Indiana Jones Already Has a Must-Play Video Game
Indy like you’ve never experienced.
Hype for Bethesda’s upcoming Indiana Jones and The Great Circle is at an all-time high after the January Xbox Developer Direct. Todd Howard and MachineGames’ take looks amazing and will likely give players one of the grandest Indy games ever. That doesn’t mean you have to wait to play it if you want a taste of a great Indiana Jones game right now, because over thirty years ago LucasArts delivered the best made to date.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis isn’t quite what gamers may expect out of a grand adventure starring the iconic archeologist. Still, its smart use of point-and-click adventure game mechanics makes it one of the best uses of the character.
While there have been some Indiana Jones games in the past, the best treasure-hunting adventure games are probably found elsewhere. Tomb Raider and Uncharted deliver the Indiana vibe perfectly with adrenaline-pumping action and stunning set pieces. Truthfully, not even Fate of Atlantis can compete with that spectacle, but it offers something neither of those beloved series can.
Indiana Jones is as much about globe-trotting action as he is about his intelligence to solve elaborate puzzles. As a ’90s adventure game created by LucasArts at the height of its power as the best developer around of adventure games, Fate of Atlantis leans hard into the more cerebral parts of Indiana Jones.
By leveraging the point-and-click adventure mechanics system which focuses on talking with NPCs and collecting items to solve the game’s complex puzzles, Fate of Atlantis paints a convincing portrait of Indy as a witty problem solver. It also makes the player feel just as smart as him when they finally solve a puzzle.
That isn’t to say action isn’t part of Fate of Atlantis. The game has a system that allows the player to play the game in multiple ways. Wits is one path — focusing on puzzles — while Fists lets Indy fight his way through the game in spectacular fashion, it just might not be as stunning to modern gamers.
The third route available is the Team path, which gives Indy another much-needed element of a good pulp story — a sidekick! In this path, Indy is joined by Sophia Hapgood, who aids Indy through the game’s adventure and also acts as a welcome foil and companion to Indy. Having a character Indy plays off of makes the game feel that much more like a cinematic experience.
And Fate of Atlantis does feel like a truly epic Indiana Jones story. It has it all: Nazi punching, globe-trotting, an ancient McGuffin, and Indiana Jones being charming as all hell. Even without the budget of a film or the palpable charm of Harrison Ford himself, Fate of Atlantis gets to the heart of what makes a good, pulpy story and recreates that in the form of a classic adventure game.
For anybody who has gotten the itch to revisit Indy after the most recent look into The Great Circle but who’s already watched all the movies more times than they can count, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is a hidden treasure worth uncovering.