Book Review: ‘Indiana Jones and the Dance of the Giants’ by Rob MacGregor

This second book in the ’90s Indiana Jones novel series was better than its predecessor and Rob MacGregor seems to have found his groove a bit more with this one.

Like its predecessor, it feels more like an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, as opposed to feeling like a story as epic as the film series. That’s fine but I hope these start to get more grandiose in scale.

This book also goes to less places than its predecessor, as the entire story is confined to the United Kingdom, only seeing Indy in London, rural Scotland and Stonehenge.

That being said, if you ever wondered what it’d be like for Indy to have a story take place around Stonehenge, well… this is it!

Even more than the first book, I liked the characters in this a lot. Especially, Indy’s returning college buddy, who got to be much more involved this time around. I also liked the love interest and her role in the bigger picture.

What I really liked, though, was the villain. He was a young, ambitious but evil member of British Parliament. He had his eyes set on unlocking the secrets of Stonehenge and Merlin in an effort to rule the world.

This story takes place after Indy has left college as a student and started his first teaching job in London. This aspect of the story was cool, as you get to see him uncomfortable and a bit out of his element, even though it’s well-known that he becomes a successful archeology professor. It’s these parts of the books I like though, as they serve to enrich the character and fill in some of the blanks from his long, adventurous life.

All in all, this was a lighthearted and exciting read.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: other Indiana Jones novels from Bantam Books’ run in the ’90s.

Book Review: ‘Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi’ by Rob MacGregor

I have always wanted to own all the Indiana Jones books that Bantam put out in the ’90s. Well, now I do, so I figured I’d start with the first one.

This book takes place just after Indy leaves college. In fact, it starts in 1920, as he’s leaving college and then fast-forwards to 1922 when he’s living in Paris and furthering his education there. Pretty quickly, his attractive professor sweeps him away to Greece to assist on a major archaeological discovery.

Of course, things are not what they seem and his professor has her own agenda that Indy isn’t immediately privy to.

The book really encapsulates the spirit of the Indiana Jones franchise but this adventure does feel a bit small and confined, as it primarily settles in, in one location and doesn’t move away from there.

This actually reads more like an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles than it does one of the movies. That’s totally fine but I was hoping for something the scale of the films. Maybe the books will build towards that.

In the end, this was a fairly decent start to the series of twelve novels and I look forward to continuing on my quest of reading and reviewing them.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: other Indiana Jones novels from Bantam Books’ run in the ’90s.

Video Game Review: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Arcade)

You may be saying to yourself, “Wait! Didn’t you already review that video game?!” Well, yes… except I reviewed the port for the original Nintendo, which was a fairly crappy version.

This original arcade version of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is far superior in every regard but one.

The arcade version has better graphics, much better sound, better gameplay, better replayability and much smoother controls.

In fact, the only thing that the NES port did better was how it was redesigned to be longer, overall. It had lots of levels, different play modes and was much more challenging in how you have to work your way through the game. This is, honestly, why I like playing the NES version even though I now have access to the original arcade version.

Focusing back on this version, I love how it includes Mola Ram as a threat and dangerous obstacle throughout the game. Also, I love how they designed the room with the Sankara Stones and lava pit.

While the NES game is more of a challenge and a lengthier experience, the original arcade game is cooler and more impressive in every other way. And frankly, it’s fun to revisit every once in awhile.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: other Indiana Jones video games of the ’80s and ’90s.

Vids I Dig 363: Whang!: Was ‘Indiana Jones’ Changed After Release? – Lost Media

Taken from Justin Whang’s YouTube description: The ending of Indiana Jones: The Kingdom of the Crystal skull is different from how people remember it. Many recall Indy saying “In Your Dreams Kid”as he takes his hat back from Shia Labeouf’s character, Mutt, but the line is not there. Is this a case of the Mandela effect, or was it edited quickly after release?

Video Game Review: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – Ubisoft Version (NES)

I’m going to start this review with a really bold statement: this is the worst game that I have played on the original Nintendo.

It surpasses the awfulness of Conan the Barbarian and Bible Adventures. This game truly takes the cake in its awfulness, from top to bottom.

To start, it’s the clunkiest fucking game I have ever played from the 8-bit era. It barely functions, the mechanics are horrendous and it caused me to lose about 30 percent of my remaining hair.

Just when I thought that Indiana Jones games for the NES couldn’t get any worse than the Taito version of Last Crusade, I decided to give this one a shot, hoping it’d be an improvement over that other piece of shit with the same title.

This also boasts some of the worst graphics I’ve ever seen from the terrible sprites, basic as fuck environments, boring colors and complete static backgrounds in scenes that need to convey motion (like the train level).

