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TheRaider.net Research Video Games Fate of Atlantis
 

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

 
Box Cover

Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: LucasArts

Release date:
1992

Directed by:
Hal Barwood
Written by: Hal Barwood & Noah Falstein
Music by: Clint Bajakian, Michael Land & Peter McConnell
Produced by: Shelly Day
Package illustration by: William L. Eaken
Programming by: Ron Baldwin, Bret Barrett, Sean Clark, Tony Hsieh, Michael Stemmle
Graphics by: James Alexander Dollar, William L. Eaken, Mike Ebert, Avril Harrison, Anson Jew, James McLeod, Collette Michaud

Voices by:
Doug Lee .... Indiana Jones/Alain Trottier
Jane Jacobs .... Sophia Hapgood

Technical Info:
Platforms: PC DOS, Commodore Amiga, FM Towns, Apple Macintosh

Genre: "Point and Click" Adventure game

Mode(s): Single-player - Wits, Fists, or Team Path

Engine: SCUMM v5, iMUSE (sound)

Media: 3½ inch Floppy, CD-ROM
 

Every die-hard video gamer has played something from the "graphic adventure" genre. The format has come to computers as many different titles and over the years an impressive and eclectic library has been amassed for the graphic adventure aficionado. Any gamer worth his/her salt will know what you are talking about when you mention the King's Quest saga, the Monkey Island series, the Kyrandia games, or the Space Quest series. The list is almost endless.

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Opening scene climax.

Of all the companies that have produced graphic adventures, LucasArts is the master. They have arguably produced the slickest graphic adventures to ever hit the PC. Their impressive graphic adventure library includes classics like Maniac Mansion, Maniac Mansion 2: Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max Hit the Road, Grim Fandango, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and the aforementioned Monkey Island series, which is already into its fourth game. However, there is one graphic adventure that, for many gamers, stands above the rest even within the impressive LucasArts library as debatably the best graphic adventure ever made. This game needs no introduction. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is an indelible classic of its genre and video games period.

This game was originally released in 1992 as a sequel to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure. This edition came formatted on 3.5" floppy disks. In 1993, LucasArts re-released the game on CD-ROM with a full talking dialogue track, which really added to the game play and atmosphere. Sadly, the voice of Indy is not Harrison Ford, but the voice that is present is not bad at all and after a few minutes, you will probably lose yourself in the game anyway and the "new voice" will become old hat (no pun intended). The game also made it onto the Macintosh computer and there was also an edition for the Amiga system. Needless to say, the game (in both formats) was a huge success.

 
 

The Story

Indiana Jones enters the game in the archives of Barnett College in the most innovative intro sequence in gaming history. As he stumbles through this sequence, the familiar theme plays with gusto in LucasArts' effective iMuse system. From the onset, it feels like Indiana Jones, and in five seconds you are hooked. Everyone who has played it knows the story from there. Indy finds the strange substance orichalcum within a small Atlantean statue and runs off to find his old flame Sophia Hapgood to learn more. While he and Sophia begin their trek across the globe searching for all manners of fabled artifacts, including the Lost Dialogue of Plato and the city of Atlantis itself, the Nazis are hot on their trail trying to unlock the secrets of the orichalcum's power for their own dark purposes.

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Sophia's necklace (left). Indy & Sophia at Iceland and at the Azores.
 
 

Success

The game met with rave reviews and was immediately embraced by gaming fans and Indy fans alike. The story was rich and engaging and very much a plot worthy of an Indiana Jones adventure. The introduction of interesting new characters, specifically Sophia Hapgood, was also a successful choice by LucasArts, as it allowed the game to stand on its own outside the films while still being in line with them. For many people, the game was almost a phenomenon. Few people seem to remember that LucasArts printed full size 27x40 movie posters with simulated credits and "Drew Struzanesque" artwork for the game. There was even a comic series made off of the story. Everyone called it Indiana Jones 4 and for a long time, it was speculated that the plot of the game was either an unused script for a sequel, or the actual sequel itself waiting to be filmed. I have talked with many people over the years who hoped that Indy 4 will be a remake of this game!

And how can one blame them? The game is like an Indy film playing out right before our eyes. The score is there. The exotic locations are present, with the intervals between them arriving in the familiar form of the roving red line across the map. Indy travels and explores all manners of sites, from surface digs to ancient temples, caves, and even Nazi submarines. The dialogue is intelligent and witty for a video game, with Indy giving us a good dose of comic one liners from time to time to lighten the mood. Simultaneously, we get to choose what Indy gets to say, as with the prequel Last Crusade, so that you may be able to talk your way out of things if you have your wits about you. The graphics are nice and hold up well to service the game with colorful backgrounds and well animated (if not extensively detailed) characters.

