Video Game: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
"If you want to experience the greatest Indy film that was never actually a film,
Fate of Atlantis is where it's at."
Two 1992 video games by LucasArts
, based on the popular Indiana Jones
The first (and the most well known) is an Adventure Game
with painted cinematic screen-by-screen backgrounds, while the second was subtitled "the action game" (it was more like an Action Adventure
, viewed from an faux 3d isometric perspective
, and based solely on a few select moments from the point and click adventure version). The action game is mostly forgotten today
. This article, for the most part, discusses the adventure game, the second Indiana Jones SCUMM adventure, released three years after Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Set in the months prior to World War II
, the storyline sees Indy team up with an old flame, Sophia Hapgood
, who is an expert on the mythical city of Atlantis
, and in particular its god Nur-ab-sal
. This being an Indiana Jones story, it of course turns out that Atlantis was real, and our hero finds himself in a race against time to get there before Those Wacky Nazis
can harness its power to Take Over the World
This game was the first time that an Indiana Jones graphical video game had featured an entirely original storyline, not based on one of the films. Given the reluctance of Steven Spielberg
and George Lucas
to confirm a proper Indy sequel following The Last Crusade
, many fans came to refer to this game by the informal title Indiana Jones 4
. For years afterwards, lazy journalists used this as conclusive proof that the next movie sequel would feature Atlantis, a rumour which continues to pop up
even post-Crystal Skull
The game's storyline was also later adapted into a four issue comic book series
. A sequel to the game was planned under the title Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix
, but was eventually cancelled, and the Indiana Jones game series would not continue until 1999's Indiana Jones And The Infernal Machine
. Iron Phoenix
, however, saw a comic book adaptation after its cancellation.
The Nintendo Wii
version of Indiana Jones And The Staff Of Kings
also features the complete full version
of The Fate of Atlantis
as an unlockable bonus game.
Tropes featured in this game include:
- Accidental Pervert: Or is it? When Indy and Sophia enter completely dark rooms the "Look" command is replaced with "Touch". Indy can "touch" Sophia, to which she'll respond with a smart remark (e.g. "Hands off, Jones!", "Is that a ship rib in your pocket, Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?") or even an audible slap to Indy's face.
- Action Prologue: The game starts with Indy looking for an artifact in the university's large collection, with absolutely no other information being given. The plot is set up later.
- All There in the Manual: The comic adaptation explains a lot, like the connection between the Atlanteans' Schizo Tech and the reason for the God Machine. It was aliens. They had horns, gave the Atlanteans some technology and Orichalcum, and when they left, the Atlanteans, misguided souls that they were, tried to bring them back by turning normal people into "gods." Unfortunately, it didn't work and they became mutants.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The controls for the Nazi submarine are labeled "Ausgeschnitzel", "Flugeldufel" and "Krauskefarben". They're not geniune German words.
- Asshole Victim: Dr. Heimdall, Dr. Sternhart, and the Nazis themselves at the end.
- Bittersweet Ending: The bad ending - the Nazis are defeated and Atlantis is destroyed, but at the cost of Sophia's life.
- Body Horror: The innermost sections of Atlantis are littered with the twisted skeletons of people mutated by the Atlanteans' failed experiments with their ascension machine. When Klaus Kerner decides to try the machine himself, he ends up transforming first into a giant, then into a stunted minotaur.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: One interpretation of the ending is that the newly ascended Eldritch Abomination discovers the nature of the universe, and doesn't take it well.
- Broken Pedestal: Nur-Ab-Sal is not as nice as Sophia believes at first. In a room full of horribly mutated skeletons, he tries to take over Sophia's body; Indy manages to save her by disposing of his Soul Jar in a conveniently-placed pool of lava.
- Chekhov's Gun: Pretty much every single object you can pick up. Especially the ship rib, which has about a million uses throughout the game.
- Convection Schmonvection: Indy and Sophia have to cross a lava flow at one point, using stepping stones that were previously buried in the lava flow- and will be again if you waste too much time getting across.
- Dummied Out: The game code features several rooms which are never even seen in the finished game, including an entire section based around Sophia's apartment (which was relegated to only being an unplayable Cut Scene in the final version).
- Dungeon/Dungeon Crawler: The Labyrinth at Knossos.
- A God Am I: The goal of Klaus Kerner and Dr. Hans Ubermann, using the Atlantean ascension machine. It doesn't work out very well for either of them.
- Have a Nice Death: Game Over screens will usually be accompanied by a text explaining Dr. Jones' death and/or what happened after. An example: "Indy's failure to subdue a sixty-year-old U-boat captain allowed the Nazis to conquer the world."
- Historical In-Joke: Indy wonders why the Minoan civilization had this obsession with bull-headed figures (like the tale of the Minotaur living in a labyrinth underneath Knossos); it's implied that the Minoans tried to imitate the style of Atlantis and it's very likely that they got their hands on a few of the Atlantean horned mutants product of their failed experiments (maybe the King Minos' Minotaur was one).
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The Nazis' plans are ultimately foiled by the very thing they sought after. This is an Indiana Jones story; what did you expect?
- I Love Nuclear Power: The Nazis, The Atlanteans. The good guys are afraid they want orichalcum for nefarious purposes, since a single bead contains enormous power. It turns out They want to use it to turn on the god machine.
- Imported Alien Phlebotinum: Atlantean artifacts all around the globe. Orichalcum averts this oddly enough, since it does actually originate from Earth, but is exceptionally rare and requires some advanced technology to mine and process.
