Uncharted Influences Part I-Uncharted 4 and the Goonies

*spoilers for Uncharted 4 follow, as well as the Goonies, if you’ve never seen it).

The Goonies-a 1985 family film classic directed by Richard Donner (“Superman” and the “Lethal Weapon” movies) and produced by Steven Spielberg (Who doesn’t need any introduction)….about a group of kids in Astoria, Washington whose houses are threatened by greedy land developers that their parents can’t afford to outbid. While looking through some old pirate relics stored in the attic of the father of one of them-the main hero-Mikey-they stumble upon an old pirate treasure map, which leads them on a search to find the treasure to bail out their parents and save their homes; but which also unexpectedly puts them in the path of the Fratelli gang, a mother and son group of counterfeiting criminals whose hideout happens to be right on top of the series of caverns leading to the treasure-and if that’s not enough, the whole place is littered with skeletons and booby traps.

 

 

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Uncharted-the adventures of Nathan Drake (well, until recently) adventurer, pseduo-archaeologist, and pretty much a thief (although one a “heart of gold”), who-along with several allies helping him along the way-mentor Sully, love interest and eventual wife, Elena, and others; made important discoveries such as El Dorado, Shambayla and the Atlantis of the Seas…but also learned that some treasures are best left behind a the same time. As of Uncharted 4, he’s settled down to a domestic life as Elena’s husband, and working in a salvage business in New Orleans. However, the call of adventure comes back to him when his presumed dead older brother Sam reemerges-with the possible key to a treasure they’ve been searching for all their life-the lost pirate colony of Libertera, rumored to have been founded by the missing Captain Avery.

 

 

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It’s kind of obvious where the origin point is for both series (although “Goonies” also brings in some influence from Hardy Boys novels). This guy.

 

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Although Uncharted, with it’s death defying action, violence, incredible chases, treasures etc. certainly (Although Indy is set from the 30s-50s) owes a bit more of a similarity to Jones than Goonies does, let’s not forget that Goonies and Indy come from a common origin as well-producer and co-writer on the film, Steven Spielberg.:

 

Getting more on track though, let’s get to the heart of the matter-comparisons between the two.

Uncharted 4’s story has it’s genesis in flashback segments revealed throughout the game, where Nathan and his brother Sam first discover their destiny by breaking into a home which has their late mother’s belongings; leading them to not only change their last names, but also on their lifelong quest to find the lost colony, a subject their mother was interested in and close to cracking. The first similarity is pretty visual off the bat-young Nathan is very similar in appearence to Mikey from the Goonies (although without the asthma problem). The denim jacket in particular is sort of a dead giveaway.

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The old house in the game also bears some slight similarities to the attic museum pieces from the Goonies, which set them on their quest in the first place.

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Although like Mikey and his older brother Brand, Nathan participates in the quest with his older brother Sam, there is an important difference in that while Brand initially isn’t really along for the ride until sort of forced to by the Fratellis showing up (and in an attempt to impress his lady  friend Andrea “Andy”). In the main storyline, it’s Nathan who is the reluctant one, as he’s largely retired from the adventure life and has settled down with Elena (When he goes off on his quest, he doesn’t tell Elena which leads to a brief rift between the two).

 

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Like “Goonies”, one of the keys to the treasure is a map-in Uncharted, located in the cross of St. Dimas, which leads to Scotland and later to more clues. The equivalent in Goonies is a dubloon near the treasure map, which serves as a coastline marker for the cavern’s location.

 

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Of course while the Drakes have to navigate several puzzles, fight off an army of mercenaries, and travel around the world to find their treasure, The goonies deal with relatively fewer obstacles-the Fratellis, some traps, and the piano puzzle.

It’s when we get to the pirate colony itself that the similarities really go off on all cylinders. The place is a graveyard, with pretty much all the colonists dead, or worse, their corpses weaponized to set off booby traps (in a similar fashion, one of the Goonies’s skeletons has become a rather grim piano that’ll kill you via fall if you die “If you hit the wrong note, we’ll all B flat”).

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But there’s also this scene of a “last supper” with Avery’s co-conspirators, who he all poisoned to get away with the treasure.

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One eyed Willy pretty much did the same thing, although in his case, he died with it as well (presumably, one pirate managed to escape with the map and dubloon though).

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Although there’s a difference in location-the dead pirates are located in a lush mansion, while the Goonies’s dead pirates lie aboard Willy’s ship, the Inferno, located in a sealed-off cave.

But don’t worry, Uncharted’s got that covered as well.

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Of course this also leads to a final confrontation with the villains,  involving some salvaged pirate swords, although not really any fighting in Goonies’s case.

