Flight of the Amazon Queen

aka: Harpatkaot Malkat ha-Amazonot, L'Amazone Queen, Poljot Korolevy Amazonok
Moby ID: 352

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 74% (based on 18 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 53 ratings with 6 reviews)

Walks on the fine line between Monkey Island and Indiana Jones without falling.

The Good
"Flight of the Amazon Queen" is a decent comic adventure released in 1995 and developed by the Australian based team of Interactive Binary Illusions, who were also responsible for the very entertaining 2D-shooter "Alien Carnage" (also known as "Halloween Harry") prior to this.

The story takes place in 1949 and as the player you adopt the role of a pilot, who – in a quite desperate attempt to come up with a pun – was given the name Joe King. His little private business is getting dangerous, when he's assigned to escort the famous movie star Faye Russel to a photo shoot and his plane, the "Amazon Queen", crashes. The good: the whole crew (more precisely just Joe and his best buddy Sparky) and the passenger (Faye) all survive the accident. The bad: they are now trapped amidst the many dangers of the Amazon Jungle. Not to mention the unpleasant climate (quoting the hero: "Boy, is that hot...").

The relation between the two main-characters reminded me of the second Indiana Jones movie. Similar to the female lead in "Temple of Doom" (played by Kate Capshaw), Faye Russel is a sexy blonde and a bullheaded diva, used to a life in hygienic luxury and now stranded in the wilderness. Of course, she's very angry with the male adventurer who brought her in this messy situation and is giving him hard times in the beginnings. But in the course of the story – no big surprise – both come to like each other.

Soon after the initial events the main-antagonist is introduced. You will have to deal with a mad German scientist in best Josef Mengele fashion, who is hiding out in the jungle and planning to conquer the world. Along with this villain comes his army of brutal dumbheads, which appear to be former Nazi thugs (although this is never indicated clearly). Needless to say, that your primary goal changes from escaping the jungle to stopping the evil plans of these evil people.

True: the characters may be stereotypical and the story-line predictable. But this can be forgiven, as "Flight of the Amazon Queen" is a rather humorous affair, often close to a parody. The game world is filled with funny characters, among them whole tribes of tall pygmies and sex-hungry amazon women, as well as pairs of Christian missionaries and comic-book-collecting discoverers. The games tongue-in-cheek humor often resembles "Monkey Island", but stays a bit less absurd and over the top. One could say (as I did in the top-line), that "Flight of the Amazon Queen" combines the feeling of Indiana Jones adventures with the satiric approach of Guybrush Threepwoods. Even as it throws endless jokes at you (some more, others less funny), it still manages to keep its serious elements reasonably intact. And in doing so, the game succeeds in telling a light-hearted adventure-story and making you laugh at the same time. That surely is a nice thing to achieve, isn't it?

The similarities to LucasArts adventures don't stop here: interface and puzzles show the influence as well. Joe King is controlled via eight buttons, that allow actions like "use", "take", "give" and "talk". They are placed at the bottom of the screen alongside the inventory. Puzzles are of the traditional object-based kind, mostly logical and tending to be easier than in LucasArts adventures. Holding to the best traditions established on Skywalker Ranch, you can neither bite the dust nor maneuver yourself into any dead ends. Overall, the actual gameplay is nothing out of the ordinary, but very solid to say the least.

Graphically, the game comes in VGA and offers nicely drawn backgrounds and some fine animations. The MIDI-Soundtrack is quite inconspicuous, a little repetitive, but overall not bad. What really took me by surprise is the quality of the voice acting. From games from the mid-nineties I normally don't expect much in that sector. As many readers will remember, especially the not-so-big developers often had quite unprofessional (voice) acting during that time. But "Flight of the Amazon Queen" is one of the rare exceptions from that rule. From the accentuated mellow coolness of Joe to the furious outbursts of Faye everything in that department is very well done.

The Bad
As already mentioned, puzzles are mostly logical, but not always. There were cases, where I couldn't figure out any logical approach to certain problems. Also, I sometimes thought the game should have allowed multiple paths to solve some puzzles. For example, there is a situation, where you're captured inside a prison cell in a secret, paramilitary underground base. To get rescued, you have to attract the attention of Faye, who is searching the building for you. A logical solution would be to blow the huge horn you're carrying around. But doing so has no effect at all, although you produce a big noise. But if you get the idea to strike with a coffee cup against the bars of your prison, the case is solved. Strange puzzles like that are seldom, but in my opinion they shouldn't exist at all.

What I explained above, is a situation that occurred in the second half of the game. This is more or less symptomatic, as the second half suffers from a significant loss in overall quality compared to the first. It begins with your heroic infiltration of an ancient temple, peppered with deadly traps and the like. The game gets much darker in tone here, which at first is quite welcome after the comical excesses of the first half. But unfortunately this part is far too long and has some serious drawbacks. Firstly, the game becomes more linear, now quite strictly prescribing the order, in which you have to solve the puzzles. Secondly, there are long walks involved, as there is no map, which allows direct jumping to certain points in the temple (which is provided in the jungle). But the third and most important disappointment is the lack of interaction with other characters, which was one of the more interesting parts in the first half of the game. Even in the temple, you can talk to some creatures and persons, but they are far less than before.

