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Help Support Research Video Games Instruments of Chaos

Instruments of Chaos:
Starring Young Indiana Jones

Box Cover

Developer: Brian A. Rice, Inc. & Waterman Design, Inc.
Publisher: SEGA

Release date:
June 1, 1994

Programming by: Brian A. Rice, Robert M. Birmingham, Joseph M. Guagenti, Chuck Batson, Rob McCool, Patrick J. Simmons
Graphics by: Mark D. Waterman, Tom Brophy, Pascal Saint-Clair, Dennis Swiec
Animation by: Mark D. Waterman, Tom Brophy, Pascal Saint-Clair, Dennis Swiec
Graphics Management by: Charles Wiltgen
Original Music by: Rolf Weber, Clifford Falls

Technical Info:
Platforms: Sega Mega Drive, Genesis

Genre: Action, Platform Game

Mode(s): Single-player


When The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles debuted on television in the early 1990s, it was not embraced by the public as many Indy fans and Lucasfilm alike had hoped. While it managed to stay afloat as a series of television films and previous episodes re-edited into feature length specials into the mid 1990s, the project eventually folded due to lack of interest from the public. While the idea behind the series was solid and pioneered many new filmmaking techniques, Lucasfilm could not make the boat float and the Young Indiana Jones projects ceased.

click to enlarge
The title screen.

There was a small merchandising campaign associated with the series and within this marketing umbrella, two console games were made. Jaleco made the first in 1992 for the Nintendo Entertainment System simply titled The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and the game was as devoid of creativity as its title. The second game was produced in 1993, titled Instruments of Chaos: Starring Young Indiana Jones, and was developed by Sega for the Genesis/Mega Drive system. This game proves to be as forgettable as the Nintendo title, but unlike the NES product, this game has a more colorful history.


Story and Gameplay

The structure of the game is much like the Nintendo title. It is a platform game, with Young Indy running and jumping and using his whip to fight off the baddies while collecting items, power ups, and extra weapons. The graphics are average for the Genesis/Mega Drive with the digitized backgrounds looking very nice at the expense of the foreground animations, which tend to look inferior by comparison. The game is a real step up stylistically from the NES version, both visually and in sound structure. Unfortunately, the game is still an uninspired platform romp. The play control is rather awkward and Indy's whip acts more like a jump rope than a kangaroo hide, lashing weapon. The plot is also nothing too original. Once again, based generally on ideas from the series, Young Indy must try and outwit agents of the German Kaiser during the height of World War I. With this kind of narrative setup, the game takes Indy across the world fighting off the Kaiser's evil agents.

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Young Indy has to run and jump his way across the levels.


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Whip action!

What is interesting is the fact that the game was apparently sub-contracted by Sega to a small game developing company named Brian A. Rice, Inc. who made a number of games for Sega in the 80s and 90s as well as the original PC adventure game of Lucasfilm's Willow. In the early 1990s, when Sega was getting ready to launch the new Sega CD/Mega CD system attachment, Brian A. Rice, Inc. was asked to provide a retooled version of Instruments of Chaos for the new console. Due to Sega CD's lackluster performance, this game was never actually released for the Sega CD, even though it was mentioned at the 1992 Summer Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago, Illinois. Very few test copies of the game exist, though some have been spotted on eBay.

For all intents and purposes, the Young Indiana Jones gaming franchise was uninspired and short lived and Instruments of Chaos is a prime example as to why these games never hit pay dirt for Nintendo or Sega. Instruments of Chaos is a great item to hunt for if you are an avid Indy collector. The box art is nice and flashy with that Indiana Jones feel to it and it would look great sitting alongside all of those other Indiana Jones games you may have collected. All I ask is that you avoid frustration and keep the game out of your Sega system as it will only upset you. (MF)


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