Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, the latest spanky film spin-off from US Gold has just made it to the Spectrum. So, with popcorn in one hand and joystick in the other, David Wilson battles his way across the office, deviously rolls under his desk, nippily parks himself in front of the Spectrum and plunges headfirst into the game.
You've seen the movie, read the book, worn the T-shirt - but have you played the computer game yet!? Nope? Well I have, so ner. And is US Gold's conversion of Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade a corker or what!? Better than the film I reckon! Okay, okay, so the film was a goodie. And I'll admit that I gasped as Indy leapt heroically from rope to rope over gaping chasms! Thrilled as he ran along a speeding train full of dangerous circus animals! And grimaced (quite a lot in fact!) when he leapt over rotating, razor-sharp blades in the entrance to the temple of the Grail! But Blimey O'Riley, that's nothing to what I did when I saw the computer game. (He swooned actually! Ed) Hem, hem. Anyway, wanna know what it's like?
You bet your last Rolo you do! Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade is a four level, horizontally/vertically scrolling arcade adventure. And it's boss! The game actually follows the plot of the film ties closely (which isn't surprising really since US Gold designed it around the original movie storyboards) and your goal, just like in the film, is to discover the Holy Grail. But, of course, before you can actually find the Grail, you'll need to first secure several helpful items. These include the Cross of Coronado (actually, of no use to you at all as far as the Grail is concerned, but still fun to find!), the shield (which belonged to a crusader who first discovered the Grail and bears inscriptions relating to its whereabouts) and the diary (which belongs to Indy's Dad - a bit of a Grail expert - but was nicked by the Nazis.) This contains the remaining clues.
Right, that's the storyline, so what does it actually look like? Well, at last Indy gets the sort of respectful treatment that Batman got in The Caped Crusader (except that Indy seems to have a bit of a limp!). It has large sprites with lots of detail and the animation is slick. The graphics are good despite being in monochrome! There is a slight problem though with the collision detection, which can be a shade ropey. This makes punching or whipping baddies a tricky task since if you touch them you're wasted.
The 128K version touts a Spectrum version of the famous theme tune on the menu screen, and the usual sound effects during gameplay. The latter is all that 48K owners hear, I'm afraid, but since the Speccy mix of the theme isn't quite the stirring orchestral version, you shouldn't be too put off by this! The control system is the normal up/down/ left/right/fire, but changes for the very last level (See Holy Grail), Gameplay is very good. The smooth scrolling and neat animation help everything to progress at an enjoyable pace. The level of difficulty is pitched at just about the right notch too, requiring a bit of thought and skillful joystick juggling. There are four main levels, but in fact the first is in two parts and there's a sub game for entry to the second level!
And that, in a nutshell, is that. A great game and well worthy of being made a Megagame. Tiertex, the programming house behind this little gem, has obviously spent a lot of time thinking of devilish traps and tricky bits of maze. All in all, a very slick conversion, with nice graphics and animation, and great gameplay! My only gripes seem to be the collision detection, and the slightly unrealistic things like the disappearing passbooks and the whip that's only good for five 'cracks'! Still, get used to these, and you'll find Indy every bit as enthralling as the movie!
Indy Jones, eh? What a star! Tougher than a baked conker, adventurous enough to make insurance salesmen flee in terror. In this, the game of film number three (the one with Sean Connery as Indy's dear ole dad), you travel round the world in search of the Holy Grail, 'cos it'll look snazzy on the mantlepiece. Or something. As usual, the Nazis are out to nobble you, the bounders, so a fair bit of fisticuffs is called for over the four levels. (Sadly, you can only use your famous whip a few times.) The game starts with Indy deep underground, progresses onto a circus train and burning zeppelin, and ends up with our hero tiptoeing through booby traps set by a 1000 year-old knight.
The graphics are detailed but they're a bit sluggish. Still, its a very playable and spankily polished platformer with good gameplay. As long as you don't expect a full-speed arcade game like The Temple Of Doom (which was crap anyway), you'll have a cracking time.
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