Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - A Lot on Our Plato

Indiana Jones Journal Entry #2:  I'm now on the look out for the mythical Lost Dialogue of Plato, which supposedly leads to the mythical city of Atlantis. I'm sceptical that Atlantis or the Lost Dialogue even exists, despite having personally witnessed the magical powers of the mythical Ark of the Covenant, the mythical Sankara Stones and the mythical Holy Grail - hell, I've personally spoken to an 872 year old man!!! Anyway, I'm for some reason still sceptical of mythical historical objects and locations, and am only looking for one as an excuse to beat up some nazis. So far, my investigations at Iceland and New York have given me two clues - one that leads me to the Azores in Portugal and another that will take me to Tikal in Guatemala. And don't even ask how a journal written in 1939 contains Wikipedia weblinks???


THE AZORES


Last time, Icelandic eel chiseler, Heimdall, told me to visit Costa in the Azores. The one location that the game takes me to in the Azores is Costa's front door.

I try to talk to him with Indy, but don't get very far. So I talk to Sophia and ask her to take over. Now in charge of Sophia, I try again. I get further, with Costa actually leaving the house instead of talking to me from the crack in the door.



And now that I'm Sophia, Costa will actually answer my questions about the Lost Dialogue of Plato.

Good to know this trip was well worth the time and money

Despite seemingly knowing nothing, he does claim to have some information about the Lost Dialogue. But he won't give it to me for free - he'll only trade the information for a rare Atlantean artifact.

Sophia won't give up her necklace, so perhaps if she didn't waste an artifact on showing me a ghost earlier we could have done something. Oh well, seeing as we're using University funds to pay for our plane tickets, let's see what we can find in Tikal instead.


TIKAL

Following Heimdall's second clue, we go to Tikal looking for Professor Sternhart.

We enter Tikal outside a sort of forest maze with a jungle rodent in it. The rodent is harmless, just running away if I get too close.


The maze is a simple - enter one path – leave another - style maze. Each dark area is a path that I can enter like a door, reappearing in another dark area. It's consistent, meaning if I enter a path, then return into the path I entered from I end up where I started. This makes it easy to navigate, and I quickly end up at a tree with a giant anaconda curled around it.

I'm sure it's a contractual obligation to have this line in every Indiana Jones game

Indy won't go near the creature, so the only thing I can do is go back to the jungle maze.

Seeing as there is a rodent in the maze, and I know from various documentaries and fiction that snakes eat rodents, the solution to the puzzle is simple, I go back to the forest maze and run close to the jungle rodent, herding him towards the correct paths and directly towards to tree snake.

The snake leaps onto the rodent, who jumps off the cliff, taking the snake with him.

Does this make Indy an accessory to double murder? Perhaps we should ask Victor Sifuentes.

Now that the snake has gone (hopefully at least having a taste of the rodent before being crushed to death on the ground below) I can climb the snake's tree, which bends, forming a makeshift bridge across the chasm.

Was that really necessary? The gap looks quite jumpable to me.

In a tree on the other side of the 'bridge' is a parrot that I can talk to. He simply repeats or rhymes with whatever I say. I have a little fun saying things to the bird, then leave the screen to the right.

I am now in front of a temple, where there's a souvenir stand. When I arrive, Sophia calls out and appears from the other side of the screen. I ask her how she got there and she says simply, “I found a path.” This joke would have worked much better if I'd spent hours finding my way here instead of solving a single puzzle, but it did the job of getting us both outside the temple.

I check out the small souvenir shopfront. As soon as I touch it, a man comes running from the temple and asks what I want.

This guy works fast! Is this a new expedition? And how many customers does he get?

The man is Sternhart, and he tells us that this temple seems much too civilized to have been built by the primitive Mayans. Legends say it was built by men-who-are-not-men, and he's sure those builders were the Atlanteans who came here after Atlantis sank.

He also lets on that he's the one who translated the Lost Dialogue of Plato, but someone called “Mr. Smith” had come here and stolen his only copy at gunpoint.

That's the third time Kerner's gotten ahead of me and stolen something I wanted. Even if he wasn't a nazi, I'd still hate him at this point!

Sternhart will only let me into the temple if I prove I'm a reputable scholar and true student of Atlantis. I tell him my name but he thinks it sounds more like the name of one of my American states (he's British) or a cat.

Sophia's brought this up twice already. If I was Indy I'd call my next dog Sophia!

With my name and reputation as a scholar holding no weight, I'll need to tell him the title of the Lost Dialogue of Plato to be let in.

I take a guess, but am wrong. Who made this guy the boss of the temple? If Kerner can get what he wants at gunpoint, why can't I threaten the guy myself? When we stop talking to him Sternhart goes back to the temple.

