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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: The Emperor's Tomb Indiana Jones
The Emperor's Tomb
Video game
Developed by The Collective Inc.
Published by LucasArts
Released February 24, 2003

The Chinese government recruits Indy to help prevent the Nazis and a Chinese crime syndicate from obtaining a powerful supernatural artifact.


Read the story summary of The Emperor's Tomb at the Indiana Jones Wiki


Notes from the Indiana Jones chronology


This story takes place in 1935 not long before the events of The Temple of Doom.


Didja Know?


Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb is a 2003 video game originally playable on the Xbox and Playstation 2 video game systems and the Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X PC operating systems.


Though it is a fairly entertaining adventure, the game suffers the usual problems of repetitive play and masking over of the same "environment" with new skins to make them look vaguely different from level to level (the Ceylon ruins, the Prague castle, the Istanbul palace, the island Black Fortress are all essentially the same traps and dangers covered over with different skins).


Several of the game levels seem to mimic settings in the first three Indiana Jones movies of 1981-1989: the temple in Peru and Nazi submarine base in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Shanghai nightclub in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and the castle in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade


Notes from The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones


The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones is a 2008 publication that purports to be Indy's journal as seen throughout The Young Indiana Chronicles TV series and the big screen Indiana Jones movies. The publication is also annotated with notes from a functionary of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation, the successor agency of the Soviet Union's KGB security agency. The KGB relieved Indy of his journal in 1957 during the events of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The notations imply the journal was released to other governments by the FSB in the early 21st Century. However, some bookend segments of The Young Indiana Chronicles depict Old Indy still in possession of the journal in 1992. The discrepancy has never been resolved. 


The journal as published does not mention the events of this story, containing some notes from May 1933 relating to the Crystal Skull of Cozán from The Philosopher's Stone, followed by the edges of four pages torn from the journal, with the next existing entries being from 1935 and Indy's adventures as depicted in The Temple of Doom.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this video game


Indiana Jones

Mei Ying

ivory hunters

Colonel Albrecht Von Beck (dies in this story)

Nazi soldiers

Marshall Kai Ti Chang (dies in this story)


homunculus (dies in this story)

Turkish mercenaries

Golden Lotus patrons

Wu Han

Golden Lotus waiter

Feng twins

Black Dragon Triad thugs

Colonel Siemens (mentioned only)

Qin Shi Huang (destroyed in this story)

Lao Che (mentioned only) 


Didja Notice?


The entry screen of the game gives us the game title (Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb) and then displays the game menu. Under "Options", we get a display of an open book on a table. The verso (left) page displays options to enter any saved games. The recto (right) has a torn piece of a page from what would appear to be Indy's journal. It has part of a sketch of a minaret or something similar on a building. The top of this shred of paper has a sentence fragment and the middle bottom the statement, "Mei Ling has been teaching me calligraphy. I'd like to teach her a thing or two!" It might be argued that this paper remnant is from one of the four missing pages from The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones, but the sketch portion on it does not seem to match the sketch marks seen on the torn edges of the journal's pages as published. Mei Ling is an agent of the Chinese government in the game, assisting Indy at a few key places in the story. There is an obvious attraction between the two, which is presumably what Indy is getting at in his "teach her a thing or two" remark, but nothing much comes of it except for a hint of a possible romantic interlude at the end of the game.


Stage 1: Wariyapola, Ceylon


The story opens in a lost city called Wariyapola in the island nation of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). The map on the screen shows the ruins located in what would be the Central Province of Sri Lanka. As far as I can find, this is a fictitious lost city, though there is a modern town called Wariyapola in the North Western Province, named for Wariyapola Sri Sumangala, a Buddhist monk who was a symbol of Sri Lankan resistance to British rule in the early 1800s. 


Indy has a map leading him to the lost city of Wariyapola and the Temple of the Black River Goddess within, which purportedly holds the Heart of Kouru Watu, an idol. The Black River is an actual river on the island originating in the mountains of the Central Province, but about 50 miles away from the site of the purported temple in the lost city. The Heart of Kouru Watu appears to be a fictitious relic. "Watu" is a Sanskrit word for "people", so the idol may be thought of as the Heart of the Kouru People.


