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Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Game Chat!


Page One: Last Crusade/Fate of Atlantis
Page Two: Infernal Machine/Emperor's Tomb

Five Indy gaming fans thought it was about time they sat down and sorted out which Indiana Jones game was truly the best of the lot. Let's introduce the players...

The Tingler
The Tingler chaired the chat, so was mostly in charge of showing Jp-30 how to work the chat program and prodding Gabez awake. He chose Sean Patrick Flanery's Young Indy because they share the same birthday!

Jp-30
Jp-30 struggled a bit getting into the discussion, but once he did we could tell we were in the presence of a true Indy fan. Just not a technologically advanced one. He chose Henry Jones Senior because his grandfather looks just like him apparently.

Gabez
Gabez was falling asleep at his keyboard by the end of the discussion. Guess he's just getting old these days. He chose Marcus Brody because they're both most at home in a museum.

Zaarin
Zaarin the trooper stayed up way later than the rest of us. He must a pure Indy fan. Or a student. He chose Arnold Toht because he wears black a lot and has a vicious-looking coathanger.

Clone2727
Clone2727 arrived late and dropped out halfway through. This is why we gave him the monkey.


Zaarin
Sooooooooo.... Last Crusade, eh? What a movie!

The Tingler
Some really silly bits, but still great!

Gabez
What silly bits? There were no silly bits!

The Tingler
Clone2727 said to go on without him, so let's begin! First, this. Enjoy. Now the mood's set, this is what we're doing: we'll do each game in turn starting with Last Crusade, and for each game there are 6 topics to discuss.

Jp-30
Cool.

The Tingler
(I feel like I'm reading out the rules to Monopoly round a family table here)

Zaarin
Monopoly!

The Tingler
We each individually give a score out of 10 for each topic, then we move on to the next topic. Each topic will have a final score out of 50 (if Clone2727 comes back in time). The game that gets the top score is crowned Best Indy Game Ever!

Jp-30
Until LEGO Indy comes out anyway... ;-)

Gabez
Oh. I thought this was about Simon the Sorceror?

The Tingler
ANYWAY, let's start with INDIANA JONES & THE LAST CRUSADE - THE GRAPHIC ADVENTURE! NOT Simon the Sorceror. And yes, I do have a musical cue for each game.

Jp-30
My first introduction to LucasFilm Games!

Gabez
That grail music makes my knees wobbly tho'! It's a great game, but it's a bit rubbish as well. The boxing fights were good. Oh... Laws.

The Tingler
Yes, them. The first topic is STORY/WRITING - how engrossing is the story? How well-written is it?

Gabez
Well the story was the film, and the film was the BEST THING EVER, so the story is therefore great in the adventure game as well!

Jp-30
Considering the story was already written in the movie, its faithful, expands here and there, but not a huge achievement considering.

The Tingler
Ah, it is a little different however.

Gabez
Yeah there were a few good extra sub-plots. Dr. Eva's backstory would've interesting to find out. Or whatever her name was. The Nazi woman!

The Tingler
Elsa. You're thinking of Eva Braun. I'm got a bit of an unfair advantage here because I've just finished thoroughly studying this game for LucasArts' Secret History.

Gabez
Yeah, well, Eva Braun does actually make a cameo in the game -- but because the resolution is so small it's only a few pixels. But I could definitely tell it was her. The same eyes and smile...

Zaarin
The story is also the cage of the game... It was made fast and had to stick to something that lasts two hours, so all the mazes make it just feel stretched out.

The Tingler
It IS very short. What's amazing about it is how funny it is - almost in an un-Indy way. It's more Monkey Island than Indy.

Gabez
Yeah there's definitely a different type of humour.

The Tingler
I like how they suggest that Marcus is the one doing all the action scenes, like the tank battle and the speedboat chase.

Zaarin
Marcus couldn't even threaten the nazis with a pen properly!

The Tingler
It's a shame he's not around anymore to be in Indy IV.

Gabez
It did play off the film quite well -- but they could do more with it today! They could also ruin it better today.

The Tingler
Yeah.

Zaarin
It would have been made into an action game with focus on the action sequences... then mindless platforum jumping in-between.

Gabez
Most film to game adaptations are pretty rubbish, all polish and no substance.

The Tingler
Last Crusade is one of the few that is great.

Gabez
Yeah. So anyway, I guess I'd say 7/10 for plot.

The Tingler
Anyway, yeah. I'd say 6/10. It doesn't tell it as well as it could, but the writing's still funny. Even in an un-Indy way.

Zaarin
hmmm.... I'd say 7/10 as well. It does retell the movie well, but loses some points for the stretching.

