Disney on Deck: Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb

Main Street Electrical Arcade
4 min readMay 1, 2024

Typically May, especially the first week of May, is a time to talk about Star Wars. But frankly, I’ve already done plenty of Star Wars content this year, and set to do even more with two big releases (Star Wars: Hunters and Star Wars Outlaws) coming in the next few months (and presumably we’ll be doing more Indiana Jones stuff with Indiana Jones and the Great Circle if it makes it out this year) so this week we are going back to a retro classic that is still pretty widely available on several modern platforms.

Indiana Jones video games don’t have a great track record. It’s arguable Lego Indiana Jones is the best action one (which is more of a knock on other attempts at capturing the adventures of Indy than against the first Lego one which is pretty fun). But you could also argue that the title belongs to Indiana Jones and The Emperor’s Tomb. It’s a fun original adventure that manages to capture the grand scope of what you’d expect in a movie starring Dr. Jones with gameplay by The Collective also responsible for the surprisingly good Buffy the Vampire Slayer game the previous year. It’s aged a little poorly being a 2003 action game but can still be a good time, especially on Xbox where it’s gotten some performance enhancements. But how does it play on your Steam Deck?

This is the first game on Steam Deck I’ve tried that is in the “playable” category and not “verified”. What that means is while the game does run on the Steam Deck it can and usually does have issues. Sometimes these can be very minor things sometimes not so much. I feel like Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb comes with a pretty fair amount of issues running on the Steam Deck unfortunately.

Firstly, starting the game up with the standard control layout, I literally could not even start the game. Either whatever that layout thought was the “enter” button wasn’t registering or nothing was registered. This does highlight how easy it is on Steam Deck to find and use alternate control layouts because I was quickly able to just download one that worked perfectly fine. But even that led to a more minor quibble, the game’s tutorial tells you things in terms of keyboard controls so you kind of have to figure out/remember what button corresponds to what key. Fooling around with the controls you’ll get it without too much hassle but still, another issue.

But ultimately, the biggest issue with Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb on the Steam Deck is the graphical performance. Frame-wise, it actually runs pretty well. The big issue is that there where white lines running throughout the game the entire time I was playing that were very noticeable and very distracting. Not unplayable, but I have the Xbox version and played it on my Series X not that long ago and this was certainly not an issue.

Maybe it can be fixed by futzing around with the settings or a mod, but honestly if I play something on the Steam Deck, I just want it to work without much hassle. It’s a big reason I haven’t been a huge PC player in general for years. I don’t want to have to constantly tweak stuff just to get it to run well.

Again, this is not listed as a “verified” game so I don’t expect it to run to the best of the Steam Deck’s ability, but this whole series is about how well games run on Steam Deck and Indiana Jones and The Emperor’s Tomb has some noticeable issues.

I think to this day Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb is one of the better games based on the Indiana Jones franchise. Unfortunately, Steam Deck might be the worst platform to play it on, and given the game’s age it’s unlikely to get any kind of update beyond what it’s already gotten on the Xbox platform. The good news is there are other viable alternatives to play it on so play it on any of those and if you are “jonesing” (pun absolutely intended) for this kind of adventure on the go on your Deck, Lego Indiana Jones is probably a better option. It’s also categorized as “playable” and not “verified”, but only one resolution issue is listed as opposed to the several significant ones Emperor’s Tomb has.

That’s it for today, I should be back sometime next week with another column, see ya real soon!



Main Street Electrical Arcade

All about Disney games, past present and future. Mix of reviews, opinion pieces and anything else that fits here.