Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis: The Action Game logo

Unverhofft kommt oft: Erst läßt uns der Peitschenschwinger ewig warten, dann rückt er gleich in zweifacher Ausfertigung an! Dabei war diesmal doch gar keine Actionvariante angekündigt...

Vor unzähligen Monden ist U.S. Gold ja schon mal mit dem Versuch auf die Nase gefallen, die Abenteurer des Super-Archäologen joystickgerecht aufzubereiten - kein Wunder, wenn man sich nun mit Ankündigungen etwas zurückgehalten hat. Aber vielleicht liegt es auch einfach daran, daß sich hinter dem verkaufsfördernden Namen erneut bloß ein eher dürftiges Actiongame mit schalen Rätseleinlagen verbirgt?

Die Story wurde vorsichtshalber 1:1 vom Adventure übernommen; was es über eine geheimnisvolle Statue, böse Nazis und die liebliche Sophia zu sagen gibt, haben wir also bereits ein paar Seiten weiter vorne gesagt. Um uns nicht zu wiederholen, verraten wir Euch daher ohne Umschweife, daß die Spielweise hier aus einer isometrischen 3D-Perspektive gezeigt wird, wobei man beliebig durch die Gegend laufen, springen und klettern darf.

Ganz im Stil des Lucas Arts Abenteuers ist es jederzeit möglich, zwischen Dr. Jones und seiner Begleiterin hin- und her zu schalten, so daß sich die braune Brut wahlweise per Peitsche oder Fausthieb bzw. ladylike mit einem Tritt aus Schienbein vertrimmen läßt. Derart betäubt hinterlassen die Gegner gelegentlich Schokolade und Bargeld, was dem Energie- bzw. Finanzhaushalt des Heldenduos zugute kommt.

Durch Prügel allein kann das Rätsel von Atlantis freilich nicht gelöst werden, dazu bedarf es hin und wieder auch ein bißchen Kopfarbeit: Zahlreiche Gegenstände müssen gefunden und an passender Stelle eingesetzt werden, wozu Passanten oft und gerne Tips herausrücken.

Bei soviel Hilfsbereitschaft sollte es kein großes Problem sein, in Monte Carlo die "verlorenen Dialoge des Plato" zu finden, oder den Logik-Test im Hafenbecken erfolgreich zu absolvieren. Später darf unser Pärchen mit einem U-Boot auf Tiefseetauchfahrt gehen, eine Inselgruppe entdecken und schließlich innerhalb der Katakomben des versunkenen Inselreichs weitere Rätselnüsse knacken.

Insgesamt steht in den sechs Leveln aber doch eher die Action im Vordergrund, und obwohl das Zeitlimit stellenweise etwas Hektik ins Spiel bringt, macht sich bald Langeweile breit - zu wenig abwechslungsreich sind die Kämpfe, zu öde ist die gesamte Präsentation.

Dabei sieht die Grafik ja noch ganz erträglich aus, daß allerdings nicht gescrollt wird, zeugt ebenso wenig vom Können der Programmierer wie die Tatsache, daß die Sprites ins Zuckeltempo verfallen, sobald sich mehr als zwei davon am Screen tummeln.

Immerhin kann die Umgebung auf Tastendruck aus vier verschiedenen Himmelsrichtungen betrachtet werden, die Musikstücke klingen nicht übel (deutlich besser jedenfalls als die kümmerlichen Sound-FX), und die Steuerung klappt über Stick, Tastatur und Maus gleichermaßen ordentlich.

Am Fazit ist aber trotzdem nicht zu rütteln: Indy auf der Suche nach dem verlorenen Spielwitz...

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis: The Action Game logo

As before, there are two versions of the Indy game.

Right then, pay attention, it's one of those word association games. You know the type, I say 'hot', you say 'cold', I say 'cute', you say 'Winona'. Ready? Here we go then: Indiana Jones.

And what was your response? I'd take a guess that words like 'action', 'whips', or 'enormously expensive end scenes involving German soldiers shouting 'It's beautiful' while weird ethereal she-ghosts fire blasts of energy through them' featured strongly in the answers, and that 'casino' or 'gambling' came low in the list among with 'mulberries' and 'fly fishing'.

So what's Indy doing in a posh casino? Isn't this more of a 'The name is Bond, James Bond' type scenario? And will I use any more question marks here?

There's something off-putting about looking at a game box and seeing a picture of someone looking quite, but not entirely, unlike Indiana Jones. Okay, so box art has nothing to do with the contents, but the interesting thing to note here is that the game almost, but entirely, fails to capture the spirit, look or feel of the Indy film trilogy.

There's a background to this adventure which is presented in a confusing sequence at the beginning of the game, but since I was expecting an adventure centering around an Amish detective tracking down a Transformer doll to a chemical factory, this sequence did little to inform, educate or even entertain.

Six levels of pretty much the same thing

Anyone familiar with the excellent Fate of Atlantis adventure game will know that Indy and his sidekick Sophia are racing to prevent the Nazis getting some ancient beads so they can't develop the world's first Atlantean artifact bomb. Or something like that anyway.

