scores. This is truly one of the best Indiana Jones games ever made.

My problems with this game are not with the game itself, but with the intentions behind it. As I said before, it is a Super Star Wars makeover. Meaning, that for those players who had already played the entire Super Star Wars Trilogy, it had become a pretty tired format. I can assure you, Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures found itself at a disadvantage because it offered nothing new to LucasArts fans waiting for an original Indy game to hit the SNES only to find Super Star Wars IV. On top of that, the game seems like an afterthought on LucasArts' part, almost a token gesture to Indy himself. I can almost hear the developers saying, "Hey guys, we gave Star Wars its games, so we need to give Indy a game too.

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Screenshots of 3 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom levels.


What resulted is something I consider a slap in the face of Indy fans to a degree. The first and obvious observation is, "Star Wars got a game for each movie. Why didn't Indy get his three too?" I know I sound like a fifth grader but what was the deal? They fabricated levels in the Star Wars games to provide added content but they crammed all three Indy films into one game. They should have named it Indiana Jones' Greatest Highlights. I almost feel like the people at LucasArts did not have enough confidence that Indy could sell three games, or maybe they realized that they had milked the game format for all it was worth.

The game format was the second slap. It was obvious that they used the same engine from the Star Wars games, so no effort really was involved on their part. "OK, take Han Solo and give him a hat. Good. Now, rearrange this level, turn the metal floor into a stone one, and add a big boulder at the end. Oh, and take that Imperial officer and put an Nazi armband on his sleeve." My point is the Indiana Jones game was not given much thought. They seemed to just cookie cut the game out for a quick buck or two. Again, do not misunderstand me. It is a very nice cookie cut, but a cookie cut nonetheless. Admittedly, were it not for the Super Star Wars Trilogy preceding this game, I would have better feelings for it. I do not dislike the game, I dislike the intentions of the developers behind it and honestly, I feel bad that Indy got stuck with the "compilation" game.

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Screenshots of 3 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade levels.

If you have not played the SNES Star Wars games, I envy you because it will make Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures as great as it is truly. For all the rest of us out there who played the Super Star Wars Trilogy first, let's keep in mind that Greatest Adventures is very well done. Remember, even though it is only a new facing for an older game, thank the stars that it is a very cool Indiana Jones facing and not a Howard the Duck one. If you have not played it, find a cartridge or a ROM set and get playing. All Indy fans will enjoy this game. (MF)


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