- It May Help You on Your Quest: Everything you pick up is either unexpectedly useful or a fits this trope. There's even the Maltese Falcon.
- It's a Wonderful Failure: Game Over screens will usually be accompanied by a text explaining Dr. Jones' death and/or what happened after. An example: "Indy's failure to subdue a sixty-year-old U-boat captain allowed the Nazis to conquer the world."
- It Will Never Catch On: In the comic book adaptation, Indy says that he considers continental drift a nutty idea (although still more plausible than the existence of Atlantis)— an opinion a lot of 1930s scientists would have shared. Of course, later in the story, he ends up in... well, look at the title.
- Karmic Transformation: Happens to both Kerner and Ubermann in the Colossus. Kerner gets transformed into a midget minotaur and Ubermann into a being of pure energy that dissolves shortly after.
- Last Lousy Point: The game's "Indy Quotient" score keeps track of points found in each of the three paths players can take, so you have to play all three routes (multiple times each) to get a perfect score. And some of the points involve fighting the biggest, toughest guys in the game instead of getting around them through puzzle-solving.
- MacGuffin Delivery Service: Several times. In the prologue Indy finds the first bead of oricalchum only to have it stolen at gunpoint, then Indy goes around the world to collect the keys needed to open Atlantis only for the Nazis to show again and steal them at gunpoint. At the end Ubermann even comments that he knew Indy would activate the god machine for them.
- The Maze: the opening labyrinthine library sequence turns out to be the attic of Indy's college library.
- Offscreen Inertia: Played with. When you meet the Norwegian archaeologist, he constantly digs in the same spot (as is common of adventure games of this era). When you leave and come back, he has frozen to death, apparently never having left the cave.
- Orichalcum: It's radioactive Bamboo Technology. One of the few works that not just uses it, but uses it as Phlebotinum.
- Painting the Medium: In a manner of speaking. One puzzle involves Indy turning on a generator in a darkened underground dig site. If the player waits, Indy's eyes will adjust and you'll be able to see what you are doing.
- Pixel Hunt: Has some very infuriating examples, like the dark rooms and finding the 1-pixel-width screws on the back of a collapsed bookcase.
- Save Scumming: The only post-Monkey Island LucasArts adventure game where this is necessary. You generally don't have to worry about it on the "Teamwork" and "Wits" paths unless you're thinking of doing something really stupid, but it's practically a requirement for getting through the "Fists" path.
- Scenic Tour Level: The opening sequence has Indy appear to be breaking into a secret stash of artifacts... only for it to be gradually revealed that he's in Barnett College and only swung through the window because the door was blocked. He then falls through multiple floors slapstick-style.
- Shown Their Work: The developers clearly went on researching everything about the myth of Atlantis, designing the architectural style of Atlantis as if the Real Life Minoan was inspired by it. The manual cites all the books and sources the developers consulted.
- Smug Snake: Kerner and Ubermann, who are convinced that the very same machine that horribly mutated scores of Atlanteans will work on them because of their superior Aryan qualities. They find out the hard way that they are wrong.
- Soul Jar: Sophia Hapgood channels the spirit of the last Atlantean King through her necklace. It's a reliquary for Nur-ab-sal, and Indy has to take it from her by powering it up with orichalcum, whereupon it morphs into a demonic face.
- Story Branching: Early on the player must choose one of three paths: The "Team" path has Sophia Hapgood join Indy as backup, the "Wits" path has a plethora of complex puzzles, and the "Fists" path has lots of action sequences and fist-fighting. Each path has a different plot, including different cutscenes and locations to visit. Some needed items in a given path become useless in another one. Story and gameplay converge again in Atlantis, with some room for Multiple Endings as mentioned above.
- Teamwork Puzzle Game: The team path, where Indy requires the assistance of Sophia in many puzzles. A lot of bickering is to be expected.
- Took A Level In Jerk Ass: Omar on the Wits path. On every other path, he's friendly and helpful, but on this one, he's one hostile SOB.
- Took a Shortcut: Played for Laughs early on - Indiana jones has a jungle separating him from a mayan temple early on. Sophia waits behind while Indy goes and solves a puzzle wherein he gets a snake to attack a capybara and climbs a tree to scale a cliff. Sure enough, Sophia is on the other side of the cliff, and if the player asks "how did YOU get here?" Sophia says she took a bridge while you were bushwacking.
- Unobtanium: The adventure begins when the Nazis steal a bead of orichalcum from Indy; it's portrayed as an incredibly powerful energy source (and a set of Interchangeable Antimatter Keys for many of the game's puzzles), and most of the game is a race for the motherlode at Atlantis itself.
- Unwinnable: You can break the doors to the middle ring by trying to open them without boiling away the water. Possibly due to an oversight of Lucasarts' policy.
- Vapor Ware: The adventure game ends on a screen promising a sequel which ultimately never ended up seeing the light of day. The sequel, named Iron Phoenix, was eventually adapted into a comic book, and a different game, Indiana Jones And The Infernal Machine, was eventually released instead.
- Walk into Mordor: While Atlantis is inaccessible for justified reasons, to get to the Third Circle of Atlantis you have to use an orichalcum-powered Bronze Age tunnel-boring machine, which promptly falls into the lava.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: An implied side effect of the Atlantean ascension machine; Dr. Ubermann does not survive long enough after his transformation for this to be certain.