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Video Game / Raiders of the Lost Ark

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Raiders of the Lost Ark is a very loose adaptation of the movie for the Atari 2600, written by Howard Scott Warshaw and released by Atari in 1982.

While it is very much a product of its time, complete with Flip-Screen Scrolling, it is also notable as one of the earliest examples of an Action-Adventure game. It also had the unique gimmick in that it required two joysticks to play, one to move around and the other to use items.

Raiders of the Lost Ark provides examples of:

  • Three-Quarters View: Like The Legend of Zelda, a mix of Top-Down View, Side View, and front view.
  • Action Bar: With your items.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: There are warp points in the temple, in order to make the frequently required Backtracking less taxing.
  • Collision Damage: It is inflicted by snakes and some of the other monsters.
  • Common Place Rare: The most expensive item, only available in the hard-to-reach Black Market, is... a shovel.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: The game uses both joysticks. One fire button uses an item, and the other drops it. A dropped item either disappears or returns to where you first found it. Confusing the two buttons therefore has disastrous consequences, and happens a lot until you get used to it.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: You start out right where you left off. Subverted in that whatever killed you is probably still on the screen, still targeting you.
  • Easter Egg: There is a Yar hidden in the mesa field. Also, if you get a high enough score, you see "HSW2", meaning Howard Scott Warshaw's second game.
  • An Economy Is You: The marketplaces.
  • Event Flag: When you touch a basket in the marketplace, snakes start slithering down from the top of the screen. Also, in the temple, taking the money makes an item appear.
  • Expy: The inventory and puzzles in this game are kind of an expy of the inventory and puzzles in the Swordquest series.
  • Game Over: The start/ending screen, but without the Ark.
  • Graphics-Induced Super-Deformed: Played straight with the merchants in the marketplace; they're just heads. Indy is an inversion: he has a hat and a body, but no head.
  • Guide Dang It!: Without the manual, you're screwed.
    • Even with it, you had to jump on a logic train, god help you if you hadn't seen the movie. The headpiece is mentioned NOWHERE in the manual!
    • Even worse: one of the things that the manual explicitly tells you to do actually causes you to lose points from your final score! You have to use the not-mentioned headpiece to enter a not-mentioned secret entrance of the temple (rather than blowing a hole in the wall with a grenade) in order to avoid losing the points.
    • Even the solution sheet that you had to send away for doesn't mention the secret entrance, though it does mention the headpiece and explains how to use it. It also explains some of the time-based puzzles more clearly.
  • Instant 180-Degree Turn: The way every character moves, as was commonplace at the time.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: You can carry up to six items, but you'll need more than that to win.
  • Invisible Monsters: The ground in the marketplace has a bar of a darker color running down the middle of the screen, where the two merchants are. If you touch any of the three baskets, snakes the same color as that bar start coming down from the top of the screen. You can't see them when they are over the bar. This can produce the effect of Indy dying for no apparent reason while trying to buy something. You quickly learn to have the Flute active at all times.
  • MacGuffin: The Ark.
  • Mook Maker: An endless stream of snakes come down from the top of the first screen. You can whip or shoot them, but they keep returning.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: The mesa field and Valley of Poison below.
  • One Bullet at a Time: The pistol works like this. The whip, too, since it's depicted as a short-ranged projectile. The Grenade uses the same graphic, so you can't fire the pistol or use the whip while a grenade is on the screen.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Like most video game protagonists at the time.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: The pistol. Fortunately, the Thief's pistol has the same limitation.
  • Palette Swap: The merchants in the marketplaces.
  • Press X to Die: The map room is trickier than it looks. The path you walk down is a narrow ledge, with a fall into the Valley of Poison on either side. The key reveals a part of the room where you can walk to the right, and with the headpiece of the Staff of Ra, reveal the Ark's location when the Timepiece strikes noon. However: You can only walk over there with the key. Equipping the headpiece means you are stuck in place; the slightest move will send you plummeting into the valley. You have to re-equip the key to walk back to the path.
  • Puzzle Reset: The temple. Moreover, it's a time-based puzzle; the Ankh, the Hourglass, and the Chai only appear at certain times (as shown on the Timepiece)
  • Randomly Generated Levels: The Ark is placed randomly in the mesa field.
  • Score Screen: The ending screen.
  • Secret Path: Did you somehow get trapped in the temple prison without whip or pistol to shoot away the walls? You can escape through the bottom of the screen, though that starts two doors slowly closing in the temple entryway, turning the whole game into a Timed Mission.
  • Unwinnable: If you're on your last life, accidentally dropping an item can spell your doom, especially in the mesa field.
  • Video-Game Lives: Indy has three.
  • Warp Whistle: One of the objects in the Temple, the Ankh. It not only generates a grappling hook, it teleports you to the mesa field first.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: Not to the extent of Adventure, but there's still more than a dozen different rooms (not counting all the secret rooms in the various mesas, which all look alike), and you need to visit just about all of them to finish the game.
  • A Winner Is You: The ending screen is the same as the Start Screen, except that the pedestal doesn't lower you all the way to the bottom, but to a distance determined by your score. The higher your score, the higher the pedestal's final position.