The Tingler
Ok, jp-30? (pause) Wow, he's fallen asleep already!

Jp-30
lol hang on, just working on other PC! Yeah, 7 for adaptation and humour in particular.

The Tingler
Cool. On to MACGUFFIN QUALITY - how enticing is the goal? How useful/devastating?

Gabez
What is the goal in this game?

The Tingler
Now this IS the same in the film.

Zaarin
Get the grail before the Nazis.

Gabez
Oh, okay.

Jp-30
Yeah, hardly any surprise.

The Tingler
The MacGuffin is the Magical Object that drives the plot. In this case, the Holy Grail.

Gabez
Isn't Elsa the MacGuffin, really? I mean 'in a way'...?

The Tingler
Or Indy's Dad? That's Spielberg's viewpoint.

Gabez
(Still thinking about Elsa) In a very special way... I think she was -- for me...

The Tingler
You and your hormones Gabez. Anyway, how good is the Holy Grail as a MacGuffin? This is basically a discussion of the film.

Zaarin
It's the ultimate magical object! Eternal life!

Gabez
It's BRILLIANT. Eternal life is also good.

Jp-30
It's like the holy grai... oh, wait.

Gabez
Exactly. I never get tired of the Holy Grail anyway. Or 'Holy Graal' as with Charles Williams.

The Tingler
It isn't as good as the Ark of the Covenant though!

Gabez
Dude. It's better than the Ark! New Testament beats the Old! That's why it's called "new", because it's better. "New" is latin for "better".

Zaarin
It also get plus points for George Lucas not liking it!

The Tingler
Hooray! I don't know, it's a bit silly. And the Grail's not even in the Bible! No, it's not (smug mode).

Gabez
It so is though. If you look in my version.

The Tingler
Ah, the New Testament - St Gabriel Edition.

Zaarin
Well, what else would Jesus have drunk from? The hollowed out hoof of a donkey?

Gabez
Hoho! Crazytown.

The Tingler
Why isn't his knife and fork magical then, too? Or his toilet? "The Holy Urinal".

Zaarin
No toilets back then! Just a non-burning bush behind the house. It died because if urine poisoning.

The Tingler
Well, the Holy Bush then.

Gabez
Well his knife and folk didn't collect his blood. And neither, I should think, did the bush.

Zaarin
It collected his DNA though, absorbed it. The bush is like Jesus incarnate!

Jp-30
It was in that painting from The Da Vinci Code, so it must be true. Dan Brown wouldn't make shit up.

The Tingler
Ah, jp-30 makes a good point - Dan Brown used the Holy Grail too. Ergo, it's shit.

Gabez
I'd say 7/10 for the Macguffin.

Zaarin
The grail gets a 8/10 from me!

The Tingler
I don't know. I'm with Gabez I think - 7/10

Zaarin
By the way, the game got the most hilarious copy protection of all LEC games... in the floppy version you have to translate Donovan's tablet correctly and if you mess up three times, Indy'll make a silly translation and Donovan will send him back to Barnett, and you're out of the hunt :D It's realistic as well!

The Tingler
And you can't choose the correct Holy Grail at the end!

Jp-30
Well, it's not like LucasFilm games had a choice, but as far as a movie goes, all good. A solid 8 from me, though it is a little close to the Ark in yet another biblical artifact (though it's way better than those Kidney Stones from Temple of Doom. Now THEY were lame)

Gabez
Hehe.

The Tingler
Ok, cool. On to MUSIC/SOUND. Not much to say about this one here.

Gabez
Good, but not enough of it! That is of course the technology. 7/10 again.

The Tingler
You CAN judge this one by time, it's okay. This chat is to find the Best Indy Game NOW.

Zaarin
No original music, and the PC version has no MT-32 soundtrack.. only adlib. FM Towns got actual clips from the movie's soundtrack though!

The Tingler
Someday I'm going to have to find out about these mythical FM-Towns editions...

Zaarin
Well, in this case that one has the best soundtrack. So...real orchestra and since it's from 1989.. 8/10!

The Tingler
I'm sure they could've made the dog sounded less like your speaker was about to explode.

Zaarin
Dogs sound like that. >:

The Tingler
It's pretty lacking. I'm sure they could've at least had more music. 4/10 from me. Sticking with 7 Gabez?

Gabez
Yes, 7 for everything!

The Tingler
Hmm... :D

Jp-30
I can't even remember the sound/music. I was playing it on my friend's Amiga (I think) so it would have paled in comparison to other Amiga games of the time. 3/10

Gabez
Simon The Sorcerer, though, gets 8!

