The Game: As famed archaeologist / adventurer Indiana Jones, you enter a vast complex of caverns through one of three entrances (which one determines how hard the game will be). Your first task is to evade and/or whip the Thuggee guards into submission as you free caged children. You then make your escape in a runaway mine cart, which you have to keep on the tracks while also whipping anyone in a pursuing cart who gets too close. After getting the children to safety, you embark on far more dangerous adventures, but with greater risks come greater rewards… (Atari Games, 1985)
Memories: Now this is the kind of experience one expects from an Indiana Jones game – kicking butt, grabbing treasure, getting out alive, and avoiding snakes because you hate snakes. It’s by no means a perfect game, but when I need a pixellated Indiana Jones fix, this winds up being my go-to game.
For 1985, the game’s graphics and sound are impressive – yhe rendition of the Raiders March may not be anything that anyone’ll mistake for the original symphonic recording anytime soon, but it’s nothing to sneeze at either. And in 1985, the giant digital Harrison Ford face in the attract mode was quite something. But there is a downside – the isometric perspective can sometimes make it difficult to figure out exactly what you’re having Indy do on your behalf, though that’s a built-in problem with that persepctive that had been dogging players since Zaxxon.
But if there’s one case where a licensed property can help to at least disguise some of the shortcomings of the actual game, Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom is it. Being Indiana Jones, even a pixellated Indy, is all about cracking the whip, getting away from the bad guys, and getting out with the treasure – and this game delivers those things much better than Atari’s 2600 cartridge based on Raiders. Give it a try at least once for the giddy thrill of controlling the guy with the bullwhip.