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Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - The Psychic Sidekick

Written by TBD

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis has one of the best opening sequences I can recall. After playing through it again now I was reminded of a discussion point we had a little over a year ago about the “Best Introduction to an Adventure Game

While my vote went to The Curse of Monkey Island on this one, I agree completely with Torch, Rowan Lipkovits, Alfred n the Fettuc and Draconius – this game had one of the best introductions ever!

So I thought I'd share it with those of you who don't own the game or want to revisit the opening. Enjoy!



For those who don't have the time or inclination to watch the video, the game starts with Indy looking for a statue for his friend Marcus Brody. He keeps getting knocked down through levels of the museum until he finally finds the statue he's after in the cellar. He takes it back to Brody, who's talking to a German man called “Smith” who wants the statue. Smith turns out to be a Nazi (Indy hates those guys), there's a fistfight and Smith escapes with the statue, but Indy has grabbed his coat containing a Nazi identification and an archaeological journal containing a story about a digsite once managed by Indy and his young apprentice Sophia Hapgood. Indy decides to find Sophia in case the Nazis try to get to her instead.

The intro was very Indiana Jones. There's comedy where he keeps falling, but never injuring himself, an action fight that Indy loses while still getting a vital clue and an introduction to a girl Indy has a history with and who we fully expect him to fall in love with over the course of the story.

Can't have Indiana Jones without punching a Nazi!

As for the voices, Doug Lee does a good job as Indiana Jones. He's clearly not Harrison Ford but fortunately hasn't tried to do a Ford impression but rather just tried to speak the way Indy would speak. I think it works well. Marcus Brody's actor doesn't do anywhere near as good a job but I think this introduction might be the last we hear of him in the game.

At the end of the intro, we travel from Barnett College to New York City where Sophia has a sold out show as a psychic. And this is where we're given full control of Indy.

The familiar Lucasarts interface

I notice immediately a feature I missed in the last game I played – tooltips – when I move my mouse around the screen, words appear when the pointer is on an item I can interact with so there's no guesswork. I know I can interact with the marquee and I know what it is.

When talking to the ticket taker I get some dialogue items, but whatever I attempt to say I'm interrupted by being told that I can't come in.

The obvious next move is to look for a back door. I pick up a newspaper from the newsstand and go around the corner.

Here I'm faced with a few areas of interest. There's the obviously inviting door where I enter the new screen, on the left, but there's also a small window with a ladder next to it, which when I look at it gives me a clue.

I have no idea how you can tell that from where you're standing but okay.

But before trying to find my way up there I try to open the obvious door, and am greeted by a bouncer. I get a few options in how to talk to him.

As he talks and looks like a stereotypical mindless thug, I choose the options with single syllable words.

We have quite a lengthy discussion, often interrupted by him saying “Now beat it!” before I follow up with “Wait a minute!” and choose a different option. This is a nice way for the game to say “You failed the dialogue puzzle, but rather than reloading a saved game, just choose this option and try again.”

Eventually I work out how to talk to him. He has a crush on Sophia because she's smart and makes things easy to understand for him. After convincing him I also feel the same way about Sophia he let's me in because I'm 'okay for a college boy'

That was easy

But first, I reload back to where I entered the alley. I want to try the other dialogue options to see what he says and I also want to explore the alley more thoroughly.

Back in the alley, I can't get through to the fire escape ladder because of the crates in the way, but with a little 'Push'ing or 'Pull'ing of various crates I can manoeuvre my way around until I'm in front of the fire escape.

That was also easy

The fire escape takes me to the same place as talking to the bouncer. Now I'll reload and try to confuse the bouncer to see what happens.

I just keep choosing the options that have words that someone who isn't a human thesaurus like a college professor might think are offensive

I keep confusing/offending him a few times until he gets upset enough to challenge me to a fight. I fight, and appear to be winning but lose on purpose to see what happens. I just get knocked out and when Indy wakes he postulates that he's glad Biff wasn't a Nazi spy or he'd be dead. A hint for the future I'm sure. I insult Biff again, this time trying to win.

The fight interface appears quite simple. I just click on Biff either high, medium or low and keep doing so until he's down. Looking at the manual it does seem a bit more involved than that, and I fully expect to need to use all options to fight when I'm playing the FISTS path (there's punch high, middle and low, block high, middle and low, and step back.) There's also a 'Sucker Punch' button which the manual tells me will win the fight, but get me no points. I don't plan to use this option but I'm glad it's there. I'll describe the fight interface in detail when I get to a harder fight later in the game. For now, I beat Biff and once again get backstage at the theatre.

That was extremely easy

I can now enter the open door and for the third time end up backstage.


IQ POINTS

This seems like a good point to tell you about Indy Quotient (IQ) points.

They are basically like the points system you'll find in many adventure games. You get points for solving puzzles, getting past obstacles or finding important objects.

The difference here to most games is that your points are counted for all games you've played. Let me explain.

Pressing 'I” switches between the IQ points screen and the inventory screen.

You'll notice in the screenshot that I currently have 8 IQ points and my total IQ points is 20.

What that means is that in 'this' saved game I have 8 IQ points, but because I solved the same puzzle three different ways, even though I saved and reloaded in between, I have a total of 20 IQ points. This feature seems perfect for completionists.

