Indy Under the Sea: Celebrating Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
Indiana Jones is certainly a franchise that has seen better days. The first three movies built a fervent fan base and established an absolutely adored archetype of treasure hunting adventure with its titular whip slinging archaeologist that would trickle into other forms of media including TV shows, comics, and video games. Although the Indiana Jones franchise doesn’t have too much to be proud of when it comes to video games, there was a time back in LucasArts’ point-and-click glory days that the company managed to produce an original video game worthy of the Indiana Jones license. Today marks the arrival of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis on PC.
The Fate of Atlantis is actually the second point-and-click Indiana Jones game. The first was actually based on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and coincided with the 1989 film’s release. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure was did well and was considered an excellent tie-in to the film by many critics. Desiring to capture the success of the video game marketplace a second time on an established franchise, LucasArts got right to work on concepts for a second Indy point-and-click adventure in 1990. Unfortunately, much of the development studio was also working on games like The Secret of Monkey Island and The Dig at the time. The job fell to Hal Barwood, who had little experience in game creation, but plenty of experience as a film writer. He would be joined by co-writer and designer Noah Falstein in the creation of the new Indy game.
The game didn’t actually start out as a journey to Atlantis. Originally LucasArts wanted to use a rejected script to inform the creation of the game. This would have been Indiana Jones and the Monkey King or The Garden of Life and had Indy chasing after far Eastern treasures in Africa. However, Barwood read the script and considered it poor, choosing instead to write and pursue a new and original story based off of mythical stories and research of on the lost city of Atlantis. The game would come in two versions, with the second coming a year later than the first and featuring fully voiced characters with over 8,000 lines of dialogue.
The Fate of Atlantis sees Indiana Jones facing off against those dastardly Nazis once again. The time is 1939 and this time, the Third Reich is searching for legendary mystic pieces of metal called Orichalcum to provide a unlimited source of power for the German war machine. Alongside old archaeological partner and psychic Sophia Hapgood, Indy must pursue a legend that takes him to the ancient underwater city of Atlantis. In addition to point-and-click staples that allowed the player to interact with objects in the world in a variety of ways, Fate of Atlantis also included diverging paths based on three separate ways to play the game. Team forces Indy to depend on Sophia to traverse obstacles and overcome trials. Wits puts Indy up against clever puzzles to succeed. Finally, Fists Path has Indy fighting his way out of most situations. Though the story would play out the same, each path would make the game play quite a bit differently.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was widely praised by critics across the board for its original story and handling of a point-and-click adventure. The game would go on to win several awards for best adventure game of the year. Several sequel games were planned, but never made it to the shelf. Even so, Fate of Atlantis and its intended sequels were adapted into several miniseries of comics published by Dark Horse Comics. In 2009, the voiced version was even included with another Indiana Jones game as an unlockable bonus: Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings for the Wii. Good thing too, as it was considered to be the only redeeming factor of Staff of Kings. The Indiana Jones franchise may be in decline, but Fate of Atlantis harkens to a bygone time when Dr. Jones was still the unrequited king of silver screen adventurers.