Because I don't have a gun in my inventory, I try the old adventure game staple of talking to a parrot to get vital information. I ask the parrot about “Title” to which he replies,
“HERMOCRATES! A friend of Socrates!"

Ted Theodore Logan?

We get Sternhart back by attempting to grab a mug from the souvenir stand, and he lets us in when we tell him "HERMOCRATES" is the title of the Lost Dialogue. Before we enter, Sophia confides that she doesn't trust him. Indy agrees, so we go in prepared to be double-crossed.

The temple has a very small explorable area. How many weeks/months/years has Sternhart been exploring this small corridor? Is this what archaeology really is?


My keen eyes sensed one of the spiral designs was different! Well, my keen eyes AND moving my mouse around the screen until writing appeared showing it was something I could click on.

Apart from Sternhart and Sophia, there are two things I can click on in the temple: a creature carving on the left that looks a little like an animal head and a spiral design that's raised beyond the others. I can't take the spiral design as years of tarnish have it all gummed up.

I had an idea involving some oily mayonnaise I'd found in New York when I'd done some previous exploring, thinking that would help me get the design. For a moment, I smiled at the adventure game logic of taking two plane trips for something I'd surely be able to find in the local area, but soon realised I wouldn't need two plane trips at all.

When talking to Sophia, I can ask her to distract Sternhart. She takes him to the back of the temple while I leave.

Wait! She's distracting him by talking archaeology instead of undoing one of her shirt buttons and pretending to be stupid? Are we SURE this is 1939?

I can now get a good look at the souvenir stand without being interrupted, and find a kerosene lamp, which I take. Knowing that kerosene will probably do the job of loosening tarnish at least as well as expired mayonnaise, I take it back to the temple.

After fiercely protecting his souvenirs earlier, he seems blasé about my theft now and lets me keep the lamp. He clearly subscribes to the finders keepers law of acquisition

With Sternhart watching closely, I open the kerosene lamp and pour the oil onto the design, which eats away all the tarnish. I can now take the design and use it with the only other usable item in the room, the statue head-thingy.

Okay. If you say so.

I pull the elephant's nose (shouldn't it be called a trunk, Indy?) which opens up the tomb of an Atlantean King.

Sternhart gets very excited and takes a worldstone.

I don't know what a worldstone does yet but soon find out I'll need it to find Atlantis.

Sternhart takes the worldstone and runs to the back of the temple, where he opens a secret door and disappears. We're unable to follow, but looking at the King's corpse, I find another bead of orichalcum, that Sternhart hadn't noticed in his excitement about finding a worldstone. Again I question his archaeological talents. What kind of achaeologist finds a unique tomb, then takes a single thing from it and runs off, leaving the rest of the tomb to anyone else who comes along?

We take the orichalcum and, after asking the parrot about orichalcum...

I HAVE THE POWER!!!

… we leave and go back to Costa in the Azores


THE AZORES II

Back at Costa's door, he won't take my new bead (or my whip or magazine for that matter) so I go back to Iceland to see how Heimdall is going.


ICELAND II

Heimdall's not going too well actually. He froze solid in a cave that, honestly, doesn't look all that cold.


Looking at the eel head suggests that a bead would fit in its mouth. If that's not a clue I don't know what is. I put the orichalcum bead in its mouth, which melts the ice, exposing the eel, which I can now see is made of bronze. I take it, then leave, wondering if perhaps I should have put my bead into Heimdall's mouth to unfreeze him instead.


THE AZORES III

Back at the Azores, Costa takes the eel figurine and in return tells me where I can find the Lost Dialogue. It's in the Sprague Collection. Indy tells Sophia that Barnett College owns the Sprague Collection.

So, after all that travelling, the Lost Dialogue of Plato is in the place I started the game. Fair enough.


SOMEWHERE IN GERMANY

Before being able to go back to New York, I get a cutscene from “a research laboratory somewhere in Germany”.

Kerner (a.k.a. Mr. Smith) arrives at the lab and shows the statue he stole from us at the beginning of the game to Dr. Uberman. The doctor isn't impressed until Kerner also shows him an orichalcum bead.

Um... that's not how fire glitters, Doctor.

Uberman attaches electrodes to the orichalcum, which does... something... to his equipment.

Um... Doctor, you seem surprised. Did you KNOW there would be no radiactivity BEFORE you experimented with me in the room?

The doctor then has the idea of putting the orichalcum bead in the statue's mouth. He does so, and the statue walks off the table like a toy robot. It circles the table before smashing through the extremely sturdy looking concrete wall.

