From The Archive is a series that takes articles written by Jennifer McMurray in the past and presents them here on MIC News for a new audience.
The Flight of the Amazon Queen review was previously published in The Adventuress on October 3, 2015.
Flight of the Amazon Queen is available free from ScummVM.
Flight of the Amazon Queen has achieved cult status, thanks in no little amount due to its creators releasing it as freeware in conjunction with its engine being recreated in ScummVM. It has quite a few flaws, but if you are willing to overlook them, this free adventure game might just be worth a play.
The game follows a pilot for hire named Joe King, who has landed a deal to fly a famous movie actress across the Amazon jungle in his plane, the Amazon Queen. The problem is he is not the only pilot for hire in town, and his competitor wants to have the lucrative contract for himself. To add to Joe’s worries, his plane crash lands in the jungle, and his mechanic can’t salvage it. He goes off to try to find help but ends up discovering a diabolical plot in the process.
It’s a very B-movie plot, and this is done deliberately. Everything has the feel of a throwback to cult adventure films of the 1930s and 1940s, from the cheesy writing to the voice acting. This is part of the game’s charm, but it definitely may be a turn off to some. The game’s art style is reminiscent of LucasArts adventure games of the early 1990s, with art in the background and extra details in the foreground. The art isn’t as detailed as those found in LucasArts adventures, however, it works well for the style of the game. The music, likewise, isn’t up to the caliber of the big adventure game releases of the period. The music in the lobby of the mysterious factory in the lobby is a bit grating, but the rest of the music works well.
The puzzles in this game, unfortunately, are quite a mixed bag. One puzzle in particular, regarding a gorilla, is quite aggravating. There is no sign on what you should be doing, and the logic required to solve the puzzle is quite warped, and way outside of even the reality set up by the game. The real annoyance comes in when that joke, including the puzzle, is repeated again later in the game. The joke that was set up by the puzzle wasn’t funny the first time, and it’s even less so the second time. It could be enough to get people to give up on the game, but thankfully, there are some much better puzzles later on. The puzzles in the tomb are quite good and are inspired by the Indiana Jones adventure games, to great effect. The MacGuffin of the game is even a crystal skull, several years before one was found by Indy himself.
Flight of the Amazon Queen is a conundrum of a game. It has many flaws, for sure, but it has an undeniable charm about it. It’s a pure homage of B-movie action films of the classic Hollywood era. If you are willing to take the cheesy writing and voice acting for the homage that it is, and are willing to overlook some puzzles with a frustrating lack of logic, it may be worth playing. There are, after all, some really good puzzles to be found in some parts of the game, and the story, cheesy as it is, does work well for the type of game the creators were striving to make. As it’s now a free game, you might just find it worth a try.
3 out of 5