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Help Support Research Video Games Temple of Doom - Console

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom:
The Console Version

Console cover

Developer: Atari Games
Publisher: Atari Games

Release date:

Technical Info:
Platforms: Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Arcade, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, MSX, NES, ZX Spectrum

Genre: Action Game

Mode(s): Single-player


Everyone who grew up in the eighties remembers the video arcade. For us, the children of the eighties, the video arcade was Mecca. Anyone who remembers putting quarters in Frogger, Spy Hunter, and Dragon's Lair also recalls the feeling of knowing that once you left, you would go home to an Atari 2600 or a Nintendo and wish that you were back in the arcade. Why? Because the graphics were better and the sound was better, and that made the game all the more fun. For all of you out there who missed the eighties, it should interest you to know that there was a period of time when the home video game console paled in comparison to the arcade. It was a time when the gaming industry's main goal was to equal the quality of the arcade. In those days, the golden years of the 8 bit game console, the rift between the arcade and the home system was extremely wide. Nowadays, many of us have forgotten this as the arcade game and the home system essentially run neck and neck as far as graphics and quality.

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Opening screen of the Commodore 64 version.

Back then, companies like Sega and Nintendo developed countless arcade adaptations for their consoles in an attempt to "bring the arcade home". Admittedly, it was still too early for these kinds of attempts, but they did it anyway and almost every time, they produced a highly disappointing and wholly inferior product. Raise you hand if you remember any of the following titles for the NES: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game. This title was depressingly poor in comparison with the arcade game. Double Dragon anyone? NES should have hid their head in shame. How about Contra? OK, OK, Contra was good. But that was the only one. All right, all right. Bionic Commando was good too. Mostly though, inferior adaptations like Spy Hunter, Commando, Gauntlet, and Ninja Gaiden flooded the market as these companies fought to bring the arcade to our television sets.

They even went so far as to attempt resurrections of arcade classics. Most of these older games, like Pac Man and Donkey Kong, fared better on the 8 bit systems graphically, but they suffered at the other end of the spectrum, lack of interest from the kids. It would not be until the advent of the Sega Genesis and the game Altered Beast, that a company could equal an arcade game, and even then it would still be a long time before the consoles could consistently keep up.

One of the older arcade games that found its way onto a myriad of consoles was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. There were quite a number of adaptations made off of the original Atari game. Some were made by Mindscape, some were made by U.S. Gold. Some were designed for the Commodore 64 while others found their way onto the Apple II computer. All of them are disappointing. All of them (with the exception of the NES games, which are markedly different) are flimsy adaptations of the original arcade game. The game premise to these is exactly the same as the arcade. Save the children, steal the stones, and escape the Temple of Doom.

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The Sinclaire ZX Spectrum 128 version.

The biggest problem with these games is the same problem that all other arcade adaptations had back then. The graphics and sound are just lousy and downright embarrassing. I am well aware that systems back then did not have the power they have today to render objects and blast us with stereo sounds. I can forgive them on that account, but this awareness does not override the fact that graphics this bad and sound this poor only succeed in making you yearn for the arcade game all the more. I can guarantee you that none of these conversions include the voices from the arcade game, and the music adaptations are also inferior. All of these games were released around 1987 and 1988, at the same time as the NES versions.

The version for the Sinclaire ZX Spectrum 128 system (a rarely heard of game console that runs off games on cassette tapes) made by U.S. Gold is completely in black and white with colored status menus bordering the monochromatic playing screen. The graphics are as mentioned before, very poor and rudimentary in comparison to the arcade game. U.S. Gold put this exact same game on the Amstrad CPC with an added bonus, two colors for the game itself! Ladders and other accents are a yucky brown, while Indy and the Thuggees are a nice shade of… blue! Are you feeling ill yet? Breathe into the bag, Indy fan!

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The Commodore 64 version vs. the Amstrad CPC version.

The version made for the Commodore 64 fared a little better on the color side and had a superior title screen. The best of the bunch is arguably the version for the IBM PC, which looked the closest to the arcade. Not very close by today's standards, but at the time it was the best you could hope for outside of owning the arcade console itself. There were also versions made for the Apple II computer, the Atari ST, and supposedly one for the Sega Master System. If you are a person who has a goal to beat every Indiana Jones game, I strongly encourage you to consider these games cleared when you have finished the arcade game. For Indiana Jones fans and gaming enthusiasts alike, these versions will only succeed in offending your sensibilities. Spare yourself the agony and go play the original arcade game, Infernal Machine, Fate of Atlantis, or even Desktop Adventures! "I keep telling you! You listen to me, you live longer!" (MF)


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