Retro review: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
It's no secret that I'm a fan of LucasArts point & click adventure games. The Secret of Monkey Island, Full Throttle and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis are my favorites of these. And I'd like to look back at that last one.
In addition to solid gameplay, the game is also often praised for its good story. You take on the role of Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones Jr, aka Indy. He is contacted by an undercover Nazi agent about a statuette that may lead to the lost city of Atlantis. The figurine is in the collection of Indy University, and the agent has the key to open it. There is a bead in the figurine. The Nazi agent flees with the bead, but Indy gets hold of his coat. Inside the jacket is the agent's ID, and a newspaper clipping of Sophia Hapgood, his old companion. Then Indy travels to New York to warn Sophia and learn more about the bead and what the German was looking for. This is where our story begins.
Everything seems to point to Atlantis, so Sophia and Indiana set out to find more information, and perhaps the city itself. They mainly end up in front of closed doors, or get them slammed shut, until they surreptitiously get more information. It turns out they need Plato's last dialogue, the so-called Hermocrates. Ultimately, this book also turns out to be in the university's archive. After examining the material, and discovering a flaw that has led to past searches for Atlantis, they set out on a quest for the city itself. At this point in the story, the player can choose one of three ways to progress through the game.
Of course, this game follows the classic SCUMM system that LucasArts used. At the bottom of the screen are the actions that can be performed on the left, and the inventory on the right. The game can be played in several ways, but of course the mouse is the best option. You can use actions including talk, use, push, open and look. A large part of any environment can be used for something. Clicking on everything at random is therefore often pointless. Different items in your inventory can also be combined to solve any puzzles or progress the story. You can also talk to, and possibly ask for advice, Sophia, who is with you for a large part of the game.
The three ways you can play the game are the Team Path, Wits Path or Fists Path. The team path is the way the game should actually be played first. Indiana almost always has Sophia with her and the game has a good balance in terms of different gameplay elements. You mainly play the wits path alone and you go through the game mainly by solving puzzles. And if you choose the fists path, you can fight your way through most situations, which is actually the least interesting of the three.
The game was released in 1992 for MS-DOS, Amiga, Macintosh, FM Towns and later as an extra with the Indiana Jones game Staff of Kings on the Wii. Of all these versions, the DOS version stands out the most. This one runs the best and looks the best, but also has the advantage of broad hardware support. There are quite a few options, especially in the field of sound cards. At the time I played the game on an IBM 286 with a PC speaker. Not the best experience, but it did the trick. The best experience was on a 486 with a Sound Blaster Pro and Roland MT-32 Midi synthesizer. Later, a CD version was also released with fully voiced dialogues and digital sound effects. Since not everyone has access to this hardware, there are also other ways to play the game today.
After all, the game still looks good today. They haven't tried to make everything look super realistic. This creates a somewhat more 'cartoony' effect. The resolution of 320 by 200 will be very coarse on screens of, for example, 24 inches. Nowadays I play the game in a window with a comparable size of about 14 inches. The format in which the game was played by most people at the time. The sound and music are very neat, it's not the 24bit audio we are used to today, but 1992 more than acceptable. The voice actors for Indiana and other characters from the films come across well, and the acting is very good for a game.
How to play?
For most gamers, the easiest way will be to purchase Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis on Steam . There it costs five bucks and can be played on any modern PC or Mac. However, this version uses a, for me, strange emulator with a very bad midi synthesizer, which manifests itself in strange sounding music. The better alternative can be found on GOG . This one is 30 cents more expensive, but practically the best way to play the game. For sound, it emulates the Sound Blaster Pro, ensuring sound and music that sounds the way it's meant to be.
If you already have the game, preferably the CD-ROM version, you can use the same emulator that GOG uses, SCUMMVM. It is one of the simpler emulators to use, but you have to pay attention to the best settings. There are several guides available , and if you need more help you can visit their forum . With SCUMMVM you can also play Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis on, for example, your Android phone, MacOS, Linux and Raspberry Pi. There are even versions for OS/2, Nintendo 64 and Samsung Smart TVs.
For gamers who have played Thimbleweed Park or the remasters of Monkey Island and Full Throttle, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is well worth playing. If you are already familiar with the game, I would definitely pick it up again.
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