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Reviewer: Andy Hutchinson
It's always so tempting to believe that there are strange worlds out there waiting to be discovered despite the best attempts of MI-5 and Richard Branson. My personal favourites were always Neverneverland, the M72 and Frontierland. Within these mystic realms you could find adventures and strange sights never before seen by human eyes, like a cheap can of coke from an ice cream van or a definition for that bit at the back of your knee.
Indiana Jones of course, thrives on such strange and other-worldly things. He's made a living from nipping off to Egypt and Tooting and uncovering the Holy Grail, the Ark Of The Covenant and some cunning additions to his snake collection. One place he never travelled to was the land of Atlantis, that submerged city where man had harnessed nature itself to live on, when volcanoes threatened its very existence. Thanks to those lovely Lucasfilm peeps, we can now ruin that ancient land of Atlantis as Indy goes bravely downwards in the Speccy version of the game.
As this is the action game, there are loads of isometric puzzles to solve. Problems within the game are solved by moving either Indy or his girly Sophia Hapgood about the game-world. These problems range from getting hold of some dosh to fighting the dreaded Nazis. The overall idea of the game is to get both Indy and Sophia through the nine game locations and off Atlantis before explodes and disappears forever beneath the sea.
Indy's journey starts off in a casino. Here he's got to win himself some dosh by working out a was to cheat the tables. Having done that he can travel through the naval base, the docks the submarine, the four islands and finally Atlantis itself.
IS THAT ALL THERE IS TO IT?
Ha! Ha! No, it's not, fighting for instance isn't a case of simply waggling your joystick and hoping for the best. For starers there are loads of different ways of fighting; you'll have to use fists, feet, the whip, a pistol and knives en route to the Nazis defeat. You see the whole game is crawling with Germans and you're going to have to let your fists do the talking your Kraut accent fails you.
At certain points in the game Indy or Sophia might have the misfortune of being captured by the Germans. If this happens you have track them down and mount a rescue opertaion. This whole process is greatly helped by the inclusion of a compass. This highlights one of the best aspects of the game, namely the fact that you cant die, merely get captured. It makes moving around a lot more fun.
The cartoony feel to the graphics in Indy don't work too brilliantly in mono, but the animation is excellent. It does get tricky at certain points in the game to see what exactly you're up to, especially if you're playing the game on a Speccy plugged into a fuzzy television.
When you consider that this game was actually designed on a PC to run in 13 times the memory you realise what a job the guys were up against. As it stands (and as chocka as the game is), this is a fairly standard isometric 3D explore-'em-up. There are annoying glitches like the way Nazis appear from nowhere and pummel you to death that make the game a lot harder than it should be. These glitches have knocked it down from Megagame status, which is a bit of a shame considering how big a licence it is.
It's not so much that the game is unoriginal, if games were downmarked for that nothing would ever get over 30. No, the point is that while the programmers have tried really hard to cram the game chock full of goodies to be discovered and Nazis to be shot, they forgot to tweak the gameplay.
This is one of those games in which you tend to unwittingly walk into your death. Your character fills a good portion of the already reduced playing screen, which means that when you do come across Herr Nazi, you have to have the reactions of a leopard on steroids. What's more, these Nazis are obviously specially trained elite soldiers 'cos they don I have to hit you much before you're captured.
Something tells me that all you Speccy owners have learnt to work your way around the inconsistencies of games: there are so many flawed games out there. Indy 4 is full of puzzles to solve and levels to crack, but unfortunately death (just like in real life) comes too easily. There's lots of Indy 4, but my temper couldn't take the punishment.
What a whipcrackin' Nazi bustin' hero he really is. Yes, Indy is back. And this time he's left his dad at home and taken a lovely lady along with him instead (hurrah!)
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis has our rugged hero on the trail of the Nazis once more, and he sticks to the dirty dastards tighter than a hound dog with superglue smeared on his teeth as he tries to save the last ecologically sound environment left on the planet from rape by the fascist huns. Yes, Indy must keep the Nazis from heisting the secret powers of that mythical undersea world where everyone is peace-loving and the biggest problem they ever have is trying to invent a barbecue sauce that makes fish taste like T-bone steak.