Which leaves Indy at the casino in Monte Carlo, which has obviously let its dress codes slide a long way to let such a shabby adventurer through its doors. I act, etiquette seems to have collapsed entirely, as the only other residents are jackbooted Nazis and women who're all wearing th sam evening dress, which must be the ultimate act of social suicide.

Not onl that, but should Indy approach one of these dames and smack them squarely in the mush, one of the croupiers will say 'Please don't hit the hotel guests,'politely, mind you. Indy punches or whips the Nazis into submission, whereas Sophia makes use of her deadly high heels to such fearsome groin-pulvering effect that the Nazis drop their possessions and beg her top stop. For some reason they drop all their money, and chocolate. Maybe they're Belgian Nazis.

You can toggle control between Indy and Sophia during your travels, which take you to a naval base, a Nazi submarine, to some islands, and then finally the lost city of Atlantis. Plenty of locations, so plenty of scope for car chases, thrilling roof top battles and cliff-edge struggles. Right? Wrong.

What we have is six levels of pretty much the same thing. There's the excitement of breaking the code of the rigged roulette tables, or the death-defying leap onto the sub in the naval base, but mostly you walk around, pick things up and hit people, and the roulette's crap anyway. And there aren't any snakes in it.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis: The Action Game logo

"Indy And The Fate Of Atlantis?" Amaya Lopez piped up keenly. "Fab! That means it must include both Harrison Ford and Patrick 'Webbed Feet' Duffy. My all-time heroes in one action-packed game! I can't wait." Oh dear.

If you're a Harrison Ford fan, the closest you're ever likely to get to him, unless you bear a striking resemblance to Alison Doody, is his weeny computer sprite. However, if you're a Patrick Duffy fan, you might as well forget it - those halcyon Man From Atlantis days have been long forgotten.

So what's this game all about, then? Well, it's the first Lucasarts Indy action game, and it's being programmed by Attention To Detail, the bods who brought us Night Shift. Lucasfilm, of course, is busily preparing itself for the release of the graphic adventure (scheduled for the summer), but in the meantime we have the first non-cartoony Indy platformy romp.

Basically, the game follows the storyboard of the Dark Horse comic, with Indy and his fiery accomplice, Sophia Hapgood, fighting off the evil (wait for it) Nazis. Some people never say die, and our Indy is one of them, and that's probably why you can't actually kill anyone in his game. You can bop the odd Nazi in the stomach, but you'll never be able to blow his fascist brains out.

The year is 1938. Indy has uncovered some evidence relating to the lost city of Atlantis - a small minotaur and a bead. A Nazi thief called Kerner steals these and other artefacts from psychic Sophia Hapgood, but luckily Indy arrives on the scene to prevent any bloodshed. Little did Indy know that the thief was working for Dr Hans Uberman, a brilliant scientist who's developing an atomic weapon for Hitler! Kerner takes the artefacts to Uberman's secret labs in the depths of a submarine.

Meanwhile, back in the States, Sophia demonstrates her black belt Aki-Lajr training and Indy allows her to accompany him to Atlantis. On the way, they visit Monte Carlo for a spot of betting, then struggle through a naval base at night, through the docks, into the submarine, and on to find Atlantis. In a bid for sexual equality you can switch between Indy and Sophia, using either Indy's whip and mean left hook or Sophia's nifty high kicks.

Guide them through up to nine locations, collecting artefacts, food, weapons and tools, fighting off those dastardly Nazis, chomping on choc to restore your energy and amassing the Atlantean precious material Orichalcum.

Amiga reviewAmaya: Rather like The Godfather, Indy The Action game seems pitched at the younger end of the market. The morally-upright fact that no character can ever die does become frustrating. You don't get much of a bloodthirsty thrill when you're whipping the Nazis' bots, because you know they'll only be down for a few secs before coughing up two squares of Galaxy. Not really the same as blood and guts oozing all over the shop.

Indy and Sophia are well animated, but sometimes they get stuck in front of corners, and you have to be quite precise about manoeuvring them around. Communicating between characters is rather novel - funny little circles, triangles and squares pop up, forcing you to rush to your manual to decipher what it actually means. Presumably, the lack of textual speech is to differentiate it from the real adventure game, and it also adds to the puzzley fun.

There are loads of locations to visit and a quick tap on an function key will give you a choice of handy viewpoints - at times though, it still proved hard to tell whether my sprite was actually being attacked. Going inside the submarine is rather smart as is the Chief's secret cave. Although the sprites are quite well animated, the overall graphics are slightly bland and lacking in atmosphere. The sound is quite good, with excerpts of the film's theme tune, the realistic clicking of roulette wheels and the cracking of Indy's whip.

All in all, Indy And The Fate Of Atlantis is quite a neat arcade romp but I did feel that the gameplay could have been better. Personally, I can't wait for the graphic adventure.Stop