Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Desktop Adventures

A long time ago (a.k.a.1995), LucasArts published two ‘Desktop Adventures’. They were, basically, what you would call a casual game these days, so they fall into my review session for casual games I’ve played.

In 1995, the first of the two Desktop Adventures was published: “Indiana Jones’ Desktop Adventures”. The game featured Indiana Jones (who else?) and was set in the Mexican jungle in the 1930s. The game was based on a variety of puzzles and of tasks that were chosen randomly at the start of a new game. Indy would always start like this:

Then you go up to find your friend Marcus and get a mission, go off to find your whip, a map, another weapon and loads of objects. As the maps are always randomly generated, you will never play the same game twice, no matter how often you start over. But you will play the same mission again.

The player can resize the map (making the next map smaller for a shorter game or bigger for a longer one) and toggle the game speed and the difficulty level (which only interfere with the enemies, not with any puzzles). On modern computers I’ve found I need to slow the game down quite a bit, because otherwise I’ll never get any of those *#!**##! Nazi.

A bit later (the first game was still suited to run under Windows 3.1 – Windows 95’s predecessor), LucasArts published a second Desktop Adventure (and the last one): “Yoda Stories”. This time the main character was Luke Skywalker (as this was way before the prequels or the Clone Wars series) and every game started like this:

You go to find Yoda somewhere on Dagobah, get a mission from him, fly either (this was new) to a jungle, ice or desert world and have to solve puzzles on randomly generated maps again. There are a few additional things to the second game, though. After five games, Luke gets a new lightsaber (and he has it in his pocket from the very beginning, unlike Indy and his whip), after 10 games (I think) he gets to keep The Force (that’s an inventory item he has to find at the beginning of every mission otherwise) with him. There’s something else after 15 games, but I can’t remember what it is.

Unlike its predecessor, “Yoda Stories” needs a patch to run under Windows XP, but it will run fine then. As in “Indiana Jones”, you can choose from different map sizes and adjust the difficulty level. And you get a score after finishing a mission in both of those games. But in this game, you get to find weapons everywhere (usually you get them from defeated enemies, though) and can trade health packs, credits, junk (when you defeat a droid enemy, it’ll sometimes leave a heap of junk behind) and weapons for a random item that’s either a health pack or a weapon.

Both games can no longer be found at retailers, normally. I have bought “Yoda Stories” when it came out and got “Indiana Jones’ Desktop Adventure” on a CD bundle with a couple of older LucasArts adventures (including the first two Monkey Island games, the interesting and extraordinary Loom and my all-time favourite Day of the Tentacle) on a flea market for 50 cents (1 DM then). They’re still fun to play (after I lowered the game speed and found the patch online) and that says something.

So, if you’re a fan of either Star Wars or Indiana Jones and stumble upon those games on a flea market or garage sale, give them a try.

1 comment:

adrian said...

The Indiana Jones one was the first video game I ever played... little sentimental moment...