|Developer:||LucasArts|||||Release Date:||1992|||||Systems:||PC, Mac, Amiga, FM Towns, Wii|
This week on Super Adventures I'm looking at the second Indiana Jones point and click adventure game, Fate of Atlantis, and wondering why they've put a colour cycling effect on the logo. That didn't happen in the movies... did it? I don't own the films so I can't check.
I should make it clear that this is Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis: The Graphic Adventure I'm playing, as like Last Crusade this has a separate Action Game to go along with it. Though unlike Last Crusade this has its own original story, there never was a 'Fate of Atlantis' film, so the Action Game is actually a video game tie-in... to a video game. I'm pretty sure I had a 'Fate of Atlantis' comic book once as well, but it'd take an archaeologist to find the damn thing now.
The game came out after Lucasfilm Games were renamed to LucasArts, so I'm hoping I'll get to see an animation of the Gold Guy logo man doing something at the start.
Earlier Lucasfilm adventures like Last Crusade, Loom and even Monkey Island were originally released with 16 colour EGA visuals, so their use of cyan was due to necessity. Fate of Atlantis on the other hand had 256 colour VGA graphics from the start, so if I ever end up in a magenta coloured room it's because the artists chose to make me to suffer. It still got a CD-ROM re-release down the line though, to upgrade the dialogue from silent to 'talkie'.
Oh I should point out that Indy's got a voice! I'm not sure I'd go as far as calling this a Harrison Ford impersonation, but I can believe the guy's a rugged adventurer in a fedora. I've heard better voice acting, but not in a video game from 1992.
Right, the interface hasn't bothered to appear yet so I can't actually do anything besides walk around and click on things, but at least I know exactly what I'm supposed to be clicking on. That's a big step up from Last Crusade.
This totally wasn't my fault though! I mean who the hell puts a trap door right in front of a peculiar statue? And there's no way a falling bookcase should be able to to slam someone right through the floorboards like that. This college is a damn death trap.
Oh by the way, it turns out that this is actually Barnett College, where Indy teaches. He just felt like swinging in through the window with his whip instead of using the stairs for once.
This intro level serves as the opening credits, as names appear on screen during all the times he's dropped on his ass, but I edited them out of this GIF to get it moving faster. Lots of good names in there though, like Day of the Tentacle/TIE Fighter composers Michael Z. Land, Peter McConnell and Clint Bajakian. Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell was also involved, as the rotoscope actor for Indy himself! Likely for the 'walking around' animations rather than the 'dropping down holes' ones though.
|(Lines only vaguely point to the right month, especially for the earlier games.)|
By the way I reckon 'Fate of Atlantis' is a great title for an Indy game. Apparently the guy who ran the company wanted to go with 'Indy's Next Adventure', but fortunately project leader Hal Barwood got his way in the end.
I haven't played a lot of the game before, but I saw this cutscene running on an Amiga back in 90s and Duke Nukem Forever came out before it'd finished transitioning between images. Everything took forever in fact, especially the loading between scenes. Here's something I've learned from personal experience: don't ever play a game with 11 disks on an Amiga with one disk drive.
This was actually the last of the LucasArts adventures to get an Amiga (or FM Towns) release, as they became very PC and Mac bound after this. Their final graphic adventure, Escape from Monkey Island, made it to PlayStation 2, but until ScummVM came out you were stuck playing the next dozen games after this on a beige monitor screen or not at all.
Hang on, was he just speaking German?
The Indiana Jones license might not have been the ideal match for point and click adventure games really, seeing how Germany is one of the biggest markets for the genre. We nearly got a third Indiana Jones adventure game called Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix but a number of factors led to its cancellation, including the fact that it would've been about Nazis trying to resurrect Hitler. Wouldn't be much left of that story after German censorship was done with it. It got released as a comic though!
This particular article is about the Jastro expedition in Iceland, where Indy worked as a field supervisor, with Sophia Hapgood (on the right) as his assistant. She later gave up archaeology to become a psychic, but she might still have something Kerner wants. Indy needs to phone her up and warn her!
It's funny how the game gets less modern after the prologue, as now I've got a box full of verbs taking up a third of the screen. There's far less of them than in Last Crusade though; I'll just have to make do without 'Turn on' and 'Turn off'.
Man it's so nice to be able to see what objects are just by hovering the cursor over them. Plus I can right click on the things to automatically perform the sensible action! There's still a bit of pixel hunting, but overall it’s a definite step up from Last Crusade.
Hey, there's a newspaper here I can 'interact' with! Swiped.
I don’t remember much about the game, but I do recall that the method I choose to get inside to see Sophia determines what set of puzzles I'll be playing through in the middle chapter of the game (or what it recommends at least). I can either pick the ‘Wits’ path, the ‘Fists’ path or… the third one. I said I didn't remember much!
One way in is to simply push the crates out of the way and get to the fire escape. The second way is to open the back door and talk my way past the bouncer. The third way... is to play that bloody fighting mini-game from Last Crusade.
