Games Inspired By Indiana Jones


In September 2022, Harrison Ford confirmed that Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny would be his last film in the franchise. He’s played the titular character for five films, starting with Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. Created by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg, the Indiana Jones franchise saw Ford play an archaeologist searching for mysterious and mythical artifacts.

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Aside from the films, the success of the franchise turned into games. The first, an adaptation of Raiders of the Lost Ark, was released in 1982 for the Atari 2600. There have also been many additional stories of Indy’s adventures through the games, like Indiana Jones in the Lost Kingdom for Mindscape in 1985. But plenty of video games with no connection to Indiana Joneshave been inspired by it, including some well-known IPs.


7 Uncharted

Uncharted is often the most cited as being inspired by Indiana Jones. Created by Amy Henning and developed by Naughty Dog, Uncharted focuses on the adventures of Nathan Drake as he travels the world in search of long-lost artifacts and mystical treasures.

The games follow Nathan, his close friend and partner Sully, investigative journalist and wife Elena Fisher, and other allies as they hunt down elusive treasures in locales such as El Dorado and the legendary pirate colony of Libertalia. Inspired heavily by Indiana Jones, Henning has said she looked to Raiders of the Lost Ark particularly, as well as pulp adventure stories and serials. “I could see, actually, where Lucas and Spielberg got all their inspiration from, because I started seeing all the resonance in the Indiana Jones movies,” she told The Geek Getaway.

6 Tomb Raider

Lara Croft in Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider is the touchstone for all Indiana Jones-esqe games that have followed it. First released in 1996, the games follow British archaeologist and adventurer Lara Croft as she explores tombs (obviously) and other historical destinations worldwide to find artifacts.

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Created by Core Design’s Toby Gard, Tomb Raiderwas a love letter to movies like “Tank Girl, Indiana Jones, and Hard Boiled,” as he told BBC News. “These helped me give the idea of Lara.” That, mixed with the gameplay of Ultima Underworld, helped Gard develop “a sort of real-time interactive movie,” which became “the concept of Tomb Raider.”

5 Crash Bandicoot

Crash Bandicoot running away from boulder

Crash Bandicoot may not seem like a game inspired by the famous fictional archeologist, but there are definite notes of Indiana Jones in this particular third-person platformer. Obviously, there’s the level in the first Crash Bandicoot where the marsupial is fleeing from a rolling boulder toward the player. But a lot of the levels take place in ancient ruins, jungles, and other locations featured heavily in Indiana Jones.

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The fourth game, which takes advantage of time traveling through different periods in history, has a lot of levels that take place in dark tombs and caverns that look like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. And one of Crash’s primary purposes in the franchise is to collect gems, crystals, and treasures while trying to defeat an overarching evil.

4 Lost Horizon

Lost Horizon characters

Lost Horizon has serious Indiana Jones vibes thanks to their shared inspiration of serials and pulp fiction of the 1920s and 1930s. Lost Horizon sees soldiers from the Third Reich search for powerfully magical weapons to help them conquer the world. But their plans are foiled by Fenton Paddock, a former British soldier, and smuggler who crosses paths with the Nazis as he tries to locate this friend in Tibet.

Fenton is helped in his crusade by Kim Wuang, an old friend who also happens to be the niece of one of Fenton’s old friends. The similarities between Lost Horizon and Indiana Jones had Adventure Gamers go so far as to call it Raiders of the Lost Horizon.

3 Sly Cooper

Sly Cooper protagonist artwork

Before Ghost of Tsushima and Infamous, Sucker Punch Productions were best known for its Sly Cooper series. The game follows Sly, a raccoon who happens to be a master thief. Inspired by film noir and comic books, the third-person platforming game focuses on stealth as Sly and his allies use their expert thieving skills to obtain treasures across the globe and stop evil in their tracks. ​​​​​​​

RELATED: The Sly Cooper Series Story Recap

While not obviously inspired by Indiana Jones, the Sly Cooperseries takes the player on journeys across the world to far-flung places as they platform their way across themed levels. This is particularly prevalent in the fourth game, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, which sees Sly travel to the jungle, feudal Japan, and Ancient Egypt.

2 Strange Brigade

Strange Brigade characters in game

Like Lost Horizon, Strange Brigade takes inspiration from 1930s pulp serials. In this case, it’s about a group of British Secret Service Agents who are faced with battling Seteki, the Witch Queen. An ancient evil trapped in a tomb for 4,000 years, she rises with her army of mummified monsters that include supernatural creatures like Minotaurs and giant scorpions.

Players take on the role of one of the four adventurers as they fight their way through Seteki’s enemies. Like Indiana Jones and its other gaming counterparts, players must solve puzzles to discover powers that will help in their fight against Seteki and her army.

1 Rick Dangerous

Rick Dangerous platforming level

Released in 1989, Rick Dangerous is a platformer developed by Core Design, who would go on to make Tomb Raider. This game was created as a direct spoof of Raiders of the Lost Ark, even down to the typeface the world has come to recognize from the Indiana Jones franchise.

Co-created by Simon Phipps and Terry Lloyd, the original game design they wrote references their hero being put “through numerous Indy Jones style predicaments” as they face “Casablanca/Maltese Falcon-type enemies.” In the game, players take on the persona of Rick Dangerous, a British agent tasked with exploring the Amazon jungle to find the mysterious Goolu tribe. The first level references Indiana Jones right off the bat, with Rick running away from a boulder. However, he eventually finds himself in all sorts of situations, mirroring the adventures of Indiana Jones in Egypt in addition to facing off with Nazis.

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