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Help Support Research Video Games Temple of Doom - Atari

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Arcade Flyer

Developer: Atari Games
Publisher: Atari Games

Release date:
August 1985

Directed by: Peter Lipson
Produced by: Mike Hally
Voice Coach: Earl Vickers
Music/Audio Effects: Hal Canon, Dennis Harper
Costumes & special effects by: Susan G. McBride, Alan Murphy, Will Noble
Set designer: Dave Ralston

Technical Info:
Platforms: Atari System 1

Genre: Action Game

Mode(s): Single-player

Media: Arcade Console

In 1984, Indy returned to the big screen in the blockbuster sequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which we all know. Some of us love the film, some of us hate it, but no one can deny that the second Indiana Jones film had arguably the most marketing behind it. Wendy's cashed in on it, LJN made some figures, Aladdin made the only metal Indy lunchbox ever produced, Stetson kicked their Indy hats into high gear, and Atari jumped on the Indy wagon once again to make one of the most enjoyable games to ever come out of the franchise. Many people when asked do not remember this game in the arcade. This game was not as widely distributed as titles like Pac-Man, Frogger, and the super popular Star Wars vector console, which Atari released in 1983. Nonetheless, the game did exist, and all of those people who remember playing it also remember enjoying it.

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"Game over" screen.

The game came to arcades in two forms (as many games back then did). The first way was as a conversion kit for a generic arcade console. In other words, "I think this week I'll take Dig Dug out and put Temple of Doom in." The process is not as simple as replacing a 2600 cartridge, but the principle is the same. The other way (and preferred way in my opinion) was to have a dedicated console sent to the arcade. This means that when you walked into the arcade, there was a console that said Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on the front glass and had a decorated housing with Indy and Mola Ram and other elements from the game painted on the side.

The game had a single joystick for one player and two buttons, one on either side of the joystick to accommodate the left-handed and the right-handed. Each button was for Indy's "Whip" function. These buttons also determined how many lives you wanted after inserting your precious quarters. If you inserted two quarters, the game would instruct you to either press the right button for three lives or the left button for seven. Atari also boasted their new "System I" technology in this game which gave it a variety of bells and whistles including an automatically resetting high scores list and a controllable setting for earning extra lives. In other words, if the arcade owner was a nice guy, he could set the machine to give you an extra life for every 20,000 points you earned. If he was a cheapskate, he could set it to increase exponentially. At first it would be 20,000 for a life, then 40,000, etc.

As with Atari's very successful previous titles, Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back vector consoles, Temple of Doom utilized actual sound bytes from the film. Indy can be heard saying, "I'm not leaving here with out the stones." while Mola Ram screams "Soon, Kali-Ma will rule the world!" when Indy bites the dust. The game also featured a nice rendition of John Williams' score for the film in all the appropriate places. When you were in the mines the slave children theme played, when you hit the mine carts the cart chase theme started up, and as always whenever Indy grabbed a Sankara Stone or gained an extra life, the familiar Indy theme chimed in.

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Indy fighting his way through the slave mines.

Story and Gameplay

The structure of the game is simple and very true to the film. Indy must whip his way through three different stages of game play that are pulled directly from the film. The three main types of playing fields are the Slave Mines, Mine Cart Tunnels, and the Temple of Kali. The objective is of course, to traverse these stages, free the slave children, and steal the Sankara Stones. Along the way, Indy must elude a myriad of obstacles. These include Thuggees, vampire bats, cobras, floor spikes, and naturally, Mola Ram himself. Indy must navigate ladders, conveyor belts, swinging posts, lava pits, bridges, and mine carts to save the Sankara Stones in this very fun and entertaining volume in the now extensive Indiana Jones video game library.

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Chase through the mine cart tunnels.


This game has truly stood the test of time in the history of Indy video games and it really is one of the coolest Indiana Jones games ever made. The play control is simple but effective, the graphics are simple but very well done for 1985 and a large improvement over the Atari 2600 game Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indy is properly colored and detailed, has his shoulder bag, his shirt is missing a sleeve, and he slings his trusty whip with fervor. The game reeks of Indy atmosphere with John William's soundtrack throughout, a very nice adaptation of the major action scenes from the final half of the film, and actual voices from the movie itself.

If any of you out there own the actual console, I envy you. For everyone else, there are emulators that can play it if you feel compelled to take the time and look for the ROM sets. This game is a lot of fun for Indy fans (Temple of Doom fans especially), and fans of early video gaming alike. So crack your knuckles, grab your hat, save the children, steal the stones, and enjoy Atari's original arcade classic, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. (MF)


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