Okay, so screw that guy. What does everyone else think?
I realize this isn't really a popular opinion, but FOA is my least favorite of all the post-SOMI games. Don't get me wrong though... it's still a good game, but I have some issues with it. For one, it rarely ever FEELS like an Indiana Jones story. Indy's dialogue doesn't really sound like Indy to me... the voice acting in general is mediocre, especially compared to every other Lucasarts adventure games.
What is far worse though is that the puzzles, with the possible exception of some of the FISTS path, take away from the Indy Experience™. A lot of the puzzles fall immediately into "adventure game logic" where solving the puzzle takes some insane (or inane) leap in logic that only makes sense because your playing an adventure game and they are trying to make it hard to figure out. Other Lucasarts adventure games managed to avoid this (for the most part) because the bizarre solutions to the weird problems made sense in the context of the game's world. FOA borrowed it's world from the movies, and I don't think they did as good a job integrating the puzzles as they could have.
Also, I disliked Sophia every damn minute she was onscreen. She's annoying, combative and just plain unpleasant. Even (especially) on the TEAM path, where she's supposed to be helping. I was rooting for something bad to happen to her the almost the whole game.
Lastly, it featured three of my least favorite game mechanics in adventure games. Fighting, awkward vehicle sequences, and a MAZE. The outer ring of Atlantis features TWO of these at the same time and I hate it for that.
When all is said in done however, it's still a fun game to play through, even though I feel it is the weakest of Lucasarts' "golden age" games.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was literally one of the last Lucas Arts adventures I played. And while the next sentence is likely to support my reputation of being a rabid fanboy, hopefully my reasoning will provide enough factual information for any critics to understand the errors of their ways. The game is "awesome."
You see, I'm saving all the good stuff for my favorite game of all time ever, the almighty Day of the Tentacle, but I must give credit to the Fate of Atlantis for having more of a replay value than simply trying to relive the original experience. Yes, I'm certain that the three paths to beat the game will be covered in the article extensively, but what's important here is just how surprising it was for me to find myself in Algiers without Sophia, and to notice that nothing was quite the same. (I guess that's what I get for living in Russia at the time of the game's release and having no access to any kind of promotional materials pimping such features, for that would have surely spoiled the surprise.) The first time I discovered that "WITS" was a possibility, I ran through the streets yelling "EUREKA" and told all my friends that "the future is finally here." If I were more sober about my life and my tastes, I'd have probably realized that this very technique hasn't been implemented elsewhere since, which is a shame. I'll also be the first (though the accuracy of this claim is largely dependent on the placement of this text in your article and other opinions preceding it) to admit that the "FISTS" path was rather lackluster (and boring), and even the "WITS" path wasn't nearly as exciting as playing the game "TEAM" style (I suppose I lucked out for my virgin experience). But that's now. Hindsight is generally 20/20, unless you're stupid, and it's easy enough to spot those unfortunate folks on Mojo, they'll be the ones acting like Day of the Tentacle is -not- the best game LucasArts (or anyone else for that matter) has ever made. They're wrong, and their lives are hollow. Back then, discovering all of this without walkthroughs, guides, or even hintbooks was a truly unique experience that I'm grateful to have had.
Despite all its imperfections, despite its rather lackluster third act (ahem ALL OF ATLANTIS ahem hem hem), IJATFOA still reigns as the best Indy game ever made. Since Monkey Island games have raised the bar a few miles in the process of merely existing, the puzzles of Atlantis appear to have taken a few cues from how to integrate the mental challenges into a story. While the slow-paced nature of an adventure game may not be the ideal setting for Dr. Henry Jones Jr., I'd rather play as Indiana the Smart, rather than Indiana the Croft that the rest of Indiana Jones franchises seem to rely on. "After all, he IS a doctor." The scope of the game alone - with all these fancy locations and seemingly huge cast add to a fairly cinematic experience. While it may not have a dedicated cut scene animation for gross-looking spit landing on a wall, I will always love any game which features a hot air balloon, especially if it completes the experience with an awesome trajectory thereof (preferably in red). For I am a connoisseur of both slapstick gags as well as hot air balloons, as I don't believe there is enough of either in contemporary games.
To summarize, I can't wait to write in about Day of the Tentacle, but the Fate of Atlantis is pretty awesome as well.
While the "Last Crusade" game was too dependent on the movie and had too many obscure solutions, and "Infernal Machine" and "Emperor's Tomb" were fun but too action-heavy to be considered official adventure games, "Fate of Atlantis" is clearly the ideal Indy adventure experience. Even though it's sixteen years old, the game is still just as fresh, fun, and innovative today as it must have been when it first came out in 1992. Probably one of my favorite facets about this game is its main body staying essentially the same, though it's approachable from three different paths - one out of many genius design decisions for this game, and representative of the sheer creative energy running rampant at Lucasarts. Another great thing about this game is how many different gameplay styles are thrown into the mix - fighting sequences, piloting a submarine, driving cars in Monte Carlo, running machinery in Atlantis - the list goes on and on. And the voice-work is absolutely top-notch - you'll forget within the first ten minutes of playing that Doug Lee isn't Harrison Ford.
