Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - An amazing Adventure classic gets a BIG review by Cola Powered Gamer
When playing licensed video games, one will for the most of time encounter bad games, but there are exceptions. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is one such game, that understands its world and characters, and most importantly carries the spirit of the series.
Developed by LucasArts, and released in June 1992, the game was designed by Hal Barwood and Noah Falstein, who rejected the idea of using the unused movie script, and instead, they created their own script. They came up with a final concept, after searching for a suitable plot device. The game uses SCUMM Engine (Scripting Utility for Maniac Mansion), which was previously used in Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island, although an updated version. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was the seventh game to use the SCUMM engine, and at the time required at least a 286 based PC, and there is also a CD-ROM talkie version. Also, the CD-ROM version required EMS memory enabled to load the voice data.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis follows Indy and his companion Sophia Hapgood, who supports him on his journey to find Atlantis before the Nazis do. After retrieving the horned statue for an archaeologist named Smith. After Smith opens the statue with a special key, a shiny metallic bead falls out. He soon finds out that “Smith” is actually Klaus Kerner, a Nazi agent. Going to his coat he finds an article of him and his old associate Sophia Hapgood. Indy travels to New York to warn Sophia about the Nazi agent, and she explains to him that the shiny metal bead is orichalcum and that the Nazi scientist Dr. Hans Ubermann wants to use the power of Atlantis for the war. Early in the game, you must choose which path you want to follow, “Fists Path”, “Wits Path” and “Team Path”.
The paths don’t come into play in the first part of the game, and you must the “Lost Dialog of Plato”, by searching the rooms of Barnett College that appeared during the opening sequence. After this Sophia will give you a palm reading (which predicts a path, based on your actions in New York, and the way you dealt with the bouncer Biff), and you actually get to choose which path you want to follow. Choosing the “Fist Path”, you will encounter more fist-fighting with Nazis, and choosing the “Wits Path” you will encounter more puzzles in your adventure. And, of course choosing the “Team Path”, Indy and Sophia and have them team up, and also this is, in my opinion, the best path to choose, as it stays true to the spirit of the series.
Whichever path you pick you will still visit Algiers and Monte Carlo, and the island of Crete. If you the “Fists” you will visit the island of Thera, and by choosing either the “Wits” or the “Team” paths you will put you on a Nazi submarine.
The Fist path naturally has more action segments. You will fight Nazis in Algiers, ride the camel and avoid or fight Nazi jeeps, and even disarm a machine gun. When you visit Crete it is, of course, full of Nazis and you must fight them, and you will also come across a signing Nazi named Arnold, a similar character of Biff from the Last Crusade. The Fist path is also the fastest way to finish the game, but you will experience a somewhat awkward action system, that might haven’t aged well.
Choosing the Wits path, you will encounter more puzzles during your adventure. The puzzles are not abstract and are not that hard compared to the other adventure games from this era. During your adventure, in Algiers you must fix the truck, so you can return to Monte Carlo, where you will learn of a plot to bait Sophia. You also must escape from the submarine by using the torpedo bay, and while the Crete part is lacking Nazis, but it will require more effort to solve it.
By choosing the Team path, Sophia will join the adventure and there is a lot of amusing banter between her and Indy. In Monte Carlo, you must hold a séance with Trottier. You can either scare him by dressing Indy as a ghost, or by tricking him with Sophia’s psychic powers. In Algiers, you have to “convince” her to volunteer for a knife-throwing act. While on the submarine, you must free Sophia, from Nazi custody.
When first starting the game you must remember the position of the symbols, which are used later in the game. Each time you start the game, their position will be changed, and as you obtain the disks during the course of the game, you must remember their position. From the moment you start the game you can feel the spirit and character of Indiana Jones. The midi rendition of the theme is spot on and has a certain charm to it. The whole game is very well written and scripted and follows a similar tone of the films. There are Nazis, chases, action, myths and legends, and of course a female companion.
There are also funny scenes in the game, like when Indy screws with Sophia’s presentation, or when you have to ask the parrot a name of the book, to help him move forward. You also get to use Indy’s whip, to solve certain puzzles during the game, which is a nice touch. You can also die during the course of the game if you make the wrong choices or lose a fight. The game keeps a score, the so-called “Indy Quotient” points, which keeps track of solved puzzles, the obstacles that you overcame and the number of important objects found. There is one quite tedious puzzle at the beginning of the game, where you need to find Plato’s book, and it’s location is randomized each time. Hopefully this puzzle doesn’t last long, and also there is a small pixel hunting section in Algiers, when you are at the dig site. Other than those minor inconveniences the puzzles in the game are OK, and don’t use moon logic, which is always a plus.
The Fate of Atlantis also has beautiful graphics and is probably one of the more beautiful adventure games. The graphics are nicely detailed, with nice colors and excellent animation. The graphics can be compared to the first two Monkey Island games, and are more advanced than the Last Crusade. The graphics are pretty much the same across all the versions, but the PC and FM Towns versions are probably the best looking ones.
Voice acting is good, considering the year it was released in. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get Harrison Ford, but the voice actor Doug Lee does a good job of voicing Indy. The rest of the cast does a good job, especially for the year it was released in and it still holds up to this day.
LucasArts originally wanted to base the game of the Indiana Jones and the Monkey King/Garden of Life, a rejected script written by Chris Columbus written for the third movie. After reading the script, Barwood decided that the idea did not meet the standards, and requested to write an original script. Barwood and Falstein visited the Skywalker ranch to look for possible plot devices. They eventually decided on Atlantis after reading, “some cheap coffee-table on the world’s unresolved mysteries”, which shown the city built in three concentric circles. Writing the story involved research of a large number of pseudo-scientific books. Inspiration for the orichalcum was taken from Plato’s dialogues Timaeus and Critias, as well as Ignatius Loyola Donelly’s book Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, that sparked the myth again the 19th century.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is one of the best games based on the licensed property. It perfectly captures the setting, characters, and spirit of Indiana Jones, and when finishing it one has to wonder why a film wasn’t made using this script. Anyway if you want to experience a good story, adventure, and overall excellent gameplay this one. Even if you are not an Indy fan give this one a try. The game can be found online, and GOG and Steam sell the talkie version, and you can get it for cheap.
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