Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Indy's back - and this time he's brought his Dad. Well, as far as the game itself goes he hasn't (he only appears on a still screen at the end of the game), but by and large Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade follows the plot of the film.
It's a straightforward platform and ladders game in which the hero can run, jump, punch, and (if he's collected the item) whip his opponents so that he can advance.
The first level concerns the adventurous archaeologist as a young man journeying through caves to find the Coronado Cross - avoid the baddies, climb the ropes and track down the Cross to move onto the next level, set on a horizontally scrolling train where more baddies (and rouge circus animals) must be avoided to get Indy to safety.
Scene three sees a grown-up Indy hero searching for the shield of the Grail Crusader, an ancient knight - this all takes place in an underground cavern. Once found it's onto Castle Brunwald, then through an airship and finally to the ancient temple where the Grail is located.
As you can imagine, the game is crawling with nasty Nazis, and all have guns and knives which can do serious damage to your energy if they connect! Being touched by just about anything is fatal - so get toting that whip!
The Holy Grail was supposedly the receptacle of Christ's blood from the Cross, and has been the subject of many quests, theories, and beliefs. It has also been the subject of a number of movies as well as this one. The most irreverent has been Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which featured flying cows, killer rabbits and the Knights who say Ni! A more serious approach was taken by the film Excalibur which retold the legend of King Arthur and Merlin, portraying the Grail as the ultimate symbol of faith and rebirth. In the comics world Camelot 3000 (drawn by Brian Bolland of Judge Dredd fame) has explored the ideas of Arthur's return - he was, after all, the once and future King - to save Britain in its hour of need. Surprising he's not here already...
The Indiana Jones films have enjoyed enormous success since the release of Raiders Of The Lost Ark in 1981. Perhaps the main reason for the popularity of the films is that they reintroduced a witty, self-effacing but believable hero to the cinema, the likes of whom had not been seen since the days of Buck Rogers. Whatever the reason, the Indiana Jones series provided quality entertainment and spectacular effects thanks to the genius of George Lucas. There are no plans to make a fourth film - what a shame!
Indiana Jones is an impressive game with graphics of very high quality, but the gameplay seems to me somewhat limited in comparison. Having said that, the Master System really needs a good platform-style arcade adventure game and this fits the bill with room to spare. Swinging with the whip is great fun and even though the game is very tough, it's addictive and will have you playing long into the night. A high quality game that deserves a place in your software collection.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is almost as hard as the hero himself! From the very beginning the odds are stacked against you as you battle an amazingly tight time limit and hordes of gun-wielding heroes. There are plenty of nasty hazards and traps to catch out an unwary Indy - so prepare to lose plenty of lives. It certainly helps if you make a map, since the game is the same every time you play it. The graphics are truly superb, with some of the best sprites and backdrops I've seen on the Sega, and the music's not bad either. Seasoned platforms and ladders fans should be in their element with this - those not so good at this type of game might find it all too frustrating, though.
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