Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom
Here's the weird thing, if you ask someone to name an Indiana Jones film, chances are they'll say Temple of Doom, yet, bizarrely, it was the least successful of the three 80s films! However, it converted brilliantly into an arcade game...
80s Atari games were quite distinctive, they often had much higher resolution graphics than most other games, not to mention larger cabinets. Indiana Jones was no exception, the cabinet was just a shade bigger then a normal arcade game, and the graphics were exceptionally well detailed, especially the excellent title screen image of Indiana himself.
Into the game then... When you insert your coins, you'll find Atari did their own "Value for Money" package for the punter, for 1 credit you can have 3 lives, or for 2 credits you can have 7. The only other game I can think of that ran a similar deal was another Atari game, Road Runner.
The actual action of the game can only be described as "Typical Ocean". Look at Batman: The Movie, The Untouchables or Robocop on the home computers, for example... the approach Ocean employed for their movie tie-ins was simple: Take a few key scenes from the film, turn them into a sub-game and join them all together. So Atari did, the only difference is they were first. They also give you the option to choose your starting difficulty level too!
So, the game concentrates mainly on the latter part of the film, starting off with fighting in the caves, rescuing captive children along the way. Indy is armed with his signature whip, which you can use to kill Snakes, collapse piles of skulls, cross small gaps (swinging on a small strut), stun Thuggee guards and free children from caves. Wow, it really is the whip that can do everything. There's plenty that can kill you though, contact with a snake or guard is an immediate loss of a life, as is falling too far, and if you dawdle about too much, Mola Ram himself appears and launches a fireball (or possibly a flaming heart) in your direction, which you can whip if you react quickly enough. On harder difficulty levels you've got mad bats to worry about as well. Rescuing the children isn't essential to your progress, but if you're playing for a high score, you'll need to find 'em all.
Once you find the mine shaft you can escape in the cart, which opens the next stage, the cart chase. Here you need to tilt your cart to follow the correct route down to the end, avoiding the carts chasing you and dead ends. There's guards and barrells you can whip to gain points and also provide another way to block the chasing carts. Whilst in the beginning this section is a simple task, it suddenly gets ridiculously hard to get any distance down the track in 1 life, and WILL result in swearing and hatred.
At the end of this section you will then enter the Sankara Stone chamber, where you must steal the Sankara stone and escape. You can either walk across the ricketty plank onto the opening and closing floor, which is quick but VERY risky, or attack from the side, which may take long enough for Mola Ram and his fiery projectiles to put in an appearance. Nick the stone, and leave via a door. Simples.
Now you have to repeat those stage twice more, until you have all 3 Sankara Stones, then, just like the film, you must escape across the rope bridge, give it a whip and send all the enemy into the crocodile-infested waters below. Apparently after this is a bonus stage where you must collect idols until you die, but I've never seen it, never got that far, so I'll have to get some research done and find out what it's like.
Truth is, though, simply because of the steep difficulty curve as you progress, I should imagine VERY few people ever get that far. Never mind, the levels you CAN reach are challenging and entertaining, and of course there's the wonderful rendition of John Williams' famous soundtrack. It's worth surviving as long as you can just to hear that over and over again, along with the Gauntlet-style sampled speech.
Whilst your chances of finding one in the wild are slimming rapidly, this is absolutely a game you should play if you haven't already. Preferably at the same time as the Indiana Jones Fruit Machine by JPM! But that's another review...