The Nazi-killing superarchaeologist is back. GOG has just released Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine on its game distribution service for $6. This is the first time the game has been on a digital storefront. Now, fans of the character and of developer LucasArts will have a chance to experience it without having to jump through hoops to emulate it or run it on PC.
The Infernal Machine is a Tomb Raider-style action adventure that puts Indy on the fringes of the Cold War. Hal Barwood, who directed the beloved Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, also oversaw this game as well. At the time, critics and fans generally considered the game competent with an entertaining narrative.
Well, people who could find the game felt that way. It debuted in 1999 for PC and in 2000 for Nintendo 64. But even if you were looking for it, you would have a tough time finding it. In North America, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine was exclusive to Blockbuster because that was something that used to happen. Publisher THQ eventually cancelled a PAL release.
So it only took nearly two decades, but I can finally find this stupid game. I don’t even have to call the teen working the counter at a defunct movie-rental store.
Why not just emulate?
Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine is an ideal example of why GOG is so great. I have few qualms about using emulators and ROMs to experience parts of gaming history I would otherwise go broke trying to chase down. But that’s not always an option.
Trying to get the PC version of Infernal Machine running on modern systems is a headache. You have to scour the internet for a modern installer program and tweak settings to get something that won’t look terrible. The N64 version, meanwhile, doesn’t even run on most emulators.
Developer Factor 5, which is known for its technical mastery of Nintendo hardware, did the port of Infernal Machine to N64. And it used some proprietary techniques to bring an improved version of the adventure to that console. The key problem is that Factor 5 used some video compression technique that emulators like Project64 cannot parse.
You can apparently get it working with some downloadable hacks, but I was never able to. I’ve tried to play it every couple of years for more than a decade. Now, I finally have a chance.
That said, this is the PC version. And Factor 5 added better lighting, controls, and a better camera. That version even has a Zelda-style lock-on targeting mechanic. So I suppose my MacGuffin is still really out there somewhere.