Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - A Fistful of Scholars

Indiana Jones Journal Entry #3: Enough writing. Time for action. Lets hit some Nazis in the face!

Well, I've reached Atlantis on the TEAM and WITS path, so it's time to backtrack again and try to get here by hitting things with my FISTS.

Hopefully the Nazis are equally as accomodating

As before, lets start by going to Monte Carlo – maybe if Trottier's being uncooperative he'll find out how hard I can punch.


This section is exactly the same as in the WITS path. I quickly find Trottier, pass his 'have you read the book' test and he gives me his business card. Not very fist-centric so far.

But I didn't even get to punch him once


With Trottier's card in hand, I made my way to Algiers. The market area was as empty as it was in the WITS path, with the balloon closed for repairs and no knife thrower or food vendor. I walk straight to Omar Al-Jabbar's shop, and find his assistant, Paul Abdul. In the WITS path, getting a red fez and giving it to Paul was a puzzle I had to pass. This time, Paul is already wearing a red fez when I meet him.

Indy tries to impress Paul with his 'jazz hands' routine.

I show Trottier's card to Paul and he agrees to pass my message on to Mr. Al-Jabbar. Knowing the puzzle from last time, I follow Paul out of the shop and follow him throughout the streets of Algiers until I see him ducking into a building.

I follow Paul into Omar's house, and find that Omar and Paul are being threatened by a Nazi.

Damn. I was hoping for pleasant torture.

As I walk towards the Nazi, the floor creaks and the Nazi turns around.

Um... your cunning plan of having me find the Lost Dialogue of Plato, prove to Alain Trottier that I've read it, use his business card to get Omar's servant to go to Omar's house, follow the servant using his red fez as a guide, step on a creaky floorbard... yes, I suppose that WAS a rather good trap.

So now, as the path name says, it's time for my FISTS to do the talking.

How's that trap turning out for you now?

As I wonder why the easily beaten Nazi's trap didn't include any backup Nazis, Omar thanks me for saving him.

Maybe the Nazi was trying to give Omar a copy of the sub-par Infocom adventure game?

Omar warns me to give up looking for Atlantis because there are men who will kill to stop me.

He also tells me that Kerner had forced him to give up the location of his discovery and are now digging in the location he had found. Omar offers his map and camel and he and Paul leave to warn the authorities.

Wait! I haven't shown you my 'jazz hands' routine yet!

Now that Omar's left me to ransack his place, I use the bamboo pole to take his map.

But before leaving I notice a few more items I didn't see here in the WITS path. I take a blackbird statue and a cheap soapstone statue, and I also notice a pot hanging by a thread that would have been above where the Nazi was standing when I entered.

Wanting all the IQ points I can fit in my greedy little pockets, I reload and instead of walking up to the Nazi, use my whip on the pot.

I believe this gained me 4 extra IQ points.

Using Omar's camel, I now go back to the desert to find the 'X'. This section is much like the WITS version, but instead of seeing enemy camels labelled 'trouble' I see Nazi trucks. If I'm caught by a truck, the Nazi tells me I have to go back to the city. I can let him take me back to the city and start the section again, but I'm playing the FISTS path here, so when in Rome...

Who's the dead archaeologist now?

After a few more fights and a few visits to nomad camps for directions, I find myself at the abandoned Nazi dig site.

I'm amused that there's a different part missing during each path.

There is an exciting new obstacle this time. When I get closer to the dig site...

Hmm. I wonder what's at the top of that rope ladder?

I get down into the dig site, and turn on the generator to light up the room (no puzzle this time.) I push the circle on the ark painting to open the secret passage.

I also take the wooden peg and clay jar (which contains an orichalcum bead) and the all-powerful ship rib!

