This emperor needs to stay buried in his tomb

As you might know, GOG has been releasing a bunch of old Lucasarts games lately. Their latest wave came out yesterday, and included masterpieces such as Loom (TM) and some other stuff not made by Brian Moriarty. It also included Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb, a title I had somehow missed on release. Of course, as a massive Indy fan, I just had to repair my foolishness.

Geez, Indy, you look like a villain here. Actually, your face looks incredibly stiff throughout the whole game.
Geez, Indy, you look like a villain here. Actually, your face looks incredibly stiff throughout the whole game.

What a massive disappointment. I played about 4-5 hours before giving up. There are too many issues to lisst them all, but two are especially glaring: the save system and the camera.

The save system belongs in a museum. Each of the game’s (massive) areas is divided in smaller levels, although each level can still take up to 20 minutes to complete. You can only save at the beginning of each level. So if you mistime a jump and die, which will happen often because of the imprecise controls, you’ll be playing a rerun of the last Indy episode.

Indiana Batman and the Arkham Tomb
Indiana Batman: Arkham Tomb

The combat doesn’t help, since it takes so long to beat any enemy. The fisticuffs is quite exciting, the first time around. Then it gets tiring. Especially if you are replaying a level.

The second big problem is the camera. The smallest mouse movement will often send it flying everywhere, no matter the sensitivity. This makes it both hard to time jumps, and also gives me motion sickness. Perhaps as an answer to the complaints that Indy moved too slowly in Infernal Machine, this time our favorite achaeologist zips around as if he were constantly on steroids, like Duke Nukem. Even the merest of actions has a jerky and lighting-fast animation, and if you are like me, nausea will set in soon.

Levels as isolated islands in the ocean that is a skybox. It is one of my favorite things from the era. It still happens, of course, but it was much more noticeable before.
Levels as isolated islands in the ocean that is a skybox. It is almost poetic, and one of my favorite things from the era. It still happens, of course, but it was much more noticeable before.

I gave up after a mistimed jump near the end of area 3-1, lacking the courage to replay the whole section again. I doubt I’ll be missing much: the plot seemed real thin anyway. At least it looked and sounded decent, but that’s not nearly enough.

I’ll be sticking to Infernal Machine for my Indiana Jones needs. When I’m not watching the movies, I mean. However, I would also like to pick up Staff of Kings at some point. Perhaps I can find the PSP version for cheap enough someday. It didn’t receive a great critical reception, but as long as it has proper checkpoints, I will deal with it better than this.

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