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Help Support Research Video Games Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

Box Cover

Developer: Jaleco USA, Inc.
Publisher: LucasArts & Jaleco USA, Inc.

Release date:

Technical Info:
Platforms: Nintendo NES

Genre: Action, Platform Game

Mode(s): Single-player


In the early 1990s, many of us thought we had seen the end of Indiana Jones on the screen. Oh sure, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was in the works, but it was only a video game and many Indy fans wondered whether or not the man with the hat would ever have another big budget adventure. The first few years after Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were filled with uncertainty to say the least. However, hope was on the horizon. Even though a new film was far from thought, co-creator George Lucas had another idea percolating in his brain. Lucas wanted to make a television show about Indiana Jones when he was a young man. The result was The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

The show was very interesting, with each episode featuring either a very young Indiana Jones or an Indy in his early twenties. In most of the episodes, Indy would find himself running into important figures of the early 20th century, such as Howard Carter and Al Capone. The show was relatively short lived, met with lukewarm reviews. Aside from the Indy fans, the general population just held no interest for a young Indiana Jones. People wanted to see Harrison Ford and silver screen adventure. The idea held on for a few years as a series of television movies starring Sean Patrick Flannery, who played the intrepid Indy in his twenties as he found himself embroiled in everything from World War I to the early silent films industry as a stuntman. These films were very well done and it is a shame that they did not catch on with the public.


Story and Gameplay

click to enlarge
Young Indy in Mexico.

Even in light of its short life span The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles had its own merchandising machine which inspired two console games, one for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and one for the Nintendo. The first game was made for the Nintendo in 1992 right around the time that the old 8-bit workhorse was making way for its "Super" successor. The game's plot is a kind of summation of Sean Patrick Flannery's escapades through the chronicles of Indy's past. As young Indy, the player must traverse levels like Mexico where he fights Pancho Villa, an espionage mission in Paris, caves, deserts, etc. These levels are loosely based on episodes of the chronicles and truly serve the title of game by encompassing many adventures of the young Indiana Jones.

Unfortunately, this game has many drawbacks. For one, the game is identical to almost every other game in the Nintendo library. It is a side scrolling platform action game that bears a frightening resemblance to Castlevania. Indy starts with his whip and fights his way across each level, running and jumping, while dodging bullets and breaking open boxes to find useful items. These items are standard platform gaming fare, such as new weapons like grenades, pistols, and dynamite. Gold bars can be collected for points. Sadly, this platform game is so typical of the hundreds of NES platform games that it stands out in no unique way with the exception of being an Indiana Jones game.



As with many of the final games made for the NES, this platform is uninspired and boring (anyone recall Felix the Cat?). The play control is acceptable, but somewhat loose. The graphics are very typical of the Nintendo's average palette abilities. Indy and most of his surroundings (in Mexico especially) are a pale, nauseating beige color. Some greens and blues are thrown in here and there, but the graphics are extremely flat, even for the NES. The sound fares somewhat better with an attempt at playing the Young Indiana Jones theme at the beginning of the game, which is accompanied by a nicely rendered logo.

Any true pluses to this game at all you ask? Yes there are. The first plus is that the game box is really slick with a nice action photo of Mr. Flannery running like heck with a bandoleer of ammunition over his shoulder and the famous hat on his head. The second great thing about this game is that it looks great on display in an Indiana Jones collection because the box is so nice to look at. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles was a good solid television series that was rather underrated. The Young Indiana Jones Nintendo game does not in any way reflect the quality of the actual TV program and please remember that when playing. Thank you. (MF)


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