Having completed the temple sequence, I was hoping that the game would return to its strengths one more time. But I became disappointed. The story quickly moves to the final act, which feels quite rushed and unsatisfying. In retrospect, the later parts of the game seem a bit hastily put together. It doesn't feel, like there went the same amount of thinking and care into it, than before.

The Bottom Line
When you strive for playing the judge over this nice little work, you have to keep in mind that the standards, it sets in its beginnings (and by which the later parts are naturally measured), are not exactly low. The second half is certainly a letdown, but nevertheless "Flight of the Amazon Queen" stays an enjoyable experience. Even the fact, that the game isn't to be called strikingly original, renders no weighty criticism in my eyes. Most point and click adventures of the time were heavily inspired by the works of LucasArts. "Flight of the Amazon Queen" is no exception, but at least it features an original setting. Furthermore, it performs very well in terms of always holding the difficult balance between comedy and serious adventure-story. The inhuman cruelty, with which the villain is depicted, not only delivers a fine motivation for kicking his butt, it also brings some darker undertones into the whole affair, where other comic-adventures are merely a collection of jokes. See it this way and there is nothing wrong in giving this game a chance.

DOS · by micnictic (387) · 2008

A solid and well-executed adventure.

The Good
This is a typical adventure that bears all the hallmarks of mid-nineties adventure games. It is a third-person, point and click with an Indiana Jones-esque storyline, and humour. It has been caste in the mould of LucasArts' adventures and features the Amazon as its locale, very similar to Amazon: Guardians of Eden.

The developers have focused on game-play a lot, including some strange (though mostly straightforward) puzzles, and no chance of being stuck in a dead end. The game engine is smooth and very easy to use with no strange actions need to progress. In this way the game has been very solidly constructed with clear crisp graphics.

Like all games of the burgeoning CD era, the game came in a 'talkie' version, which added some stereotypically hammy acting that neither adds nor detracts from the game.

The story is completely silly and purposefully so, trying to stop a mad doctor from creating an army of dinosaur people using the legendary powers of the Amazon. The title is a complete misnomer, it should have been called "Crash of the Amazon Queen" as that's all the titular plane does. Instead the player endlessly traipses around the jungle slowly unravelling the plot. Being a silly plot the game clearly focuses on humour and tries to inject a joke into everything, though they frequently don't hit the mark and fall back on bad puns.

The Bad
The plot is a little too throwaway with it's silliness, I felt Beneath a Steel Sky did a better job of providing a combination of humour and thought-provoking drama (for a game). The puzzles are good for not being completely obscure, but the story hardly leaves you guessing what will happen next and I sometimes found myself having to convey an item from one end of the jungle to the other for an obvious goal.

The Bottom Line
Flight of the Amazon Queen is a solid point and click adventure. The game-play and puzzles have been executed perfectly with clear art and good animation. The only disappointment is the 'by the numbers' plot and humour which fails to raise the game to a classic status, or above the LucasArts games it so desperately wants to be.

DOS · by RussS (807) · 2010

Good old adventure

The Good
In the middle of 90, many adventures had absurd choices or way to proceed...this one is fun, playable and without absurd way to finish the game. I love the setting and I liked the story, Joe and Faye (We have to remember that this game was created in 1995) are good and they interact very well, I also loved Joe's partner. Graphic in my opinion is good and still playable right now (I play the original version, not the remastered)...but I understand many people could not like 1995's graphic.

The Bad
Sometimes it is annoying going from a location to another (no fast travel), some situations were highly stereotyped but for me these are minor flaws.

The Bottom Line
A game to play in a videogamer life, especially if you love point and click adventures with a retro feeling

DOS · by Sberl · 2023

A-Game Cult Classic

The Good
Much like watching Mystery Science Theatre 3000, playing FOTAQ makes you feel like you're involved in something very special and secret; a cult classic, so to speak. The game's developers make no apologies in making you feel like you're in a B-Movie based game; everything in this adventure game is charming, from the German crazy scientist villain, to the Amazon women's captives wishing to remain in their clutches. The clever dialog adds to the atmosphere, featuring many puns and colorful jokes (an existentialist monkey that disappears when you tell him he doesn't exist is great).

The Bad
While the puzzles and item usage did seem logical after solving them, the process itself was a bit tedious, as it makes you try every item in your inventory - not fun. Some of Queen's multimedia charms are also its main shortcomings; Joe's voice for example, is spattered with a Brooklyn-numb nut type accent and it gets annoying fast (an unpleasant surprise after playing the silent version). Much of the supporting characters have equally annoying voices, but I guess the aim was to immerse us in a true classic B-Movie experience.