The Tingler
Of course. Actually saw that in Office World the other day. All 3 Simon games. Anyway, moving along, GRAPHICS/DETAIL/ART. How nice does it look?

Gabez
7/10

The Tingler
Oh, for...

Gabez
Depends what version, though, of course.

Zaarin
VGA version looks pretty nice considering it's from 1990. EGA as well. Simple though.

The Tingler
Indy looks less like Harrison Ford here than in the Lego version!!!

Gabez
It's hard to fault the graphics. But it's hard to praise them too much as well. So 7 is a fair score I think

Jp-30
Looked nice enough on the Amiga. Well drawn sprites, decent backgrounds. I give... 6!

The Tingler
Just compare it to Fate of Atlantis. THAT still looks nice, even though it's not much younger than LC. Nah, another 4 here. I'm brutal.

Zaarin
Taking its age into consideration...6!

Zaarin on Last Crusade's Story The story is also the cage of the game... It was made fast and had to stick to something that lasts two hours, so all the mazes make it just feel stretched out.

The Tingler
Ok, the next one's LEVEL DESIGN/CHALLENGE. This basically means the game itself. How does it play? It's a bit haphazard really.

Gabez
2. It's rubbish.

The Tingler
Finally, not a 7! I can probably agree with that, although for once not as harshly!

Zaarin
4, too many mazes

Jp-30
Last time I tried to play it I overwrote my good save with a near-zero health save and kept getting killed by the Nazis in the castle. Was this the last Lucas game where you could die? Mm, you could die in Fate of Atlantis too, eh?

Zaarin
Yep, you could. Fate had the suckerpunch though.

The Tingler
Well, and Emperor's Tomb etc too. And Castle Brunwald is f***ing irritating.

Gabez
That Dr. Eva mini-game was too hard for me :~

The Tingler
Would you stop calling her Dr. Eva? :D And in Fate you had more a chance of avoiding a fight. I think a 4 from me too. This was the last LucasArts adventure with dead ends. Thank Christ.

Jp-30
It had solid gameplay, but the Lucasarts 'style' was still being tweaked. Death being the biggie. And of course the fighting and mazes that were toned town or skippable in later games. Puzzles were good though, seeing the movie didn't mean you woudl stroll right through, which can sometimes happen with movie-based adventure games. So I'll give it a 6 there too.

The Tingler
Ok, next, and the last topic for this game: INDY QUOTIENT/ACTION. How much do you feel like Indy? How fun is the action?

Gabez
7

The Tingler
Really?

Gabez
Yeah. 7/10.

The Tingler
They cut out the tank and the speedboat chase!

Gabez
Oh. True. 6/10 then.

The Tingler
Lol.

Jp-30
Well, you're doing what he did in the movie, and possibly no fucking 'use the whip as a swing' puzzles, which is just lazy (see Infernal Machine, Emperor's Tomb etc)

Gabez
Infernal Machine had that a lot, yeah

Zaarin
You get to punch nazis!

Jp-30
So, yeah, it fit Indy enough back when it came out. I agree with Gabez - 7

Zaarin
HmmmmmmM... 5.

Gabez
It had the theme tune too.

The Tingler
True, but there's not that much action really.

Gabez
And the train chase at the start. Even though you couldn't actually interact with that.

Zaarin
Train chase is a cut scene :D

The Tingler
And Indy's quips are sometimes out of character. For example, he makes a joke when his dad gets shot.

Gabez
What does he say?

The Tingler
He starts by saying "There is nothing you could possibly do to make me go and get the Grail." Dad gets shot, then: "Okay, except that."

Zaarin
Hee, good one.

Gabez
Well it's never going to be as dramatic as in the film. Unless they used close-ups, which hadn't been invented yet.

Jp-30
I could see Ford delivering that in the movie, totally.

The Tingler
True. It's funny, but in keeping with this topic I must be brutal - 4.

Zaarin
Loom invented that!

The Tingler
Alrighty guys, on to the one I know you've all played! INDIANA JONES & THE FATE OF ATLANTIS!

Jp-30
Yay. Greatest intro to any game ever. Past present and future.

Gabez
Agreed!

Zaarin
Of course.

The Tingler
I know! I just played it again, forgot how great it was!

Gabez
The Grail theme makes makes my knees wobby, but the Atlantis theme makes me wet myself.

Zaarin
You always wet yourself >:

Gabez
Only twice. Today, I mean.

The Tingler
What do we think of Fate's STORY/WRITING? If I have to ask.

Gabez
10/10!

