At the time this project was greenlit, Ron Gilbert was working on his design for what would become The Secret of Monkey Island. The need for this game to be completed in time for the film's release caused Gilbert to temporarily put Monkey Island on the backburner.
As a product of basing the game off the movie's screenplay rather than the movie itself, some concepts and scenes from the screenplay that wound up on the cutting room floor actually survived in various forms in the game. Such example include Indy's encounter with a radio operator on the German Zepplin, and a reference made early on in the game to an academic professor whose movie scenes were cut.
This is the first adventure game in which notable artist/animator and Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell did in-game work. Last Crusade made a significant step in the art and animation department for a LucasArts adventure game (note the animations such as Indy swinging his whip and a skeleton exploding) that was made specifically to rival Sierra, which was considered to still be ahead of LucasArts on that front.
Chuck the Plant makes his third appearance in a LucasArts game in Henry Jones Sr.'s house. While Indy usually goes 'Hi Chuck!' when you Look at the plant, in an early demo he says 'Hi LeChuck!' instead!
The designers had clashing opinions on whether the ending of the game ought to be serious or humorous, and as a result the game has multiple denouements of varying tone.
While in Castle Brunwald, Indy can talk his way out of danger with one of the Nazis by masquerading as a salesman, claiming that "I'm selling fine leather jackets like the one I'm wearing." Variations of this line (most notably "I'm selling these fine leather jackets") has been parodied endlessly in subsequent adventure games, both LucasArts made and otherwise. (Examples include the Monkey Island games, Full Throttle, and even Indiana Jones & The Infernal Machine, where it's shouted by one of the Russian Guards - in Russian of course! The most recent reference to the gag is in Sam & Max: Situation: Comedy, where you can ask Bosco if he sells the item.)
Other references include: a table in one room at Castle Brunwald is described as "16th Century Georgian Lucasian", an S. Spielberg on the notice board at Barnett is selling 1000 rats and 250 snakes, the same notice board mentions a 'Professor Ravenswood' meaning Marion Ravenwood's father (possibly a spelling mistake), and on the Zeppelin Henry can ask the piano player to play "Die Overture von Krieg der Sterne" - the Star Wars theme! (although he just plays John Williams' music from the Zeppelin scene anyway).
Two paintings that can be seen in the Nazi's art store room in Castle Brunwald – specifically the reclining nude statue and "Sunday in the Park" - also appeared in the Edisons' mansion in Maniac Mansion, right down to the plaque's contents on the nude statue.
Sam & Max make one of their earliest cameo appearances in this game in the form of a totem pole in Indy's cluttered office, described by Indy as coming from a "tribe that worships dogs and rabbits." The madcap duo would go on to make countless cameos in LucasArts game both before an after they got their own video game treatment, Sam & Max Hit the Road. There are also references to Zak McKracken (map in crayon, a mask from Kinshasa, crystal, tablet that warns of aliens in disguises), Star Wars (a statue of a thousand-year-old falcon - Millennium Falcon!) and Maniac Mansion (oozing purple meteor) in there, along with the Sankara Stone from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. There is also a cup that looks amazingly like the Monkey Head on Monkey Island.
While almost every other LucasArts adventure game boasts a completely original soundtrack, all of the music in this game is taken from John Williams' score for the movie. The other exception to this is Loom.
This is the last game in which notable LucasFilm Games employee David Fox served as project leader.
Those who played the EGA versions of the game and had lost their Grail Diary were in luck – in this version of the game, the correct Grail would leave a glowing ring (in reality a graphical glitch) behind after it was picked up. PC owners were not so fortunate.
In the original game, you were not permitted to save your game once you reached the Grail Temple, much like Maniac Mansion didn't let you save once you made it to Dr. Fred's secret lab. Fortunately, the advent of SCUMMVM allows you to save wherever the hell you well please. This also makes the above issue less problematic, as you can just use trial and error to find the correct Grail if you lack the necessary documentation to guide your choice.
It is not known for sure what the maximum number of the 800 IQ points you can rack up during a single playthrough is, although we can confirm that it is possible to get as high as 505.
You can access the game's debug mode anytime by typing in "whipitgood" and hitting F7. From there you can make the following commands:
- Shift+F - Fast mode
- Shift+G - Goto room
- Shift+S - Set variable
You can learn about the debug modes for other LucasArts adventure games in this excellent forum thread by the equally excellent Benny.
If you don't count the 'killing Sophia' ending of FoA, this is the last LucasArts Adventure with proper multiple endings. You can save Elsa, you can take the Grail and plummet to your death, you can recover it and hand it to the Knight, you can hand it to Elsa so she dies and takes it with her, or you can leave it be. Considering that's it's based on an important franchise movie for LucasFilm, that's quite impressive! Imagine if they'd given you the option in The Phantom Menace game to let all the Gungans die? Go ahead and picture that - it's a great way to relax.