On his way through the ruins, Indy picks up the Idol of Ramba Vihara, which appears to be a figure of a man. Ramba Vihara is the name of an ancient monastery in southern Ceylon.


Searching through the ruins, Indy has to cut his way with a machete through a number of vine-covered doorways. Yet, many of the rooms he finds have lit torches already inside. How did the ivory hunters he meets in the ruins manage to get into all the rooms to keep the torches lit?


In this adventure, Indy seems more concerned than usual with obtaining artifacts that could make him rich and even remarks on "fortune and glory," one of the themes of the movie that follows this story chronologically, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.


Whenever Indy has to swim through the flooded parts of the ruins, his hat conveniently disappears from his head. When he climbs out of the water, he pulls it out of his satchel and puts it back on.


Indy carries a Smith & Wesson M1917 revolver in this adventure. He also obtains a double-barreled shotgun from an encounter with the ivory hunters who happen to be looting the place at the same time.


Many of Indy's adversaries in the game refer to him as "Yankee". This is a term often used by citizens of other countries to refer to Americans.


Colonel Von Beck brandishes a Luger P08 pistol with a silencer at Indy. Later, at the castle in Prague, the Gestapo are armed with the same (and Indy even obtains one later from a Gestapo agent he beats up there). Luger is a pistol design first patented by Austrian Georg Luger in 1900.


After obtaining the Heart of Kouru Watu idol, Indy flies out of Ceylon, to Calicut, India, then Cairo, Egypt, Paris, France, and back to New York City.


Indy's classroom here appears to be the same one seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was at the fictitious Marshall College.


A small statue of what appears to be the Hindu god Shiva dancing is seen on Indy's classroom desk. On a shelf, a model of a Chinese junk is seen.


    Kai Ti Chang and Mei Ying interview Indy to determine if he will help them recover a flawless black pearl called the Heart of the Dragon, said to be buried with the body of the first Emperor of the Qin Dynasty of China Qin Shi Huang, and, according to legend, able to control the will of men. Qin Shi Huang (259–210 BC) was the first emperor of China. The Heart of the Dragon appears to be a fictitious relic.

    The pair soon ask Indy to find the tomb and the Heart of the Dragon for them. The only thing is, Indy seems to have forgotten that he already found Qin's tomb (though the Heart was not present) the previous year in Secret of the Sphinx!


Indy compares the Heart of the Dragon to mythological artifacts like Excalibur or the Holy Grail. Excalibur is the name of the sword won and wielded by King Arthur in legend. The Holy Grail is the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper and is a prime interest of Indy's father's, as seen later in The Last Crusade.


The Heart of Kouru Watu turns out to be one of three pieces of the Mirror of Dreams. This is another fictitious Chinese artifact.


Stage 2: Prague, Czechoslovakia


Kai sends Indy to an old castle in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) to obtain the second piece of the Mirror of Dreams from the Nazis.


As Indy sneaks through the castle, he overhears some Gestapo talking, one of them commenting that when he's done there, maybe Herr Göring will give him that riding crop he promised him. Hermann Göring (1893-1946) was the president of the Reichstag (German legislature) under Hitler from 1934-1945.


Why is a still-in-use European castle filled with working booby traps and the skeletons of dead men on the floors?


The giant castle clock Indy has to set is decorated with the twelve signs of the zodiac. The zodiacal signs match the ones on the doors Indy needs to open to continue his quest.


1:44:48 Indy says, "I've got a bad feeling about this," but there's Gestapo dialog over it. This is a phrase used a number of times in George Lucas' other main entertaintment franchise, Star Wars.


After Indy sees the constellation of Orion in the castle's large telescope, notice the wall panel he pushes open that reveals Vega's Manifesto is a painting of Orion the hunter in Greek mythology, for whom the constellation is named.