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Indy & Sophia in Tikal (left). At Omar's house and asking to use balloon.
 
 

The Wits, Fists, or Team Path

Beyond that, the game had extensive replay value, which is rare for a graphic adventure. At a certain point in the game, Indy must choose to go one of three ways. He can take the fists path, wits path, or the team path. In other words, if you choose one way, it's Indy on his own using his fists to get to Atlantis. Choose another way and Indy will be presented with a different series of puzzles where he must rely on his wits to get through. The last option is to travel with Sophia and work as a team to solve the game. You can play the game three times through and never get bored!

 
 

Conclusion

In my humble opinion, this is THE BEST Indiana Jones game that has ever been developed. However, I will not be so biased as to tell you it has absolutely no drawbacks. Every game has its flaws, and this one has one small imperfection that must be noted. The one thing this game is not so capable of reproducing is the sense of action that is prevalent in the Indiana Jones films. This is mainly due to the fact that the game is a graphic adventure that relies more on puzzles than real time action gaming. (Another Fate of Atlantis game was brought out at the same time called simply Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis: The Action Game to give action fans something to chew on.) This lack of real time action is not a serious drawback at all, and only noticed in hindsight. In fact, I would say that the graphic adventure format was the best format for Indy at the time because the other genres of the period could not capture the atmosphere of Indiana Jones as well. Let's face it. There cannot be any real sense of exploration or involved plot lines in a linear platform game.

A little known fact and a rather saddening one is that the game was slated to have a sequel entitled Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix, which was going to be another graphic adventure. This game never came to fruition, much to the disappointment of Fate of Atlantis fans. It can be speculated that LucasArts saw new possibilities on the gaming horizon, especially when games like Tomb Raider hit the shelves where for the first time, action and adventure were combined into a thoroughly engrossing experience that had puzzles and real time action seamlessly entwined. It is well known that Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine is LucasArts' answer to Lara Croft.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis still has a HUGE fan following and many Indy fans have taken it upon themselves to make sequels through careful file hacking and a good dose of sweat, blood, and tears, along with some artistic talent. It is unlikely that LucasArts will ever revisit Indiana Jones as a graphic adventure due to the success of Infernal Machine and Emperor's Tomb. As wonderful as it would be to have them dust off Iron Phoenix and release it with snazzy new graphics, I am afraid that the odds of that fantasy coming true are as likely as finding the Lost Ark. (MF)

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Indy & Sophia finding the way into the heart of Atlantis.
 
 

Trivia

A four-issue comic book mini-series based on the game's storyline was published before the game's release by Dark Horse Comics.

Game resource editing programs have revealed that there is an unused room in the game code that didn't make it to the final version. This room is Sophia's bedroom, and lies next to her ransacked office. The programmers must have originally planned more action as well as puzzles in Sophia's apartment.

 
 

References & In-Jokes

When you find yourself in a dark room, you are provided with a "Touch" command instead of the normal "Look" command. Choose "Touch" and then click on Sophia. She will slap you and say "Watch those hands, buster!"
The LucasArts logo can be spotted several times in the Knossos labyrinth, depicted as hieroglyphs on walls.
By choosing "Look" on the shelf in Indy's office at Barnett College, he will comment on some of the artifacts on the shelf. There is a Thugee idol from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, a purple glowing meteor from Maniac Mansion, and letters from Henry Jones, Senior, to the school board in which Indy will comment that they all begin with the phrase "Regarding Henry", a reference to a film starring Harrison Ford.
One of the items Omar offers is a baseball he claims is signed by Lou Gehrig, but when Indy examines it he says, "It's signed by some guy named Ron Gilbert". Ron Gilbert is the creator of the Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island series, as well as the SCUMM game engine, which most LucasArts adventure games use.
At one moment in the game, Sophia response is "Frankly, Indy, I don't give a damn". A reference to the last words in Gone with the Wind (1939).

One of the items at Omar's home is a small black statue of a bird. When Indy examines the bird he makes a reference to The Maltese Falcon (1941) starring Humphrey Bogart.

At some point in Algeria, one of Indy's offered questions to Sophia reads "Of all the shops in Algeria, we had to walk in this one". At that Sophia replies "We'll always have Iceland, Indy". These two lines are a reference to another film classic starring Humphrey Bogart; Casablanca (1942).
In Algeria you can find an image of the Ark of the Covenant. When spotting this, Indy comments "I've seen THAT before." A reference to Raiders of the Lost Ark.
In Atlantis, Indy finds a big stone cup, saying "Surely, this is NOT the cup of a carpenter". A reference to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
And when again looking around Indy's office at Barnett College, Indy can find letters from the school principle to Indy's father. All letters begin with "Regarding Henry...". In 1991 Harrison Ford starred in a film named Regarding Henry.

 

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