It is also the last LucasArts adventure to feature dead-ends, where the player can get themselves irreversibly stuck. Thankfully that feature was finally eliminated for Loom and Secret of Monkey Island the following year.
The Grail Diary that came packaged with the game contains the first appearance of Indy's mother's name - Mary. However, this was changed in the Young Indiana Jones series, so one or both of the works is apparently not canon.
The Grail Diary served as kind of a copy-protection since, excepting Amiga users and the persistence of a fiendish save/loader, you cannot choose the correct Grail without it. It seems doubtful that copy-protection was the intention of the Diary, since the game also included a more traditional copy-protection code manual to get past an early scene with Marcus involving a translation table, but the difficulty of getting one's hands on a copy of the elusive documents makes this the inevitable result.
This is the first LucasArts Adventure to have a Points system akin to the Sierra adventure games, called Indy Quotient (IQ). Only the LucasArts-made Indy games (Fate of Atlantis and Infernal Machine) would have this points system. Emperor's Tomb dropped the idea - it is yet to be seen if LucasArts' next Indy game will have it, it seems doubtful.
Hooray! Last Crusade has the first appearance of the 'Look At' and 'Talk to' verbs! Suddenly LucasArts' worlds become more alive and also ten times more wordy - maybe that's why subsequent games wouldn't have multiple paths, different puzzle solutions or alternate endings...
It also introduced dialogue trees and dialogue-based puzzles. However, they were hair-pulling difficult and more than a little unfair, with very few clues on what makes the right answers.
Just like what's going to happen with Lego Indiana Jones, all the Swastikas were removed from the game prior to its release in Germany. According to Boris Schneider who translated most of the LucasArts adventures, this was a very challenging task, especially with regard to the software that was available to him back then.
The game has a stunning three Project Leaders: Ron Gilbert, David Fox and Noah Falstein. This was due to a desperate attempt to get the game out for the film's release. The game was made in just 7-8 months.
While several fan sequels to FoA have been in the works for a while, there is one in development for Last Crusade. Indiana Jones & The Crown of Solomon is specifically described as 'Last Crusade 2'. It contains the IQ point system and a non-linear story, although their spelling could use some improvement. The developers claim they'll be finished this year. Find out more at indylc2.com, including a playable demo.
Other stuff/Sources/Further Reading:
- The entire original Grail Diary scanned in PDF form, courtesy of the insanely dedicated folks at replacementdocs.
- If you're having trouble with the game or maybe just want to collect all those elusive IQ points, be sure to check out Mojo'er ThunderPeel's extensive, renowned, and screenshot-including game guide! Don't go into Castle Brunwald without it! Seriously, don't.
- IndyJones.net's Last Crusade Info page, also featuring Images, Reviews and Music pages.
- The site of a probably going to be made fan game and has in no way been abandoned. Probably.
- Popular Indy site TheRaider.net's game page.
- Okay, so I did glance at this
- Oh, and apparently there's a film out based on this game. It was directed by Steven Spielberg ("1941") apparently, so it might be quite good.
A look-back at 1989
- Golden Axe. Bagsy the dwarf. And... jump-attack!
- Shadow of the Beast. The hardest game of all time with the coolest artwork ever. Did anyone ever complete it without cheating?
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. No, not the kick-ass arcade version, the crappy Amiga version.
- Super Mario Bros. 2 (US) & 3 (Japan), Zelda II (US), Final Fantasy II. And so it begins...
- MechWarrior. The daddy of all stompy-robot games.
- Microsoft Flight Simulator (V4.0). Hey, it was a slow year for gaming.
- Batman. I still get into arguments about whether it’s the best Batman film. Gotta love Jack Nicholson's Joker though.
- Back To The Future, Part II. Something is finally done about Marty’s kids. I still say it's a fun film.
- Ghostbusters II. "It's some dock supervisor down at Pier 34. He says the Titanic’s just arrived!" "Well, better late than never!"
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The Enterprise crew goes searching for God on the planet Sean Connery. I am not joking.
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. You may know this one.
- In Egypt, a 4,400-year-old mummy is found in the Great Pyramid of Giza. Probably dead by now.
- A 300 m (1,000 ft) diameter Near-Earth asteroid misses the Earth by 500,000 km (400,000 miles). Fans of Maniac Mansion panic in the streets.
- The first free elections for the Soviet parliament go against the Communist Party. Hollywood now certain Russians can’t be used as bad guys again. Indy will ignore this ban.
- Dilbert is syndicated for the first time. Oh. Joy.
- Nintendo starts selling the first Game Boy in Japan. Finally, some good news.