Food is however, the last thing on Indie's mind. The intro sequence tells you exactly why too, as no sooner does Indy get his hands on a curious Ronnie Corbett fertility symbol complete with a lucky marble (in fact it's a Minotaur statuette and a mysterious bead but that doesn't make much sense either), than he gets biffed behind the head and has his new toys swiftly swiped. Yep, it's 1938 again and the old Bosche are being frightfully un-British.
Level one is set in a casino with the action scrolling in all directions as you take control of either Indy or his newfound girlfriend Sophie in order to try to rummage up a little cash on the tables. Now whilst Indy is a dab hand at putting names to odd objects like Patrick Moore's slipper and Barbara Cartland's hairdresser, he's never really been a born to win baccarat player so you'll have to crack the rigged roulette system before winning any money and then it's time to potter off to see the owner of the casino and barter with him for a few select items...
Once you've left the casino you're onto level two. This contains the naval base which Indy and Sophie must infiltrate to hitch a ride on a U-Boat bound for Atlantis. To do this they must break into the base (now why didn't you buy the wirecutters?), avoid the guards and searchlights and eventually get on board the U-Boat. Sounds easy? This is a timed level so the sub will sail without you if you're too slow.
Once on board the U-Boat Indy could easily get lost! Yes, using the same Lucasfilm magic that was wheeled out for Star Wars, the game designers have conceived a submarine that is huge inside. And all you need to do? Somehow avoid all the guards, locate a bomb and defuse it.
If Indy and Sophie manage to keep the submarine afloat they'll arrive at the islands where a bit of native appeasement is the order of the day. Among the islands there is one that contains a sacred cave - the portal to Atlantis. Before Indy can do this, he must keep the simple yet granite-fisted tribesmen happy by collecting sharks' teeth that seem to have been liberally scattered around the island by a Tuna dentist.
The final level is, at last, Atlantis. You're an archaeologist and a man of science and have made it to possibly one of the most fabled civilisations in order to prove to the world that it exists. So what happens once you actually arrive there? Well, why stop fighting now? Indy's just going to whack the Nazis for a little longer, and then use the Atlantean's amazing technology to blow the suckers to bits!
All in all, the latest Indy adventure is a crushed down version of the PC game and this shows through in the actual gameplay. It's definitely a game that should appeal to older players, with lots of graphic puzzles, but maybe not the younger joystick wanging generation who enjoyed the first two instalments. As it is, Indy has excellent isometric graphics which are complemented by well thought out animation (though Sophie walks as though she's got a broken leg). There has been a lot of though put into this game and it shows.
Whether Indy is helped or hindered by the gorgeous Sophie may be a bone of contention, (although it never seems to stop him from snogging his leading ladies at the end of the movies), the control procedure allows you to skip freely from one character to the other.
Changing into a girlie every five minutes and kicking Nazis might be entertaining, but it does have its disadvantages. The biggest one being that whilst you are in control of one character, the other one will just potter off and get into all sorts of trouble.
If your second character's sine wave (shown at the bottom of the screen) does start to fluctuate then it's pretty certain that they're being beaten up by guards and need help quickly be fore they are overpowered and captured. Another really useful feature of Indy 4 is that you can get four different 3D "camera angle" views which enable you to completely survey Indy's or Sophie's surroundings.
I really enjoyed the Fate Of Atlantis (being almost a wrinkly myself), but did find the Nazis a little unfair. They appear very quickly and then proceed to kick you around at an alarming rate. They're very nasty and I'm glad that they lost the war When all's said and done the Graphics are really good, if a little difficult to make out at times and there's some nice Indy music and game sound effects. US Gold have definitely won the interactive strategy war with this game, it deserves to be played.
Label: US Gold
Price: £11.99 Tape, £14.99 Disk
Reviewer: Garth Sumpter
ALAN: You can shoot, punch, kick and whip your way found the Nazi scum and then go back for more. The Fate of Atlantis is a game of many faces and many places and will keep older players busy for quite a while. Young guns could get bored with it though... This is no cutest puzzle game, it's the real thing.
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