Review: Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures (SNES)

Another fantastic movie trilogy gets another fantastic game

By the end of 1994, Sculptured Software had already created two SNES games based on the Star Wars games, and were hard at work on a third. But of course movie fanatics noticed something - Star Wars already had a lot of representation, but where was everybody's favourite archaeologist? LucasArts must've noticed the same, because they gave Factor 5, most well-known for their Turrican games on SNES and Mega Drive exclusive rights to develop a game based on all three movies in the Indiana Jones trilogy. We don't know what led them to this choice, but it was definitely the right one, as Indy's Greatest Adventures still live up to its name as one of his best action-based games.

As Indy, you'll pretty much go through all events in all three movies in order. First you'll go through twelve stages based on Raiders of the Lost Ark, including the Chachapoyan Temple with its giant boulder, the streets of Cairo and the Well of Souls. Next up are eight stages from Temple of Doom, among which are Shanghai and Mola Ram's temple, and the game finishes with eight more from The Last Crusade, including Brunwald Castle and the temple containing the Holy Grail.

Most of the time the game will be an action platformer - Indy can run and jump around, swinging his whip and shooting his gun, as long as he finds them in one of the many backpacks littered throughout the stages. Also findable are a limited amount of grenades, which take out all weak enemies on the screen in one hit. Use them wisely!

Indy can also punch at all times with a press of the R button, which is useful when you have no weapons or if you need to move around a crate to reach higher platforms. The final attack he possesses is a rolling move, which can be used tactically to quickly dodge enemy attacks, deal a little bit of damage, or get through narrow pathways.

A total of three stages from the latter two movies completely change the game. Instead of being 2D, it becomes 3D with the use of the SNES's famous Mode 7 effect, and the mine cart chase and biplane ride are two examples of this. All 3D stages have rather different objectives, making them quite unique compared to the rest of the game. It's just too bad there's so few of them!

As the game is based on three movies, naturally, the storyline can't be ignored. Between a lot of the stages, you'll get cutscenes with digitized pictures from the films and dialogue in text form. For the enthusiasts (or those who haven't seen the movies, shame on them!) these are pretty nice, but others might want to skip them, as they can go on for quite a while.

As you might expect, the game features plenty of the music that made the movies so great. You'll recognize many tunes, but if you're a hardcore fan you might notice something peculiar - almost all of the tracks are taken from the first movie, with a few from the second and none from the third! Although this won't take away from your enjoyment of the game at all, it is odd all the same. The game also includes a handful of digitized lines, most of them are from Indy himself, which sound pretty good.

The graphics are just as good: everything is instantly recognizable from the movies, from the foreground objects to the backgrounds, and of course all of the characters. The digitized pictures in the cutscenes are also of quite high quality.

As the game is quite long, there is also a password system. A total of ten passwords let you start at pretty much any point of the game, and they're also different for each difficulty, meaning you can't claim you've beaten the game on Hard by simply changing the difficulty and using the final password you got on Easy. Of course, you can just look up the passwords online, but where's the fun in that?

Conclusion

With pretty much every single action scene from the movies accounted for in the game's 28 stages, this is an absolute must-play for Indiana Jones fans. People who haven't seen the original trilogy of movies might want to watch them first, or they can take a gamble and play the game anyway - perhaps you'll want to see the movies because of the game! Forget recent disappointments bearing the Indiana Jones name - this is where it's at!