I shiprib the crumbling wall and put my new wooden peg and Sunstone on the mural, correctly aligning them according to the Lost Dialogue to open a secret door. The secret door, which rescued Sophia from the hole she fell down in the TEAM path, leads to the outside. As Indy climbs up the hole my first thought is, “if this hole is so easy to climb out of why couldn't Sophia do it?” but then I remembered that a table had gotten stuck in the hole in the TEAM path. Nice way to maintain consistency, game!

Okay, okay. No need TO SHOUT!

I talk to my new friend, affectionately named by the game as Gun-Toting Nazi. He doesn't give me any useful information and he doesn't want my fine leather jacket. Well, I'm doing the FISTS path, so let's get this over with Nazi! Prepare to meet my fists...

Never bring a fist to a gunfight

Okay, so I need to try something else. Poking him with my ship rib won't work so I use my whip.

If Indy was really good with a whip, the gun would end up in his hands - instead, it falls down the hole.

Oh well, now that neither of us have a gun, it's time to get physical.



Who needs a gun when I can kill him with my bare hands.

It's probably worth mentioning that my health completely recovers after every fight, so I never have to fight someone with only a sliver of health left. It's probably a part of the Lucasarts philosophy of no dead-ends, because leaving Indy with a millimetre of health with fights still to come would be pretty close to a dead-end scenario.

Rolf doesn't have any loot (come on game, couldn't you give him at least one gold piece) so I check out the rope ladder.

If you've been reading along with the other paths, I think you can guess what happens next.

I fly my balloon over the desert for a while, thinking perhaps I should go back to town and get to the airport, but Indy refuses, saying simply, "I don't want to go back to the city."

I try stopping off at a nomad camp to see if he has any advice. I notice one of my options is to ask him the way to Crete. I'm not a geography expert by any stretch, but I didn't think asking someone in the Algerian Desert the way to Crete would get any kind of useful response.

Ask a stupid question...

I still think it would have been safer and quicker to find the airport.

So how long would it take to travel from Algeria to Crete by balloon in 1939? I have no idea, but I can tell you how long it takes in 2018 by plane.

It could also be a 53 hour drive or a 14 day walk – unfortunately Google Maps doesn't have a 'camel' or 'balloon' button.

Session time: 45 minutes
Total time FISTS: 2 hours 40 minutes
IQ Points: 149 of 588
Total time combined: 9 hours 50 minutes
Nazis killed: 5 (Hörst in Omar's house, 3 in the desert, Rolf the Gun-Toting Nazi) – it says they're unconscious, but for the sake of this category I'm assuming they all die of exposure or something.


I've been promising/threatening to give my opinions of the game music for a few posts now. Rather than ramble on for too long, I'll try to compact my thoughts into a few bullet points.

So here's a few of my opinions so far:
  • The most memorable music in this game, apart from music I recognise from the movies – has been the Monte Carlo music. It's bright and happy, and I'd say my favourite so far.
  • The game uses Lucasarts' iMuse system, which has the different music pieces blend into each other rather than abruptly stopping one song and starting another - I like it.
  • I did notice the music a lot more when I played with voices off, but I still much prefer listening to voices with music playing softly in the background
  • Laukku and Alex Romanov have made interesting comments about music in the game, and Laukku gave some excellent info on some of the music which was mostly wasted on my non-musical ears.
  • The music as a whole is good, but not one of my favourite game soundtracks. I expect none of it will evoke the emotion of the experience in a way that brings a smile or a tear to me when I hear it in a few years. But it all works. Each piece has the appropriate atmosphere for its purpose. 
But that's all just some quick opinions of someone who's not big on music in the first place. It was interesting to think about and I'll obviously be bringing it up again in the Final Rating.


  1. >I quickly find Trottier, pass his 'have you read the book' test

    Trottier obviously has a side job of designing copy protection schemes.

    >but I still much prefer listening to voices

    Speaking of voices, I'm not a fan of the voice acting in this game. The nazis sound cartoony, especially Ubermann who sounds like a parrot - I personally imagine a more Christopher Lee -style deep voice for him. Indy also sounds too monotone, with not enough emotional range. A few character voices I do find acceptable but still not great. Furthermore, the delivery of some lines are off, almost as if the actors didn't know their context.

