Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was released to arcades in 1985 by Atari Games, and the first Atari System 1 game to include digitized speech. This game follows the movie faithfully when Indy makes it to the Thuggee Lairs. This was one my favorite arcade games as a kid, and one i used to always toss quarters into in hopes of getting farther. Finding this years ago in emulation when MAME became a thing made me very happy! One the big things about this game is that it’s not a quarter muncher you can toss extra coins into to get a little farther. Inserting 2 coins give you the option to start with 3 or 7 lives. Anyone who played this as a kid or even now will tell you 3 lives isn’t gonna be enough.
Starting the game you can select 3 difficulty levels between easy, medium, and hard. Each level consists of 3 levels: the mines where you rescue children from cages, the mine cart where you race to the end, whipping everything and anything and trying not to fall off the track, then the Temple of Doom itself. Here you recover one of the three Sankara Stones and escape. This runs through 3 times, adding more dangers and pitfalls. During the 4th run, you go through the first 2 stages, and the Temple is replaced by the rope bridge finale of the movie where you take on Mola Ram. Finishing the game takes you to a bonus stage where you collect golden statues and keeps going till you lose all your lives.
So how’s it play?
Graphics: The graphics are quite colorful and vibrant for a game of this era. Everything is detailed from Indy himself, the mine carts and enemies and obstacles to whip or get around. Even the flames in lava pits and conveyor belts have they’re own motions. Whipping guards make them fall over dizzied for a few seconds, skeletons crumble on the wall, and Indy or guards disappear in puffs of colorful smoke when they touch lava!
Sound: The sound is one of my favorite parts of this game! Using midi files from the John Williams score, you’ll travel the levels and ride the mine cart to the music from the movie itself recreated! As I mentioned before the game uses digitized speech at times, well, a lot of times cause there’s always someone talking or noises comes from something. Indy talks after exiting the mine car level and the Temple of Doom and Mola Ram says things before throwing flaming skulls.
Gameplay: Control is done via an 8 directional joystick, and 1 button for whipping. Any whip jumps are done automatically. Control is tight and joystick and button responds to your controls. You can easily get slipped up on narrow paths in the mines while rescuing children or go the wrong direction and crash your mine car. I usually just start whipping madly and hope for the best. lol It can get hectic in later levels when everything is coming after you and you’re running on the wrong direction of a moving belt.
I give this game 4 out of 5 Sankara Stones!
I highly recommend giving this arcade title a shot if you see a cabinet at your favorite barcade or other arcade! Or get the rom set and play it at home on MAME! You can get the latest version of the MAME arcade emulator here. Finding the rom set for Temple of Doom, use Google and find the latest rom set for the latest MAME build. So to go along with this review I did a quick gameplay video of it in action. Recorded using Studio OBS on MAME.
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