The Tingler
Had a feeling! Not that it isn't deserved - bloody brilliant, isn't it?

Zaarin
Fate.... it has three paths, a completely original story based on real non-written writings... has a few nibbles that has to be there to make the game rock so.... 10!

Jp-30
The story was brilliant. The paths were a nice idea, though I always felt that the two non-Team paths were sort of afterthoughts. Also 10.

The Tingler
It is just really really superb, although the Team path is obviously the most fun. I'm trying to find a criticism so that I can knock it down to 9 and be different, but I can't! 10 it is!

Zaarin
I like having Sophia along... she's a pixelly beauty!

The Tingler
You can discuss her in Graphics/Art in a sec!

Jp-30
Oh, her bum needs its own section.

The Tingler
For now, let's do MACGUFFIN QUALITY.

Gabez
Haha. 10/10. Atlantis is fairly original and it's done in a pretty original way. I can't get bored of it.

Zaarin
There's no physical MacGuffin! You're just trying to find the place Atlantis sank first! But the quest is good, and Kerner is a great villain.

Gabez
What do you call Sophia's bottom?

Jp-30
It's Atlantis! Ancient greece. Can't go wrong. The Oricalchum gets a bit tedious, but other than that, solid. 9/10

The Tingler
The ONLY thing I don't like about having Atlantis as the MacGuffin is that you can't pick it up, it's too big. But then they've got loads of little ones like the Stones, Orichalcum and the Statues. I'll say 9.

Zaarin
I'll give it a solid 10! Bummy.

Gabez on Fate of Atlantis's ActionSome of the action is lame. The hot air balloon is good, the car chase less so. Again, it's a technology thing -- but we're judging these in our times.

The Tingler
Ok, MUSIC/SOUND/VOICE ACTING next.

Gabez
10/10.

Zaarin
The only Indy game with a dynamic soundtrack! And the MT-32 has a cozy nostalgic retro quality to it that warms my innards. 10!

Jp-30
I played the floppy version pre-talkie. The talkie version is AWESOME. Music great. 10! Well, 10 for talkie, 9 for pre-talkie.

Gabez
I started playing it pre-talkie then got the talkie to work. Agreed, it makes a big difference.

Zaarin
I played the non-talkie on a friend's computer for like an hour.... then bought he CD-ROM myself.

The Tingler
There are some lovely themes, but mostly I don't think the music is catchy enough. And the talkie... it's amazing how much better Doug Lee is here than in Infernal Machine.

Zaarin
Big difference!

Jp-30
Doug "Hey look, an idol!" Lee.

The Tingler
We're basically doing the Talkie one here, that's the one most people will find now.

Gabez
Nuts to your musical links, Capel. This is the real business!

Zaarin
Holy crap!

The Tingler
(slaps Zaarin) That's for blasphemy!

Zaarin
Gabez' MP3: 0/10 Bonus score!

The Tingler
That freaked me out. Jesus Christ... whoops. (slaps himself)

Gabez
Hee. Well I give it... 100/10!

The Tingler
I don't know, with the MIDI music, and the acting could have been a LITTLE bit better... I'll be very brutal and say 8/10.

Zaarin
I could make a rant about how all the GM conversions of the score and the digital recordings of said conversions suck and must have been done by people who have a) never heard the original or b) no ears... This one's better!

The Tingler
While I'm downloading that - let's start GRAPHICS/DETAILS/ART. Take it away about Sophia's physique.

Jp-30
Oh those tight blue jeans, the wiggle. She was hoter pixellated than in the cutscenes though.

Gabez
It was all about the wiggle.

Zaarin
If you look at her while wearing that pink thing, she's still wearing her regular clothes in the close-up. Bummer :(

The Tingler
I think she's got a bit of fat arse.

Gabez
I think that you're a bit of a fat arse.

Jp-30
You need to change your monitor geometry setting then.

The Tingler
True.

Zaarin
I find the characters to be too low res to really make out anything... a face of 6 pixels isn't really much. The background art is excellent though.

Jp-30
Who's looking at her face?

The Tingler
Again, true. The rest of the art is quite nice too. I would so love to see this game hi-res looking like Curse of Monkey Island.

Gabez
That would be interesting. Not sure it would work with Indiana Jones, but high resolution 2D would be good.

The Tingler
Just cleaned up a bit though. We can dream. Here and now, I'll say 7/10.

Zaarin
Upping the res to 640x400 would have been great.

Gabez
7/10 as well.

Zaarin
I guess the best comparison would be Sierra's games.... 8/10. Lose two points for unclear character sprites.

The Tingler
Heh. Feel free.

