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LucasArts: Thanks for a Great and Unforgettable Ride

By on April 5th, 2013 11:40 am

As advanced a couple of days ago, LucasArts is no more. Disney was the executioner, after buying Lucasfilm from George Lucas for $4 billion. So, roughly 30 years after its founding, we see one of the oldest game houses disappear. But, the work of the talented people who worked there will certainly not disappear with it.

I have very fond memories about many titles produced by LucasArts (or Lucasfilm Games as it was known by in the beginning), as I spent a good deal of my childhood playing their games. They will always be in a special place in my heart.

It all started for me with the action-adventure platformer Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Action Game (1989) for ZX Spectrum. I played on a ZX Spectrum 128, with a green monochrome monitor. But, for some reason the game didn’t allow me to pass from a certain point, which was quite frustrating. However, as we tend to forget the bad things and only remember the good stuff, I still find that first experience with a LucasArts game to be a good one :)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Action Game (1989) - ZX Spectrum 128

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Action Game (1989) - ZX Spectrum 128 (theraider.net)

Then, I played Loom (1990), a very fun and original graphic adventure with a quite complex fantasy story, filled with puzzles, where spells were invoked by playing a set of musical tunes. This was already on my PC with the DOS operating system.

Loom | LucasArts

Loom (1990) - MS-DOS (store.steampowered.com)

Then came the pirate themed graphic adventure The Secret of Monkey Island (1990) and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge (1991) shortly after. Challenging puzzles, a sense of mystery, and the (real) feeling of adventure. Those games really had an impressive atmosphere. A beautiful piece of art and an amazing experience.

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (1991) - MS-DOS (pcdownstation.com)

In 1992 I played, and finished (as I usually always made a point to back then) the graphic adventure Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. It was a somewhat tricky and difficult game. I remember to have a hard time grasping how to figure out the last few puzzles. The look out for walkthroughs and cheats was quite common in those days. I usually resisted those, because I always found cheating to be completely not fun. It was a good game and a good experience overall, but something about it didn’t feel quite right. The transitions were probably a bit too fast. I dunno.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis | MS-DOS | LucasArts

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (1992) - MS-DOS (gamefaqs.com)

Then I played the graphic adventure Day of the Tentacle (1993), where we were supposed to solve puzzles using time travel while exploring different periods of history. I remember very well to be surprised at the game’s art style and found it a bit awkward at first. But, I eventually absorbed the art style and found the puzzles to be quite challenging and fun, as usual in LucasArts graphic adventures. I also finished this one. It was a very rewarding experience.

Day of the Tentacle (1993) - Graphic adventure

Day of the Tentacle (1993) - MS-DOS (dosgamesarchive.com)

And then, what I consider to be LucasArts’ landmark game, and series, arrived. Its name: Star Wars: X-Wing (1993). This was surely one of my best gaming experiences ever. My graphics card was poor. A Matrox Mistique 220 card, if I remember correctly. I was able to run the game fast no doubt, but at the cost of very lousy graphical detail. But, that was no obstacle for having a rich experience, oh no. Star Wars: TIE Fighter arrived one year later and it proved to be a worthy sequel, if not superior in many aspects. Playing as the villains was never so much fun. But, who were really the villains anyway? ;)

Star Wars: TIE Fighter | LucasArts

Star Wars: TIE Fighter (1994) - MS-DOS (starwars.wikia.com)

I played Grim Fandango (1998) graphic adventure, but for some reason I never finished it. However, it was a very good game as well.

In 1998 LucasArts released the space 4X strategy game Star Wars: Rebellion. I will never forget that game. I remember that Gamespot catalogued it as one of the most disappointing games of that year. An infamous award no doubt, but still not the worst title of all. I had a lot of fun playing Rebellion, and I crave for another Star Wars 4X to come out still to this day.

Star Wars: Rebellion | LucasArts

Star Wars: Rebellion (1998) - Windows PC (gameofthemonth.com)

The real-time space strategy game Star Wars: Empire at War (2006) came close to fill that Star Wars 4X gap, but it was not quite there still. I played a bit, but for some reason I didn’t feel engaged enough. But, it’s definitely one of those games I still consider giving a second try.

Finally, I also played the Star Wars: Jedi Knight series (1995-2003), although frankly I’m not sure which exact title, or titles, of the series I played the most. Memories are a bit hazy there. And, I also played a bit of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003) RPG, and really enjoyed it for the most part.

Star Wars: Jedi Knight 2 - Jedi Outcast

Star Wars: Jedi Knight 2 - Jedi Outcast (1995-2003) - Windows PC (megagames.com)

And, well, I guess that was it for me regarding LucasArts games. For one reason or another I didn’t play any of their games since 2006. Star Wars: Empire at War, which I already mentioned above, was my last experience.

Rest in peace LucasArts. You may have died now, but the experiences that your talented workers have developed, help produce or licensed over the last 30 years, will surely be remembered.

