"It is with much longing nostalgia that I painfully admit that the golden era of point 'n' click adventures have long passed. I can say without much exaggeration that during the console-starved eighties, the genre reached its peak in popularity, perhaps only eclipsed in the early-to-mid nineties when the fame of Sierra and Lucas Arts were on par to current giants such as Square or Enix. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is one of the finer specimens of adventure games that was born fr..."
It is with much longing nostalgia that I painfully admit that the golden era of point 'n' click adventures have long passed. I can say without much exaggeration that during the console-starved eighties, the genre reached its peak in popularity, perhaps only eclipsed in the early-to-mid nineties when the fame of Sierra and Lucas Arts were on par to current giants such as Square or Enix. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is one of the finer specimens of adventure games that was born from this era.
Developed by the aforementioned Lucas Arts (who now whittle away their time developing sub-par Star Wars games much to the chagrin of everyone), the game was an instant hit, as is to be expected from the spiritual sequel to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Those elders among us -- a demographic to which I belong myself -- might remember the remarkable film that did wonders in the box office, and made many people crave bullwhips... although for what reason is not the point of this, or any other, discussion.
But more than anything else, it made people crave more of the same tongue-in-cheek action, and that's exactly what Fate of Atlantis offers. Opening with our rugged archaeologist chum careening through the window of some dusty museum with his trusty bullwhip (yes, that same bullwhip used in the worrying reference) at his side, he moves purposefully through the displays. Clad in the long familiar leather jacket and tilted cowboy hat, the renowned adventurer starts his quest. Although your motives are left vague in the early goings, the game makes it clear that you need to find a certain manuscript. That being, as you will discover but a few beginner-friendly puzzles later, the Lost Dialogue of Plato, documented proof that the mythical city of Atlantis exists. The manuscript -- in a maddeningly cryptic way like all ancient artifacts are wont to do -- tells you where the lost city is located.
However, this adventure will not be easy for the bold Nazi-hating archaeologist to tackle alone. Especially considering that you will not only need the expert help to find Atlantis, thanks to the annoyingly vague notes left by Plato, but also to race against the clock, because those darn Nazis also have an invested interest. So enter another Indy benchmark: the good looking and somewhat sassy female sidekick. Of course, things wouldn't be right if the female in question hadn't shared a brief, fiery relationship with Dr. Jones sometime in the past. Always the lady's man, our good doctor.
But it is through Sophia, your girlie assistant, that the game breaks away from the standard single protagonist adventure game. Throughout your quest, you will control both Indy and Sophia in differing situations, letting both use their unique talents. Indy can still do what he does best, and unleash the odd swift uppercut to the jaw (which will take you to a fight-like sequence where you can actually control your punches against such foes as random Nazis, angry doormen or persistent Jehovah witnesses), but some situations need be taken care of in a more civilised way. Sometimes Sophia must be called upon to employ her feminine wiles to soften up gullible males, and sometimes, with simple logic, she must persuade people to co-operate. I prefer Indy's way myself.
But perhaps things will never come to that, because the game won't force you to take any set road. For example, you can choose not to take Sophia along at all should you prefer. This will result in you travelling alone to different locations, but without the gentle hand of a female to help guide your way; the choices you make here and elsewhere will result in different events. This will also pertain to what puzzles you face and what options you possess to bypass them safely. And although Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis has a few tricks to throw your way, you will not find a single overly-devious puzzle thrown in for the sake of making a challenge, unlike some similar games I could mention. These tasks will often prompt you to mix and match items within your unlimited inventory with your surrounding environment to progress further. Sometimes it is as simple as using your trusty pen on a sheet of paper, but often it is something a little more thought provoking. This process is timeless and has managed to age well.
And in more than one area, too. As expected from the Lucas Arts of old, everything is presented clearly. Never will you have problems with finding objects because of the clear, well-defined graphics and everything within looking as it should for a game of this age. Even the music does its job adequately, setting your location's atmosphere flawlessly. From the exotic tunes playing gently as you ride on the camels in Algeria, to the mystical, eerie track that kicks up as you wander through halls choked with killer Nazis. Never is there a dull moment.
And that's what makes Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis one of the better examples of how good games were back in the day. Back before Sony had even considered the vast amount of money that Playstation would bring them, even predating fancy graphics and multi-million dollar productions. Venture within Indy's world and find an engrossing story, likeable characters, and a plethora of differing paths you can choose between.
And get to play with a whip. Minus the blushes.
Community review by darketernal (October 04, 2005)
Occasional reviewer of random stuff.
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