Outposter and contributor Why Would You Post That? writes for us yet again. This time he revisits a stone cold classic game from yesteryear. Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis.
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Mild spoilers following for Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis.
It is 1939. The eve of World War II. Daring archaeologist/adventurer Indiana Jones is about to go on his most incredible adventure yet.
After being asked by the mysterious Mr. Smith to find a hidden relic in the storerooms of Barnett College, Indy makes a startling discovery, a type of metal that is not on the periodic table. Orichalcum is a substance which conducts great energy. Great energy that can be used for evil if it falls into the wrong hands. (RELATED: Harrison Ford To Return As INDY One Last Time)
To his horror Jones realizes that Dr. Smith is really the Nazi agent Klaus Kerner. He escapes with the artefact.
After failing to get hold of the Ark of The Covenant and The Holy Grail – Hitler no longer wants to harness the power of God. He wants to become a God! He believes the means to do this is hidden on the ocean floor in the ruins of Atlantis. The mythical city from the writings of Plato.
Teaming up with his former flame, the powerful psychic Sophia Hapgood, Indy must once again go toe-to-toe with the Third Reich and save mankind.
Sadly I am not talking about the fourth Indiana Jones film. If only I were. In fact, I am talking about a LucasArts “Point and Click” adventure game that was released for PC in 1992.
Together In Electric Dreams
In 1986 LucasArts had began to develop adventure games. They pioneered the game engine SCUMM. A dashboard like interface at the bottom of the screen allowed players just to use the mouse.
Titles such as Zack McCracken And The Alien Mindbenders, Loom, The Secret Of Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge made them industry leaders.
In 1989 they released Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure. An adaptation of the third film in the franchise. It was a huge hit with players. LucasArts wanted a sequel and hired Hal Barwood as project leader.
In the 70s and 80s Barwood had worked as an animator, screenwriter and producer. He had collaborated with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg in various capacities on the projects THX-1138, The Sugarland Express, Jaws and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (in the latter of which he also made a cameo appearance).
Barwood put a crack team together to bring the game to life. Along with co-worker Noah Falstein they decided the Atlantis myth would be a perfect adventure for Indy. They created an instant classic.
Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis is an absolute joy.
Temple Of Doom and Last Crusade are perfectly fine movies and on their own merits are more than worthy follow ups. Yet neither can quite capture that lightning in a bottle magic that Raiders Of The Lost Ark had.
Yet somehow, Fate Of Atlantis comes damn close. It is literally nothing short of miraculous. There are moments in this game that come close to the moments in Raiders in how they made the hairs on the back of our necks stand-up.
Close To Perfection
It has everything you want from an Indiana Jones adventure. Puzzles, booby traps, exotic locations, fist fights, chases, sly humor, romance – nonstop until we reach the hair raising, supernatural climax.
Trying to describe this game is like trying to describe drinking a perfect cup on tea while sitting in front of a roaring fire on a cold Autumn day. If you are an Indiana Jones fan – it is like having warm honey poured into your soul. Barwood and his team got it. And they got it so well that nothing Indy related since can even come close. It is as close to perfect as a PC game can ever get.
Composers Clint Bajakian, Peter McConnell and Michael Land also provide an incredible soundtrack. Using John Williams’ iconic themes and motifs liberally – but still creating a unique score for this experience.
When Indy and Sophia finally reach Atlantis to do battle with the Nazis and the spirit of Nur-Ab-Sal (an Atlantean God), it is just perfect.
And there is no bullshit Shia LaBeouf swinging with simians nor a grumpy old fart climbing into a nuclear blast resistant fridge. When I played this as a teenager I desperately wanted a fourth film and I wanted the fourth film to be this. To see Harrison Ford play Indy in this adventure. That would have been so awesome.
Of course, I now know why this could never be. But when I think of skulls made from crystal, inter-dimensional beings and lines like “the space between spaces”? I just mentally go back to a time when a new Indiana Jones adventure could bring warmth and happiness into my heart. Disney doing one? No thanks.
If you want to play this, it is on Steam and I do not think it is expensive. Of course, the game is nearly 30 years old so the graphics will look a bit blocky at best.
There is also a Dark Horse Comics adaptation out there, but I do not recommend that to anyone. That is all I have to say on that matter.
With remasters of Day Of The Tentacle and Sam & Max Hit The Road available on gamepass…. I know what I hope the future brings. Day Of The Tentacle, Grim Fandango and Monkey Island are also available for iPad from the App Store.
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