One of the few games I remember playing on Atari 2600 was Raiders of the Lost Ark. All I can recall about it is that it was ridiculously confusing and I died frequently but hey, dying a lot was a sign of the times.
When I think about the nostalgic temple exploring and treasure hunting from my past, it's usually not in a positive way. Luckily, that's changed with The Adventures of Elena Temple. While you can play the game with retro graphics that range from Game & Watch to Game Boy Advance, the gameplay is actually rather unique.
The Adventures of Elena Temple literally throws our titular heroine into a danger-filled digital dungeon. Your task is to simply escape yet all of those shiny coins and gems will be calling your name along the way. Besides, no one tells stories about the brave adventurers who explore a dungeon and escape empty-handed, right?
Exploring the dungeon requires a mix of platforming and puzzle solving. There aren't a whole lot of enemies and your gun only holds two bullets; sorry, you can't Mario-stomp them to death. In fact, touching spikes, darts, or enemies instantly kills you and respawns you at the last item you picked up or where you entered the room. Rooms can have a gem as well as any number of coins, pots, enemies, platforms, spikes, ammo pickups, and platforms in them. You have unlimited lives (unlike the classic games of yesteryear) and you don't even lose any items when you perish yet hardcore gamers will want to keep their death count low for the results screen. Enemies and ammo pickups respawn every time you enter a room but you'll want to kill as few foes as possible since the end screen tallies them up.
While The Adventures of Elena Temple has one cohesive mission, the campaign is uniquely set up to make nearly every room stand on its own. Sometimes, it's a bit of work to make your way to a specific room but each one may have coins and gems in it so you'll want to collect them all. There are even some secret scrolls hidden around the dungeon that'll make this task easier such as the Scroll of Completion which shows you when you 100% complete a room. When I first played, I felt a little overwhelmed by trying to collect coins and gems scattered everywhere but the Scroll of Completion made it a fun challenge to knock out each room one by one. Putting nice little checkmarks all over your handy dandy map is like turning a to-do list into a game which is actually pretty satisfying.
The most unique feature of The Adventures of Elena Temple is the ability to choose what machine you want to use each time you load up the game. Each one displays the graphics differently and has its own silly little faux-history. You'll also have a different background behind each machine and you can zoom in or out on the machine's screen as you play. This allows you to view it taking up almost the full screen or zoom out and feel a bit more relaxed while enjoying the sights in the background.
Overall, it isn't a terribly difficult game but if you're a driven hardcore gamer, you may be motivated to play again to try and best your previous run's stats. It really nails the retro factor as well since you can play in several different graphical styles.
The Adventures of Elena Temple is a quick little puzzle platformer assembled within a single dungeon to explore. However, at just over an hour to 100% complete it, you'll be done with it quickly unless you create challenges for yourself or care about improving stats.
- + Rewarding bite-sized puzzle rooms
- + Uniquely designed campaign
- + You can choose your own level of nostalgia via numerous gaming machines
- - Overall short playtime
- - Pace is a bit on the slow side