Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Indiana Jones and the Revenge of the Ancients (Angelsoft)

Indiana Jones and the Revenge of the Ancients, according to, was the last game released by Angelsoft, Inc., a company that had a fairly decent run from 1985-1987. I call it a fairly decent run because *I* was aware of some of their games, which can't be said about some of the other games I'll cover in this blog. It probably helped a lot that Angelsoft did a lot of licensed games. Besides Indiana Jones, they covered Stephen King, James Bond, and even Dick Francis.

I've long known that one of the games was written by Mercer Mayer, an author I knew from my youth because of his "Me and My Dad" books (the protagonists were porcupines or something). What I've learned in more recent years is that he co-founded the company. I can only imagine that he and his partner thought they could do the literary aspect of IF better than Infocom. I mean, most of the Infocom authors (except for Berlyn) weren't even published authors.

If that was indeed the case, from what I've seen of Angelsoft games, they never really reached that goal. Most prose in Angelsoft games is not that exceptional, but the games really fall apart in other areas like the interface and the game design.

Still, given the licenses involved and what not, I would like to play through all of the Angelsoft games just to see if there are worthwhile moments.

That brings us to my transcript today.

How it Begins

(I'm going to have beginning screenshots for each game covered. For some games, I'll use this method to share pre-game text that can't be caught by the transcript function. In today's transcript, I already thoughtfully typed it in for you. You're welcome.)

The Transcript

You'll notice that the transcript's text width is the same as it was on the Apple II. Yes, this blog will have plenty of ugly transcripts:

Final Thoughts

So, there aren't many parts in this game that I liked, and I find not being about to GET things infuriatingly awful (if you missed it, you must TAKE things). While the game makes an effort to incorporate Indiana Jones tropes, it doesn't make the required effort to properly translate it to IF (of course, Angelsoft was even worse with some of its earlier games, and if I really hate you, I'll cover their Rambo game here, too.).

Still, there was one section that I thought had some charm. Particularly, it's the section after the intro (man, what a horrible intro) where the player can either go south and talk to the Belloq-type bad guy or go north and talk to the snake dude and learn about what's going on. If you go south earlier enough, you actually can be saved by Marion and her plane even though it's not the optimal route (you need the snake dude's snake-charming commands to win the game).

For a game that is marred by things like randomly marching Nazi troops, the multiple-route part there is pretty nice. Of course, while jumping into Marion's plane while it passes under the bridge is hinted at, I'm not sure if I would have thought such a command was worth trying, even with Indiana Jones logic applied to it.

Hmm, yeah, I can't think of any other good things. 'Til next time!


  1. There's a lot to notice in that transcript. The way the narrative explicitly addresses the player as "Indy" is interesting. The basic "ASK" conversation system is more free form. (It looks like "TELL ME ABOUT" and "ASK NPC ABOUT" are equivalent?) The archaic conversation system actually does give the impression that you can say anything. To the original players, it must have seemed as if you could address any NPC and make any statement.

    For being so old-school, the game seems to have a lot of scripting. Looking at the transcript, it actually almost seems a little like what we would call "railroaded" today. The plot is tight, and it looks like there are lots of daemons and timers. One thing I can't really get any sense of from looking at the transcript is the sense of openness of the map.

    1. Yeah, it is fairly railroaded, as are most of the licensed Angelsoft games. I don't have a map to share, but during the midgame (post-Marion-by-airplane save), you start off in a somewhat centralized location with several directions to explore. Thing is, that's the part with the random-direction-marching-instadeath Nazi troop, which makes it seriously annoying to explore. Goal-wise, I don't think you ever can work on multiple goals at one time, so yeah, it's pretty limited.

      In looking for a map on the internet just now, I found these other links which are interesting but lack maps: (looks like somebody already had the idea of sharing the transcript. doesn't look like they go very far off-path, but it's possible they caught something I didn't) (the game, as reviewed by Indy fans)