Jones and the Infernal Machine
by Jim Bray
Indiana Jones adventure goes beyond the archaeologist's well-known Nazi
baiting and into a Cold War adventure that sees him "Russian" to the ancient
Tower of Babel (among other places) to foil the commies' evil intent.
Part of their intent
involves exploiting the infernal machine of the title. It appears that
the title doohickey was far too advanced for the Babylonians, which could
mean it has other and possibly more significant and/or dangerous uses.
Better, then, for Indy to make sure it doesn't fall into the hands of
those world-dominating Soviets, right?
The resulting trip
is a nifty one, with all the things one loves about the Indiana Jones
adventures: whip cracking excitement, brain teasing puzzles, action, really
mean bad guys, and with a hero YOU can control instead of merely watching
passively on the big screen.
The story line takes
Indy all over the place, from the hot climes of the Babylon ruins to cold
snowscapes and everything in between, pitting him against all manner of
men, machines, and beasts including, unfortunately, snakes. You may not
see some of these critters when they first show up yapping at your heels
(or whatever), but you'll know they're there when your life strength starts
You begin the game
armed with Indy's famous whip and pistol, and as with most other games
of this type you pick up a veritable arsenal along the way.
The controls work
reasonably well, though you could describe them as clunky without overstating
the case..They let you walk, run, climb, leap, swim (don't forgot to come
up for air!) through the very nicely rendered 3D landscapes.
The first level takes
place in a set of canyons through which Indy must navigate and is kind
of a primer for the game. In fact, the LucasArts website has a walkthrough
for this section of the game, and between it and your own poking around
it's a pretty good introduction to the game, its features, and its controls.
At the end of the
level the CIA shows up and the story really gets under way as Indy's sent
on his way.
One thing we found
interesting was how you can (indeed, must) at times use the whip to swing
across drops that would otherwise be very quick ways to end your pursuit
of the Damned Machine. It takes a while to get onto the nuances of when
and how to use the whip, but it works well when you have the hang of it.
In the course of
the game you're also required to solve a variety of puzzles, and they
can be real brain teasers. They include the reconstruction of wrecked
buildings, finding a path through buildings or from other Points A" to
"Points B" - even when both are in plain sight
A handy feature on
the overlay map is "hints," which brings up and "X" indicating the section
for which you should head next - assuming you can get through the section
On the whole, Indy
and the Infernal machine doesn't appear to be a breakthrough in gaming
technology, and we found the controls frustrating (though not as bad as
"Star Wars Episode One The Phantom Menace's") but the audio and video
quality are very good and the game itself is a lot of fun - and a stretch
for your brainpower.
So this may not go
down in history as one of LucasArts' best efforts, but it's a fine adventure
for your keyboard and your mind anyway.
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think