    1. "Trottier obviously has a side job of designing copy protection schemes."


      I've noticed the thing in games of this era about actors not knowing the context. I've played games where a conversation goes something like:

      Character 1: "Tell me where 'name' is!"

      Character 2: "I've never heard of 'name'"

      where the actual character's 'name' is pronounced differently by each actor, which is impossible in the context and a case of seriously lacking voice acting direction.

      Fortunately, games got much better at directing actors as time went on.

    2. Yeah, I remember that happening in at least in Beneath a Steel Sky and Gabriel Knight 1.

  2. You got every IQ point in this section.
    It's worth noting that beating up a nazi truck driver in the desert counts as solving a puzzle, and as such gave you a couple IQ points you may not have noticed you gained. As a general rule, if there's a fightable nazi, you get points for fighting him.

    The alternate solution to beating the nazi in Omar's house is one of those few solutions I never found as a kid and had no idea existed until I read a guide many years later.

    I agree with Laukku about the voice acting. For the most part it's passable enough, but it feels rather halfassed at times, with lots of lines that are very obviously meant to be spoken loudly with considerable emotion to them getting really awkwardly monotone delivery (like the scene after Vaql serrf Fbcuvn sebz gur pryy va Ngynagvf), and some voices are just so ridiculously cartoony it's impossible to take some scenes seriously, the worst offenders being Ubermann and the cbffrffrq Fbcuvn.

  3. My thoughts:

    About the voices, yeah in general they sound terrible, I like the Harrison Ford impression and Sophias voice is not that bad. The worst must be Bjorn Heimdall and Dr ubermann (Dr Fred voice and Russian President in 24, best series !).

    Lol at the globe going to Crete, Ive never thought about it until now. Its like they already had the globe code and they wanted to make use of it, even if its really easy when the solution is just to fly north of any of the northern screens.

    Also, never understood why making a hole in the desert triggered the nazi who shot you from far to actually step down and come to you, sounds like a very stupid move. Maybe it would have been better if you somehow sneaked past him using that secret passage and stealing the globe.

    If you like the fighting mechanics, youll love the next part.

    Reading all these parts, sitll makes me think that in general, the teams path is the better balanced and produced one.

    1. Having now finished all paths, I think I agree that team is the best

  4. The voice acting never bothered me quite as much, but I'm remembering my first experiences with it as a 14-year old with a newfangled 2x CD-ROM drive. This was among the best voice acting of the time -- especially compared to it's main competition, KQ5. That said, Bjorn's voice was awful. I don't know what they were thinking, other than they must have just run down the budget at that point.

    For me, the music when Indy explores Atlantis is the most haunting, the most atmospheric. I've previously mentioned the "peno ensg" theme as one of my favorites.

    1. I don't think it's a budget thing. The specific voices people are complaining about (Ubermann, Heimdall, etc) aren't bad because the acting is bad or the actor isn't very good, they're bad because someone made the conscious decision that this character should have a ridiculously cartoonish voice. That doesn't happen because of budget issues.

    2. I just mean that, after they recorded it and added it to the game, they either didn't notice how bad it sounded, or didn't have the time or budget to re-record it.

      Honestly, though, I don't give them as much grief as others about it -- there were very few games to compare them to at the time, it was still a reasonably new feature in any game.

    3. I don't have a problem with the voices in general, despite some being below par, and I actually like Doug Lee's Indy voice.

      I do agree with you all about Ubermann - it'ss a good example of a voice that works perfectly for a comedy game but works a lot less well as a 'serious' evil scientist.

  5. Those "trucks" are kübelwagen and they did not exist yet in 1939:übelwagen

    1. Very well noticed.

      And you've made me realise that even with my limited automobile knowledge I should have at least called them 'jeeps' instead of 'trucks'