Kerner wonders about the possibilities of trucks, tanks or airplanes powered by these beads, but Uberman says he's thinking too small.

A big gulp and super sized fries?

You know, you'd sound a lot more menacing if you didn't sound exactly like Dr. Fred from Day of the Tentacle


NEW YORK II

Sophia and Indy arrive at Barnett College looking for the Lost Dialogue of Plato, which Indy doesn't believe exists.

After seeing the professionalism of Sternhart, who supposedly translated Plato's Dialogue, I choose the dialogue options that keep Indy sceptical.

I explore the college, which includes many of the areas I went to during the introduction sequence I raved about in the last post. In the cellar, I find a dirty rag and some coal.

Indy pronounces it by-tue-men. I always thought it was pronounced bit-u-men. Maybe it's an American/Australian thing.

On the exposed back surface of the upturned bookcase which toppled onto me in the intro, I find some screws.


I go to my office, where Sophia waits for me to find the Dialogue. I can look at various items, which often are references to Indy's previous adventures...

...or previous Lucasarts games

I take the mayo that I'd previously considered coming back from Central America for.

The ONLY reason to take this is that I know I'm a character in an adventure game.

I think about things I've seen that will help me unscrew the back of the bookcase. The most appropriate thing I can think of is Heimdall's chisel that he used in Iceland to dig out the eel figurine. Once again smiling at the ridiculousness of taking a plane to Iceland and back rather than simply driving to a hardware store, I get in the car to leave. But to my surprise I don't leave - Sophia comes to the car and tells me off.

I like that the game forces me to stay here if everything I need is here instead of letting me waste my time.

That's the second time the game hasn't let me go somewhere unnecessarily, and given me an in-game reason to keep me here. I like it!

I go back to the room with the screwed bookcase and climb the rope up to the previous floor. I couldn't get upstairs by any normal means due to renovations on the stairway, which somewhat explains why I heroically swung through a window in the intro. On the upper level I found an obviously different coloured object on the shelf. It was an arrowhead. I took it, then had the idea of wrapping the arrowhead in my cloth rag to protect my hand. I'm not sure, but I suspect this idea coming so quickly is related to me having played the game before.

I unscrew the screws with my makeshift screwdriver, open the bookcase and find what I'm looking for, the Lost Dialogue of Plato!

Perhaps Sternhart does know what he's talking about, after all

The Lost Dialogue is simple to use. In the screenshot you'll notice five paperclips, which I can click on to take me to the five sections of the book that will end up being useful or interesting.

Here is the rest of the text we can read.




Socrates reminds me of Dana Scully 

I can now take my find back to the office and talk to Sophia.

I was hoping to keep Indy sceptical for the whole game, but all the options suggest he's starting to believe.

The Dialogue doesn't give us enough information to find Atlantis, so Sophia tries another method.

Joey Mallone?

Nur-Ab-Sal doesn't answer her, so we have a conversation about how to find Atlantis.

In the Dialogue, Plato had mentioned that there was a tenfold error in the calculations, which would put Atlantis in the Mediterranean Sea instead of the Atlantic Ocean. Sophia adds that Nur-Ab-Sal had told her he's from the middle of the world, which is apparently what Mediterranean means.

Glad I can be sceptical again

Sophia tells us that one of the artifacts Kerner stole from her was a stone disk with a hole in it, which she bought from someone called Alain Trottier in Monte Carlo...

She's doing this on purpose just so I always have to travel to two different locations, isn't she?

And now is the time we make a choice of path: WITS, FISTS or TEAM.

Choose wisely

I was surprised to notice that the game does have a defacto 'default' path. When I choose either WITS or FISTS I get a chance to back out with Sophia asking me if I'm sure that's how I want to do it. If I choose TEAM I don't get that chance and we move on to with the story. So the default path is TEAM.

As another aside, am I the only one who thinks they originally wanted the three paths to rhyme with each other but couldn't find anything appropriate for the TEAM path. Perhaps the original paths were WITS, FISTS and TITS but that name was already copyrighted by a bikini boxing club in a library?

As I mentioned in the introduction, I'll be playing all three paths, but I'll be starting that next time.

I'll travel to a Casino and a Desert. (Las Vegas has both in one place!)

Seems like an appropriate time to take a break. Tune in next time, when I hopefully get to keep an Atlantean artifact I find, will almost definitely use up more University funds to travel to far off countries and with a bit of luck, I'll find a Nazi to punch!

