Producer: US Gold
Retail Price: £8.99
The sacred Sankara Stone that protects a remote Indian village is stolen and all the village children disappear. That's no bad thing, you might think - but Indiana Jones has other ideas in this licence of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas's massively successful 1984 film and the Atari coin-op, hereinafter referred to as IJATTOD.
Nine hapless babes have been imprisoned and forced to dig for precious stones beneath the evil Pankot Palace by the thuggee death cult. In the caverns, ladders connect levels and narrow walkways lead to distant sections. Here Indy encounters a myriad of dangers which can take out one of his five lives - a kiss from a snake kills, thuggee cultists and their masters can beat Indy into oblivion or destroy him with a well-aimed shot.
But our hero (played by Harrison Ford in the movie) is never a piece of easy meat. Wielding his faithful bullwhip, he can temporarily stun an attacking thug, slash a serpent and crack away the locks on the children's cell doors.
When all nine little darlings have been rescued, Indy can reach a tunnel that takes him deep into the earth. Again he must defeat the thuggee guards, as well as giant and flitting bats. Missing rails and jumps can cause a derailment as Jones rides downward in a mine car that isn't even up to British Rail standards.
If Indiana survives this hair-raising excursion he finds himself in the Temple Of Doom, where the Sankara Stone is placed resplendent with deadliness before Kali, the four-armed goddess of death. Jones must take the stone and escape with it, deeper into the mine's dark caverns where he has to recover another three stones and escape across an insubstantial rope bridge - just as in the film.
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: large, mainly monochromatic and slightly jerky
Sound: no tune, reasonable FX
IJATTOD is essentially dull, like the arcade original. I can understand some people enjoying its simplicity, but that's half the reason I don't like it. The graphics are poor, with the score line difficult to read and the playing area unattractive. The odds are stacked against the player, even more than in a normal game - the thug guards have roughly the same amount of kill power as you, but there are millions more of them, which makes it just a teensy bit tougher.
The people responsible for the game plan have got one thing essentially wrong: Indiana Jones is hard, y'know, mean 'n' butch 'n' muscular (he is, after all, played by Harrison Ford), so it's pretty unlikely that anyone he hits with his megadeath-dealing whip is going to get up again, isn't it? It's incredibly frustrating having to nudge a thug guard off a cliff to kill him - whatever happened to violence in computer games? IJATTOD is good fun for a while, but I wouldn't recommend it strongly.
The great colour and graphics of the arcade game cover up the actual gameplay, but with the spectrum - conversion the gameplay is the first thing you notice. And it's not impressive - the first level can become frustrating if you're not quick enough with the whip. IJATTOD is OK, not the sort of thing to rush out and buy but certainly worth trying your hand at.
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