Tuesday, 27 February 2018

SNES Game Review 144: Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures



Pretty much everyone will have played a movie license at one point in time, heck I have played a couple of movie tie ins during these reviews but what I don't think I have played yet for this series is one game which is based on an entire trilogy of movies. The majority of movie tie ins usually release either to coincide with a films cinema or home release, but occasionally you will get a game made for a film that came out ages ago, here we have a game made which is a video game interpretation of three films Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom , and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade the first of which was released 13 year before this game and the last of which was released 5 years before this game. Nowadays this kind of thing doesn't seem as strange as it did back then, after all nowadays we get all kinds of trilogy games usually made in lego but back then this really was an original proposition.

So how did it come about? Well apparently it came from the success of Super StarWars and Super Empire Strikes Back made by Sculptured Software that led to Lucas Arts believing that maybe they should take the Indiana Jones films and do the same thing. Apparently the game was made using the same engine as the above games (and Super Return of the Jedi) but it wasn't made by Sculptured Software it was made by Factor 5 an independent software and video game developer which was co-founded by five former Rainbow Arts employees in 1987 in Cologne, Germany. Factor 5 only actually made 3 games on the SNES Super Turrican, Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures and Super Turrican 2. With the fact that I will only review games I own and the Turrican games are pretty darn expensive this is really my only chance to talk about them. I adore Factor 5 they are probably best known by most people for being the developers of the Star Wars Rogue Squadron series the 2nd of which Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader was the first ever game I grabbed for the Nintendo Gamecube, it was in fact what made me get a Cube about a week after the machine was released. Still with the first Turrican under there belt and the engine from the Super StarWars games in there hand what could go wrong?

I remember there being quiet a buzz about this game before it released I would have been around 14 so in one of my later years of secondary school, which was sort of one of the best times for me games wise. You see I hung around with a small bunch of lads and all of us gamed, some of us had Super Nintendo's and some had MegaDrives I was one of the only ones to have both. We would go to each others houses and play games, we would occasionally manage to beg one of our parents to have all of us around to play winner stays on street fighter 2 tournaments we would play each others games, trade games, pretty much all the games related stuff you can think of. One thing we also did was to show each other our gaming magazines and discuss up and coming games. Everyone was excited about this Indy game both the SNES and Megadrive gamers, you see originally this game was supposed to be coming to the MegaDrive in fact it was apparently finished and ready to be released some time between the summer and autumn of 1995, heck it even got reviewed but it never came out. This cut off half of the groups interest in this game the other half seemed to get wrapped up in excitement about the playstation but what about me? In all honesty I have no idea I just guess with everyone stopping talking about it I just forgot all about it. So when was my attention brought back to it? Well that would be years later when walking round a local carboot. It was one that used to be held every Thursday evening at 5pm. I frequently visited it and there were a lot of regular sellers who I had forged quiet friendly relationships with and one Thursday this cart was sitting on one of there tables with a fair bit of dirt on it and a sticker on it saying £3. Suddenly everything came back to me and I grabbed it and paid quickly. How could I have forgotten this game and ignored it up until this point? I guess I had gotten excited about the upcoming next generation of machines and I had forgotten all about my Love of Indiana Jones, how could I forget that after the approximately 300 times I had watched The Temple of Doom, after I had waited for The Last Crusade to come out and with the fact that I had an old EX-rental copy of Raiders of the Lost Ark sitting on my shelf given pride of place as something I wanted to draw peoples attention? What did I do after I paid for it? Well basically I walked back to my house whistling the Indiana Jones theme and then instantly played it.

OK so what do you do in the game? Well most of the time its an action platformer you play as Indy and you go through most of the main events in all three movies in order. This starts with twelve stages based on Raiders of the Lost Ark, including the iconic bit with the giant giant boulder, then you have eight stages based on Temple of Doom, and then you get eight levels based on The Last Crusade. So what can Indy do well he can run and jump around, do a tactical roll, punch and once you pick it up you can swing his whip and the same goes with Indy's gun find it and you can use it, there are also grenades to find which are like powerful screen clearing attacks. The whip though its so satisfying to use, the noise it makes the cracking animation and yes there are castlevania style bits where you can use the whip to swing over gaps or to reach previously unreachable extra lives and other pick ups. What about when its not an action platformer? Well basically you have levels that total change the game style completely for a start instead of being 2D they are 3D and they use the SNES's much loved Mode 7. You have for example a stage where you control a rubber boat sliding through the snow, a mine cart chase and a biplane riding level all of which are based on events in the movies. These levels have there own objectives and well they are really good for just braking things up a little bit, if there is anything I can say about them it is that they are all pretty awesome and the game probably could have done with a few more of them.

OK I have already said that the game is based on the films and that the levels reflect the films but there are also lots of cut scenes made up of digitized pictures from the films and dialogue in text form. Add to that the fact that the game contains great 16bit versions of some of the music from the movies which if your a fan you will probably recognize but its worth noting that almost all of the tracks are taken from the first movie, with only a tiny amount of them being taken from the second and not a single tune taken from the third film. There are also a few little pieces of digitized speech, not much but it is cool, I really love when the level starts with Indy saying ''lets go''. The presentation in the game is just top tear and it makes the game feel like a love letter to the movies which is brilliant when most licenses don't get this right and instead end up feeling like crummy cash grabs with no heart. Some people have complained that this game is hard but in all honesty I find it pleasantly challenging. I realize that I haven't mentioned the graphics at all, well there OK, if they were early in the SNES's life I would say there good but for late end of lifespan SNES graphics there not that wonderful. Still you know what I say gameplay is king.

OK so to cut to the chase I had a lot of expectations when it came to this game and in honesty I think it lived up to all of them. I would give this game a very positive 8 out of 10 sure its not perfect but its a darn good game particularly if you like either the Indiana Jones films, action platformers like this or both. So if you wanted to buy a cart of this well the cheapest I have seen it for now days is £25 with it often going for a lot more. If its worth this kind of cash or not well that's up to you and how much you are willing to spend on Super Nintendo games. It might be worth looking for a copy of Super StarWars first if you don't have that as its a very similar game and you can try that to test the waters and see if your likely to like this or not. You can get it for not too much cash on the Wii virtual console but if you haven't heard then that's closing down soon so if you want to get it that way then you'll have to try and be quick about it.

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