The Bottom Line
A truly enjoyable game dedicated to adventure game and movie fans that, while a little frustrating at times, will have you smiling on many an occasion.

DOS · by drbriefs (3) · 2004

A nice adventure game that can take on the SCUMM engine any day

The Good
I was a lover of Apogee titles back in the day, and one of these was Alien Carnage, which was made by a small Australian company called Interactive Binary Illusions. They only released two titles in their lifetime, with the other one being Flight of the Amazon Queen, a graphic adventure for the Amiga and PC.

You play Joe King, “pilot for hire” who owns the rickety plane “The Amazon Queen”. He has the job of transporting the actress Faye Russel to somewhere in the Amazon jungle so that she can shoot her latest film. A rival pilot named Anderson takes it upon himself to lock King up inside a hotel so that he can get all the glory to himself. King manages to escape, however, and catches up with Anderson just before he jets off with Russel. En route, the plane crashes into the Amazon jungle due to a lightning strike. There, King finds out that an evil doctor is transforming Amazon women into dinosaurs and using them to take over the world.

The setup program for the game is graphical, not text-based. The backdrop for this program is a bird’s-eye view of the Amazon jungle itself, similar to the title screen of Amazon: Guardians of Eden. You can select what sound card you use for sound and music, and those available include Adlib, Sound Blaster, and the Roland MT-32. For the MT-32, you have to select which port you are using. If you want to custom port, you are then taken to a text-based prompt, and returned to the program after you’re done.

Anyone who has played adventure games from Sierra and LucasArts will feel right at home with FOTAQ, with eight huge icons and the inventory above the main area. The icons represent common commands such as give, move, pick up, talk to, and use. Above this is text telling you what action you are carrying out. The inventory has four slots visible at a time. Arrows allow you to cycle between objects and it wraps around; keep clicking the same arrow, and it eventually loops to the start. Although it is much easier to play FOTAQ with the mouse, it is good that IBI caters for people without mice as well. Keyboard users can move the mouse with the arrow keys, and use the [Ctrl] and [Alt] keys to select commands.

Pressing [F1] will bring up King’s notebook, where you can perform various actions such as save and load a game, adjust text speed, turn the voices on and off (CD-ROM version only), change volume, and quit. There are 100 save slots; you select dividers on the right of them to get access to the next ten. I like how you can start typing away as soon as you access the notebook, and the game assumes that you want to save.

Most of the characters you meet are friendly, and each have their own personalities. I love the way a few of them tests Joe’s laid-back attitude. An example being when Joe gets locked up and he gets fed up with someone insisting that he takes his puppet. When you talk to characters, you will often get up to four dialogue choices. You need to select a specific one to progress through the game, although it doesn’t hurt to experiment for some interesting conversations; King will automatically come to the right one anyway.

Some of the hand-drawn graphics look amazing. They are on par with LucasArts games, and they depict the Amazon quite nicely. I like the pinnacle where you select where in the Amazon you want to go. Although the game features some close-ups of the main characters, sometimes I thought that this is a Leisure Suit Larry game, judging by the close-ups of women showing their cleavages. I like how Dr. Ironstein looks much scarier than the German doctor he is loosely based on.

There are two features that I quite like. If you have the comic book in inventory, you can read the comic in its entirety. You get to hear characters voice their own dialogue, and listen to some dramatic music plying in the background. Also, if you leave the game idle for more than five minutes, the screensaver is activated, and you need to press a key to wake the game up. I believe that a similar feature already exists in Sam & Max Hit the Road. The eleven-page manual boasts nice illustrations on every page, and the headings are quite amusing. It does not cover installation, but it tells you many details about the interface and the journal.

The Bad
It would have been great if IBI added the ability to access a map because walking all the way to the pinnacle becomes tedious, especially when you are navigating the jungle.

The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Flight of the Amazon Queen is a very good adventure game on par with LucasArt games. The graphics and sound is great, and the game even has some nice features including a built-in screen saver and a comic book that you can actually read. It is too bad that we didn't get more adventures starring Joe King.

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43091) · 2020

Truly one of the best games ever made.

The Good
I have to say, that I liked almost everything about this game. Mad scientist, the jungle, the amazons and the ancient temple. The atmosphere is fantastic and the humor throughout the game is absolutely great. The voice acting is good paying regard to the game's release year... it's 1995 however... Most of all I enjoyed the story. It's charming, and will leave a smile on your face at the end.

The Bad
There's very little in this game, that I didn't like. Maybe it could have been a bit longer? and the graphics (mostly because originally released to Amiga) were bit blocky. The most annoying thing about game is that it just won't work with any other operating system than DOS. No single "try-to-run-with-windows" attempts were ever successful.

The Bottom Line
Truly great, humorous, happy ending point & click game. Strongly recommended to all computer players. :)

DOS · by Antti Rantakolmonen (1) · 2006

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Alsy, WONDERなパン, Scaryfun, lobo rojo, Jeanne, Parf, Alaedrain, Patrick Bregger, Wizo, deepcut, Sun King.