Steam Roller: Adventures had and lessons learned on Valve's gaming platform
Add 'Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb' to Steam and play with the XBox 360 Controller

Play ‘Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb’ Like on an XBox Console

Tips for adding a 15-year-old non-Steam game to your Library, as well as tweak it for modern PC's, screens and controllers

AUTHOR’S NOTE: After this article was published, Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb officially became available through Steam. If you own the game on Steam, you can skip the sections titled “Installation” and “Add Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb to Steam”. The rest of the tips in the article still apply to enhance your experience.

Since I skipped several video game console generations, I find myself lately catching up with classic games I’ve missed in the past. One of the great things about Steam is that you can add non-Steam games installed on your system and consolidate your game library in one place, regardless of point of purchase. Recent Steam releases (Alien: Isolation), modern non-Steam games (Minecraft; Fortnite) and DRM-free oldie console ports (Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb) all live together in harmony within my Big Picture grid.

This has some drawbacks I can live with, like missing achievements on Steam-available games not purchased through Steam. The biggest hassle, however, is getting older releases like the Indy game to both launch from Steam and run like a console port. Which is to say, run on modern resolutions with playable button bindings on my Xinput controller.

Today, I’m revealing how to get Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb to run on Steam like a console port.

Before We Begin

You will need a legally owned and licensed copy of Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb. These instructions work with both the original PC release of the game and the GOG version. (The after-installation enhancements also work for the Steam version.)

The Installation and Add to Steam sections should apply for the Mac OS X version, but I cannot vouch for the rest. If any Mac users wish to try the rest of these tips out, please let me know how it goes.

Also, you’ll need to download and unzip the following files:

Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb PC start screen, replacing "Press Enter" with "Press Start" (SOURCE: LucasArts)
Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb PC start screen, replacing “Press Enter” with “Press Start”. (SOURCE: LucasArts.)


This part is pretty straightforward if you’ve ever installed anything on Windows. Double-click on your installer (whether downloaded or inside physical disc media) and follow the instructions. Take note of the install location, since you’ll need it for the next few sections.

(These instructions are for the disc and GOG versions. Steam version owners can skip this part and install the game directly from Steam.)

Unless you choose otherwise, the game will most likely install inside your system’s “Program Files (x86)” folder:

\Program Files (x86)\Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb\

On Windows 7 and above, this means your game settings and save files will probably end up in the VirtualStore folder. A good tip if you ever plan to backup your progress:

\Users\[Username]\AppData\VirtualStore\Program Files (x86)\Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb\

In addition, if you own a disc-based copy, you’ll have to create an ISO image of the main disc, then write a batch file so that it mounts at startup or when you run the game. But seriously, that’s too much of a hassle. Just buy the GOG version. It’s cheap. (Or just get the Steam version.) This isn’t a paid endorsement, just practical advice.

Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb on the Steam Library (SOURCE: LucasArts)
Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb on the Steam Library. (SOURCE: Valve/LucasArts.)

Add Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb to Steam

The following steps are for the disc and GOG versions. Steam version owners can skip this part.

  1. Open Steam. Exit Big Picture if it’s set to run at startup, then open the standard Steam Client window.
  2. Click on + Add a Game… in the bottom left corner of the window. Select the Add a Non-Steam Game… option and click Browse.
  3. Select the indy.exe game launcher in the following location and click OK:

    \Program Files (x86)\Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb\GameData\bin\indy.exe

  4. Click on Add Selected Programs.

Congratulations! Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb is now part of your Steam Library, but we’re only halfway done. Let’s make the game shortcut look like it belongs there:

  1. Go to the View menu and select Game Grid to change to Grid View.
  2. Right-click the indy shortcut and select Properties.
  3. Change the shortcut name to Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb and click the OK button.
  4. Right-click the shortcut again, select Add Custom Image… and click the Browse button.
  5. Select the custom Steam Grid image you downloaded at the beginning, then click OK and Set Image.

Now you have a great looking shortcut to launch your game. Also, when your Steam account is online, your friends will know you’re playing Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb.

Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb screenshot (SOURCE: LucasArts)
Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb screenshot. (SOURCE: LucasArts.)

Make the game widescreen

A funny thing about most 3D-based games that are ten years old or longer is that few, if any, support screen resolutions with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Running these games on an modern LCD screen results in horizontally stretched images. This is because back then, most screens outside of a movie theater – TVs, computer monitors, etc. – were square (or 4:3 to be precise).

Fortunately, many hard-working smart people on the web (like those behind the Widescreen Gaming Forum) have found ways to tweak these games into supporting 16:9 resolutions. The Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb widescreen fix was particularly tricky, but was finally released last year.

To make the game widescreen, first download and unzip the IndianaJones_EmperorsTomb.7z file from the Widescreen Gaming Forum site. Inside you will find several folders named after screen resolutions (1366×768, 1920×1080, 7680×1440 and so on). Pick a folder based on your desired game resolution (or current screen resolution), then copy the files contained within to the following location:

\Program Files (x86)\Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb\GameData\bin\

For the Steam version, the location will be closer to this:

\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb\GameData\bin\

Once you launch the game, it will display the chosen resolution with only a stretched HUD that is barely noticeable.

Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb loading screen (SOURCE: LucasArts)
Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb loading screen. (SOURCE: LucasArts.)

Make the cutscenes widescreen

Having 4:3 cut scenes in a 16:9 game ruins the mood somewhat, which is why gamers have used video editing software to resize all the game’s cut scenes and loading screens to 1280×960.

