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Nostalgia Review: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

/ Jun 30th, 2012 No Comments

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

It is 1939: Germany has begun to amass power under the leadership of Adolf Hitler who is clamping down on a weakened Europe. America still struggles with one of its worst depressions and has chosen not to involve itself in matters overseas.

Meanwhile, in an attic at Barnett College, an adventure begins with the sound of glass shattering caused by person swinging through its window. The figure stands up, shakes the glass from his leather jacket and weathered fedora. He holsters his whip: the instrument he used to infiltrate the premises.

This is Indiana Jones: history professor at Barnett College, world famous archaeologist and now a man breaking into his own college.

“Alright, Jones,” he mutters “how are you going to find that statue in all this junk?”

So begins Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis: a 1992 point and click adventure game developed and published by LucasArts for DOS. It is still considered to be one of the most faithful spinoffs of the Indiana Jones film franchise and is still considered by gamers to be one of the best adventure games ever made.

When you start the game, the claim does begin to warrant merit because you can start playing quickly. Using just a mouse, you can really control Indiana’s actions quickly. By point and clicking the mouse on different locations while utilizing the game’s easy to use graphic interface you can walk, interact with environments, use objects and talk with the large cast of characters. It’s that simple. You’ll have to use the keyboard however to save the game, set the volume or quit the game though. Even that is easy as well since you can work the technical aspects with just one press of a key or a combination of two.

Besides controls, Fate of Atlantis is very accommodating to new players and old. You’ll never have to worry about hitting any dead ends as the game is challenging enough to make you think but easy enough to ensure you never get stuck. The only thing that you’ll have to worry about is figuring out what you need to do next and this shouldn’t be a problem as the game offers you enough hints to help you advance the story. You will however need to be careful in making Indiana remains alive as he be killed resulting in the game ending prematurely. At this point you will be required to restart the game or load a save game. Again, to accommodate players, you’re adequately giving enough warning signs to hint you in on incoming trouble so be sure to save often.

Nazis... why'd it have to be Nazis

Nazis... why'd it have to be Nazis

The game also encourages you to replay it, something few adventure games try to accomplish. There is, for example, a score system similar to one featured in the old Sierra adventure games. Like those games, every time you complete an important part of the game or advance it in a meaningful way you’ll be given points which are referred to as IQ points (Indy Quotient points) in this game. You can acquire a total of 1,000 of these points which are kept intact when you save a game. You can start or load another save game and not have to worry about losing the total and not have to repeat actions to regain them.

Also adding to the replayability is a randomization feature that alters various aspects of the game whenever you start a new game. If you solve a puzzle one way don’t expect to solve it the way you did the first time. Changes like that guarantees the game is fresh every time you play making every new play is just as challenging as the last.

Challenges are what this game is in no short supply of and even has something unique for a point and click adventure game: fighting. Every so often Indiana will have to fight in fisticuffs against an enemy. When a fight begins, the game will switch from the point and click interface to a fighting mode. Using either the mouse or the keyboard, you control the position of Indy’s hands to block incoming punches and position his hands to attack the head, midsection, and lower body of your opponent. If your enemy hasn’t blocked these areas and your punch connects, you’ll deliver damage. If you can wait and hold off enemies long enough your punching power will increase so that when you land a successful hit you’ll do more damage.

This part of the game, while innovative for an adventure game, is also one of the game’s few imperfections. The system is incredible clunky and its controls difficult to master resulting in a cumbersome experience. You can bypass some fights using solutions outside of combat and sometimes weaken an enemy to make fights easier. If these options aren’t enough, you can just press the insert key causing Indy to throw a brutal haymaker that will knock out a majority of the game’s foes. You will be penalized for using this method by not being awarded any points if you haven’t already won the fight fairly. If you’re trying to collect all the game’s IQ points or want to play the game fairly prepare for a lesson in frustration.

Fighting aside, the gameplay is great. Though what makes the game greater is its story. In it Indiana Jones unwittingly helps the German army to advance their goal of finding the fabled lost city of Atlantis. Accompanied by Sophia Hapgood, a psychic and old flame, Jones enters a race against time spanning the globe to prevent the Nazis from uncovering Atlantis and using its secrets to aid in their conquests. Without going into too much detail and risk spoiling too much, it’s a story that can boldly stand on equal footing with the movies it’s based on when it comes to dialogue, historical setting, action, drama, supernatural elements, and even a bit of romance to boot. From beginning to end this story this is a genuine Indiana Jones tale.

Indy Tries To Deal With A Shady Algerian Antique Dealer

Indy Tries To Deal With A Shady Algerian Antique Dealer

It’s also a very open ended tale as well. The story isn’t a linear one and can branch off into three different directions depending on a choice you make at the game’s midpoint. Each path involves puzzles, story developments, characters, dialogue and locations exclusive to each one. In order to really experience the story not to mention acquire all the IQ points, you are encouraged to play each one. Sadly, all three paths reunite close to the end and continue on a straight line. But this line can actually split off into two endings depending upon a certain action on your part.

The story is presented visually in sprite based 2D graphics. Although many will be quick to dismiss the game’s graphics as being outdated, you have to take into consideration the level of effort and time it took just to make this game look the way it is. In this case, their work paid off. From Barnett College, the streets of Monte Carlo, the Greek islands, all the way to Atlantis, the world of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is vibrant with color, detail, and atmosphere that is charming to behold. Even the characters who inhabit it are well animated and drawn well which help to bring this game’s story to life.

Indy’s quest isn’t just a show for the eyes; it appeals to the ears too. Sound effects like the crack of Indy’s whip, the thwack of fist colliding with human bodies and the roar of cars are just a few of the things you can expect to hear. But those alone are minimal compared to the game’s deftly composed soundtrack. All music is presented in MIDI format, yet this now old does nothing to prohibit it from being one of the game’s hallmarks as tracks can be eerie, mysterious, uncertain, action packed and even romantic depending on the actions and environments on screen. If you’re fighting a Nazi, recovering a priceless artifact or in a strange place, the music never disappoints in fitting in and always adds to the mood.

In The Heart of Atlantis

In The Heart of Atlantis

If the sound effects and music alone don’t contribute enough to the game, it gets even better if you have 1993 CD-ROM rerelease. It includes a full cast voicing all dialogue that was previously handled by text. Although Harrison Ford does not provide the voice of Indiana Jones, his replacement, Doug Lee, does a great job of filling for him by providing a rugged and skeptical tone of voice that reflects the world weary nature of the famous fictional archaeologist. Lee is joined by a cast of other voice actors just as talented as him and give auditory life to the game’s other characters that are great to listen to. While there is an option to turn off the voices, it seems a ludicrous notion when you hear just how excellent this part of the game is.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is still a solid adventure game from start to finish that manages to overshadow its few imperfections. It’s well developed, challenging, exciting and features a great story. It’s a grand adventure that still feels just as fresh today as it was back when released in 1992. This game that has the distinct privilege few Indiana Jones spinoffs have in being on par with the excellent film franchise it’s based off of (well, that fourth movie is still up for debate). This is something that truly does belong in a museum or at least in your game collection.

Overall Ratings – Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (PC)











Overall score reflects an nostalgic look at the game back in comparison to the date it was released and is not an average of all ratings.

Jonathan Anson

Jonathan Anson

Jonathan has been a lover of video games since his father brought home a Windows 95 computer. When he's not doing that he indulges in his other passion: writing. Jonathan holds an AA degree in Journalism from Saddleback College in Southern California.
Jonathan Anson
Jonathan Anson

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