When Joe King arrives at a Buenos Aires hotel to fly a movie star to a photo shoot, he’s ambushed by rivals who steal his clothes to detain him. To escape, Joe disguises himself as a showgirl and sets off to save the star and stop a mad scientist taking over the world.
Featuring a larrikin hero, Amazonian tribes and booby-trapped temples, you can see the influence of Indiana Jones on Flight of the Amazon Queen. Likewise, it features some outdated references and terminology, but John Passfield and Steven Stamatiadis’ game is emblematic of the popular 1990s point-and-click adventure genre, which often incorporated cinematic storytelling elements.
It’s inspired by games like LucasArts’ Monkey Island series (1990), which use on-screen directions like ‘use’, ‘open’, ‘talk to’ and ‘pick up’ to propel the gameplay. In another daring escape – this time down a laundry chute – Joe ‘picks up’ two sheets and ‘uses’ them to create a rope, just one of the many puzzles players solve.
The game has since been ported to smartphones, with the addition of improved graphics, full voice acting, multi-language support and a play through of the interactive interview mini-game with audio commentary by John Passfield, one of the game’s designers.
Flight of the Amazon Queen is a graphic point-and-click adventure game in the style of Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer’s popular games for LucasArts. Apart from the blockbuster Indiana Jones movies, it was inspired by the less well-known US adventure television series Tales of the Golden Monkey. From the moment the player encounters the game’s hero pilot-for-hire Joe King, it is apparent that the game is really leaning into the genre’s reputation for comedy writing. Flight of the Amazon Queen is fun in every sense, with its comic book graphics and humorous puzzles.
Creators John Passfield and Steve Stamatiadis met in the local comic store in Brisbane and translated their love of comics and videogames into the foundation of the studio Interactive Binary Illusions. Working on Amiga computers Passfield, a programmer, created the bespoke game engine JASPAR (John And Steve’s Programmable Adventure Resource) and all the tools for creating Flight of the Amazon Queen. Stamatiadis, a comic book artist, created the art in the Amiga program Deluxe Paint. In 1996, the two-person studio evolved into Gee Whiz Entertainment. At the end of the 1990s, Passfield and Stamatiadis teamed up with business savvy Robert Walsh to create Krome Studios, where they made the iconic Ty the Tasmanian Tiger games.
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