Jack Orlando. I guess I won't be playing the fists path then.
The fighting can either be played with the mouse or the numeric keypad, with different buttons for move back, block, and punch. The trick is to punch when the punch power bar has filled up, and block when you’re being hit. At least that’s how I think it’s played, obviously I haven’t gotten the hang of it. There's also the instant knock-out punch button, which gets you the win without getting you any I.Q. (Indy Quotient) points in the process, for when you don't care any more and just want to move on.
Indy eventually struggled back to his feet and I was able to try a different tack with the bouncer: behaving like a normal decent human being. That seemed to work out better, especially when I discovered he was a big fan of Madame Sophia and played on that.
Every time I try to talk with the guy he shh’s me and I get to see a bit more of Sophia’s lecture. She seems pretty convinced that the city Atlantis once existed, apparently because the Great Spirit NUR-AB-SAL told her so, and she's somehow found an audience willing to pay for the privilege of hearing her talk about it.
Eventually the game ran out of cutscenes and I was able to have a proper conversation with the stagehand. The guy wanted something to read so I handed over my precious newspaper and that solved that puzzle. He asked me to watch the lights while he's gone, so I will. I’ll be watching them very carefully to see what happens when I pull the levers.
Turns out that Kerner managed to beat Indy here and ransacked her room, but he missed the grand prize: Sophia's necklace.
Unfortunately Kerner seem to have a much better idea of where to look than we do, but suddenly Sophia gets a message from Nur-Ab-Sal, telling us to... locate the Lost Dialogue of Plato. Which is actually a real book that exists in our real world, or more accurately doesn't, as it's presumed that Plato never began writing it.
So we're looking for one myth to find another myth, awesome. The two decide they might as well go to the old dig site in Iceland, as that's where all these statues and necklaces came from.
I was expecting there to be some puzzles to solve here, but all I've found is a cave and this bronze eel statue Bjorn's failing to get out of the ice. Fortunately the guy actually knows a lot about Plato's Lost Dialogue so it wasn't a wasted trip.
I'll go visit Costa the trader in the Azores then.
Sophia's carrying that rare Atlantean artefact around her neck so we could solve this right now, but she refuses to give the thing up, so we need to find a second one somewhere.
Seems that this one door is all there is in the Azores; there's nothing else I can click on and nowhere else to go. I can't even pick anything up, which is a shame as with Sophia along I've got two inventories to feed now. I miss my newspaper.
Finding the way out wasn't hard, there's only so many paths to choose from, but there's a snake blocking my path on the other side! So now I'm trying to herd this jungle rodent through the correct exit to distract the snake and the little bastard won't go in!
Oh hang on, maybe I could try scaring him with a loud whipping noise...
I climbed the tree to get over the chasm and... found Sophia waiting to greet me on the other side. She'd found the quick route.
There's a temple here that seems worth investigating for artefacts, but Sternhart won't let us in until we tell him the title of Plato's Lost Dialogue and prove that we're proper scholars of Atlantis. Out Atlantean expert's really letting the team down here. That bird over on the left squawked ‘TITLE’ though, so I’m thinking he knows something. Trick will be getting him to sing.
Oh, actually I just walked up to the parrot and said ‘TITLE’ and that got me the info. Another puzzle solved!
Oh hang on, I've figured it out! Not all that hard really when the area only has one other item in it (a kerosene lamp). I told Sophia to distract Sternhart from his trinket shop, swiped the lamp, and used the contents on the wall. Lucky I knew that kerosene helps to strip away tarnish and unstick ancient spiral designs.
So I put the spiral into the elephant head to form a nose, then pulled it to reveal a dead bloke stuck in the wall! Also a worldstone artefact and another orichalcum bead. Then that dick Sternhart ran off with the worldstone and disappeared through a secret door!
I don’t know where to go now. All that work and all it got me in the end was a single bead. I guess I'll go pay Bjorn another visit as I honestly can't think of what else to do.
That sure looks like an ancient Atlantian artefact sticking out of the ice though. I still can't get it out, but Sophia's necklace reacted to being fed orichalcum, so I'll stick a bead in the eel's mouth and see what it does. Maybe it actually is a homing beacon for wayward spaceships like Bjorn thought.
Well it gets hot, that's all I know. Hot enough to melt its way to freedom! Now I can give this to Costa and get the location of the Lost Dialogue!
A lot of the voices are pretty decent in this, this mad scientist not so much. I mean he really sounds like a mad scientist and it doesn't suit the tone. I can't say a bad word about the actor though, seeing as he went on to play Max in Sam & Max: Hit the Road, Fred Edison in Day of the Tentacle, and half the cast in every 'Star Wars' game ever.
This seems like a good place to stop playing, as the interlude has a very 'end of chapter 1' feel to it, but I still haven't gotten that damn book yet! But I know where it is...
I'm struggling though, as I keep finding boxes that need keys and totem poles that need slippery floors and nothing seems to get me any closer to working it all out.
