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Why Did ‘The Last Crusade’ Have Two Different NES Games?

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Whenever a film or franchise becomes popular, it isn’t uncommon to see spin-off media made to accompany that IP. The most well-known medium for this is the world of video games. While not as common today as they were back then, many movies or even television shows had some sort of video game tie-in, mostly whenever a new movie came out.

Indiana Jones is no stranger to that practice. In fact, all the way to 1982, the Atari 2600 had the Raiders of the Lost Arc video game. The later films in the series, The Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade, would later receive games on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).



But there’s one weird thing about the third film’s video game. That being the fact that there are two completely different versions made by separate developers and released in different years. Why is that?



First, let’s take a look at the first release.

Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade was released in early 1991, two years after the release of the film it was based on. It was developed and published by Taito, the company behind the popular Space Invaders arcade game.

(Video courtesy of ‘NintendoComplete’ on YouTube)

The game is a side scrolling action game that takes you through the events of the film. You battle your way through enemies while also solving puzzles. At the end of each level you are given a choice as to what path you wish to take, meaning you can alter the length of your play though and outright skip portions of the story.

The game revived mostly positive reviews from critics upon its initial release. While definitely a nifty action game, certain parts can be difficult as many NES games of the day were known for their difficulty spikes. Some are intentional while others are not intentional. 

The second game, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Action Game, was originally released by British publisher U.S. Gold and developed by Teritex. The game was initially developed for home computers such as the Commodore 64, Amiga, DOS, Atari ST, MSX, ZX Spectrum, and Amstrad CPC.

However, French publisher Ubisoft published a port for both the NES and GameBoy, and the game was released on NES in the Summer of 1993. Ubisoft was either unaware that Taito had already released a version or didn’t see it as an issue.

(Video courtesy of ‘NintendoComplete’ on YouTube)

Once again, the game is an action side scroller where players go through the events of the film while also solving puzzles along the way. However, this game takes many liberties as many enemies who appear in the game (such as Native American shooting arrows at you) did not appear in the film.

One other observation is that the NES version and GameBoy version are nearly identical. Just that the NES version has a brown tint, while the GameBoy has the traditional black & white color scheme. This was not an uncommon practice at the time, as in order to save money and resources, some developers would simply port GameBoy games to the NES with some additional colors and features.

(Video courtesy of ‘World of Longplays’ on YouTube)

Upon its release the game didn’t receive as many good reviews as its predecessor. Not to mention by 1993, many consumers had already moved onto the Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis consoles.

If you are sort of an archeologist yourself and collect old video games like Dr. Jones collects treasure, you might find some enjoyment from these ones. Do be aware though, that both games use nearly identical box/cover art, so be sure to read the label and look for either the Taito logo or the Ubisoft logo to know which one you have.



It should also be noted that these games can also be rather difficult and may not appeal to all gamers. If you are familiar with the likes of the Angry Video Game Nerd or the Irate Gamer you’ll know many action-based games of this era were not of the best quality. If you really want a good game that has a protagonist who uses a whip maybe try Castlevania instead.


Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.



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