The Gestapo is seen armed with MP 40 submachine guns here. It was a common German gun in WWII, but the weapon was not designed until 1938, therefore is an anachronism here.


Indy uses what appear to be German model 1924 Stielhandgranates (stick hand grenades) found in crates at the various villain fortresses throughout the game.


Indy encounters what seems to be a laboratory-created being, referred to in the game as a homunculus. Here, the being is a giant, armored being, but in occult mythology, a homunculus was said to be a miniature human and that it was able to use mystical powers.


After Indy is overcome by knockout gas in the castle, he is taken into custody by the Gestapo and flown from Prague, through Belgrade, Serbia, and then to Istanbul, Turkey. When Indy wakes up imprisoned in a tower, he is able to recognize that he is in Istanbul through the window. He has been in the city at least a few times in past adventures.


Stage 3: Istanbul


Mei Ying informs Indy that the Nazis are excavating a city under Istanbul which Indy refers to as the Temple of Belisarius. The temple appears to be fictitious, but the name is probably meant to be in homage of the great general of the Byzantine Empire, Belisarius (~500-565 AD).


In Istanbul, Indy makes use of a mounted MG 34 machine gun and also obtains a Mauser C96 M1916 Prussian "Red 9" pistol. Indy uses another mounted MG 34 at the Peng Lai fortress later in the game.


Indy finds a spear gun that he uses against enemies when he is swimming in the flooded parts of the palace. Whether the spear gun is a real world or fictitious model is unknown.


    At one point, Indy affixes a bomb to an ancient giant statue of Poseidon and detonates it, then pushes down the damaged figure, shattering it, all to open a hole in the floor under the statue to reach the chamber below. Some archeologist!

    Poseidon was the god of the sea in Ancient Greek mythology.


After blowing open the flooded chamber that was under the statue, a kraken is released that Indy must defeat. A kraken is a tentacled mythical monster of the sea. He also faced a kraken recently in "Shrine of the Sea Devil".


After Indy recovers the final piece of the Mirror of Dreams, Mei Ying suddenly appears and reveals some new information to him. Thanks a lot for the help defeating all those foes in the palace, lady!


Mei Ying tells Indy that Kai has betrayed the Chinese government and wants the pieces of the mirror for himself, being a secret member of the Black Dragon Triad, a Chinese crime syndicate and religious cult. The Black Dragon Triad appears to be fictitious.


Mei Ying takes Indy from Istanbul to Hong Kong. At the time, Hong Kong was still a British Colony that was a fusion of British and Chinese cultures. The region is now administered by the Chinese government.


Stage 4: Hong Kong


Indy and Mei Ying go to the Golden Lotus Opera House to meet up with her smuggler contact Wu Han. Golden Lotus Opera House appears to be a fictitious venue. Indy doesn't react to the name "Wu Han" when Mei Ying mentions it as the person they are to meet and both men fail to recognize each other even though this is meant to be the same Wu Han Indy first met in The Dinosaur Eggs (and they'll be trusted allies again in The Temple of Doom).


The car used by the Black Dragon men on the streets of Hong Kong appears to be a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I.


The motorcycles with attached passenger car used by the Triad gangsters who chase Indy through the streets of Hong Kong are all 1930 Indian Scouts. A gangster in the first Scout is at first seen armed with an M1928 Thompson submachine gun, but as the chase begins in earnest it has become an MP 40. As he pulls the rickshaw, Wu Han tells Indy to look under the seat and our archeologist hero pulls out a Thompson himself.


During the street chase, we pass a number of storefronts, with signs mostly labeled only in Chinese. Some have English names provided below the Chinese ones, like Hong Kong Chinese Herbal, Very Good Sea Food Rest(aurant), and (Something Something) Jewelry Co. Ltd. In typical video game fashion, the same signs are seen over and over throughout the chase.