Like this bookcase for instance. I went pixelhunting and located a tiny arrowhead sitting on a shelf and then wrapped a dirty rag around it to create a makeshift screwdriver. With my new tool I'm able to unscrew all the literally one pixel big screws in the back of the fallen bookcase.
Why did I do this? I've no bloody idea. If someone walked in right now and caught me I would have to explain that I'm taking it apart just in case I get a copy of Plato's Lost Dialogue out of it. They'd think I was crazy and they'd be right.
I think what happened here is that I fell victim to randomisation. My theory is that the Lost Dialogue can be in different places on different playthroughs, so the arrowhead and the lump of coal are useless to me now, but potentially crucial if I started again.
Okay I just checked a walkthrough and it turns out I was right about the 'random location' part, but not entirely about the 'crucial' part. There's multiple solutions! (Occasionally).
SOON, IN MONTE CARLO.
I have successfully reached the middle of the game and that means I had to make a choice between the Wits path, the Team path or the Fists path. I wanted Sophia around so I could ask her for advice to I picked Team, and now I have to face the consequences of that. I could've been ramming the man's car off the road in a minigame, but instead I have to remember three things he told me in conversation earlier... and then guess how many fingers he's holding up behind his back. Or alternatively do something with this flashlight and a bed sheet.
After a while of this I gave up and checked the walkthrough, and learned that the second way to beat it requires a mask from Algiers. But I can't be bothered to get it at this point, so I'm just going to save the game before he asks his final questions and get through this interrogation using trial and error. Yay for being able to save anywhere, even mid-conversation.
LATER, IN ALGIERS.
I am going to stop playing in a bit, I don't want to ruin the whole game for you, I'm just not quitting until I figure out how to get this damn squab. I need to trade it to a beggar you see, to get a mystery free gift (which could be the Ark of the Covenant for all I know). Right, where's the walkthrough at, I'm sick of this now.
Oh, it turns out I have to go to different shop on another screen and swap objects with the trader there. Then I come back and see if squab guy wants it. If he doesn't, I go back to the trader and swap items again, and again, and again. More repetition, fantastic!
MUCH MUCH LATER.
Unfortunately the Nazis have caught up with me, so now I have to be very careful not to antagonist Kerner while he's got that pistol pointed my way. Or on the other hand, I could test to see if the game follows LucasArts adventure game rules re: killing off the player character.
Hang on, according to the game over screen, the villain defeated himself? Indy never had to do a thing to stop him? That's... actually fairly typical for an Indiana Jones story now that I think about it. Still, it means that I can load my last save outside of the labyrinth, stop playing, and claim that I won!
Those Indy Quotient points don't have any purpose by the way, it's just my score. Somehow I don't think I made the top of the scoreboard with that effort.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is definitely an Indiana Jones game about the fate of Atlantis. It's an original story but it's got all those important Indiana Jones elements like exotic locations, a tough female sidekick, a race against Nazis to discover an ancient myth, optional fist fights and a whip. It doesn't sound a whole lot like an Indiana Jones story though, especially when Indy's opening his mouth. For one thing the sound quality is a bit crap, but then you're not likely to hear better from 1992. Later Day of the Tentacle and Sam & Max: Hit the Road managed to sound like cartoons, this... maybe not so much, but they definitely got real actors in to do actual acting and it's much better than I dunno, Resident Evil. The game didn't make me feel like I was stepping into the shoes of the iconic rogue archaeologist, but the man I was playing as was likeable enough.
Sophia's pretty likeable too and the two of them play off each other well. Their dialogue's not laugh out loud funny, but then you wouldn't really want it to be; this isn't a comedy no matter how many times Indy performed a pratfall during the credits. It's just a shame that what I've played so far didn't give her a whole lot to do, besides act as a hint system and take over in exactly two conversations. If I'd picked one of the other paths she'd have disappeared entirely for the middle of the game!
Speaking of the paths, the 'Wits', 'Fists' and 'Team' idea is pretty unusual and goes along with the randomisation of certain puzzles to add a bit of replay value to the game, which I appreciate. I'd rather enjoy a short adventure game twice than have to endure a long one that's outlived my interest. Trouble is it's very linear and likes to cage you in with a small set of puzzles at a time, flushing half your inventory away when you move on. You can't really attack it from multiple directions like the Monkey Island games.
I got stuck a few times and went running for a guide (in the repetitive bits mostly), but aside from some insane pixel hunting, the game hasn't thrown in many frustrating difficulty-enhancers to trip me up so far. It doesn't seem possible to leave an item behind and make the game unwinnable (unlike in Last Crusade), and it was usually considerate enough to let me know what my goal was! Which I always appreciate.
To be absolutely honest I don't love the game and I didn't even enjoy the game at times, but it kept me playing well after the point I planned to turn it off, so I think that's earned it a shiny 'Not Crap' award.
Please leave opinions on Fate of Atlantis and feedback on Super Adventures! If you feel like it.