The Adventures of Elena Temple: Definitive Edition (Switch, Xbox One, PC)

I’m such a staunch console gamer now that it’s hard to believe that I started out as a PC gamer in the home.  Well, I started in arcades, but you know what I mean!  But yeah, our first gaming ‘console’ was actually an Apple ][+ computer.  Aside from playing far better arcade conversions than what was on the Atari 2600 (Pac-Man, I’m looking at you), I also enjoyed playing games on our family’s Apple like Spare Change, Aquatron, and Lode Runner.  Speaking of which, another popular type of game on computer back then were single screen 2-D platformers, sometimes with multiple maze like areas that made it feel like an adventure.  Some of these kinds of games I remember were Montezuma’s Revenge and Miner 2049er.  The Adventures of Elena Temple pays tribute to those kinds of games.  It’s available for download on a couple of consoles and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

Elena Temple is kind of a fictional proto-Lara Croft.  She explores single screen temple rooms that are connected like a maze that you can view on a map subscreen.  You can run and jump, and your goal in each maze is to collect all the treasures, like coins and gems.  Avoid spikes and arrows and other obstacles.  Elena has a gun that she can use to shoot dangerous enemies like bats and snakes, but you can also shoot pots, switches, and weak walls, too.  But you have to use your gun sparingly because it only holds two bullets, and you must collect more to refill it.

There are three mazes that you can choose from to tackle.  Each maze adds a new challenge.  For instance, the second maze adds gems that you must place in pedestals, like keys, which will open paths.  In the first two mazes, you get unlimited lives and start near where you got hit.  But in the third maze, you get five hearts, and if they all run out by being hit too much, you’ll start over at a campfire checkpoint!

You can choose which platform you play the game on, and they’re all mock computers and handhelds from back in the day.  But really it’s just different screen colors.  You can play on a green and black screen like my old Apple computer before we got a color monitor.  Or there’s a green Game Boy type screen, too.  You can switch between the colors on the fly, and luckily you can zoom in on the action because some of those screens, like the “Some Toy Advance,” are pretty small.  The initial select screen also has funny fake histories of the failed consoles that Elena Temple was released for!

I only had two main problems with the game.  First was the infuriating challenge.  But that’s just how games were back then.  Luckily you have unlimited lives and can save anywhere, which is nice.  I also hear there are secret codes for making the game easier, but I haven’t found any yet.  The other problem I had with the game is how it saves.  Like I said, it saves at any time, but you have to be careful where you save.  One time I shot two scorpions in a corridor to get a coin, and then saved it.  When I returned, I was in the same place, but the two scorpions were back and I had no bullets and no way to jump over them, so I had to restart the game.  Boo!  But otherwise, if you like really old computer games, you may want to check this one out.

Kid Factor:

The Adventures of Elena Temple: Definitive Edition is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence.  If you get hit, you just fall off the screen and reappear nearby.  You can shoot critters with a gun, but they just fall over and disappear when shot.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, but not necessary just to play.  Younger gamers may get frustrated at the higher difficulty.

One Response to “The Adventures of Elena Temple: Definitive Edition (Switch, Xbox One, PC)”

  1. I played a ton of Montezuma’s Revenge on an Apple computer when I was a wee kid.

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