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Video Game / Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

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"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 movie series.

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 adventure using LucasArts's SCUMM engine,note  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, 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 the Third Reich 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, rather than one based on the storyline of a film. 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 after the eventual release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the 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?")note  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.
  • Actor Allusion: Well, to the original portrayer, anyway: in Indy's office is a collection of letters to Indy's school from Henry Jones Sr. that all begin the same way — "Regarding Henry", a Ford film from the '90s.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the game, Nur-ab-Sal tries to possess Sophia to try to become a God through the Machine, not caring for his host. In the comic however, he only appeared to explain about Atlantis and what lead to it's downfall.
  • 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.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The Atlantean ascension machine is very bad at making gods and very good at making monsters.
  • Bamboo Technology: Powered by orichalcum.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Everyone Indy meets, to ensure plot progression of course. Most people will not only step around actually helping Indy, but some people think it's more important to ask Indy questions about the Lost Dialogue.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Indy can try to scare Trottier during Sophia's seance in the Team path with a bed sheet and shutting off the lights. However he'll need a scary mask to complete the ensemble, or else Trottier will query on why Indy is wearing a bed sheet.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: It's about Atlantis. Guess who built the Mayan pyramids, the Labyrinth of King Minos, etc?
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Indy and Sophia. Indy doesn't like that Sophia stole artifacts from a dig site, and Sophia doesn't like Indy's dismissal of her beliefs in Atlantis, and they spend the entire time fighting. But they're obviously attracted to each other, and Indy says to himself that he might have once considered it, before she stole anything.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The bad ending - the Nazis are defeated and Atlantis is destroyed, but at the cost of Sophia's life.
    • Even in the good ending, Indy has made another earth-shattering discovery, only for have it again snatched away, this time by the entire Atlantis being destroyed in volcanic eruptions and for good measure even the volcano collapses and sinks beneath the sea.
  • 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.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: When speaking with Sternhart in Tikal, he refers to the Mayans as "Savages", and suggests that because the temple he is investigating is so advanced, it couldn't possibly be made by the Mayan people. This would ruffle a few feathers even when the game was made, but when you take into account it takes place in 1939, it makes sense that someone would hold these views.
  • Driven to Suicide: Happens to Kerner after he gets turned into a Minotaur-like creature by the God Machine via jumping into the lava.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: At this point in his career Indy should be more open to the possibility that Atlantis exists, but absolutely refuses to believe in its existence right up until he's standing in its doorway.
  • Forgotten Superweapon: The God Machine, justified as it never worked at all. Indy realizes this just as they reach the machine and tricks them into using it to beat them.
  • Ghostapo: Dr. Hans Ubermann and Klaus Kerner, who is in fact a Gestapo and member of the Thule society. Initially, they are trying to find Atlantis for its source of orichalcum, a mystic substance capable of unleashing energy equal to a uranium bomb- with just a single bead of the substance. However, after discovering Atlantean technology the orichalcum can power, they begin growing more interested in the robots and machinery discovered in Atlantis itself- especially the Colossus.
  • 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."
  • Herr Doktor: Doktor Hans Uberman is a nazi scientist speaking with an exaggerated german accent.
  • 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 were seeking. 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 dwarfish 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.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The seance Sophia can host to get Trottier to part with his stone disc in the Team Path. You'll need to remember what Trottier said to you when you first meet him as he'll ask what he said. But there's the part where he'll put up a certain number of fingers behind his back and ask you how many he's holding up, forcing Sophia to guess. This leaves you with a 20% chance of success, provided you answered the prior questions correctly. This can be bypassed if Indy gets the scary Mask in Algiers and uses a disguise to scare Trottier.
  • 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.
  • Misplaced a Decimal Point: Plato's ten-fold error shows up as a plot point, both in regards to the distances Plato gave, as well as the number of Orichalcum beads required to make the Atlantean ascension device work properly. Though the comic adaptation revealed it didn't matter in the end, the thing wasn't meant to be used on humans because it was alien technology after all.
  • Multiple Endings: Depending on whether or not you rescue Sophia and convince Ubermann to test the machine on himself.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Some of the archaeological digs Indy is forced to explore are hideously dangerous. Atlantis itself is also quite dangerous, though this particular instance is justified.
  • 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.
  • Phony Psychic: Indy implies Sophia to be this, thanks to her stage props. There's also the seance she hosts, where she is forced to guess how many fingers Trottier is holding behind his back.
  • Pet the Dog: Kerner, unusually enough. An early scene shows the two noticing a small machine powered by Orichalcum going crazy. Kerner's mind defaults to using it to power vehicles.
  • 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 Maya 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 bushwhacking.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Indy's usual opponents, once again looking into the supernatural to try to take over the world. In this cast they're trying to find Atlantis and their supposed "God Making Machine".
  • Underwater Base: Atlantis itself naturally. It's the original underwater city after all.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: If you free Sophia from her holding cell, she admonishes Indy for taking so long to rescue her. Which, of course, leads to a Slap-Slap-Kiss moment.
  • 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.
  • 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.