To make the cutscenes widescreen, download and unpack Indiana_Jones_and_the_Emperors_Tomb_-_Movies_Loading_screens_fix_Full_Screen_1280x960_by.rar from the ModDB site. Furthermore, drag and copy the movies folder to the following location:

\Program Files (x86)\Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb\GameData\indy\

For the Steam version, the location will be closer to this:

\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb\GameData\indy\

Make sure to replace all the files inside the movies folder.

Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb Controls menu (SOURCE: LucasArts)
Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb Controls menu. (SOURCE: LucasArts.)

Configure your game controller

We’re almost ready, but we still need to free the game from requiring your keyboard. Another thing besides 16:9 resolutions that games made prior to 2005 tend to lack is native support for the XBox 360 Controller and other compatible Xinput-based gamepads. Even those old games compatible with modern controllers will either bind the buttons incorrectly at default settings or not detect all the buttons available to map. There are many workarounds to this issue, both free (JoyToKey; X360ce) and paid (Controller Companion). However, my favorite solutions involve hard wiring the settings files until they allow full controller support.

As it turns out, Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb lets you bind nearly all of the XBox 360 controller’s buttons from within the game. The exceptions are the trigger buttons (LT and RT), as well as the Directional Pad. Last year, with help from the guys at the GOG forums, I rewrote the game’s binds.cfg file. As a result, my controller can play the PC game like its XBox and PS2 console versions (including the triggers, but replacing the DPad functions for the Back button).

To get full support for your XBox 360 Controller in Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb:

  1. Download and unzip
  2. Copy binds.cfg and vars.cfg to the following location:

    \Program Files (x86)\Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb\GameData\indy\

  3. Copy Tips.txt and TipsKeyboard.txt to this location:

    \Program Files (x86)\Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb\GameData\indy\gameinfo\

  4. Finally, copy strings.str and stringskeyboard.str here:

    \Program Files (x86)\Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb\GameData\indy\gameinfo\strings\

TipsKeyboard.txt and stringskeyboard.str are the original versions of Tips.txt and strings.str that came with the game. I’ve included and renamed them in case you ever need to revert your changes.

In the case Windows, you may also need to replace your vars.cfg file in your VirtualStore folder if you’ve run the game before.

Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb tutorial, with XBox 360 Controller buttons (SOURCE: LucasArts)
A tutorial prompt with XBox 360 Controller button references. (SOURCE: LucasArts.)

Closing Thoughts

You’re done! You can now launch your game from Steam and play like in the console versions (“Press START!”). Consequently, even the on-screen popup tutorial tips will reference the actual buttons on your controller!

Here are a few additional suggestions, if you feel like going further and personalizing your game even more:

  • You may need to disable User Account Control security for the game if Windows prompts you at launch. To do this, right-click indy.exe, then select Properties. In the Compatibility tab, uncheck both Run in Compatibility Mode and Run this program as Administrator.
  • You can add any custom image to use on your Steam Grid shortcut. The image should measure 460×215 pixels at minimum. Double that size to 920×430 if you wish to future-proof your shortcut.
  • If you wish to make the game look more fluid, edit the vars.cfg and change fpsLimit=30 to fpsLimit=60 or fpsLimit=0. This should give the game an average frame rate of 60fps or higher on most current computers.
  • You can edit and resize cut scenes from old games using RAD Video Tools. Try tweaking the game’s videos to get a better result.
  • If you feel emboldened, try your own binds.cfg configuration on your controller. Check out this topic on Users there keep improving the game’s native support for Xinput controllers and may have already solved the DPad problem.
  • Most games have online modding communities where fans modify their assets to change models, textures, maps and even gameplay. The Dragon Pearl mod and Russian Modern Mod for Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb, which I’ve not played, increase the game difficulty so that the player has less of an advantage during brawls and gunfights. Try that one out and search the web to find more mods you might like.
  • Internet modders have learned plenty about the inner workings of the game’s Slayer Engine. (The Collective developed this game engine for games like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Marc Eckō’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure and this one). Search the web for more mods and game tweaks to personalize your Emperor’s Tomb experience.

Finally, a quick shout out to the folks at the Widescreen Gaming Forum, the GOG forums (SumoX; Herro_kitty) and ReiKaz316 at ModDB from which most of this info was distilled.

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  1. djdenette says:

    Thank you so much for all of this information! I’ve always wanted to play this game and found it on steam but couldn’t get it to work until I read this!

  2. Anonymous says:

    The game says “Press START” but it wont respond to my inputs. Im using an unofficial xinput gamepad that has no issues with any other xinput games

    • Emilio Gómez says:

      To be honest, I’ve only tested this with XBox 360 and XBox One controllers on PC.

      In theory, if your controller is 100% Xinput compatible, you shouldn’t have any problems. Make sure your drivers are up to date.

  3. Sasa says:

    Having a problem with the gamepad select button. When I press back button to select items it is slow and barely moves to select my item, how can I fix that? Btw I have done all your steps and game is running like it’s made 2023, it is awesome 60fps no problem. only problem is gamepad select button inventory, can u send me file to fix that and be more fluently? Thank you! 🙂

    • Emilio Gómez says:

      Sorry for the late reply, Sasa. The files I have are the ones downloadable through the page. Also, this tutorial is already a few years old. I suggest you search for more recent alternatives that might work better for you.

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