“Marion, don’t look at it. Shut your eyes, Marion. Don’t look at it, no matter what happens!”
We’ve all seen the Indiana Jones films right? We all hated the forth one for bringing aliens into the mix, even though I enjoyed it. They all contain brawling, adventure and the occasional romance spun together into a thrilling yarn. There’s literally something for everyone. Both heroes and villains are clear cut in their ambitions, while accompanied by sidekicks of varying competency. Each one has its own element of supernatural woven throughout the film, usually as a plot mcguffin that necessitates both sides to fight to the death.
And every time it seems, bar one of ’em, Indy saves the day and gets the girl.
Bringing this adventure to the digital screen has usually transitioned fairly well. ‘The Last Crusade’ and ‘Fate of Atlantis’ of Lucasarts fame have puzzles and combat elements hitting all the right notes. Fate of Atlantis even let the player pursue different paths, depending on their style of play. Even the 3D spin offs such as ‘The Staff of Kings’ and ‘The Emperor’s Tomb’ have generally met with positive ratings.
But this game comes from a different, yet not completely unfamiliar backdrop. This is a story of Allan Quatermain’s grandson James and his adventures.
Developed by Farm 51 and published by THQ Nordic, Deadfall Adventures is an homage to both the Indy and late 90’s ‘The Mummy’ series of films. Set in 1938, you assume the role of James Quatermain in the search for ‘The Heart of Atlantis’. Beginning in Egypt, you navigate various exotic locales while fending off the nefarious advances of Nazi’s, Russians and the occasional undead creature. Most of the way you’ll be juggling between shooting and puzzle solving via the help of your notebook. A typical sidekick/love interest character in the form of Jennifer Goodwin will join you along the way, occasionally helping with said puzzles and shootouts.
A briefing in New York collects what you’ve learned in Egypt and propels you onwards throughout the world. From the Arctic wastes to the jungles of Guatemala, it certainly provides the player with varied environments to operate in.
Playing the game
Deadfall Adventures is essentially Indiana Jones in first person form. From the grizzled hero character, to the argumentative but sometimes helpful sidekick, it doesn’t take any leaps of faith or explore original ideas. Puzzles are usually solved before or after encountering enemies and while they are inventive in their design, they do jump between simplistic and baffling. Your notepad will contain notes on how to solve each puzzle, albeit in a wordless cryptic format.
If you’ve played Tomb Raider at all, you’ll find familiarity with large switches and buttons to pull/push/stand on. There’s even the occasional puzzle that merely requires a gun and good aim to solve.
Gunfights are intermittent throughout the game. Usually it’s a case of hiding behind the nearest box or pillar and taking it in turns to exchange fire. Most of the time you can catch them off guard and lob a grenade to kill at least one to put the odds in your favour.
You can switch between a selection of pistols and machine guns/shotguns that are usually more than enough to take down the enemy. However you can only carry one of each at a time.
A torch given to you near the start of the game can be used to kill the undead. Shining it’s light onto them visibly weakens them enough for you to pepper them with bullets.
If you’ve seen the various iterations of treasure hunter vs evil cult, then you’ll find nothing new here I’m afraid. The gunfights, while generally fun, are all too similar and over too quickly to be of any threat. Finding a good spot to snipe from with any weapon is usually the best option. There’s hardly any recoil from your assortment of weapons either and the AI aren’t in a rush to hide or flank you out of your hiding place. Pistols come with unlimited ammo and are able to be dual wielded, something I’ve not seen since the original ‘Rise of the Triads’. This puts another point against gunfights having any sort of risk or inherent danger.
The story really doesn’t endear itself to be taken seriously. Characters seem solid enough but you will cringe at some of the dialogue clichés within. While there are the odd twists, they’re not enough to bring much care or interest. Your female partner in crime has a mix of the helpful and irritating quips (though thankfully not as bad as Willie Scott from Temple of Doom)
Graphically it’s fairly decent and holds up well today considering it came out in 2013. So it at least has that going for it I suppose. But there’s nothing new here, nothing we haven’t seen before in both games and films. It’s repeating very familiar ground and ultimately the experience becomes very dull for it
2 out of 5