However, the game certainly isn't perfect. The biggest drawback, in my opinion, would have to be the fact that the pacing agonizingly slows down once Indy has actually arrived at Atlantis. Just when the game should be the most exciting, I find myself wandering the halls of Atlantis, looking for bits and pieces of knobs and wheels, as well as mindlessly dodging pointless Nazi fights. Even on the umpteenth playthrough years later I still dislike having to trudge all over Atlantis looking for a rib cage to catch crabs. Despite all this, the brilliant ending in the god machine room makes up totally for any fatigue experienced earlier.
"Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis" is another brilliant part of the Lucasarts adventure library, and any self-respecting adventure fan - if they haven't already - should stop whatever they're doing and find this game on eBay. In conclusion, I just have to say that playing through "Fate of Atlantis" makes me seriously wonder: why on earth did they do "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" as the fourth movie instead of this?
I pretended to be sick so I could stay home and play this game all day. The missed edumacation was worth it.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis has a lot going for it. It has a great story, wonderful voice acting, and Sophia Hapgood is a no-nonsense woman who is as great a love interest for Indy as Marion Ravenwood was in Raiders.
However, many of the puzzles in the game are more annoying than entertaining. Even with a walkthrough, the stone puzzles still have me totally confused. Both times I played through the game (once the first time, and the second many years later for my Mojo reader opinion) I had to get past the majority of those puzzles through trial and error. Those stone puzzles occur a lot in this game, so that detracted a lot from my enjoyment of the game.
It also seemed like I was on the crab raft way more than I should have been, since a lot of the objects can be used more than once and I had to keep going back to get objects I had already used for later in the game. Granted, this was totally my fault, but I really missed the walking speed selection option from the Sierra and Revolution games, or the double click option from the recent Telltale games. It would have been really welcome here.
Like Zak McKracken, I'm glad I played through it for the great story and characters, but many of the puzzles were too frustrating for me to play through it countless times like I do with some of the other LucasArts graphic adventures.
My biography is short, but awesome. When I was a small kid (5 to 7 years old) gaming didn't exist for me beyond video arcades and my very own, original Nintendo (Famicom) System (which still works!) with a few platformers for it (Mario Bros. 3!). Then I got to know some lucky people who had things like Amigas and beat 'em up games. Then I had a Mac at home with only the boring SimAnt to play at first (what kind of a person would waste time with those ants?).
Finally, at age 8, or 9, or something someone bought me a disc with shareware games and some demos of commercial titles on it. There I found the non-interactive, non-talkie Indiana Jones and The Fate of Atlantis Demo. I watched it, I watched it, and I watched it and I was starting to get really angry that nobady told me before that there are games where as the game character you can do anything. Just anything you wish. Not to mention I already was an Indiana Jones fan. Anyway, I was sold and started pestering parents to buy the game. Some time later I got it for birthday (the CD version!), nearly peeing in my pants from excitement.
I played, I played and I played and had great time. The only problem was I didn't understand any English. Well, almost. To progress within the game I tried to decipher the writings in a tome with the label "Hint Book" ("hint" - what could it mean?) that I found in the game box. I was certain I found the right way to play the game - I could recognise the same words appearing on screen in different locations and in close proximity in that "hit book". I used this to combine objects with one another.
It wasn't always easy to figure it out, but a few times I was even so smart that I guessed what to do without the book's help. So now I was able to slowly progress forward and it seemed I had mastered a winning strategy. I was only having trouble with playing the game long enough to get further than I got the previous time I played. After all, starting from the very beginning it took a few hours just to get to the point I left it previously. Fortunetly, right upon reaching the middle of the game, I discovered a feature mysteriosly called "save". Great concept, I wonder why Nintendo didn't use it?
So, after a month's struggle, after running away from being squished to a pulp by guys with names like Arnold (fortunetly Biff taught me to use the keyboard, the Big Zero!) I managed to finish the game, the best game I ever played. What happened later - I don't remember very well. Definitely some years later, there was something about discovering some alternative paths within the game. All other events were plain dull and unmemorable in comparison. :(
Who doesn't know Indiana Jones, the fabled Archeologist and part time teacher? As a child I was captivated by the films of this legendary hero, who through improvisation and stamina captured the hearts of people all around the globe. When I finally learned that there were two point click adventure games mixing my favorite hero with my favorite genre, I was psyched. After getting stuck in the castle Brunwald in Last Crusade, I tried this baby, and I was stuck on my seat, not literally, from beginning to end.