Specifically, I noticed that I had a total of 2/14 points before defeating Biff, then 8/20 points afterwards. This suggests that the three ways I solved this puzzle each gave me 6 points, which is why my total is 12 greater than my current. I hope there's more alternate solutions as I go along, as I like the feature.

I mentioned in the comments of the introduction post that I probably wouldn't be trying to get the maximum IQ points (1000) but now I'm starting to rethink that idea. Though I expect to fall short, I'm going for the 1000!!!

Of course, I don't expect other alternate solutions to be as easy to find as the ones for the first puzzle. Much like the first fight was extremely easy I expect the alternate puzzles were also made easy to get me used to the way the game works before really making me think.


BACK TO THE STORY

And now that I've gotten backstage (three times!) I can see Sophia doing a talk about Atlantis, as well as an employee who controls some electrics – likely lights and the ghost-on-a-string thing.

I can just wait and listen to her speech.

DISCLAIMER: Artist's impression of Atlantis, not an actual photo

She tells us about how happy and technologically advanced Atlantis was, and how Plato wrote about Atlantis as a continent in the deep ocean (isn't that kind of a definition of the word continent?)

It has layers, like an onion!

Was Atlantis the first Earthan civilization to destroy itself by global warming?

She goes on to mention a particular Atlantean, the all-seeing NUR-AB-SAL, who is the Great Spirit who guides her thoughts.

She continues talking while I get control back and can interact with the worker. I get a choice of how to talk to him. I choose to be a prick.

I could make Indy be nice, but where's the fun in that?

Anyway, not having the authority to fire him, I continue to talk to him. I need him to leave so I can screw up his job. He won't take a bribe (and I don't know how much money I have to offer anyway) but when prompted he does mention that he likes to read. I offer him the archaeology magazine, but he's already read it. What he hasn't read yet, is today's paper. I give him the paper I picked up outside and he leaves immediately to find out if the Dodgers won.

Can't you read the paper while still manning your post?

The electrical contraption has three levers and a button. I try randomly pushing/pulling the levers until the lights go green, then press the button.


Due to my interference, the ghost of Nur-Ab-Sal had appeared on stage before Sophia was ready for him, but she continues, with Indy's unwelcome help...





You call me DOCTOR Jones!

She's surprised to see me, and quickly finishes the lecture while the ghost-on-a-string burns up, then suggests we go back to her room.


Ransacking a room? Kerner's been reading the stereotypical villain handbook!

Indy leaves the room and checks out the back alley. Seeing nobody, he goes back to Sophia. The 'camera' stays in the alley as Kerner pops out from behind a crate and makes a phone call.

The voiced dialogue says “Doctor Uberman” instead of “Fritz”. Kerner must be less formal in subtitles.

We find out that Kerner's stolen Sophia's statue – so now he has two Atlantean artifacts. While Indy ponders why, Sophia has an idea.


Sophia gets changed into her adventuring outfit, and tells us where to find another priceless Atlantean artifact

Why does everybody leave these historically important items just lying around.IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!!!!!!!!!!!!

She shows me what the special bead she keeps under newspaper clippings does. She tells us it's ORICHALCUM, the mysterious power source of Atlantis that Plato wrote about, then puts the bead in her Atlantean necklace.

Some mystical lights swirl around her, manifesting a ghost that's much more convincing than the one from her lecture.

Umm... did you just waste our only example of an extremely rare metal to show me a five second light show?

Ooh, that bottom option is exactly what I was just thinking.

Sophia suddenly holds her head as she gets a vision (or pretends to) from Nur-Ab-Sal telling us we need to find the Lost Dialogue of Plato.

That's another fine myth you've gotten us into, Stanley.

Indy isn't taking any of this Atlantis stuff seriously, but Sophia gets our attention by suggesting the Nazis already have a copy of the Lost Dialogue, and tells us that she found these Atlantean items in Iceland, near our old dig site.

So where to next???



ICELAND

Sophia and Indy keep pointing out how annoying they find the other. I've seen enough movies to know that they must be in love.

They go inside the Icelandic dig site and talk to the archaeologist currently working there, Bjorn Heimdall. He knows us.


He knows us well!


Heimdall is chipping away at a bronze eel statue stuck in the ice. He's trying to find the secret of Hyperborea, which is what the Greeks called Iceland. He claims the Greeks never got to Hyperborea because they were repelled by a force field created by aliens who used Hyperborea as a landing area...

Of course, Indiana Jones would never believe in aliens!

Heimdall tells us that if we want to find Atlantean artifacts we need to see Charles Sternhart in Tikal and Felipe Costa in the Azores. We have two new locations to visit. Before leaving, Indy asked Bjorn what his favourite city in Skyrim is.



And we'll stop for now. Tune in next time when we look for Sternhart and Costa and try to find the mysterious Lost Dialogue of Plato.

As for my feelings on the game so far: I'm loving it. There's a lot more action than most adventure games. By action, I don't mean fighting, I mean animations. The characters are always on the move - people's heads and arms move when they talk, and even one-off actions often have individual animations, for example, Indy finding the bead in Sophia's dressing room has an animation of him ruffling and throwing papers around to find it - which makes me think that the fact that Kerner didn't find the orichalcum bead is a sign that he needs to work harder on his ransacking skills.

Session time: 55 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
IQ points: 23 of 35

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