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Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Good deals on Indiana Jones computer games

I'm hearing very mixed word about the upcoming motion picture Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.  I seriously want this to be a good movie.  Raiders of the Lost Ark is my all time most favorite film and I found something good in each entry of the franchise.  I even thought that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was pretty good: all you need do is keep in mind that Lucas and Spielberg wanted to make a homage to the "flying saucer B-movies" of the Fifties, that they fondly remembered from adolescence.  Do that and it's a perfectly fine movie.

But I want Dial of Destiny to be good because seeing an Indiana Jones movie in the theater together was something Dad and I did with every chapter of the series.  This will be my first time seeing a new Indy movie without him. I want to enjoy this movie in Dad's memory as much as for my own sake.  We'll find out later this month.  I hope there will be some pleasure in writing that review.

Anyhoo, while we're waiting for that next Indiana Jones movie to be released, you might consider immersing yourself in the role with some of the saga's computer games that have been released over the years.  I've played and completed each of these (including all three of Fate of Atlantis's paths) and can vouch for their entertainment value.  And I just checked: there are some very solid deals going on right now if you purchase them from an online vendor.  Over at GOG.com they're each currently selling for a little over two bucks, while Steam's store has them for $5.99.  So you might wanna jump at the opportunity to add one or all of these to your game library while the iron's hot right now.

Like I said, I can attest to how good these games are.  Especially 1992's Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.  This classic "point and click" adventure set in 1938 finds Indy and former protege Sophia Hapgood traveling from the streets of New York City to Iceland to Monte Carlo and everywhere in between seeking the lost continent, trying to keep the Nazis from obtaining a mystical metal that could power everything from cars and airplanes to atomic-grade munitions.  One of the things I like about this game is that it has great replay value because of its multiple paths feature.  At a certain point in the game the player chooses from three ways forward: Team (having Hapgood along for the entire ride), Fists (where Indy resolves a lot of conflict with knuckle-baring action) or Wits (encouraging Jones to use his noggin to solve various puzzles).  The version on GOG and Steam is the 1993 "talkie" edition that was released on CD-ROM, taking advantage of multimedia technology that was just coming to market.  Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is still wildly acclaimed now more than thirty years after its release.  I would highly recommend this one if you're at all interested in the world of Indiana Jones.

Some years later - in real life as well as in the Indy universe - Doctor Jones is enjoying the relative post-war calm of 1947 as he looks for Native American artifacts in the Utah desert.  That is where he is found by Sophia Hapgood, who wants to recruit Indy on behalf of the newly-formed Central Intelligence Agency.  Seems that the Soviets have had scientists scouring the Mid-East looking for the remains of the Tower of Babel.  The goal: locate a mechanism of extraordinary - some would say un-earthly- power.  So begins Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine from 1999.  This game was LucasArts's answer to the popular Tomb Raider games that had been a hit for a few years already.  Admittedly the visuals when compared to the graphics of nearly a quarter-century later leave MUCH to be desired.  But if you can overlook that Infernal Machine is still a rip-roaring adventure around the globe.

And finally, we have 2003's Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb.  Set in 1935, this game is something of a prequel to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (which itself was a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, pretty meta aye?).  The game opens with Indy in Ceylon (what will later become known as Sri Lanka) and there is a positively enormous crocodile that once encountered you will never forget it.  Afterward our archeologist hero is approached by officials with the Chinese government, asking for his aid in recovering the Heart of the Dragon: a black pearl of reputed power that had been secreted away in the resting place of the country's first ruler.  Emperor's Tomb features far better graphics than its predecessor, and also provides a much more action-oriented experience, especially when using Indiana's signature bullwhip.  Emperor's Tomb is a rather hidden gem of the Indyverse: it was kind of overlooked upon first release. Maybe now, twenty years after it was published, it can be discovered anew and better appreciated.

Just in case you're wondering: no, nobody is paying me to hawk these games.  I'm simply doing it because I'm an Indiana Jones nut (hey, I watched every episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles) and have always found the world through his eyes to be a fascinating one.  If you dig (ha-ha, "dig", get it?  Yes ladies and gentlemen I'll be here all week!) a good quest rife with solid story, great action, perplexing puzzles and terrific characterization, and if you just want to experience a bit of what it's like to be cinema's most famous globe-trotting archaeologist, any of these three games will satisfy you.

Come to think of it, I may play one of these also while we're waiting for the next movie to drop.