Solomon's Key for the NES was released in Japan on this day in 1986.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (DOS)

92
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.2
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  RussS (781)
Written on  :  Sep 16, 2009
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars

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Summary

A good game, though probably over-hyped by adventure buffs.

The Good

The game opens in a grand way that is a true cross between Indiana Jones and Lucasarts games, with a witty intro that intertwines the credits with actually playing the game, I loved this and wish more games were creative this way.

The plot of the game is very in the Indy vein, taking the much over-used idea of Atlantis and putting the Nazi spin on it. True to Jones form the game doesn't dwell in ancient scriptures and instead constructs an almost plausible story involving a lost dialogue of Plato as a cue for sending our hero across the world. Being an adventure game it gets pretty close to the feel of the film, given the constraints of being played out across static screens and being unable to use proper cinematography. The SCUMM game engine has clearly been used well, performing admirably and enhanced by great voice acting and an excellent score (helped along by the famous Indy motif).

The famous thing everyone says about the game is the different paths through depending on you playing style, which add a replayability to it, though I suppose were it a real Jones film, the muscles path would have to be taken.

The Bad

Being an adventure game the game has to have challenging elements I suppose, but sometimes these challenges are ramped beyond what you'd get in at the cinema. I felt that these detracted from the romping across the globe feel, as you were left sometimes doing a fairly ridiculous travel back and forth across the globe to attempt a different puzzle whilst figuring another out.

This kind of criticism may seem unjust given it does the best it can do as a game, but then it is trying to follow in the steps of a film series. I would write that the plot and ending is a little too overblown for an Indy story, but then I've now seen the Crystal Skull, so even the Infernal Machines plot devices could seem reasonable now. The staging of the story doesn't quite work so well, as the tone of the game is more light-hearted than the films, following more on LucasArts other games such as Monkey Island, though I suppose it might help relieve the pressure of 'using item a on object b' to solve a puzzle.

The Bottom Line

In term of where the genre was at when the game was released, it's a milestone, playing other games from the same era allows you to realise how smoothly this game plays and how well the 'never die' (at least giving you a fair warning otherwise) device works well and helps the game continue.

There are lessons to be learnt from this game on how to write and design a good adventure game, though also improvements that could come forth too such as injecting more a free-flowing film dynamism to the game, making the action sequences less stifled (long-winded boxing matches, anyone?).

Definitely worth playing for all adventure buffs and Indiana Jones fans who felt that maybe the latest movie installment didn't deliver.