In 2009 I began working with Mrs B on her website www.femalegamers.co.uk reviewing the latest console games. Sadly our other commitments meant the website couldn’t continue and we brought it to an end early in 2010. I’ll be using this blog to review all the games recent and not so recent that I encounter. With Mrs B’s kind permission I’ll also be posting some of the reviews I previously worked on so don’t panic if they refer to previous years and months.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (1992) – PC
In the early nineties I owned an Amiga 500 and my favourite game was Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge which was the brains of Ron Gilbert of LucasArts. The same year it was released came another point and click adventure Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. I remember rave reviews on the game’s release and it is one I was going to invest in at some point but I never got round to it. As the Amiga faded into obsolescence and the likes of the Playstation Xbox and Wii came to the fore I still remembered Fate of Atlantis and thanks to a download from Steam I was able to play it for the first time.
The game is set in 1939 and opens with an amusing introduction as Indy works (falls) his way through a series of rooms at his workplace Barnett College looking for a small statue. After locating the artefact Indy gives it to Mr Smith who uses a key to open it and reveal an orichalcum bead. Smith pulls a gun and makes off with the items though in a struggle with Indy he leaves his coat behind revealing his true identity as Klaus Kerner of the Third Reich. Indy also locates an article referring to an expedition conducted by a former assistant Sophia Hapgood who has given up archaeology to become a psychic. Indy sets out to see her fearing she is Kerner’s next target and she becomes key to our hero’s journey to reach the lost city of Atlantis before Kerner and the Nazis do.
The opening to Fate of Atlantis is amusing and the graphics will immediately make you think of the first two entries in the Monkey Island series. After a quick introduction we’re immediately underway locating and frightening Sophia during one of her lectures about Atlantis. The exchanges between her and Indy are very amusing with Sophia often drifting off into her psychic visions and communicating with an Atlantean god Nur-Ab-Sal. Indy tolerates these moments but the lists of responses you can choose are often tinted with sarcasm and a lack of faith in Sophia’s abilities. Unlike Monkey Island which has a standard linear path throughout the game Fate of Atlantis offers three different paths and two endings.
After visits to Iceland Tikal and the Azores Indy and Sophia locate the Hermocrates or The Lost Dialogue of Plato which contains clues as to how they can reach Atlantis though their efforts are hampered by Plato’s mistakes in calculating distances. At one point you will return with Sophia to Barnett College and have to choose one of three paths – the Wits Path the Team Path or the Fists Path. The Wits Path sees Indy head out on his own in search of Atlantis where you are faced with more puzzles than the other paths and can look forward to a car chase and a balloon ride. The Team Path sees you pair up with Sophia to solve puzzles and endure her psychic ways while partaking of a balloon ride and piloting a submarine! The Fists Path is the most violent one and requires you to partake of fisticuffs with Nazi soldiers but it’s not all about combat there’s a boat trip and dive into the ocean and you can enjoy a camel ride through the desert which features in the other paths as well and there are still some puzzles to negotiate.
The three paths take you from the opening scenes to the arrival in Atlantis where they converge and lead you down one main route into the heart of the forgotten city. Puzzles continue to be relentless at this late point and your encounters with the Nazis whether you’ve chosen the Fists Path or not became more frequent meaning you’ll have to try out your fists at some point. The ending is as dramatic as any of the Indy films and the whole game retains the essence of those classic adventures we’ve enjoyed at the cinema. Even that red line tracing from one location to another on the world map features so it is like being in the midst of one of the films.
Fate of Atlantis has a lot going for it. The graphics are excellent for a game that is nearly 20 years old the voice acting (especially Indy) is terrific and the variety of locations and modes of transport make for an exciting adventure. The three paths through the game are different enough to offer plenty of scope to revisit Fate of Atlantis while two different endings are also on offer dependent on how much you like Sophia. If the game has any weaknesses it is the challenging nature of many of the puzzles. The Lost Dialogue of Plato becomes your Bible and you will need to decipher Plato’s clues in order to unlock secret passages that lead you ever closer to Atlantis. The fighting with the Nazis isn’t straightforward though it works well for a point and click adventure. I found myself clicking hopefully a lot of the time but I only encountered one foe that required repeat attempts before I defeated him. Saving regularly is advisable as unlike Monkey Island it is very easy to get yourself killed especially with the fights where losing is not an option.
I’ve waited years to play Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and am delighted that even though I’m looking back on an old game it is still one that deserves high praise. The story is engaging the dialogue brilliant and the settings memorable as you guide Indy on an adventure that rivals any he has enjoyed on the big screen. You can download Fate of Atlantis through Steam and if you have never played it I would recommend doing so now.