Saturday, 19 January 2013

Game 28: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - Lost Translation

Indiana Jones Journal Entry 1: “Just when I thought I was going to get some downtime! I’ve arrived back in New York to find hordes of angry students, and now my father has disappeared. At least he was off doing something interesting, and he seems to have been convinced that he can discover the Holy Grail. Pretty unlikely if you ask me, but then the old man never could give up his obsessions once he got hold of them. Who knows whether he actually needs saving or not, but I guess there’s no harm is following these clues, starting in the old library in Venice that used to be a church. I might find something of value, plus spending time with Dr. Elsa Schneider won’t exactly be terrible.”

Let the fun begin!

Man is it refreshing to go back to a SCUMM driven LucasArts game after the horrors of Emmanuelle! One of the reasons this post has taken a bit longer to get out than I expected is that I just couldn’t pull myself away from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I’m having a lot of fun, and can’t wait to get back to hunting for the Holy Grail. Since I’ve already played the game for three hours, and a lot has happened in that time, I highly doubt I’m going to be able to get up to date in this post alone. I’ll just start typing and see where I get up to. Before I begin, I should point out that this game has a lot of dialogue, so I won’t be reciting all of it word for word the way I have been with some of the games recently that have very little. I’ll try to summarise things a bit.

I just wanted to drop in and admire my trophy cabinet!

There’s no real intro to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. As soon as the credits are over, Indy walks into Barnett College in New York in the year 1938, and immediately gets into a conversation with a professor there. It’s revealed that Indy has been away for a while, and has returned with “the Cross of Coronado” in his possession, presumably discovered during some dangerous adventure. The professor asks why Indy is all wet, but the response is simply “don’t ask” with a knowing look at the “player”. Before Indy can go and get changed, the professor tells him that he needs “that translation you were going to do for me”. This came as a bit of a shock to me, as it didn’t happen when I checked out the VGA version of the game.

Ah yes...the translation!'s a small problem with that!

The “translation” turned out to be nothing more than a copy protection device, but it was one I wasn’t prepared for. I was shown a notebook that said “Remember to translate the parchment for Brody – refer to translation table  – Check Section 1, Row Y, Column 3.” Below that was a bunch of symbols that I couldn’t recall seeing in the manual or the grail diary PDFs I downloaded. It’s neat to notice the phone numbers of Willie and Marion (the two women that Indy had relations with in the first two movies) crossed out in the top right corner of the page. After failing to find anything that might tell me which symbols to select, I googled “Indiana Jones Last Crusade Translation Table” and found a text document containing everything I need. I can only assume the grail diary I have is not the one that originally came with the EGA version of the game.

I wonder who the next woman to be written in and then crossed out will be.

Once I’d chosen the correct symbols, Indy walked into the change rooms in the college gymnasium and came out moments later dressed in a suit. I now had control of Indy, and set about exploring the gym. The first thing I noticed was that the verb list was a bit different to what it had been in Zak McKracken. I pulled up a screenshot of Zak to compare the two lists. Both contain “Push”, “Pull”, “Give”, “Open”, “Close”, “Walk to”, “Pick up”, “What is”, “Use”, “Turn on” and “Turn off”, but there are quite a few differences. “Read”, “Put on” and “Take off” have all been removed, yet in their place are “Look”, “Talk” and “Travel”. This bodes well, as it was quite frustrating not having a “Look” or a “Talk” option in both Zak and Maniac Mansion. The three removed verbs are not needed when there are “Look” and “Use” verbs, and the “Talk” and “Travel” verbs are greyed out unless you can use them in the current location, so the new interface looks like a nice improvement on an already good system.

I'd like to think that my comments about the lack of a Look verb had some influence on LucasArts implementing one, even if I made them decades too late.

I quickly got back into the habit of using the “What is” verb, which allows me to move the cursor all over the screen and have any items of interest labelled. Once I knew the items that could be interacted with in some way, I used the “Look” verb to get a more detailed description, and went from there. I tried getting into the boxing ring, but Indy seemed reluctant to damage his suit. I was able to pick up the mallet at the side of the ring, but all I could do was ring the bell as it was attached by a chain. There didn’t seem like there was anything else to do there, so I left. I tried entering each of the rooms in the starting hallway, but two out of three were inaccessible due to lectures being held. The other doorway led to a classroom that appeared to be the one I normally teach in. The students were in an uproar, having been waiting for me all day to sign their cards. On entering the room, I was faced with something I hadn’t expected to see in the year 1989. Dialogue choices!!!

