A brief history of Indiana Jones games on PC

(Image credit: LucasArts)

With the news that Wolfenstein developer Machinegames is making a new Indiana Jones game, I thought I'd take a look back at the fedora-loving adventurer's career on PC. His heyday was undoubtedly the 1990s—in particular Fate of Atlantis, the classic LucasArts point-and-click adventure. But from 2003 onwards, after the release of the excellent (and overlooked) Emperor's Tomb, things kinda dried up. I have no idea what Machinegames is cooking up, but as an Indy fan I'm excited that such a talented studio has been handed the whip. Until then, here's every Indy appearance on PC to date.

1987 — Indiana Jones in Revenge of the Ancients

(Image credit: Lucasfilm Games)

This text adventure marks Indy's first outing on PC after previously appearing on the Atari 2600, NES, and Commodore 64. Set in 1936, Indy travels to Mexico on a quest to find a powerful artifact hidden in an Aztec pyramid before the Nazis do. It's decent, as far as '80s interactive fiction goes.

1989 — Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

(Image credit: Lucasfilm Games)

An early point-and-click adventure from LucasArts, then known as Lucasfilm Games. Designed by adventure veterans Ron Gilbert, David Fox, and Noah Falstein, Last Crusade featured an IQ, or 'Indy Quotient', system where you could score extra points by finding alternate solutions to puzzles.

1989 — Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Action Game

(Image credit: Lucasfilm Games)

This side-scrolling action platformer was released alongside The Last Crusade, offering an action-focused alternative to the puzzle-heavy adventure game. Which would be nice if it didn't suck. Like most games from the era it's punishingly difficult, and inferior to the graphic adventure in every way.

1992 — Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

(Image credit: Lucasfilm Games)

Probably the only game on this list that could be considered a classic. Fate of Atlantis is one of the highlights of LucasArts' venerable back catalogue; a thrilling, rip-roaring adventure built around the Atlantis myth, with all the whip cracking, Nazi punching, and wisecracking of the movies.

1992 — Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis: The Action Game

(Image credit: Lucasfilm Games)

And then there's the action game spin-off, which is better than its Last Crusade equivalent, but still pretty terrible. It loosely follows the plot of Fate of Atlantis, but with bewildering maze-like isometric levels, endless waves of enemies, and a focus on dull combat. Stick to the adventure game.

1996 — Indiana Jones and his Desktop Adventures

(Image credit: Lucasfilm Games)

This peculiar adventure game is designed to run in a window on your desktop, with randomly generated levels and stories. The layout of its maps, and the placement of items and puzzle solutions, is different every time you play, which is a cool idea, but it's ultimately quite boring and repetitive to play.

1999 - Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine

(Image credit: Lucasfilm Games)

I'm surprised it took so long for someone to look at the success of Tomb Raider, which was released four years earlier, and develop an Indiana Jones adventure in the same style. Infernal Machine is a fun, if clunky, puzzle-focused adventure, led by Fate of Atlantis writer/director Hal Barwood.

2003 — Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb

(Image credit: Lucasfilm Games)

Arguably the best Indiana Jones game on PC after Fate of Atlantis. Another third-person Tomb Raider-alike, Emperor's Tomb features some truly brilliant, scrappy fistfights, which are straight out of the movies. The plot is enjoyably pulpy, even if it does lean a little too heavily into the supernatural.

2007 — The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones

(Image credit: Lucasfilm Games)

Honestly, I don't know much about this. It appears to be an educational game based on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, a TV spin-off that aired in the early '90s. Time seems to have forgotten this one, but from what I've read online about how unremarkable it is, it doesn't seem like any big loss.

2008 — LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures

(Image credit: Lucasfilm Games)

It was only a matter of time before the Indiana Jones Lego range was turned into a game. As is the case with most Lego games, this is a fun and occasionally quite amusing take on the movies, recreating famous scenes with a tongue-in-cheek twist. Good, but not exactly an all-timer.

2009 — LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues

(Image credit: Lucasfilm Games)

This sequel is more of the same, but with levels based on the fourth (and by far the worst) Indiana Jones movie, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It also features redesigned levels for the first three movies, but was criticised by reviewers for being more repetitive than the original game.

Andy Kelly

If it’s set in space, Andy will probably write about it. He loves sci-fi, adventure games, taking screenshots, Twin Peaks, weird sims, Alien: Isolation, and anything with a good story.