Raiders of the Lost Ark

Reviewed by Martin Henely, Posted on 2009-07-05


Developer: Atari Publisher: Atari
Release Date: 1982 Available On: Atari 2600

In honor of the release of the new Indiana Jones movie, I decided to give the old Atari 2600 game Raiders of the Lost Ark another try. As a licensed game based on the movie of the same name, it is a true rarity, as licensed games were not really that common on the Atari 2600. Raiders of the Lost Ark is also one of the pioneering games in the adventure genre that would later see releases such as the Legend of Zelda. Is Raiders of the Lost Ark a good adventure game? Read on to find out.

For those of you unfamiliar with the movie, the objective of the game is to make your way through the environment using items to solve puzzles with the ultimate objective being to find the ark of the covenant. The game is not overly lengthy, but can be complicated if you do not know what you are doing. There is no multi-player nor are there any extra game modes. That being said, the game probably will not last much beyond one or two playthroughs. Still, the game is not bad and is a good view of one of the games that brought about the genesis of the adventure genre.

The game has one of the most complicated control schemes among Atari 2600 games as well. Although it is only a one-player game, it uses two controllers. The right controller allows you to move your character, and its button allows you to use whatever item you have currently selected to use. The left controller allows you to select which item you want to have ready to use and its button allows you to drop items you no longer need. When you drop an item, however, it does not get dropped where you drop it, but returns to wherever you got it from.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is also one of an elite class of Atari 2600 games in that it has a title screen, something which was rare throughout the lifespan of the system. The rest of the graphics are nothing to sneeze at either, as everything in this game is designed well and animates well for the time. The sound, which includes playing the Indiana Jones theme on the title screen, are otherwise pretty much standard fare, but the presence of a title screen with music greatly enhances the aesthetic appeal of this game, and the rest of it is not too bad in its own right.

Even though it lacks the replay value that contributes to the greatness of most Atari 2600 games, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a decent game worth playing through on an occasional basis. It is a reasonably common game as well, so it should be fairly easy to find and inexpensive to procure. If you are a fan of adventure games, there is no logical reason why you should pass this one up.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 5.5
Final: 7.5
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Reviewed by Martin Henely