I think I'll restore and try "Out of my way, kids!" for shits and giggles.

I’d always thought that it was The Secret of Monkey Island that introduced branching conversation trees, and there’s no doubt that the ones found in that classic game are more advanced, but here they are in the first Indiana Jones adventure game. I selected the option “Just a moment, folks. I’m sure we can work something out” to which they asked me what I was going to do. I then chose “Please relax. I have a solution that is fair for everyone” and then “Irene, take down names and I will see everyone in order.” This seemed to be the right thing to do, as I was quickly able to get past the crazed students into my personal office while they were bickering about who was there first. I don’t know what would have happened if I’d angered them, nor do I know yet whether the game allows Indy to die. I guess I’ll find out eventually!

This is what my room would look like if all of my ancient relics weren't of the digital variety.

My office was filled with artefacts and junk, and there were a daunting amount of items in there to try to interact with. I found a map drawn in crayon, a boxing tournament medal, a globe, a meteor fragment that oozes purple slime, a hot water heater, a statue of a falcon, replicas of the Sankara Stones, a Halloween mask, some old skulls, a jar of solvent, some statues, an ancient tablet that warns of aliens in disguises, a Brazilian totem pole, a yellow crystal (that some flakes from San Francisco are after), the mask of an African shaman, a crystal ball, and a heap of junk and junk mail. I tried picking up and using every item in the room, but strangely was only able to pick up the junk mail. It was clear that the majority of items in the room were references to Maniac Mansion and Zak McKracken, and I assume many of the others reference the first two Indiana Jones movies (it’s been a long time since I’ve seen them). I couldn’t open or use the junk mail or letters I’d picked up from the table, so I opened the window and hopped out.

You knew about it in 1938 and you didn't tell me!!!

Once outside the building, I was approached by two men who demanded “Dr. Jones, come with us, please”. Next thing I knew I was in a rather swish looking sky rise apartment / office that was filled with precious looking artefacts. A man approached me, introducing himself as Walter Donavan. I recognised him as a generous contributor to the museum and commented on how impressive his collection was. Walter showed me a damaged tablet which was found in the north of Ankara which I suggested was from the middle twelfth century. I translated the undamaged portion as “...a spring welling up inside him for eternal life, through the desert to the canyon of the crescent moon, where the cup that holds the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord resides forever.” Walter suggested the cup the tablet describes is the Holy Grail, and that it would “bring eternal life to whoever drinks from it”.

Forever you say! That's a strong word, don't you think!?

Walter then mentioned that my father is the foremost Grail scholar in the world, and that the slab is one of two markers left by three knights during the First Crusade. While the location of the Grail remains unknown due to the tablet being incomplete, a description of the Grail is said to be found on the way to the second marker, which is buried with one of the knights. The team leader believes that knight is buried in Venice, but he disappeared while investigating. Walter wants me to take over the quest, and his request was made much more compelling when he announced that the missing man was none other than my father Henry Jones! As soon as that bit of information was revealed, I found myself standing back outside the college, with one noticeable difference to when I left. I now had the option to “Travel”.

The dialogue in the game is a big step up from all that came before it. There's lots of it and it's all good stuff!

Clicking Travel gave me two options to choose from. I could visit Henry’s House or catch a Plane to Venice. I chose to check out Henry’s house, and wasn’t completely surprised when I found the place had been completely ransacked. I began scouring the room looking for anything that might assist me in finding him or the Grail. The first thing I discovered is that I could Pick Up the table cloth that was resting on the small table near the front door. Underneath was a chest of sorts, but I had no way to unlock it. Next I found a painting of a trophy that my father had won that I made as a little boy, which I was able to add to my inventory. I then started Using, Pushing, Pulling etc. everything I could interact with in the room until the top of the bookcase lurched forward and fell down. On the back was some sticky tape that I picked up, although I was surprised to find there wasn’t a key underneath it. I spent a long time trying to do something with the typewriter in particular, but was unsuccessful.

Figures. Where would my dad have left the bloody key!?

With nothing more than junk mail, junk letters, a painting, and some sticky tape in my possession, I decided to go and see what Venice had to offer. I figured I’d missed something somewhere, but hoped I might be able to find out what it was I was looking for and then come back and focus on finding it. The manual mentioned that I should try to find my father’s diary, and the chest seemed a likely place, but without a key I had no further leads. Arriving in Venice, I found myself in a plaza with the professor I’d started the game chatting to. I don’t really know what this guy does (only at this stage am I told that his name is Marcus Brody), but he seems to be involved in my artefact hunting endeavours in some way. The two of us were just discussing how we would find our contact Dr. Schneider, when a woman walked up and introduced herself using that name. Dr. Elsa Schneider to be precise!

