Once in a while, I'd hear about Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, thinking it was an old game but having no idea exactly how old. Heck, I imagined it as anything other than a point and click adventure, such was my knowledge of it.
I don't know why I didn't associate a Lucasfilm franchise with a genre made famous by Lucasfilm Games/LucasArts, but there we go. We can't all be geniuses. Genii? We can't all be smart.
A much loved, classic character, in a point and click adventure. It's a sentence that resulted in some small amount of concern, it had to be said, but I dove right in regardless and I am so glad I did.
The game begins with Indy bursting into the main menu, turning the title screen into the first screen of the game, and serving as a kinda/kinda not tutorial. You're given a mouse pointer and a few clickable objects, but they'll all lead to Indy falling flat on his arse a whole floor below where he started, rattled enough for a few more credits to appear before you're once again allowed to poke around the screen and explore before it happens again. And again.
It's such a good way to start a game. There's no HUD to get lost in, no inventory to manage, no verbs to decide upon, it's just your mouse and your decisions. Eventually Indy will make it back to his office, ancient prize in hand so that the plot can be kicked off.
Said prize is near immediately stolen by a Nazi, but it results in you learning where - or rather who - they'll strike next in their pursuits. An old archaeologist turned psychic, Sophia Hapgood, is talking in town and she's going to need your help.
The start of Fate of Atlantis is perhaps slow, but it's cinematic, and eases you into the main elements of a point and click. Pointing and clicking, obviously, but there are also dialogue options in here and - joy of joys - they lead to you saying exactly what you pick, not something only vaguely similar.
This allows you to pick the kind of Indy that you want to be. He doesn't seem completely like his cinematic self (exacerbated by not having Harrison Ford voice him in the talkie version of the game, perhaps), but there's enough here to know that the developers clearly enjoy the source material.
After a light introduction with puzzle solving in Iceland and the Azores, you're given another choice to determine the style of Indy you'll be playing as. Fate of Atlantis gives you the option to progress through the game with a Fists first, action-heavy approach, with fewer puzzles and more fighting; a wits path, requiring you to solve more complex puzzles; or an option to stick around with Sophia and retain the best of both worlds - and have someone to talk to, or help in puzzles, of course.
By now, you should be somewhat versed enough in how puzzles can be approached and what is required of you for you to sink your teeth into the meat of the game - finding out what happened to Atlantis, presumably, and stopping all the Nazi's in your way.
But you knew I'd come to a point where I'd have to stop, right?
I liked Fate of Atlantis a lot, playing it nonstop for some time before calling in quits - partly because I was a little burnt out, and partly through that whole 'life' thing that exists outside of this computer. I did get a little stuck here and there, though, but often only needed the odd word or two as a hint before something clicked and off we went again.
It felt a little immersion-breaking to have to drop out of the game from time to time. The Fate of Atlantis sets itself up to be such a cinematic title with a nice slick pace... only for you to not talk to a parrot, or try everything apart from pulling an elephant's nose.
As ever, I'm much of the fault here. I don't recall any absolutely bonkers puzzle solutions, but then I have had a guide at the ready, and haven't gotten right into the heart of the adventure.
Coming off of Flashback, you might have thought I was in for a similar experience with Fate of Atlantis, and to some extent, I might have thought so too. I would have said 'knowing my experience of Monkey Island 2, I was confident in having a pretty good time', but in truth, I absolutely forgot about Monkey Island 2 because the introduction to Fate of Atlantis is so damn good for point and click novices.
It slowly sweeps you up in what will become a grand adventure, and I really want to continue to find out where it goes. That may mean me resulting in watching it unfold, but I'll hold off for as long as I can. The guide can stay at the ready, though.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was essentially the fourth Indy movie, according to some gamers. I'd go along with that. And not because I know what the actual fourth movie we got was...
If you're put off by the genre, make this game the one that brings you into it. I probably said that for Monkey Island 2, I forget. I'll probably say it for the next one as well. Whatever, the point is, it's a must play.
Lucasfilm wanted a game based on some rejected scripts for the third Indiana Jones movie, but even the designers thought the story to be 'substandard' and went about researching their own instead.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, developed by LucasArts, first released in 1992.
Version played: PC rerelease, 1993/2009.