Indiana Jones and the Fate of the Pixel Hunt

In my quest to (re)play all the classic LucasArts adventure games I have arrived at Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. A game I hold very dear and have only played twice before back in the 1990s, probably taking a different path through the game in both occasions. I remember the beginning and the ending of the game quite well, but not what’s in between, so I’m curious if I will be surprised.

Although it’s a great game, it isn’t a perfect game and it suffers from some of the problems of the adventure games of the era, namely pixel hunts. Early on I was already stuck looking for the Lost Diary of Plato. I remembered that you had to do something with the screws in the bookcase, but couldn’t find anything to loosen them with. It turns out that there is a arrow head lying on a bookshelf that’s very hard to find. It’s also not a very logical place for an arrow head to be, so that makes it especially hard. I don’t mind hovering the screen over a lot of shelves containing various bit and pieces, but it isn’t very intuitive to do the same thing over a bookshelf searching for something other than books. It also reminded me that knowledge from a previous playthrough might be somewhat of a hindrance sometimes. On this occasion I remembered doing something with the crews and so I focused on that. It is also possible to solve the puzzle in another way. But that never even occurred to me.

It also turns out that the item can be hidden in different locations. At first I thought that this feature doesn’t add anything from a player’s perspective. If, in a second playthough, the item isn’t found in the same location, the player might just as well assume it’s a bug rather than start looking elsewhere. But I understand why the developers did this. The game stimulates multiple playthroughs by offering different paths though the game. Shortly after I choose the team option, I regretted it because I remember choosing that path in previous playthoughs also. I think I should have chosen the wits option. Maybe I will do that still…

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