 And my mother's ears, but the rest belongs to you. Yes, I stole that directly from the game and am now claiming it as my own.

Marcus left us to take a “nice relaxing gondola ride”, so Elsa took me to the library where my father was last seen. The library apparently used to be a church during the Crusades, and just before my father vanished, he’d been muttering something about Roman numerals. He’d been searching for them everywhere but hadn’t managed to find them. I could only assume it would be up to me to find these Roman numerals and follow the path my father took. That seems a decent place to stop this post though, and I’ll endeavour to get another one up tomorrow. I’ve only covered about 45 minutes of my 3 hour session, but that’s normal for these first posts, where I’m describing the interface and storyline. Before anyone starts giving hints, I’ve made significant progress since this stage, so probably don’t need it. All comments are welcome though, as usual (as long as they follow the spoiler rules).

Yes, I think it best we not be bothered for at least an hour. Maybe two if you have good stamina!

Session Time: 0 hours 45 minutes 
Total Time: 0 hours 45 minutes 

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!


  1. This was as far as I managed to get when I last tried to play it, can't remember why I stopped. I'll have to try and get a bit further this time!

    Anyone know if it's any easier if you've recently watched the film?

    1. I know the films quite well, being amongst my favourite films. I remeber when I played this game many years ago thinking that it was quite easy as I always knew what was coming next and many of the puzzles are pretty much directly from the movie.

    2. Oh, a few things I forgot to mention in my last comment:

      You can box there, but have to go back to the changing rooms to get into some proper kit and gloves. Then you can practice your fighting skills, ready for later (I never got far enough to require it, but basically it involves the numpad).

      Also, I found another way to get rid of the students in your office:
      Nsgre obkvat, V gnyxrq gb Znephf Oebql ntnva orsber tbvat vagb zl bssvpr. Nccneragyl gurer'f n arj trbybtvfg jub snapvrf uvzfrys na nepunrbybtvfg, naq lbh pna fraq nyy lbhe fghqragf gb uvz vafgrnq.

      You also might want to go back to your office at some point: Lbh cvpxrq hc gur whax znvy, naq gur yrggref, ohg abg gur cncref! Vs lbh unq qbar guvf, lbh jbhyq unir erirnyrq gur tenvy qvnel, juvpu vf boivbhfyl irel vzcbegnag.

    3. @Draconius

      That bodes quite well for me then, since I must have seen the films at least a half-dozen times over the years.

      It certainly helps you pick up on many of the references in the game, much like Indy being wet at the beginning (in the film, he gets the Cross on a ship, and ends up in the sea).

  2. I've played about the same amount of time and find the game really isn't terribly fun. I know I'm in the minority, but a lot of the puzzle solutions are pretty obtuse and sometimes the puzzles themselves are obtuse!


    Ubj gur uryy jbhyq V xabj gur xrl gb gur purfg vf ohevrq va n wne bs fbyirag va zl bssvpr? Pbhyq Vaql unir fnvq "V guvax V'ir frra gur xrl gb guvf purfg fbzrjurer va zl bssvpr?" Lbh unir gb svaq n jvar obggyr, qhzc vg bhg, svyy vg jvgu jngre, gura hfr vg gb ybbfra n gbepu va gur pngnpbzof? N pbhcyr fperraf njnl vf n ebbz svyyrq jvgu jngre. Hfr lbhe ung, Vaql! Gur "fgbel" eryngrq chmmyrf, yvxr trggvat VA gb gur pngnpbzof ner vaghvgvir, ohg nyy gur yvggyr fvqr chmmyrf ner abg.

    I do enjoy the references to other games and the Last Crusade movie.

    1. Not exactly...

      Gur xrl vf vafvqr gur fgvpxl gncr. Lbh unir gb hfr gur gncr ba gur wne gb qvfbyir gur gncr naq trg gur xrl. Vs lbh ybbx ng gur gncr Vaql fnlf vg vf n ovg yhzcl, nf vs fbzrguvat jnf vafvqr. Pregnvagyl, gur zrffntr pbhyq or n ovg pyrnere...

    2. I fully agree with this. In order to get maximum points without a walkthrough, I think you'd have to be one of the designers!

  3. I'm not as fast as you. After 2 hours, I'm still in the underground of venice,which is not very fun for my taste. Some puzzles are logical, others are difficult. Not sure I can get out without a hint. I'll wait for the next post.