When the ship carrying Mei Ying captive escapes Hong Kong harbor, Wu Han tells Indy Kai is most likely taking her to his fortress on Peng Lai Island. This is the name of a mythological Asian island, a legendary home to the gods. Possibly, the island seen here in the game is meant to be that actual island since Indy does encounter some supernatural forces there, or it may be that the Black Dragon cult borrowed the name from the mythology. On the map that appears in the game as Indy and Wu Han follow the ship in Wu Han's boat, Kai's Peng Lai Island appears to be very near the district named Penglai on the Yellow Sea coast of China.


Stage 5: Peng Lai Island


Indy was wearing a white tuxedo at the opera house and throughout the street chase. When he arrives at Peng Lai on Wu Han's boat, he somehow has his familiar work fatigues on again!


As Indy swims underwater through the Nazi submarine base at the island, his hat disappears into his satchel as usual in this game. He is attacked by a shark and at one point, his hat somehow falls out and is left behind on the sea floor. Yet, when he enters the fortress proper later, the hat is back on his head.


At a few points in the game, Indy congratulates himself, saying, "Not bad. Sometimes I impress even myself." This is likely a nod to a line said by Han Solo (played by the same actor, Harrison Ford) in Star Wars: A New Hope, "You know, sometimes I amaze even myself."


Indy finds what is called a Panzerschreck at Peng Lai. This is a German rocket launcher model, though it was not produced until much later than this time period, in 1943.


Some of the guards at the island fortress are armed with Chinese repeating crossbows, a so-called chu-ko-nu crossbow, a traditional light weapon in China since about the 5th Century AD.


At the submarine base, Indy comes across a human skeleton while sneaking his way around through the air ducts. Why is there a skeleton there? Who knows?


While crossing the heights of the island mountain on top of a gondola, Indy is attacked by a number of Messerschmitt fighter planes. He is able to shoot them down with a conveniently mounted machine gun.


Many of the Chinese guards Indy fights on the island refer him as gwai lo. This is a Cantonese slang term for Westerners, particularly white people, and is loosely translated as "devil man" or "foreign devil".


The Black Dragon Triad worships Kong Tien, an ancient Chinese demon. This appears to be a fictitious part of Chinese mythology invented for the game.


One of the Feng twins calls the other mei mei. This is Chinese for "little sister".


Stage 5: Sian


After Peng Lai Island, Indy, Mei Ying, and Wu Han head to Sian and face a final challenge at the tomb of the emperor Qin Shi Huang. Sian (or Xi'an) is the capital of Shaanxi Province in northwest China.


At the end of the game, Indy and Mei Ying tell Wu Han about what happened on the island and Wu Han remarks, "That’s an incredible story!" to which Indy retorts, "Not that I have anything to show for it." But he picked up quite a number of relics on this entire adventure (thirty, if he got them all), usually talking to himself as he scooped each one up with a line like "I’m gonna be a rich man. If I ever get out of this alive...", "Fortune and glory, here I come," and "Jackpot." So, what happened to all these relics at the end? He lost them again along the way?


The relics Indy finds in the course of this game all appear to be fictitious, but often named for figures or locations in Asian history and mythology...or, in a few cases early in the game, Eastern European history/mythology):

































(Thanks to IGN for the above list.)


Wu Han reminds Indy that they are supposed to meet with Lao Che about the Nurhachi job. This is followed up on in The Temple of Doom. Lao Che is a Chinese crime lord seen in The Temple of Doom. Nurhachi (1559-1626), also known as Emperor Taizu of Qing, was the founder of the Jin dynasty of China.


Memorable Dialog


good thing I brought my whip.mp3

I am going to make you eat that whip!.mp3

fortune and glory.mp3

somebody's been overfeeding the fish.mp3

the famous American sense of humor.mp3

I'm an archaeologist, not a mystic.mp3

reminds me of my last date.mp3

more dangerous than you can imagine.mp3

show me your papers.mp3

world famous archaeologist.mp3

our interrogations can be quite grueling.mp3

sometimes I impress even myself.mp3

I don't hit women.mp3

you will serve me in Hell.mp3

it's just a snake.mp3

Lao Che can wait.mp3 


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