Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
First posted on 01 August 1998. Last updated on 05 June 2011.
What makes a computer game a classic? To me, it must be a game that stands the test of time and technology. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is such a game. Although the game is released back in 1992, it is still regarded by many critics as among the best adventure games ever made. This game is made at a time before the graphics revolution overtakes the world of PC gaming by storm. As such, you shall not find the high resolution, jaw dropping SVGA graphics but only 256 color VGA graphics that are state of the art for its time. However, what this game lacks in its looks is more than made up for by its creativity.
This is not an adventure game worthy of Indiana Jones if a couple of crucial elements are missing—the Nazis and a quest to discover some fantastic long buried treasure. In Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, you play Indy as you guide the intrepid archeologist in a race to beat Hitler's agents to the grand prize—the fabled lost city of Atlantis. The Nazis believe the city contains technology that may help them in their worldwide conquest. In this game, Indy visits countless exotic locations all over the world, dig through numerous ancient ruins, and solve many unique puzzles in his quest to find Atlantis before the Nazis do!
In contrast to the dated graphics, the audios fair in this game much better even by today's standard. Although the voice of Indy is not that of Harrison Ford, it is still a very good imitation by Doug Lee, the actor that LucasArts hires to play the part. Every character in this game has a speaking role. All the voices are well done. The actors are all believable for this game and they have done a good job acting out the different dialects and accents. The digitized sound effects are used liberally and are played in situations to which you expect them. They are not groundbreaking but are effective in enhancing the gameplay. The soundtrack further ups the ante with great themes throughout the game if you are lucky enough to own a wave table soundcard. If you own a soundcard with only FM synthesis, the sound quality suffers. LucasArts has implemented its unique iMUSE music system in this game. The theme music is well incorporated with the action. The famous movie theme of Indiana Jones plays whenever Indy discovers something important or solves a particularly difficult puzzle. This is one of those rare adventure games where you are searching for the mute button! Some of the music is scored by John Williams. The story is moved forward with the inclusion of beautifully animated cut scenes that is another LucasArts trademark. The game is released in both Floppy Disk and CD-ROM versions. The CD-ROM version is enhanced with the addition of more than 8,000 lines of spoken dialog and new digitized sound effects not available in the original version. The CD-ROM version also includes a hint book.
Gameplay is the most important element in any adventure game. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis oozes with it. The game, despite being fairly linear, has 3 different paths to reach the end. Each of these paths offers different locations to visit, people to meet, and puzzles to solve. So once you reach the end of a path you still have the other paths to play. These different paths diverge in the middle part of the quest, with the beginning and ending being identical no matter which path is followed. Each of these paths stresses a certain element of gameplay. If you like to fight then you may take the FISTS path. If you want to exercise your intellect then choose the WITS path. Finally, if you want company on your travels, you may choose the TEAM path so that your partner can offer some hints whenever you get stuck. You choose the path by selecting among 3 responses in a dialog tree, but this does not occur until a valuable item is found at the beginning of the game.
The interface is very intuitive and uses a variant of the SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) engine. There are numerous interesting puzzles to solve in the game, ranging from the easy to some head scratching ones. It is necessary to switch control to another character during the game in order to get through certain puzzles. Another important aspect in the gameplay is the arcade/action element. Do not flinch! This game contains only a few. None of them are too difficult to overcome, except maybe the fighting. If you despise these tasks in your adventure gaming (I am not a big fan myself either), then I have some bad news for you—you cannot skip them! Fortunately, no ultra fast joystick twitching reflex is required here! All actions are controlled through the mouse or keyboard. The fighting scenes are the most complicated, mainly due to the number of moves available. They are controlled through the keypad. If you are not up to the fighting (which occurs in all three paths), then you can use the sucker punch cheat (keypad 0) to beat your opponent, assuming you do not mind sacrificing some points!
In most adventure games there is usually only a single way to solve a puzzle. This game is different. In this game you actually get rewarded with points called IQ (Indy Quotient, get it?). The more inventive way you solve a puzzle, the more points you are rewarded. Therefore, not only do you have 3 different ways of getting to the end but you also can see how high a score you can attain. There are a couple of different ending scenarios. All these ensure more replay value for this title than other competitors from this genre. The game even features an intro sequence that is interactive, allowing the player to have limited control of Indy while watching the opening credits!
On the positive side, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis has a great story, enticing atmosphere, and addictive gameplay. There are over 200 locations to explore. The interface is effective and easy to use. Each of the 3 distinct paths contains different locations, people, and puzzles. There are many interesting puzzles to solve with multiple solutions available. The voice acting is decent and the sound effects compliment the excellent multi-theme soundtrack. On the other negative side, some puzzles require the dreaded pixel hunting. The arcade/action sequences may not appeal to purists of the adventure genre. There are also a few annoying but easily navigable mazes.
Once again, LucasArts has created a very satisfying gameplay experience by putting the player in the shoes of the iconic Indiana Jones as he goes on another heroic quest to quell the forces of evil. His trek is aided by an excellent and intuitive interface that makes solving the many interesting puzzles in thr game a pleasure. The plot is exciting, with a number of distinct paths to follow and ways to earn points. All these elements make this game an adventure that you want to come back to experience over and over again. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis definitely makes a classic in my books and is a title that should be in the collection of every adventure gamer!