  4. Marcus Brody is a faculty member and a personal friend of Indy's father. I don't recall seeing him in the first two movies but he has a nice extended role in Last Crusade. He's the bumbling older man tagging along with Indy throughout the film (and the subject of several funny scenes with old college pal Jones Sr). You'll probably recognize him in a movie still, Trick.

    1. He was in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but he didn't leave the University. He took Indy from the classroom to meet the OSS men to learn about the Ark. Played by Denholm Elliott. He was also at the end, still at the University.

  5. Looks like you're already finding your way through it quite easy, though lbh unir qbhogyrffyl ernyvfrq ol abj gung lbh zvffrq n pbhcyr bs guvatf va lbhe bssvpr. V guvax vg jnf cbffvoyl n yvggyr zber boivbhf va gur ITN irefvba, jvgu zber pbybhe qrcgu gb npghnyyl ybbx guebhtu!

    Still, it's looking like you're making good progress. Maybe we should have bets on how quickly you can make it through a game solo? (V'ir nyfb abgvprq gung 'ybbxvat' ng vgrzf jnf fbzrguvat V qvq rirel gvzr V cvpxrq gurz hc va nal Yhpnfnegf nqiragher. Vg nyzbfg nyjnlf qvq -fbzrguvat-.)

  6. Sorry, wrong Google account signed in - I think I'm going to start playing this tonight!!

  7. I'm a good few hours in, although I've resorted to a walkthrough more than once!

    I don't think I'll ever get used to the fighting, which is a bit of a problem. There are usually alternative ways to get past people, but it can be awkward. I'll be interested to see your future posts!

    Just about to finish updating my blog to my current exploits (whfg yrsg gur pnfgyr nsgre erfphvat Urael Wbarf Fe.)

  8. Well I haven't found my diary yet.. but Yes indeed the Translation Table (which I have found!) is a separate beast composed of the list of symbols in blue with red Indiana Jones atop them to obscure the symbols unless viewed through a red lens (Like the Sierra hint books window system).

    1. I have now found my Grail Diary. Yaay.

  9. I'm currently seriously considering looking online for a znc bs gur qnza pnfgyr. I'm getting sick of thneqf chapuvat zr gb qrngu.

    1. If you're really stuck, try this:

    2. Ah, if only I'd found that site this morning I wouldn't have some very poorly drawn maps sitting on my computer table now. :)

  10. I'm pretty sure that's where I quit as a kid.

  11. And, I've finished.

    I had fun, but I think we've all guessed a little too high with our 60+ PISSED scores.

    Bits of it are great, but n ybg bs gur tnzr vaibyirf svtugvat be gnyxvat lbhe jnl bhg bs n svtug, naq svaqvat gur evtug qvnybthrf gb nibvq gur svtugf frrzf gb or bayl or fbyinoyr guebhtu gevny naq reebe, juvpu erdhverf pbafgnag erybnqvat.

    Gura ntnva, Gevpxfgre qvqa'g zvaq nyy gur svtugvat va Ureb'f Dhrfg, fb V pbhyq or jebat.

    1. I've just also finished too. I think I found a bug in the VGA scummvm version though (don't remember if it was the same in the original game). Spoiler:

      Jura pncgherq va gur pnfgyr, lbh pna tvir gur bevtvany Tenvy qvnel gb gur anmv be tvir uvz gur Byq Obbx lbh sbhaq va Urael'f ubhfr. Tvivat gur Byq obbx qbrfa'g erdhver lbh gb geniry gb Oreyva naq trgf lbh qverpgyl gb gur nvecbeg. Ubjrire, nsgre yrnivat ba gur mrccryva be ba gur cynar, lbh trg n geniry fperra jurer lbh ner yrnivat sebz Oreyva (naq univat gb cnff nyy gur pbagebyf). V qba'g erpnyy vs guvf unccrarq nyfb va gur bevtvany irefvba ohg frrzf yvxr n znwbe oht nf gur pnfgyr vf whfg ba gur trezna obeqre...

    2. V tnir uvz gur byq obbx gbb. Ohg zl ynpx bs trbtencul fxvyyf fgbccrq zr abgvpvat.

      Ohg abj gung V guvax nobhg vg, lrnu gur snpg gung gurl jrer nyernql ba gur obeqre naq jrer qrfcrengr gb trg gur uryy bhg bs Treznal fhttrfgf tbvat gb gur nvecbeg va gur pncvgny vf cebonoyl n fghcvq vqrn.

      My guess is it's not so much a bug as a logic flaw that's probably in all versions of the game.