Indiana Jones games: “The Fate of Atlantis” (PC)

If games can be movies, then LucasArts’ point-and-clicker Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis would be the best adventure the man with the whip would have.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (PC)
(USA 1992, developers: LucasArts (defunct), publishers: Lucasfilm Games/LucasArts (defunct)/Disney, platforms: PC-DOS, Amiga, FM Towns, Wii)

In 1939, archeology professor and adventurer Indiana Jones and Sophia Hapgood who collaborated with him on an excavation and is now a psychic, have to find the sunken city of Atlantis with the help of the lost dialogue of philosopher Plato before the Nazis do.

A new cinematic adventure
Sometimes the original writer and director of a famous movie series don’t have to be involved to deliver a great adventure. Considering how George Lucas messed up with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and even Steven Spielberg couldn’t prevent the series to become a silly farce, someone else involved could be a great idea (even if it doesn’t always work out, as in the case of Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi). Hal Barwood who already had experience as a screenwriter, film producer, and film director was the perfect fit for continuing the series in a way that stayed true to the material and offered something much more epic and exciting than Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure which played it safe by following very closely to the third movie.

Old narrative habits die hard
The combination of Atlantis and the lost dialogue of Plato with lots of globe trotting that involves fighting Nazis and working together with a woman that isn’t simply the damsel in distress works wonderfully in the context of the Indiana Jones mix of adventure, romance, history, and mysticism. While it gets a bit out of hand near the end and the whole spiritual connection between Sophia and a ghost of Atlantis is a lot of mumbo jumbo, the storyline is still engaging enough. Even if the main Nazi villain is forgettable, the relationship between Indy and Sophia comes very close to what Raiders of the Lost Ark established: a strong female character that isn’t the typical sidekick. The dialogues between the two are very well-written, as there is just enough banter and sarcasm to make the player feel sympathy for them, something that is always difficult to achieve, as the humor can usually rely too much on the battle of the sexes. Here it’s more the battle of wits with some very funny results. In general, all the other characters the duo meets on their journey are interesting, e.g. the superstitious, amateur scholar Alain Trottier or the shady artifacts dealer Omar Al-Jabbar.

Play it co-op, on your own, or just fight
It doesn’t always have to be the same way that the plot develops, because one of the most progressive parts of the game, compared to its predecessor or any other classic point-and-clicker, is that at a certain point one has to choose which path to follow: Team, Wits or Fists. The first involves the duo’s cooperation, the second only Indy’s approach to puzzles, and the third a more action-heavy take with Jones alone. Even if the main story doesn’t change and the last part of the game is identical, no matter which path one went down, alternative puzzles and story sequences add to the replay value. Despite some parts being similar and most of the settings remaining the same, playing all three modes is recommended, as there are highlights in each of them, and as the IQ (= Indy Quotient) makes a return for rewarding points for all actions, one should do this, anyway. Around 6 hours of playtime for the first playthrough and an additional 3 hours or so for the other two paths makes it a much longer and more interesting affair than most other adventure games, especially since the puzzles are of a high standard.

Puzzling around the world
The puzzles are varied, ranging from environmental to a few logic puzzles. One usually doesn’t carry around too many items and it’s often clear how items are used. However, there are still quite a few obscure solutions. Some labyrinths and Indy’s slow walking animations are even more annoying, as remembering all the rooms on Knossos and later in Atlantis is already an exercise in patience that isn’t helped by lots of backtracking and sometimes even using an item in one place and then picking it up again to use it in another. Despite all these problems, the puzzle design is great and usually well-integrated in progressing the story, while there are always enough clues to solve most of the conundrums. The game is more non-linear in some ways, but one is rarely overwhelmed with options, because even with the globe trotting, one usually only has the choice between two countries. Talking to Sophia also helps solve puzzles, and sometimes it’s essential to do so, because a few problems can only be tackled when cooperating.

Fighting and dying
Being an Indiana Jones game, danger is also part of the equation, although it’s handled with much more care than in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure in which most deaths came from trial and error and a very unfair combat system. While it’s still possible to die, one can complete the game without a single fight, as there’s always the option to run away or use another approach. There aren’t many alternative solutions, but it’s much clearer now how to get past enemies. Even if one opts for the Fist path, the fights are also easier to win, since one’s health bar is usually replenished after each encounter. Still, there are a few more difficult encounters, but these can be easily avoided by solving environmental puzzles which are quite different from the other paths one can follow and rather inventive.

Frustrations abound
It’s not all fun and games, though, because there are a few sequences that are frustrating. In one instance one has to chase and ram a car from a top-down perspective with less than precise controls, in another instance one has to look for a digging site in the desert with a balloon or a camel. Even if finding it works in the story context, because one has to ask nomads for directions, trying to evade enemy riders or trucks isn’t so great, something that is repeated in the Atlantis section where lots of guards are running around and one has either to fight or run away from them. Controlling the balloon is also annoying, because one has to deflate or push air into it, making it turn in all four directions, together with unpredictable wind drafts at times. Even worse is maneuvering a submarine into a very small entrance, which requires all sorts of levers and even more patience.

Visuals and sounds from the past
The game still has some nice backgrounds and character models, with animations being particularly smooth at times, but the low resolutions still won’t win any beauty contest prizes today. While each setting has its own atmosphere and looks nice, it becomes clear that they have their limits, which is also true for the in-game cut-scenes which simply can’t be as impressive in action style than (modern) 3D games would achieve. The soundtrack is varied and nice to listen to, obviously with the iconic Indy theme, although there are a few instances where the music stops and one explores in silence. In the CD-ROM version, there’s also voice acting, but even if everyone involved does his or her best, the delivery of lines is often off-key and out of context. Unfortunately Indy and Sophia are the most irritating at times, as many lines come across as forced. So playing the game without voice acting isn’t really much of a loss.

Spreken Sie die dutsche language? (sic)
Unlike the problematic depiction of swastikas and also the editing of some texts in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure, there aren’t many changes here, as there are only very few scenes in which one sees such a symbol. It might have been part of the PR decision to better sell the game in Germany, but it sure doesn’t impact the presentation in the same way the cut German version did, even if it’s a bit strange that the Nazis don’t wear the uniforms and look more like generic henchmen of an evil genius. What is also worth mentioning is that there are a few German expressions and descriptions that make absolutely no sense whatsoever, e.g. “Flugelduffel” or “Ausgeschnitzel” for levers that can’t be found in any dictionary or have ever been used in real life. Still this obviously adds to the unintentional fun if one knows the original language.

One of the greatest Indy and adventure games
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis might just be the best Indy adventure yet that even surpasses the movies in scope and would have made an amazing big screen feature. It would also be one of the best adventure games of all time with its different paths to play if it weren’t for some very annoying arcade sequences and obscure puzzles. While the presentation might not have dated so well, the gameplay, humor and exciting storyline still hold up very well even today, without any Indy or other adventure game coming close to the LucasArts title.

Score: 9/10

Buy the digital PC version on

Buy the retail version for PC on
Amazon Germany
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
Using the GOG or Amazon links and buying the product also helps ;).

About nufafitc

Being an avid gamer, cinemaniac, and bookworm in addition to other things the internet and new media present, I'm also very much into DIY music, rock and pop in particular. Writing short or longer pieces about anything that interests me has always made me happy. As both an editor for German website "Adventure-Treff" and UK website "Future Sack", I like to write reviews and news about recent developments in the movies, games and book industry.
This entry was posted in Game reviews, Gaming. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Indiana Jones games: “The Fate of Atlantis” (PC)

  1. Pingback: Indiana Jones games: “The Emperor’s Tomb” (PC) | Emotional Multimedia Ride

  2. Pingback: Indiana Jones books: “The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones” | Emotional Multimedia Ride

  3. Pingback: Overview of (blog) life in August 2018 | Emotional Multimedia Ride

  4. Pingback: Upcoming gaming events: devcom 2019 in Cologne, Germany | Emotional Multimedia Ride

  5. Pingback: Past gaming events: devcom 2019, Day 1 | Emotional Multimedia Ride

  6. Pingback: Lovecraftian games: “Prisoner of Ice” (PC) | Emotional Multimedia Ride

  7. Pingback: Indie adventures: “Heaven’s Vault” (PC) | Emotional Multimedia Ride

  8. Pingback: Game release: “Nine Witches: Family Disruption” (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch) | Emotional Multimedia Ride

  9. Pingback: Amazon Prime Gaming free games in August 2021 | Emotional Multimedia Ride

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.