Session time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 55 minutes
IQ Points: 76 of 88 (still only 12 points difference so I didn't find any alternate puzzle solutions in this post)

31 comments:

  1. The game doesn't have a default path, this is the subtle difference Alex Romanov mentioned last post. Which of the three solutions to the get-into-the-theater puzzle in New York you go with determines which of the three paths Sophia will suggest you take - choosing to talk your way past Biff will have her suggest the Team path, which is what happened here. The game will then let you either agree with her suggestion or protest in two different ways corresponding to the two other paths.

    As for IQ Points... this is stuff you're not really meant to be aware of yet, but Gurer ner ab nygreangr fbyhgvbaf gb nal chmmyrf va guvf frpgvba, ohg gur ybpngvba bs gur Qvnybthr vf enaqbzvmrq orgjrra sbhe qvssrerag ybpngvbaf (naq lbh'er boivbhfyl zrnag gb hfr gur vasb lbh tbg sebz Pbfgn gb svaq bhg jurer vg vf, nf lbh qvq). Npprffvat gurfr cbgragvny ybpngvbaf vaibyirf fbyivat chmmyrf, naq gurfr chmmyrf jvyy tvir VD Cbvagf sbe fbyivat gurz ertneqyrff bs jurgure gur tnzr chg gur Qvnybthr va gung ybpngvba guvf gvzr nebhaq.

    The max IQ Points at this point is avargl sbhe bs bar uhaqerq.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah. Thanks for that (and Alex for pointing it out last post). That's a real subtle thing that I never would have noticed myself, and an interesting way for the game to guide you towards what it thinks you'll be good at or enjoy.

      Must... avoid... temptation... to look at what I've missed...

      Delete
    2. I made a minor error in that post that Alex sort of already corrected me on, but just to be on the safe side: Gurer ner guerr cbffvoyr ybpngvbaf sbe gur Qvnybthr, abg sbhe, ohg bar bs gurz unf gjb cbgragvny fbyhgvbaf naq V zvferzrzorerq gurz nf gjb frcnengr ybpngvbaf.

      Delete
  2. >he tells us that this temple seems much too civilized to have been
    >built by the primitive Mayans. Legends say it was built by
    >men-who-are-not-men, and he's sure those builders were the
    >Atlanteans who came here after Atlantis sank.

    https://i.imgur.com/HkPOzEH.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  3. My thoughts on this part:

    Did anyone else notice that Indy is a douche in this game ? How he reacts to his colleague being frozen to death ? You can actually say to Sophia "I think his ideas were a little too cold", she'll reply "way to cold", or something like that. Not really out of character, but not a nice guy either.

    You said you just pushed the rodent to the snake, when in reality the puzzle is to use the whip on the rodent, when he is near the correct exit (the middle one).

    Also, for some reason, using the tree to climb it doesn't work. You need to walk to it and Indy automatically uses it (at least with my DOS CD version).

    Again, this is well design to me, instead of having tons of locations with little to none puzzles but lots of things to interact, the game railroads you so that you have 2 or 3 locations (and their sub rooms). This is anti frustration features back in 1992 in graphic adventures. Very well ahead of its time.

    Regarding the book, that's a random puzzle (I won't spoil the other 2 possible solutions). Some people feel a little off in here, since the game doesn't remove the items that are only used in the other solutions (like the jar of mayonaisse). You also found one of my favorite gags, Indy guessing the age of every object, and looking at the screws says early 20th century.

    Also, not giving you a direct solution, but you can actually solve the get the book from the bookcase in another way too ! So that means, there are 3 possible locations for the book AND if the randomizer chooses the bookcase, there are 2 alternatives to get it just in case you have problems with pixel hunting the screws. Have fun with that =)

    Yeah someone already said it, but you are being suggested the teams path because of how you handled the Biff situation on new york (going through the fire escape is wits, and punching Biff the fists obviously). Also, it's heavily encouraged to keep a save mid dialogue in that decision moment.

    Good read as always !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really like these details you're adding. Thanks!

      Oops. You're right about the rodent. I could have blamed my memory but I even have two screenshots of me whipping him. My bad.

      In the CD version I've got, either walking to the tree or using it works.

      And I DO have a save in that decision moment dialogue. That's something I love about this game that some other games don't have. I can save during dialogues to check out other options!

      And now because I can't resist an extra puzzle... I'm going to see if I can find out how else to get the book. I might even get some of those missing IQ points Adamant's teasing me about :)

      Delete
    2. As for those alternate solutions, fbzr bs gur ebbzf sebz gur bcravat vageb frdhrapr ner fgvyy ninvynoyr. Gel ergenpvat lbhe fgrcf.

      Delete
    3. And I found the alternate solution and have, I think, 12 more IQ points.

      I'm going to enjoy reading all these ROT13 messages after playing the game.

