Instruments of Chaos Starring Young Indiana Jones

Brad: Well, here’s what we’ve been waiting for – a game that chronicles Indy’s little-known adventures as a Belgian spy during World War I.

Stryker: Wait… what?

Brad: Yeah. Didn’t you know that’s what this game was about?

Stryker: Um, no. They maybe should have put that into the intro or something.

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This seems far-fetched, even for Indy, who once rode on the outside of a submarine across the Indian Ocean.

Brad: I think they just assumed that you would have already know that from watching The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

Stryker: That seems like a really questionable assumption to make about anyone.

Brad: It was an educational show!On network TV.In prime time.This actually happened.

Stryker: That’s terrifying.

Brad: The 90s were so awesome.

Stryker: This isn’t going to be another update where we just reference a bunch of crap from the 90s and try to get a jump on the inevitable nostalgia wave, is it?

Brad: POGs! Suddenly Susan! Tamagotchi!

Stryker: God, it’s like working with a VH1 executive.

Brad: Silverchair! Cross Colors! Just the Ten of Us!

Stryker: Got it all out of your system yet?

Brad: Yeah, sorry. All better now.

Stryker: How much longer before the whole nostalgia/irony thing hits the 90s in full force? Five more years?

Brad: Way less than that. I’m kinda surprised it hasn’t happened already, actually. And when it does, we’re going to have a lot to answer for. People our age been pretty smug in our treatment of the 80s, but our decade was far from flawless. But we should probably get back on topic.

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Wait, did they even have jackhammers back then?  And why’s that guy so huge?  I thought this was supposed to be educational!

Stryker: Agreed. So Indy is a spy in this game?

Brad: Yeah, this is before he became an archaeologist.

Stryker: Well, that answers my questions about why they would send him to prevent the German agents from meeting with scientists to exchange secret weapon plans. It didn’t seem like the kind of thing you would need an archaeologist for.

Brad: Yeah, but it doesn’t explain why he’s carrying that whip around. Spies generally try to keep a low profile, and it just seems like cracking a big ol’ bullwhip everywhere is going to draw a lot of attention. This isn’t a Devo video. Or Double Dragon.

Stryker: It might explain why everything in the game is trying to kill you. Including birds.

Brad: On the Tibet level, fish actually jump out of the water onto land, sacrificing themselves to a slow, agonizing death, just for a chance to attack you. That takes some real hatred.

Stryker: What the hell were we doing in Tibet anyway?

Brad: Same as every level – trying to prevent German agents from obtaining the plans to secret, advanced weapons. Tibet is a hotbed of secret weapon development, apparently.

Stryker: I like that on the stage select screen, they have Germany listed, but you aren’t allowed to pick it until you beat some of the other levels. Seems like a desperate attempt to give players the false hope that at least one of the levels in the game might not be completely horrible. Believe me when I tell you that the awfulness of this game goes beyond mere level design, though.

Brad: Yeah, like control. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to make it so that Indy will automatically change from walking to full sprint without any warning. Or to almost always seem to put a pit about two steps right before he does that.

Stryker: Maybe that’s the programming for the game. Instead of pressing a button to sprint, or having him start running after a certain number of steps, the game’s programmed to have him run whenever he gets close to a pit.

Brad: “IF PitDistance < 2 THEN Sprint.”

Stryker: Or maybe he wasn’t running at all. Maybe they were all black holes.

Brad: That could be the real secret weapon that the Germans were working on – A Black Hole Gun.

Stryker: You mean that the Tibetans were working on. The Germans were just trying to buy these technologies.

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I knew we couldn’t trust that Dali Lama.

Brad: That’s right. But a Black Hole Gun would sure make the title of the game more accurate. The weapons you’re trying to stop the Germans from obtaining in the game – a flamethrower, mustard gas, ball-bearing bombs and Gatling guns – are all deadly, but calling them the Instruments of Chaos might be getting carried away. I mean, we have them now and we don’t live in chaos.

Stryker: By the way – and admittedly, I’m no expert on explosives – but do you really need secret plans to design a ball-bearing bomb?It seems like just coming up with the idea would constitute about 95% of the necessary research into making one.

Brad: So how bad was this game? Was this the worst game we’ve played so far?

Stryker: No, not that bad. But it might be the worst one I was unfamiliar with before we started this project. I knew what I was getting into with Dark Castle and Jurassic Park, but this was an unpleasant surprise.

Brad: This game had me longing for my comparatively pain-free days working as a Quality Markets cartboy in the dead of a Buffalo winter.

Stryker: It left a bitter, metallic taste in my mouth.

Brad: It’s one of those games that’s so bad you instinctively start trying to chew your thumbs off while playing it.

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