Friday, October 24, 2014

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis Review

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was the first Indiana Jones game created by LucasArts that had an original storyline, and it wound up being one of the best adventures Indy has experienced in any medium.

The game centers around the famed archaeologist and adventure seeker, Indiana Jones, as he tries to find the fabled lost city of Atlantis before the Nazis can get ahold of its fabled mystical power source. On the way, he meets Sophia Hapgood, a woman who researches the mystical side of Atlantis, and in the Atlantean god Nur-Ab-sal in particular.  Her belief that she can contact his spirit clashes with Indy's 'I'll believe it when I see it' attitude, and leads to a leading pair that is every bit as strong as Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood in the original Indy film, Raiders of the Lost Ark.

One of the strengths of the game is that the game caters to multiple types of adventure gamers. Those who like action in their adventures can choose to go on the "fists" path, where Indiana Jones uses his fists more often to make his way through obstacles, using a fighting system similar to the one in the last LucasArts Indy adventure, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  Those who don't like action in their adventures can choose to go one of two ways.  The "wits" path sees Indiana going through his adventure using his mind to solve puzzles in order to make his way through his adventure.  The last path is the "team" path, where he still uses his mind over his brute strength, however this time he joins up with Sophia.  On this path, the player will play as Sophia at certain points in the game at points where she is more suited with getting past the obstacles that stand in their way.

Of course, the multiple paths mean a branching story, and multiple endings.  The ultimate crux of the story remains the same, of course, as Indy's mission is always ultimately to stop the Nazis from gaining the power of Atlantis.  However, the path to get there, and the eventual way the goal is accomplished changes based on how you choose to play.  This is also one of the few LucasArts adventure games where death is possible, making it necessary to save your game whenever there is immediate danger. There is no fear of worrying about whether saving will stop your progress, however, as there are no dead ends. The deaths aren't arbitrary either, as they only occur when it's obvious that Indy is in a dangerous situation.

In all of the paths, the puzzles are well done, increasing in difficulty as the game goes on, but the solutions never go past the realm of believably.  The art style is dated today, but it still has a charm underneath those pixels, and still can draw you in to the beauty of the real world locations Indy visits as well as the wonder of the lost city of Atlantis.  The music is also well done, mixing the well known title song from the film series, to the excellent original music composed for the game that would feel right at home in any of the Indiana Jones adventures.  In the CD version of the game, the characters are also fully voiced.  Each character is well done, and any future regulars, such as Nick Jameson, make their LucasArts voice acting debut here.  Indy isn't voiced by Harrison Ford of course, but Doug Lee does an admirable job portraying the character.  The supporting characters are all voiced equally well, making the CD version the one to play, as the voice acting adds a lot to the atmosphere of the game.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is one of the best games in the LucasArts adventure game catalog.  Unlike most other LucasArts adventure games, death is possible, but it only happens when it is obvious that Indy is in danger. The multiple paths, excellent puzzles, art style that still manages to convey the wonder of the locations today despite the pixelization, great music, and fantastic voice acting in the CD version make this game a true classic.

(Side note: The story from this game was also adapted into a four issue comic series by Dark Horse Comics that was later collected in the Indiana Jones Omnibus Volume 1 trade paperback. The basic story line was also used in Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis: The Action Game, a little known isometric action game that has little else in common with its more well known sibling.)

Final Verdict:

4½ out of 5

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