Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (US Gold) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action


Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade
By Lucasfilm
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #49

AA Rave

Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade

The man with the hat is - well, you know the rest. Summer 1989 may go down in history as The Summer of Hype, with Batman way out in front and Bond and Jones fighting for second. And no film hype is complete these days without a computer game tie-in. There's nothing wrong with that - except perhaps that so much money is invested in the licence that little may be left over to spend on developing a decent game.

We are fortunate, then, that both Licence To Kill and Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade prove well up to the mark. And although it is a great pity US Gold have compromised on a cheap Spectrum port to Amstrad, at least they are continuing wholeheartedly to support our machine, realising that there's still gold for Gold in these here CPCs! (I wonder how they feel, incidentally about Rick Dangerous, a game remarkably similar in look and feel?)

As with Licence To Kill, Indy is devised as four separate sequences taken from - or perhaps that should be "inspired by" - scenes from the film. It's not necessary to have seen it. though if you liked the first Indy film and loathed the second you'll find III a return to form.

Those who have shelled out will know that what makes it is the presence of retired Bond Sean Connery. turning in a sardonic and yet affectionate performance as Indy's old man (though in reality only 11 years separates him from Ford!). It's unfortunate, then, that in the game there's no sign of Indy A senior.

Still, what you get is not bad, not bad at all. The first of the four arcade-type adventures finds Jones attempting to recover the Cross of Coronado. In the film, it's the young Jones (played by the bizarrely-named River Phoenix), doing his priggish Boy Scout bit ("That artifact belongs in a museum!"). Here the brief scene in the caves is drawn out into an enormous, and very difficult, subterranean sequence. Indy has to brave knife-throwing thugs, falling rocks, poisoned swamps, knife-throwing thugs, disintegrating bridges, knife-throwing thugs and knife-throwing thugs. He also needs his whip - and has a strictly rationed number of cracks with it - a fire brand (he left the torch in his other trousers) and a memory much better than most of us possess in order to find his way around an amazing labyrinth. (The firebrand, by the way, is just a fancy time-limit, because if you hang around too long it starts to get dark: keep moving, especially if you have a green screen!) This geographical confusion isn't helped by the fact that the landmarks are compiled of about half-a-dozen items that reappear every few screens. They are much like the backgrounds you see cycling round in cartoons: a barrel, a rock, a pile of rocks; a barrel, a rock, a pile of rocks And the guys who seem to spend all their time shinning up and down the very ropes Indy was hoping to shin up and down bear an uncanny resemblance to the man himself. What is this, some kind of cunning disguise?

Despite a superb series of loading and title screens and that instantly recognisable John Williams theme, however, early signs are not good. He's somewhat jumpy, is our Indy (as who wouldn't be, with all these knife-throwing thugs about?), and displays a distressing tendency to mistime his jumps and end up plunging 30 feet or more onto the rocks below. Naturally this tends to sap the old strength somewhat (represented by what looks like a stick of rock or a barber's pole at the bottom left of the screen). Still, after a coupla dozen inglorious deaths he starts to get the hang of things, knowing when to avoid the - you guessed it - knife-throwing thugs and suchlike.

You'll soon get heartily sick of starting from the beginning, but despair not: once you've got up to the poisoned swamp you don't have to start again (until you've lost your last life, that is). Each level has about four or five "restart" points, helping you to guess how far you've progressed.

One of the things that's best about Indy is Indy the sprite. He runs! He jumps! He hangs onto his hat! He falls (quite frequently, unless you're careful)! And, if you can't quite decide what to do, he turns towards you and shrugs in that "Handsome" Harrison Ford way that turns Emma Broadley into a lovesick girlie (yeuch!). All in all, Blue Turtle (for it is they!) have done a remarkable job in capturing the crumpled charm of Indy, a man not afraid of looking afraid and unlike old smoothiechops Bond in that he sometimes looks as if the pressure's getting to him.

As indeed it is. Manage to recover the Cross of Coronado and your mission is only starting. Next it's time to try and find the Crusader's Shield. Here you'll find a copy of the Byzantine Crusader comes in handy - you know, the piece of paper that came with the game, the one you lost... Ah, Oops! Assuming you find it again, you'll need to look up the "Grail Diary" page to check the code. Otherwise you may find yourself wandering for eternity inside an archway that doesn't even contain the shield. Even assuming you do choose the correct archway, it's a fair bet you will be spending what seems like eternity looking for the blasted thing. I dare say two or three smart-arse gamesters will be writing in to Reaction saying they finished it before it had even loaded, but for most of us mere mortals Indy should only be attempted when there's a whole lot of time between you and bedtime.

Mission three takes you to the Zeppelin (a scene I recall as being possibly the worst special effect since Batman was a TV programme), which is notable chiefly for a sickening wobble that's meant to suggest an airship and succeeds only in suggesting a visit to the optician. Once again a cunning time limit is imposed, in the form of flimsy paper passes that disintegrate after a while. Keep moving or the alarm will be raised! The final mission, which as we go to press I have barely begun to explore, finds Indy attempting to get to the Holy Grail in order to save his old man, whose heart is gradually turning to stone (sounds like Trenton talking about me. but don't believe a word of it!). The first screen appears to have a break dancing (remember break-dancing?) and ice-skating Indie, and is a real pig to get off until you learn the trick. Clue, press fire and push joystick up. Enough said.

If the idea of a game that involves platforms, problem solving, punching and whipping, knife-throwing thugs (mustn't forget the knife-throwing thugs!) and climbing ropes appeals to you, Indy is just your Grail of tea. Don't be discouraged too soon: there's lots to do and progress at first is slow. But take my word for it: once you get the hang of things you'll find plenty here to keep you in fast heartbeats for heaven knows how long.

Second Opinion

Much as I lust after Harrison Ford, and much as I enjoyed the latest film, I found Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade the computer game dull and uninspired.

I think US Gold deserve to fall into a poisoned pit themselves for doing a Spectrum port. To my mind, Indy never gets going.

Green Screen View

Very dodgy indeed when the light goes - keep moving fast!

First Day Target Score

Spot the Cross of Coronado!

The Verdict

Graphics 82%
P. Indy moves well and looks good.
N. Spectrum (boo!) conversion.

Sonics 74%
P. Music is well done.
N. But the effects are not so special.

Grab Factor 61%
N. Difficult to get going.
N. More restart locations would be appreciated.

Staying Power 87%
P. Four massive levels keep you busy.
P. Time limits pile on the pressure.

Overall 83%
P. Enough to keep you busy for a long time.

Trenton Webb

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