Another relic was unburied recently, the game that´s keeping me busy this month is none other than "Indiana Jones and the Emperor´s Tomb".
Back in 2003, I remember I had a nice tuned up computer and one of the first games I´ve played on it was "Indiana Jones and the Emperor´s Tomb" and of course I´ve loved it. It was the second Indiana Jones game made, in the wake of the "Tomb Raider" titles.
When "Tomb Raider" game was launched in 1996, it was said it was a rip-off of the Indiana Jones movies. Then, after a long while, LucasArts empire striked back creating a computer game oddly similar to the first Tomb Raider named "Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine". It was identical to a Tomb Raider game, just slightly changing the model of Lara. It was a Lara with clothes, because that Indy was just too thin and light and even moved like a woman.
I don´t wanna sound harsh, as it is obvious, i love the character of Indiana Jones and it´s storylines. I know that Indiana Jones games comes way too far in between, so each one is to be celebrated, but "Infernal Machine" didn´t come out that good. But the storyline was interesting, and had shown a nice touch of continuity by bringing the return of dear old Sophia Hapgood, Indy´s partner from the classic "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis". I have read the making off, have seen the storyboards, they had the best of intentions.
The following Indiana Jones game one was an ocean of improvement, with a beefed up Dr.Jones, gigantic scenarios, perfect atmosphere and a John William sounding soundtrack which build up the perfect Indiana Jones mood. It was too good to be true. There were even nifty details such as Indy losing is hat in fistfights, and having to look for it later.
I remember the game was challenging then, a little bit too much, so much I was stuck in a area in Austria, at the beginning of the game.
Then it turned out that my newly tuned up computer was a poorly assembled one and after a little while it burned and crashed, totally ravaging my poor CD trapped inside the CD-rom. Attempts at rescue were made, but the CD itself could not be salvaged. My poor chinese copy was scratched beyond repair. My fault for relying in such evil ways.
Last month, thanks to the blessing of auction sites, i managed to dig a brand new original copy of "Emperor´s Tomb", this time for the PS2. I was thrilled. Finally I would be able to finish up this terrific game.
Even the game manual was a joy to see, having the appearance of a 1932 passport, plus Indy´s notes and handwriting.
Then I put the disc on, see the classic LucasArts logo, gosh, it´s been so long, haven´t played a LucasArts game since "Rebel Assault 2"? No, it was a more recent one, "Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds". Well, I remember the Thailand scenario, and then...
Was it something wrong with the TV? I looked around and everything was so...BLURRED? VHS like blurred? PS1 like blurred. I remember playing on the computer, everything looked so sharp(?). I haven´t seen this kind of blurred forest textures since..."Tomb Raider 3" in Playstation 1?
Usually I´m not the one to complain about PS1 graphics, like some unrespectful teenagers I met in game foruns, who love to trash "old school games", but at first the blurred textures really felt "low resolution".
Then it came to mind. Recently I have played the PS2 masterpiece "Tomb Raider Anniversary", which was a magnificent detailed work, in which the word "sharp resolution" was printed in every frame, every texture. That´s what happened "Indiana Jones and the Emperor´s Tomb" was still a major game, but would pale (again) in comparison to the more advanced and recent TRA from the same PS2 System.
As for the gameplay itself, slowly the game was starting to show it´s strong points. The action is straightforward, the scenarios really were gigantic, there were interesting puzzles, and above all, playing with Indy was fun. The actor providing the sound-alike Harrison Ford did a good job, the orchestral soundtrack was exciting, and punishing the bad guys with fisticuffs and whipping was a guilty pleasure.
In this episode Indy must recover Heart of the Dragon in China, he must fight Nazis, chinese mobsters, sharks, monsters, alligators, explore temples, sunken submarines, exotic cities. All in good Indy fashion. It really feels like a movie.
I´ve spent many hours trying to defeat the Kraken and victory tasted really good. It deserves a place of honor in my collection, it IS a treasure, i just needed a moment to re-calibrate my point of view.