Well, these were my LucasArts memories. What’s yours? :)

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11 Comments


  1. Josh B says:

    A lot of the titles coming out by LucasArts over the last decade were developed by external developers and just published by LucasArts. KOTOR, SWEAW, Jedi Knight series… these were made by BioWare, Petroglyph, and Raven respectively (and some others for sequels, etc). LucasArts saw its golden years quite some time ago, and there have been troubles there for years.

    I really don’t think this development spells the demise for any of LucasArt’s game franchises if they still have earning potential. They have amazing properties that other publishers will be eager to license — and Disney has its own internal game development division.

  2. Stormy says:

    I unfortunately missed X-wing alliance and TIE fighter (I might catch up soon).

    But I played most of their adventure games. Those you talked about, but also : Sam & Max hit the road, Full Throttle…

    A truly glorious studio it its times.

    • ToniB says:

      Don’t forget The Dig, a very enjoyable sci-fi adventure game.

    • Fimbul says:

      Oh, TIE fighter was so awesome!!!! that where good days in the old empire. i loved my tatoos for the inner circle. i just missed the option to side with the not so loyal.

    • Mark says:

      Yes, I’m not normally into adventure games, but Full Throttle was indeed a brilliant game

  3. Kordanor says:

    I played Maniac Mansion on the C64 and I think this was the very first game license where I intentionally bought a follow up game, which was Day of the Tentacle, being the very first game I purchased on the PC. I also played other games like Tie Fighter, Monkey Island 2, Indiana Jones 4 but for me personally they did not have much of a relevance.
    Next the era of 3D began in games, starting with Wolfenstein and continuing with Duke Nukem. When Quake was released I didn’t understand the buzz as it looked ugly compared to Duke3D. LucasArts then released Jedi Knight, which as Quake also used polygons instead of sprites, and I remember that I was kinda overwhelmed by it’s great graphics (first saw it in a game store). Jedi Knight then made me buy my first 3D acceleration card.
    And while I also played Outlaws for a short time I think that’s already it, meaning there was nothing from LucasArts in the last 15 years which interested me. Maybe they should have kept a bigger focus on adventure games.

  4. Evil Azrael says:

    The Mystique was a later graphics card, one of the first (fake) 3D accelerators. I was able to play X-Wing with low details on my 286er. I even had to play without the turbo (12Mhz), as it would crash the cheap VGA card (Oak whatever) sooner or later.
    You probably played one of the later SVGA or windows version of the game. Btw. there are two compilations (one is the Star Wars X-Wing Trilogy with the Flight School version of the XvT) which have the original X-Wing and TIE-Fighter adapted to the accelerated XvT Engine. I think this is also the only complete TIE-Fighter version with all expansions as the the story-finishing second expansion was never released (at least in Germany/Europe). A Must-Have/Play for every TIE-Fighter fan.

  5. Keith Turner says:

    Well, I mourned the loss of Lucasarts/Lucasfilm many years ago, so the closing of their studio hasn’t hit me too deeply. I am hopeful that Tim Schafer will continue the magic through Double Fine, as he was the man who helped create so many of those classic adventure games I loved.

    While I don’t play them very often these days, adventure games were one of my favorite types of games back in the 80s and 90s. Maniac Mansion was the first one I played on the Commodore 64, but I would go on to play Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders (which isn’t mentioned often, but was fantastic), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Day of the Tentacle, The Dig, The original Monkey Island trilogy, and the game that was my absolute favorite back in the day, Full Throttle.

    Now, if we are going to include non Lucasfilm games, I played a few of the King’s Quest games, including to Heir is Human (KQ 3) on the Amiga 500 (go Amiga!). I also played quite a few of the Police Quest series, and every Space Quest game up to part V. Not counting Sierra games, I also played the Gobliiins/Goblins Quest series up to part 3. I’m sure there are tons more, but needless to say, I loved adventure games back in the day.

    Sad to see the name go away, but LucasArts hasn’t been a consideration for me in a long time. I should mention I played quite a bit of Tie Fighter and some of the Jedi Knight games as well, though.

  6. DevildogFF says:

    I played X-Wing and Tie Fighter until my eyes bled. Two of the best games of all time, do doubt. Tie Fighter, in particular, made the player truly feel as if you were a contributing member to this war greater than yourself. It was a pretty awesome feeling. It was fun to pilot the different TIE’s, too.

    Oh man, I wish there was a high res version….

  7. JINGLES says:

    Its strange that no one remade X-wing or Tie fighter (or X-wing vs Tie fighter) but at least we have Star Citizen on the way. I could never put my finger on what made Tie fighter so good to me back then, maybe the story.

  8. jgdesigner says:

    Lets not forget the Battle of Britain flight simulator and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe. Both of these games paved the way for TIE Fighter and X-Wing. In fact I belive they were all created by Larry Holland. All fun games and I miss them!


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