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In both cases, the characters have to give up the treasure to save their own lives. But there’s just enough left to bail them out of their current situation. Elena manages to save a gold coin from the colony, which manages to help re-start her journalism career, and give Drake a legitimate treasure-hunting business (as well as begin to raise a family and get a nice beach house, possibly on the pirate colony itself!)

 

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Likewise, the gems that Mikey managed to get in his marble bag are enough to save the Goonies’s homes from the greedy developers, leading to a happy ending (even for Willy, in a sense, whose derelict inferno escapes from the cave for one last voyage).

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Uncharted Lost Legacy-An Overview *spoilers*

*Some spoilers will follow*

 

While the Uncharted series of video games seemed to have wrapped up in 2016 with the release of the fourth game (Or fifth if you count the PSP game “Golden Abyss”), it was revealed in 2016 that the franchise would continue; although without Nathan Drake, whose story was given a pretty satisfactory finale in 4, with him still treasure-hunting, but in a more legitimate and safe fashion, becoming a renowned archaeologist, and fully committing to his marriage with Elena, producing a daughter, Cassie.

 

However, Uncharted 4 still left open a few possibilities; Chloe, Drake’s former love interest (and semi-rival for Elena in 2), who had fairly large roles in 2 and 3, was absent save for a few mentions and the multiplayer mode, and Nadine Ross, the secondary antagonist, managed to escape, with a few hints that she could eventually be redeemed.

In 2016, it was announced that Chloe and Nadine would get their own game-Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Originally intended to be mainly a DLC expansion, the game was released on it’s own, and in many ways, is a full-fledged Uncharted game, although a bit shorter than the Nathan Drake entries.

The storyline pretty much follows Chloe as she searches for the Tusk of Ganesh-a treasure her father died attempting to find, and she’s hired Nadine-who lost control of her mercenary company and is pretty much freelance-to help her. Unfortunately, a rebel military leader-Asav-is also after the Tusk to try to rally support for his revolution, and of course has put an army of his insurgents-and also Nadine’s former outfit Shoreline-in the way of our two lady adventurers. The game’s plot also follows from Uncharted 4’s example by not having any supernatural elements (Unless you count lost cities).

 

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The game pretty much utilizes much of the same Uncharted mechanics-shooting, dodging, cover, solving puzzles etc with the occasional QTE “Quick time event” which has the player push a button combo (although like with UC4, this is mainly limited to the boss fights, thankfully). However, as with 4, part of the middle segment of the game features a largely open world, with optional “side quests” hunting for additional treasures and unlockables, but with the main quest dealing with the two unlocking several temples to get to the entrance to a hidden city. The game also pretty much is set in one country-India-instead of Nathan Drake’s globe-trotting antics in the second, third, and fourth games. It’s pretty much the first game since well, the first-to be set in just one location.

 

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While certainly Nathan-less, the game isn’t completely Drake-less. Sam Drake, Nathan’s somewhat more morally-challenged older brother, shows up in the game’s final act, and given his previous encounters with Nadine in 4, the two aren’t exactly fond of each other.

 

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The game also has the trademark witty Uncharted humor as well.

The game of course continues the trend of cutting-edge graphics, with beautiful vistas, and of course, really good motion/facial capture. It’s worth noting that Chloe looks a lot more like her voice actress, Claudia Black, this time around compared to her first appearance in the second game.

 

 

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The game also has a photo mode. Although maybe not quite as customizable as “Horizon Zero Dawn”, it’s still a lot of fun.

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And of course, you can unlock extra skins and game modes, as with pretty much every Uncharted game (as well as the Last of Us). For instance, you can have Chloe be a pirate and Nadine sport her looks from the last game…

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Or make the whole landscape covered in rainbows…

 

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Or mess around with the game’s gravity…

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Overall, even as a spinoff, Uncharted Lost Legacy is worthy of the Uncharted name, and works even without Nathan Drake. It’ll be interesting to see if more spin-offs are down the line, featuring Chloe or not (Certainly 4 left the door open for further adventures with Sully, Sam and other characters).

Game retrospective-The Uncharted series-the Basics (Some spoilers).

The Uncharted series has been one of gaming’s many milestones for the past decade. The exclusive to Sony Playstation (and developed by “Last of Us” developers Naughty Dog) series follows the adventures of treasure hunter Nathan Drake. Like the “Indiana Jones” series, the focus is on Nathan’s adventures seeking lost treasure, but also-on occasion- discovering the supernatural forces and secrets behind that treasure. There are also ancient puzzles to unlock, and several booby traps to either avoid, or run from. However, unlike Jones, there’s a few differences-Nathan’s not exactly a tenured Doctor of Archaeology, so his adventures are a slight more ‘grey’ on the moral scale (He’s more of a sort of ