It's always so tempting to believe that there are strange worlds out there waiting to be discovered despite the best attempts of MI-5 and Richard Branson. My personal favourites were always Neverneverland, the M72 and Frontierland. Within these mystic realms you could find adventures and strange sights never before seen by human eyes, like a cheap can of coke from an ice cream van or a definition for that bit at the back of your knee.
Indiana Jones of course, thrives on such strange and other-worldly things. He's made a living from nipping off to Egypt and Tooting and uncovering the Holy Grail, the Ark Of The Covenant and some cunning additions to his snake collection. One place he never travelled to was the land of Atlantis, that submerged city where man had harnessed nature itself to live on, when volcanoes threatened its very existence. Thanks to those lovely Lucasfilm peeps, we can now ruin that ancient land of Atlantis as Indy goes bravely downwards in the Speccy version of the game.
As this is the action game, there are loads of isometric puzzles to solve. Problems within the game are solved by moving either Indy or his girly Sophia Hapgood about the game-world. These problems range from getting hold of some dosh to fighting the dreaded Nazis. The overall idea of the game is to get both Indy and Sophia through the nine game locations and off Atlantis before explodes and disappears forever beneath the sea.
Indy's journey starts off in a casino. Here he's got to win himself some dosh by working out a was to cheat the tables. Having done that he can travel through the naval base, the docks the submarine, the four islands and finally Atlantis itself.
IS THAT ALL THERE IS TO IT?
Ha! Ha! No, it's not, fighting for instance isn't a case of simply waggling your joystick and hoping for the best. For starers there are loads of different ways of fighting; you'll have to use fists, feet, the whip, a pistol and knives en route to the Nazis defeat. You see the whole game is crawling with Germans and you're going to have to let your fists do the talking your Kraut accent fails you.
At certain points in the game Indy or Sophia might have the misfortune of being captured by the Germans. If this happens you have track them down and mount a rescue opertaion. This whole process is greatly helped by the inclusion of a compass. This highlights one of the best aspects of the game, namely the fact that you cant die, merely get captured. It makes moving around a lot more fun.
The cartoony feel to the graphics in Indy don't work too brilliantly in mono, but the animation is excellent. It does get tricky at certain points in the game to see what exactly you're up to, especially if you're playing the game on a Speccy plugged into a fuzzy television.
When you consider that this game was actually designed on a PC to run in 13 times the memory you realise what a job the guys were up against. As it stands (and as chocka as the game is), this is a fairly standard isometric 3D explore-'em-up. There are annoying glitches like the way Nazis appear from nowhere and pummel you to death that make the game a lot harder than it should be. These glitches have knocked it down from Megagame status, which is a bit of a shame considering how big a licence it is.
It's not so much that the game is unoriginal, if games were downmarked for that nothing would ever get over 30. No, the point is that while the programmers have tried really hard to cram the game chock full of goodies to be discovered and Nazis to be shot, they forgot to tweak the gameplay.
This is one of those games in which you tend to unwittingly walk into your death. Your character fills a good portion of the already reduced playing screen, which means that when you do come across Herr Nazi, you have to have the reactions of a leopard on steroids. What's more, these Nazis are obviously specially trained elite soldiers 'cos they don t have to hit you much before you're captured.
Something tells me that all you Speccy owners have learnt to work your way around the inconsistencies of games: there are so many flawed games out there. Indy 4 is full of puzzles to solve and levels to crack, but unfortunately death (just like in real life) comes too easily. There's lots of Indy 4, but my temper couldn't take the punishment.
Shame really, this could have been a stonking Megagame.
Can you direct me to the nearest ant colony.
The mystic isle of Atlantis is reckoned to be on the exact opposite side of the globe to us. When it disappeared from sight our very own beloved Britain was pushed up out of the sea where it had been sulking for a million years with a small vanity case full of comics and peanut butter sandwiches. We owe our very existence to those funky, nutty Atlanteans. Let's hear it for them!
THE HOT PLOT
I find it very hard to believe that you lot don't know what this game's about but, for those of you who like a nice story, here's something for you to read before you go to bed. I went and had a little chat with the programmer, John Court, and here's what he had to say...YS: Is this a 'once upon a time' thing then?John: I suppose it is. Shall I start or will you?YS: You can.John: Okay, once upon a time when the world wasn't as full as it is these days, there was a place called Atlantis and it, erm, disappeared. And, that's all I know about that bit.YS: Atlantis disappeared beneath the waves and people have been searching for it ever since cos it's full of treasure. That's all people really need to know, let's go to 1938.John: Ah, I know it all from here. It's 1938 and Indiana Jones, a young archaelogist, finds a small minotaur and a bead. At first he doesn't think this is too important, but then someone steals it. As the thief runs away he drops some papers which show that he's working for the Nazis and a magazine article all about Atlantis. The article contains a picture of Indy's old colleague Sophia Hapgood.YS: Is she the love interest?John: If this was a film she would be, but as it is she's just a friend.YS: Of course! So, who's nicked Indy's minotaur and mysterious bead?John: Ah, the thief is a top Nazi agent called Kerner. He's working under orders from Dr Hans Ubermann.YS: Why?John: I'm just coming to that. Ubermann is trying to build a nuclear bomb and he's discovered that the head and the statue have amazing powers. They can eat their way through desks!YS: How?John: Well I'm not sure. But I do know that they're just what Ubermann needs to help him build his bomb.YS: Oh dear, so the sooner Indy and Sophia find out about this, the better.John: You got it, they have to follow all manner of cryptic clues which takes them all over the world. It's not until they get to Monte Carlo that things really start happening. And I'm not going to tell you anymore cos this is where you should start finding stuff out for yourself. Good luck and toodle pip.YS: Oh, is that it? How about coming out for a prawn salad sandwich and a diet coke?John: No, I've got to rush. I left the tea towels boiling on the stove.
BETTER THE LEVEL YOU KNOW!
Casino: play roulette, barter for trinkets and weapons, collect food, maps and tools, beat up Nazis, find an escape exit and explore the basement, ground and upper floors.Naval base: evade the search lights and get both Indy and Sophia inside. Explore the huts, beat up Nazis and engineers, collect bullets, knives, chocolate, clues and orichalum nuggets. Find the secret entrance into the submarine pit.Submarine dock: get both Indy and Sophia on board the submarine before the Nazis find you. You're up against the clock.Submarine: get into the sub, fend off the Nazis, find the periscope to steer the sub and explore the rest of the craft. Confront a particularly nasty Nazi in his evil laboratory.The Islands: explore, fight and collect. Discover how to get into the secret cave.Atlantis: phew! Collect food and Orichalum, scrap the hordes of Nazis, work out how to work the Atlantean machines, start the destruction of Atlantis, and finally, leg it the hell out of there.
At last - the island of Atlantis! Indy's exuberant shout died in his throat as he was attacked by a heavily-armed man and a large wooden chair.
Indy was strolling quietly around the submarine when suddenly he came face to face with a Nazi officer. Indy grinned. The officer hit him. "Nazis," said Indy. "I hate those guys." The officer hit him again.
In an effort to avert suspicion when approached by a Nazi in a casino, Indy improvised a jaunty tap-dance.
Attempting to find a fish and chip shop, Indy found himself wandering onto the docks. He found no fish and chip shops, but he did meet some interesting sailors.
The story so far, Indy is visiting...
...Madame Sophia, mystic gypsy queen of London.
Suddenly Indy spots a strange biscuit barrel.
His investigation is curtailed...
...by a heavily-accented intruder.
He escapes with the biscuit barrel while Indy falls asleep.
Meanwhile, in sunny Neasden...
...Professor Bop buys the biscuit barrel...
...as a handy place store his marbles.
Disaster strikes! Bop loses his prize 49er.
Back in Luton, Indy asks Sophia to the pictures.
What will they go to see? To be continued...