Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade EGA/VGA comparison

The original EGA art for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was done by Mike Ebert, Steve Purcell, and Martin Cameron. It was originally released in July 1989. The VGA version, first released on the japanese FM Towns computer in 1990, adds Jim McLeod and James Dollar to the credits.

There will be a lot of images on this page, so be warned. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was a huge game, twice the size of Lucasfilms previous game, Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. I'm not including every single background here, but I tried putting up as many as possible to showcase the EGA artwork. The EGA catacombs are especially beautiful, so don't leave the page before you have seen them. I put some extra animation in the end as a reward.

Hover the cursor over the images to see the remastered VGA version. If you're on a iOS device, you can simply tap the images.

All copyright and credit belong to Lucasfilm Games. You can buy the remastered VGA game here. The EGA version is not included.

Its interesting to note the slight changes of some of the objects in Indy's collection. The biggest difference is the larger Sam and Max totem.

This is where we first encounter the excessive gradient fills that haunt the remaster of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. They seem to be done without any idea of how light affects a surface or what textures the surfaces are made of.

I challenge you to find a surface that does not have a gradient on it.

Here's an amusing thing I noticed when I assembled the animation above: Looks like they forgot to put feet on the man sitting at the far right.

The library puzzle was random each time you played the game, so the team made several variations of the room to accomodate for that.

The original EGA catabombs feature some stunning illustration work, with a really unique and dynamic style. I'm guessing these were designed by Steve Purcell.

While the original EGA catacombs use colours sparingly, the VGA remaster adds a lot more variation. Compare the cold and stylized original above to the more colourful remaster. Those hues could have been possible in EGA, but the original artists decided to keep the style more minimalistic.

So you thought you could escape the gradients by going down into the cataombs? Oh no you don't. They're just set to "spatter" mode down here.

The rooms in the catacombs are part of a large labyrinth. The game would only show the area closest to the player sprite, fading the rest out to black. There were no less than three screens like the one above in the catabombs alone.

Three of the locations in the game feature labyrinths of this size, and game reviewers at the time commented on this. The VGA version of the game added colour-coded doorways in the labyrinth, and I think this was done to answer some of that critique.

This doorways to this room had its colours changed, most likely to match up with the colour-coding mentioned above.

The walls in this room have gone through the same gradient treatment as most of the other rooms. The specks indicating dirt and decay have not been kept, however, giving the remastered room a feeling of being recently built in concrete.

The VGA art adds some cobwebs and details in the shadows, and changes one of the light sources to purple, otherwise this Templar knight is kept very much the same as his EGA original.

It's hard to say what happened to the VGA art in this establishing shot of Castle Brunwald. It's almost like the artist abandoned the art before it was done.

This VGA remaster has a gradient fill on every wall surface, making the end result almost metallic looking.

Most of the rooms in Castle Brunwald are made up from three basic rooms (one is technically a hallway), each with a selection of interchangeable elements. It's a clever system, that makes for a lot of variation despite a relatively little memory cost.

Another modular room in Castle Brunwald.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is surprisingly funny, and feels closer to The Secret of Monkey Island in tone than The Fate of Atlantis. You will occasionally come across some absurd details in the artwork. Check out the eagle on the wall of this kitchen, featuring a chef's hat, and holding a knife and spoon.

Some curious details in this room include the paint-by-numbers Mona Lisa and the statue from Maniac Mansion. Note that the VGA remaster changes the light hitting the floor, but gets the perspective wrong.

There's some unfortunate pixel blockiness on the VGA floor, most likely caused by the perspective tools in Deluxe Paint.

The lightning effects on the outside of Castle Brunwald are not in the VGA version.

This scene in the game actually lets you punch Hitler in the face. Just remember to save your game first! Again, we see the VGA version turning many surfaces metallic-looking. Also notice the VGA version changing one of the shadows falling from the coloumns, making it actually wrong in terms of the perspective lines.

The VGA gradients work well with the Zeppelin interior, adding to the retro-futuristic look.

Here is one of the three Zeppelin labyrinth screens. The VGA remaster is surprisingly close to the EGA version, only muting the colours and changing a few of the details.

Note how the VGA version changes the bricks on the outbuilding from a handmade look into something that feels more modern.

The different border checkpoints are another set of locations built from modular elements. The VGA conversion changes the clear horizon into something that I assume is an overcast sky. The texture does resemble distant mountains though.

When we arrive at the grail temple at the end of the game, we get more backgrounds in the beautiful EGA art style seen in the catacombs.

There are several nice animation moments in The Last Crusade. This one looks like the work of Steve Purcell.

"He chose poorly". I really like the VGA conversion of Indys portrait and animation after he drinks from the wrong grail. It has a well-defined pixel art style that reminds me of some of the best PC and Amiga art from the same period. Interestingly, the style of the background rocks have been kept closer to the EGA original.

The end credits background. The EGA original was more of a long tele lens shot, and the VGA remake decides for a wide angle instead. Both of these angles are actually in the end titles of the movie itself.

To sum it up, there are abviously some significant differences in the EGA and VGA versions of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. This was an early VGA release from Lucasfilm, and the work is very rough. In many cases, such as the catacombs, I would say the EGA version looks superior. It would take several more releases before their VGA art started to stand on its own, with each game getting progressively better. There's already improvements in their next game, Loom. And by the time the The Secret of Monkey Island was released, you started seeing VGA art that rivalled the EGA version. Check the other galleries to see comparisons for those games.

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