      Delete
    4. Just the alternate way to the bookcase? Or the alternate locations of the manuscript?

      Delete
    5. You were missing 12 IQ Points from this section, so if that's how many you got, you're set. (sorry if that's too much of a spoiler, not sure if you wanted to be told if you got everything or not)

      Delete
    6. Michael, I just found the alternate way into the bookcase. Though I think I also found alternate possible locations while exploring, with a few places seeming like they should contain things but were empty. I'll probably try to check out those other locations at some point.

      Adamant, excellent. And no, not too much of a spoiler as I'd already passed that section and there were no clues or anything for future puzzles/plot - I usually err on the side of not wanting potential spoilers but I did enjoy the extra puzzle and it didn't give any spoilers for the rest of the game, so thumbs up!

      Delete
  4. That intro was too mythical (x6)! :p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I may have laid it on a tiny bit thick :)

      Delete
  5. I've never played this, but I *have* played Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (1996), and reading about this keeps reminding me of that. I expect when the blog gets to Broken Sword we'll see discussion comparing the two games.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the Broken Sword series (still haven't gotten around to playing the latest one though) and never really noticed it but now that you mention it I can see similarities

      Delete
  6. How do you intend to play the different paths? By switching back and forth between savegames, or playing one until they converge, then jump back and play the next?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm planning to switch between savegames with a single section of the game per post - for example playing through Monte Carlo and/or Algiers in TEAM, then replaying it in WITS and FISTS in the same post - though if anyone thinks that wouldn't be the best way to do it for this game I'm open to suggestions.

      Delete
    2. I think you'll quickly note that this particular style just won't work. I won't be saying more because of spoilers...

      Delete
    3. Thanks. Due to these comments I'll be going for the 'play one until they converge' strategy. We'll be starting with TEAM later tonight.

      Delete
  7. Seems to me that even though WITS and TEAM appear to be more popular paths among players, the FISTS path is most consistent with the tone of the films. It's typical Indy to try to go alone and prefer not to bring a woman along a dangerous journey and killing off Nazi's (especially the alternative solutions) are really fitting with Indiana Jones atmosphere. The WITS path makes Indy appear more like a Sherlock Holmes than Indiana Jones.
    The fighting is maybe considered a negative, but most nazi's can be killed off fairly easily and for the harder ones the game offers other options aswel (which make them effectively puzzles)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That may be true, but think like a 90s adventure gamer: You hate stuff requiring reflexes and speed clicking, which many game companies used as filler to make a game seem longer. Worse than mazes! If that's the kind of thing you wanted, you probably downloaded Wolfenstein 3D instead. The WITS and TEAM paths were designed to avoid the dependence of fighting and arcade.

      Delete
    2. Then again, WITS had vgf snve funer bs nepnqr, yvxr gur pne punfr va Zbagr Pneyb.

      Delete
    3. Ah yes, forgot about that. Guess I tend to play TEAM more often than not.

      Delete
    4. I'd rank them Fists > Team > Wits personally. Wits is rather lacking in original puzzles and feels kind of cobbled together. Has the least interesting entry to Atlantis as well. The only real highlight of it is the pne punfr.

      Delete
    5. I agree with that order. FISTS offers the best storyline flow with TEAM as a close second. Some of the comments above have unintelligable parts....what gives?

      Delete
    6. To prevent from giving spoilers, some comments are encoded in ROT-13. I think the web site to use for quick decryption is rot13.com

      Delete
    7. As some of you have suggested, I think a big part of Lucasarts' thinking was that they made a 'game design philosophy' a few games earlier that said deaths and dead-ends are not fun so they won't do it.

      Then when they were making an Indiana Jones game they knew that fighting and danger was a big part of Indy's persona so they tried to include it without betraying their philosophy.

      I think having a FISTS path but not making it the only path was their response. And though I'm still early in the game it seems like a great response to me.

      I'm surprised FISTS seems to be the most popular with people who've played all paths. I wonder if I'll agree when I'm done...

      Delete
    8. I’m not sure it was the most popular — just that some people here said it fit the movie character of Indiana Jones more closely. I doubt it was the most popular to be played.

      Delete
    9. I think I will agree with Michael's comment above. I was never fond of mini-games in adventure games, especially those that needed reflexes. I play adventure games because I can take my time with them and not worry that I will have to reload a hundred times. I guess I am too soft. So, I don't think I ever picked FISTS in Atlantis.

      Delete
    10. Yeah, Michael. I think you're right that most adventure game players didn't play FISTS at all, myself included.

      But of the VERY small sample size of people who played and rated all paths here (a sample size of two :) ), FISTS seems to win.

      Delete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete