Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis", 1991.

A curious time-bending document of a license's gap-leaping journey across media, from film to game to comic book.
The Adventures of the Indiana Jones we met in the three block buster films "Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," and "Indiana Jones and the Lost Crusade" continue in a special Dark Horse collection!


Travel to the four corners of the earth in this globe-spanning adventure written by Dan Barry, from a story by Hal Barwood and Noah Falstein, Lucasfilm Games.

I'll skip lightly over the larger questions (how do you hammer out one master narrative out of an interactive work with non-sequential and mutually-exclusive possible outcomes? Well, a choose-your-own-adventure comic would be one potential option, but that's grist for my other blog 8) and ask are the writers such a selling point? Who are the artists? Here, I'll write a new ad blurb that gets to the heart of what the consumers will care about:
"Hey, Dark Horse peeps -- We were granted use to the cool Indiana Jones license. As you can see from our art, which we decided to blow up to full-page size and not just quarter-page, Indy looks like Indy, so you know our anonymous artist is competent. Also, did we mention that this is a commercial tie-in to a game by the same name which you can buy in stores? Isn't that cool?"
This game* has many great elements (perhaps its greatest in my estimation its interactive introduction), though for my playing enjoyment it also failed on several levels. But even in its failure it was undoubtedly a compelling failure with high production values, successfully evoking a lost and alien civilization. That said, there are probably better games which never got comic book adaptations.

* I need note that in fact there were two games by this name, both released curiously the year after the comic book -- which does provide an answer to some of my earlier hypothetical questions but also opens the door to more of them. Sometimes if you anticipate the product too much with your cross-promotional tie-in, you get left holding the bag if it gets cancelled altogether. Not the case here, but see the earlier discussion of the Alien vs. Predator coin-op. I guess even at the best of times if can be difficult to get even one company to synch to its scheduled plans, let alone two of them. ...