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Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine

Score: 80%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: LucasArts
Developer: LucasArts
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Unfortunately, the graphics in The Infernal Machine are one of the low points. They're the same style of blocky square graphics you've been seeing in every Tomb Raider-style game since, well, Tomb Raider. The textures are gorgeous, mind you, but the maps themselves are rather annoyingly boxy, even when you're outside. Luckily, the sprawling maps of this game make up for that little problem. The character models are similarly boxy, almost humorously so in some of the cut scenes, but it's a relatively minor complaint. The varied settings are really nice, though, from the base of the Babel Tower to a rather familiar scene in Peru. The sound in this game is suitable, with plenty of nifty sound effects to match your whip cracking and gun shooting. The voice acting is excellent as well, even though it's not Harrison Ford doing Indiana Jones. It's close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades.


Infernal Machine is a fun game. Don't get me wrong. But it's... well, it's just Tomb Raider with Indiana Jones instead of Lara Croft. Yes, there is an interesting plot, but it takes a sideline to the gameplay; Indy tries to stop an ancient artifact, that’s worshipped as a god from being brought back. And everything in The Infernal Machine screams Tomb Raider. The jump-grab-climb-jump smacks of it, the puzzles (which, although a good bit better than the standard pull-switch-to-open-door of the genre, never quite elevate themselves entirely from that status) smacks of it, and the combat smacks of it. There's the same scheme of putting the weapons and such away, even. If you don't mind the dead ringer for Tomb Raider, though, you'll find a good game in Infernal Machine. The areas are more expansive, the plot infinitely more interesting, and, hell, it's Indy! What more can you ask for in an action/adventure?

There's an interesting little sidequest, actually, in finding all ten treasures in each area. Of course, the fact that there are exactly ten treasures in each area sort of bombed my suspicion of disbelief for a bit, but it's a fun little scavenger hunt nonetheless. And one of the interesting things about Infernal Machine is that you can ask for a hint at any time -- but if you do, you lose IQ (Indy Quotient) points, which are just a sort of rough outline for how well you did in the game, even if you beat it. A higher IQ means you needed less help and did more 'nifty things.' An interesting little concept, I must say.


This game is pretty easy. Anyone with relatively decent hand-eye coordination should be able to complete this game fairly quickly. And like most games in this genre, the difficulty comes not from the puzzles or enemies, but from the control issues. Falling into bottomless pits and other such instant death scenarios are never so prevalent as they are in Infernal Machine. Use the Save Game feature. Really. You'll need it.

Game Mechanics:

This game suffers from all the problems that this genre does -- poor control and spotty camera. Well, perhaps not so much the latter, because if you get pressed to a wall, the camera simply floats inside of Indy and he becomes transparent, making it relatively easy to do what you need to do. It's still a touch disconcerting, but better then getting the camera facing the wall or inside the wall. But the control -- gah! You will fall into many pits just because you can't get the control quite right. Believe me. This is an issue with every game in this genre, but it's something that needs to be fixed soon. Keyboard control is necessary, but it's just not quite right. Otherwise, though, this game's mechanics are solid. If you're a fan of the genre, I highly recommend Infernal Machine because it's one of the best, if not the best, in the action/adventure platformer setting. If you're not a fan, though, you probably don't want it -- since it's really just Lara Croft in Harrison Ford's clothing. Mmm.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:

200 MHz Pentium, Windows 95/98, 32MB RAM, 4MB 3D accelerator, 16 bit sound card, 4x CD-ROM

Test System:

AMD K6-III 450, Windows 98, 256MB RAM, Creative Blaster TNT2 Ultra w/32MB RAM, 6x24 DVD-ROM, Sound Blaster Live!

Windows Escape from Monkey Island Windows Icewind Dale

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated