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Indiana Jones and The Fate of Atlantis
Indiana Jones IVIt was a small sensation when in 1991 LucasArts published Indiana Jones and The Fate of Atlantis starring the famous archaeologist without having brought a movie to the great canvas before (as had been the case with Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade). However, the whip-lashing PC gamer didn't really care because the game's quality would have come up to any cinematic spectacle. With regard to story, action, puzzle density and handling women, the virtual Indy put the real one in the shade. It's not without reason that even one decade after its release, the fourth installment is still considered one of the best adventure games ever.
 
A class of its own:
Auf IslandThe interactive intro sequence alone could be considered a class of its own. Accompanied by John Williams' orchestral soundtrack, you navigated Indy through a multistorey building and helped him search for a precious artifact while triggering off wonderfully animated, scripted sequences. The presentation in general was one of the game's many strengths and set a new benchmark for adventure games at that time. Indy IV was the first LucasArts game to be published in VGA first and in EGA later. The detailed 256 color VGA graphics sported scanned backgrounds instead of painted ones, and the characters had been drafted with the help of filmed actors. Besides this, the reliable SCUMM menu system (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) delivered top-notch playability, and the iMUSE sound system spiced up the game with classic score depending on the situation (as e.g. the main theme on important occasions).
 
A question of getting there:
Auf den AzorenIndiana Jones wouldn't be his old, likable self if he weren't constantly searching for some ancient treasure. In this case, he had found traces of the fabled (but unfortunately long-lost) city of Atlantis. But his former arch enemies, the Nazis, were close on his heels as they hoped to find a precious, and for their twisted aims helpful, metal within the city. Naturally, it was evident right from the beginning that Atlantis' secret wouldn't remain undisclosed for Indy, but getting there was a different matter altogether (and at this, Indy IV excelled). At an early point in the game, you were given the difficult choice of how to accomplisch your task best. Friends of arcade action were able to let their fists do most of the talking, puzzle aficionados relied on their rationality to solve the mysteries, and team players accepted the help of Indy's red-haired friend and fellow researcher Sophia Hapgood. Especially the team mode was pure fun, since Indy's and Sophia's battles of words were close to screwball comedies. Following up the leads, Indy naturally had to journey to various exotic localities (200 in total), ranging from the icy north and dusty desert to the final hunt in Atlantis.
Details:
Producer:
LucasArts

Released:
In 1991

Nostalgia:
very high

System:
MS-DOS

Playable?
not any more

Available?
Low budget

Links:
Tentakel-Villa (Ger),
Monkey Isl.
Do you have the brains?
AtlantisThat Indy IV was ahead of its time became unmistakably clear when taking a look at the puzzle design. In most cases, there existed several ways to solve a puzzle, and the more sophisticated your approach, the more points were credited to your IQ ("Indy Quotient"). The majority of puzzles could be tackled within only a handful of screens, giving you a better overview of the task at hand. Fortunately, puzzles entailing your searching the screen for tiny objects were rare. Although there were a few small labyrinths to conquer and a like number of unavoidable action sequences to overcome (e.g. fist fights in Atlantis, a balloon ride over the desert, or a dive with a U-boat), most of them were fun rather than overly challenging.
It was no big surprise, therefore, that the game became a huge success, for which screen writer, filmmaker and Indy IV producer Hal Barwood (Dragonslayer) had been partly responsible. The press overheaped the game with praise (POWER PLAY 94%), resulting in top positions in the charts while seamlessly continuing the success story of previous LucasArts adventures (cf. softography for Monkey Island). Although another Indy game was released in 2000 (Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine), it didn't have the quality of the fourth installment. So why not help Indy once more in his quest to discover The Fate of Atlantis...?
© 10-07-2001 by CE

 
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