All in all, this is the worst game I’ve played out of all the ones I have reviewed for this site.

Rating: 0/10
Pairs well with: a ghost pepper juice enema.

Video Game Review: The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (NES)

I have never played this game, as it came out at the end of the original Nintendo era and I had moved on to Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. I probably wouldn’t have appreciated it, anyway, as I was into better graphics, better sound and hadn’t had good experiences with other Indiana Jones games for the NES.

Playing it now, this is the best Indiana Jones game on the NES console. It’s actually kind of fun and it has better controls and overall mechanics than the other games.

Now the controls can still be wonky and frustrating but as bad as the other games were, this is actually a step up.

Additionally, there is more than one gameplay mode. You do the standard side scrolling action stuff but you also get to fly a plane and drive a motorcycle. There are also cool locations. I enjoyed the train level, as you punch and whip your way through baddies on a train moving through the European countryside.

For those familiar with the G.I. Joe games released on the NES, this has a similar gameplay style on most levels.

The game is rather difficult, however, especially some of the later boss battles, as the amount of damage you can take is pretty minimal.

Ultimately, I was pleasantly surprised by the game and, for the most part, like it.

Rating: 6.75/10
Pairs well with: the other NES Indiana Jones games, as well as the NES G.I. Joe titles.

Video Game Review: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – Taito Version (NES)

Having recently revisited the original Nintendo port of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, I felt the urge to revisit the first version of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Yes, I said first version, as there was also a second game released by another developer a few years later.

I don’t actually remember playing the one that was made by Ubisoft but I distinctly remember this Taito game and how frustrating it was.

Playing it now, it’s still frustrating and maybe even more so.

The controls are shit. Total shit. The in-game mechanics are wonky and terrible. Controlling Indiana Jones is like controlling an elderly person with a walker that can do awkward, seldomly landing, Taekwondo kicks.

The game itself is fairly easy but the stage with the Austrian castle is one of the worst designed and laid out levels of the 8-bit era. It’s a confusing clusterfuck where if you don’t know where you need to go, which you won’t, you just get your ass destroyed by Nazi soldiers waiting behind just about every door. It’s like a maze that punches you in the face at every turn, whether you take the right one or the wrong one.

Some of the levels could have been cool if this were made by better designers. The film it’s based on is one of the greatest adventure movies of all-time and provides a great number of action sequences that could’ve made for a really awesome game.

Instead, we got this clunky bag of shit.

Rating: 2.5/10
Pairs well with: pooping… but the runny, messy, unpleasant kind.

Video Game Review: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (NES)

This game is absolute torture. Still, I like playing it and it’s fun up to a certain point.

It’s absurdly difficult though, as the gameplay mechanics are horrendous and the jump and attack buttons are the opposite of what they should be. So often times, my muscle memory would kill me because I’d go to attack and instead, jump right into some f’n lava!

Also, I can understand bullets being limited… but swords? Every time you use your sword, you lose one and have to keep collecting more sword icons, so that you at least have enough to slay the nine dozen lava beasts that you need as stepping stones to cross the overabundance of lava pits late in the game.

On a side note: why do you collect guns, swords and TNT from the little kids you rescue? If they’re armed to the fucking teeth, why do they need rescue? The baddies just have swords, these dozens upon dozens of well armed children could blow these Thugee douchebags to kingdom come.

Anyway, the game is still fun even if it is maddening. It’s not too difficult for about half the game but eventually, you get to the point where there are so many traps and baddies that you’re often times overwhelmed and the shitty mechanics don’t help you slay those annoying bats and snakes.

Once you get to Wave 10, if you even get that far, you might as well give up. Even with the help of Game Genie codes, I’ve never been able to get beyond it, as the exit is damn near impossible to find. You’ll never get there with the timer working against you and if you have to backtrack through the massive lava stage where you deplete all your swords and guns, you’ll be shit out of luck.

Sure, some people have beat the game but there are also people that dedicate their entire lives to mastering the kazoo.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: the much superior arcade version of the game, as well as the more frustrating Nintendo version of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Vids I Dig 099: Yesterworld: The ‘Indiana Jones’ Land You Never Got to Experience – Disney’s Most Ambitious Attraction

From Yesterworld’s YouTube description: Disney’s Theme Parks haven’t always had the presence of Indiana Jones, and the attractions that do exist have a long, complicated history. Today, we take a deep dive into the Indiana Jones attractions that didn’t make the cut – from an extremely ambitious Indiana Jones land at Disneyland, to a continually downgraded mine cart roller coaster at Disneyland Paris!