Long before Disney purchased George Lucas’ LucasArts, the company was a juggernaut of the video game industry. LucasArts is best known today by modern gamers for its Star Wars releases, but back in the 1990s, it was synonymous with the point-and-click genre. Titles like the Monkey Island series and Sam & Max Hit the Road were key to the genre’s success on PC, with their ingenious puzzles and humorous dialogue.
The sheer number of games that LucasArts (formerly known to the gaming industry as Lucasfilm games) have developed and/or published over the years has unsurprisingly meant that some have fallen through the cracks and been lost in time. The following ten games on this list were all noteworthy releases when they first hit stores but are rarely spoken about today.
Loom may not have received the same mainstream attention as some of LucasArts’ other point-and-click titles like Grim Fandango or The Secret of Monkey Island, but the game didn’t fall far short in terms of quality.
Loom differentiates itself from LucasArts’ other graphic adventures with the game’s unique musical distaff, which can create spells with its four-note tunes. Moreover, the game separates itself with its heavier focus on creating an intricate and compelling narrative rather than one that predominantly focuses on humor.
9 Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Zombies Ate My Neighbors was initially released on the SNES in September 1993 before coming to the Sega Genesis a couple of months later. As the title suggests, players need to save their neighbors from a range of fictional monsters such as werewolves, vampires, and mummies. The game is fondly remembered for its co-op mode, which lets players run and gun with a friend.
A sequel was released in 1994, titled Ghoul Patrol, though the game struggled to reach its predecessor’s quality.
8 Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings
The recent announcement of the upcoming Indiana Jones game has brought the iconic IP back into the limelight, which may make Staff of Kings a surprising entry to some people. However, the game’s name was barely mentioned at all when past titles were being mentioned, with Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb being the game that most people reminisced about.
Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings is by far the most recent release on this list, with its initial release date being June 9, 2009. However, the game soon left the public eye thanks to its lackluster quality, exemplified by its Metascores that ranged from 50 and 63.
7 Labyrinth: The Computer Game
For multiple decades, movie tie-in video games were one of the most popular forms of gaming releases; if a mainstream film had even the slightest hint of video game elements, there was a good chance that a related game would be hitting stores shortly after. However, movie tie-ins began to leave the forefront of the gaming industry around the mid-2000s, as players realized that they were often cash-ins with very short development times to correspond with the film’s release date, resulting in underwhelming games.
Labyrinth: The Computer Game is a graphic adventure game based on the film Labyrinth with Requiem for a Dream star Jennifer Connely and the iconic David Bowie. The game is an exception to the rule of movie tie-ins being of poor quality, as the game was well-received by fans and critics.
6 The Dig
Point and click adventure The Dig was released in 1995, during LucasArts’ prime of making such games. The game differentiated itself from the vast majority of LucasArts’ graphic adventures, which are often filled with jokes and humor, with its dark science fiction narrative.
The Dig‘s narrative was created by Steven Spielberg and revolves around an asteroid that is on course to hit Earth. The story was initially going to be part of Spielberg’s Amazing Stories series, though it was decided that it would be too expensive to film.
5 Star Wars: Rebel Assault
A list of LucasArts media would feel incomplete without at least one entry featuring George Lucas’ crown jewel Star Wars. Finding a Star Wars game that many people have forgotten sounds like a difficult task on paper, but thankfully the company has released so many games under the IP that there are a few which have slipped through the cracks.
Star Wars: Rebel Assult was initially released in November 1993 and is one of many Star Wars video games that takes players to space and lets them battle against The Empire. The game is a rail shooter, which can feel extremely restricting when compared to modern titles like Star Wars: Squadrons, though it works well as an interactive film.
4 Battlehawks 1942
Battlehawks 1942, as the title suggests, takes players to the skies during the middle of World War II. The Combat Flight Simulator lets players participate in some of the war’s historical battles, including the Battle of Midway and the Battle of the Coral Sea.
Something about Battlehawks 1942 that may sound odd to younger audiences is that the game received critical acclaim for its instruction manual. Instruction manuals used to be in-depth and have fantastic art designs, making them part of the overall experience. Battlehawks 1942‘s 100+ page manual is one of the best of its era, as not only does it meticulously detail the gameplay mechanics, but it also features a detailed account of the wars that feature in the game.
3 Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders
Graphic adventures have always had a reputation for being tough to get through thanks to their tricky puzzles. Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders take it to a whole other level as the point-and-click game can often feel impossible to complete without a guide.
The difficulty of point and click games wasn’t always just a design choice, as tie-in guides or even helplines were often advertised to assist players who were stuck for a fee. This made players suspicious that the games were intentionally difficult to force them to pay for help if they couldn’t progress, as they couldn’t simply hop onto a YouTube tutorial back in the 80s and 90s.
2 Maniac Mansion
From one 80s graphic adventure to another, Maniac Mansion is notable for being the first game to use the SCUMM engine. The SCUMM engine would be used by subsequent LucasArts titles, such as Full Throttle, The Secret of Monkey Island, and the aforementioned Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders.
Maniac Mansion is often forgotten about due to the success of its sequel, Day of the Tentacle. 1993’s Day of the Tentacle is one of the most critically acclaimed point and click titles of all time, exemplified by its whopping Metascore of 93.
1 Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis
Long-term fans of the point-and-click genre will likely know Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis like the back of their hand. Still, modern audiences are largely unaware that one of the genre’s best ever games featured the whip-cracking archaeologist Indiana Jones. Much like Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings, this is best exemplified by how the game’s name was barely mentioned when the upcoming Indiana Jones game was announced.
Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis is predominantly praised for its story, which many believe is just as well written as the critically acclaimed film, Raiders of the Lost Ark.