Jp-30
I love the look. 9/10

The Tingler
No problems with that.

Zaarin
Gabriel Knight from the same year has the smaller items in it rendered in twice as high res as the rest of the game to make them clear.

(At this point in the proceedings, a miracle happens)

The Tingler
Wow, that really did take a long time!

Gabez
WB Clone!

Clone2727
Uhhhh.... did I miss much? :P

Zaarin
We're up to FOA. You missed Last Crusade!

Clone2727
Again, I'm sorry guys. No Last Crusade! And all it's many pathed glory!

The Tingler
I'll take some quick scores from you afterwards.

Jp-30
I need to duck out for 20 mins shortly to get 3 year old son to Kindergarten. I'll catch up when I get back.

The Tingler
Eep. Ok!

Jp-30
I'm just ducking down the road - I suspect you'll still be on Infernal Machine when I get back.

The Tingler
Probably. Graphics/Detail/Art Clone2727? Feel free to judge it by today's standards.

Clone2727
I hate judging by today's standards, because everyone thinks it has to be in 3D. Well, I say 10 just because it's great.

The Tingler
Not necessarily, 2D still looks great. Now then, we can all move on to LEVEL DESIGN/CHALLENGE? And actually discuss it?

Gabez
10/10

The Tingler
3 paths? All different and great? All the freakishly brilliant design of any LucasArts adventure times three? Wow!

Zaarin
Challenge.... point wise it's the hardest of all LEC adventures because it requires you to win some really difficult fights.

Jp-30
As I touched on earlier, a bit too much reliance on Oricalchum beads, but otherwise excellent. In hindsight the submarine puzzle (toilet plunger) was a bit silly, but at the time I enjoyed it. 8/10, lost points for the damn beads.

Zaarin
I think they should have changed that.

Clone2727
I liked that there were different ways to tackle it, especially since I was bad at fighting :P 10.

Zaarin
Beating Arnold is impossible if you're not willing to try a million times.

The Tingler
Don't you just set the robot on him or something?

Clone2727
No, that was the guard by Sophia. You send the boulder after Arnold.

Zaarin
Yeah, but you also get points for beating him. Have to do it both ways to get all 1000 points. You need all 1000 points to really "complete" it :)

The Tingler
I never bothered with the Indy points.

Clone2727
Neither did I, I just wanted to win ;)

Zaarin
Well, one way of winning is to get all 1000 :)

Clone2727
Nah, just get rid of Ubermann :P

Jp-30
I don't really think I gave the non-Team paths a decent play. I'm sure I went through them, but the whole endgame was identical, wasn't it?

The Tingler
Yeah. Fists is a bit dull.

Gabez
I didn't realise that there were different paths until pretty recently!

Clone2727
I always liked the Team path best.

The Tingler
But then having the option is great. Really removes all point from The Action Game's existence.

Jp-30
Team was the 'default' as far as i'm concerned. anyway, away for 20 mins... back soon!

The Tingler
Cool. And yeah.

Zaarin
Fists got really easy puzzles, but it's got some differences, like the outpost is on Thera instead of the desert dig site.

The Tingler
I think I'll give it... 9/10. Just because I can't imagine what possessed them to try three paths. Must have given them so many headaches.

Zaarin
Same, 9. Lose one point for the IQ stuff.

Clone2727
I still say 10.

The Tingler
Okay, lastly - INDY QUOTIENT/ACTION. I think it stumbles a little here with the action.

Clone2727
I didn't like that you could just throw a sucker punch. I mean, I liked it (because I'm bad at the fighting), but it took away the action.

Zaarin
Driving cars in Monte Carlo, the sub, camel... or was it a dromedary?

The Tingler
The car thing is rubbish.

Clone2727
It was a camel I think, but that wasn't really action. I give it a 7.

The Tingler
The whole fighting thing is mostly identical to Last Crusade, except now you can also control it with the mouse and you're just clicking like mad.

Zaarin
8 for the stupid controls :D

Clone2727
Hehe

The Tingler
I think 7 too. You DO feel like Indy, but the Action's not good enough. Lucky the rest of the game is superb.

Clone2727
I concur.

Zaarin
I like that you couldn't just make crazy U-turns with the car, and had to think of a way to drive to crash into the Nazis.

Gabez
7/10. I agree, some of the action is lame. The hot air balloon is good, the car chase less so. Again, it's a technology thing -- but we're judging these in our times.

Clone2727
Yup.

The Tingler
Nah, I think it still could've been better. Just the limits of the SCUMM engine at the time.

Page Two: Infernal Machine and Emperor's Tomb!
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