To me, this game is the true 4th Indiana Jones, I allways said that there were 4 good adventures, the trilogy and this game. Of course there is a fifth film now, and allthough I don't think it's all bad, this game actually proves more true to Indiana Jones than KOTCS.
But back to Fate of Atlantis. Quite a lenghty adventure indeed. Indy travels all over the globe searching for the fabulous lost city of Atlantis, on his way he is, or is not, followed by Sophia Hapgood, using his wits or his fists to find the mythical lost city. And that's one of the many things that make this game unique, and replayable. Indy can choose three ways to complete the game, actually giving you three full lenghty games instead of one. Combine this with a mix of pure Indy action, humour, the beautiful backgrounds and art direction, and of course the fabulous music by Clint Bajakian, Peter McConnell and Michael Land, who stay pretty close to a John Williams score, adding just a little touch of their own.
The story is also great, we have a nice mixture of adventure as we follow Indy, who is in his turn followed by (ofcourse) the Nazi's. The cat and mouse game that is created between the two on the earths surface is only the beginning, as the second half of the game is set in Atlantis itself, where you have to find out different functions of Atlantean machinery, while the nazi's are still on your tail. The excitement is kept all through the game, from the beginning when you're going through Marshall College's archives, through the end, when Plato's tenfold error can mean the difference between life and death.
All in all a great adventure game, which I can recommend to any point click adventure or Indy fan.
I got Indy4 back in 1994-ish on that LucasArts Archive Pack 1. It was and still is a great game. But, I could never beat the fists path until recently (I found out about the zero key!). I still don't think I beat the wits path.
Replaying the game absolutely reinforced that it's just the best Indy game out there. The plot is just as good as Last Crusade, maybe a little better. But the point where the game really shines is its replay value. I l played through the game on the Team and Brains paths when I was a kid, and only just recently replayed through the Fists path. I'd say Fists is probably the easiest way to beat the game, but I did feel I was missing out on some things.
I think the whole orichalcum idea has always been fantastic. It's almost like having an Indy movie where he discovers the Atom Bomb. Plus, I think FOA's lack of a "McGuffin" (to borrow a term from Hitchcock) very much adds to the story. Instead of having one artifact or three stones or a cup that everyone's trying to grab like in the movies, FOA's central story involves something a little more cerebral than the normal Indy fare. When I originally played the game, it piqued my interest in pre-flood mythology. If you look at information on the Parthian Empire (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthia), or the Piri Reis Map ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piri_Reis_map), it brings an interesting historical/mythological perspective to FOA. Plus, you can buy a great book called "Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings" written by Charles Hapgood (Name split into Sophia Hapgood and Charles Sternhart. Clever, eh?). So obviously Lucasarts did their research. Awesome game on all counts. Too bad Moneybags Lucas can't let his company make games like this anymore.
Fate of Atlantis is an absolute work of genius. Oh yes, Monkey Island 2 may have the best structure with the best puzzles, Sam & Max may have the best jokes, Day of the Tentacle may have a clever time-travel dynamic, but Fate of Atlantis has three frickin' games in one!!!
I don't know what possessed the team to attempt such a massive undertaking (most developers are content just to make one great game at a time) as it must have caused them so many headaches, but the result is the first and probably only adventure game with genuine replay value.
The story is fantastic too, and I was genuinely disappointed that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull just wasn't as good or as interesting as Indy's search for Atlantis. It's also stunning how good Doug Lee sounds as Indy here, when in Infernal Machine he just sounds wrong. Jane Jacobs as Sophia is spot on too. Kerner and Ubermann were less good admittedly (Ubermann in particular was just a German version of Dr. Fred), but for LucasArts' first proper CD-ROM talkie this was a terrific experience.
Criticisms? I'd argue that the second half, wandering around the Labyrinth and Atlantis, is a little bit dull. The Labyrinth of Knossos in particular is just frustrating. And if you don't count the three paths, the game's a bit short compared to the other LucasArts Adventures. Still, that's just a couple of hairs on a delicious chocolate cake. They can be brushed off easily.
How do I choose my favourite part of Fate of Atlantis? It's like choosing my favourite child, or my favourite ice-cream flavour. It could be the atmosphere – the feeling of delving into tombs and caves and eventually the catacombs of the lost city. It might be the scope and freedom of the story – being able to play down three separate paths. Ultimately, though, I like Fate of Atlantis so much because it takes the Atlantis myth and does wonderful things with it.
Through the whole adventure Atlantis waits huskily in the background, looming over all the exotic destinations like some pervy grandfather. It’s a real thrill to travel to Crete and find some ancient link to the lost city, then hop on a plane to Iceland, or the Azores, or New York, and find some other link. It’s not always 100% Indiana Jones. It’s better than that. It's a round-the-world thrill seeking adventure, and it just happens to feature one of the coolest adventure heroes of all time.
When people say 'they don't make 'em like they used to," this is the sort of thing they mean.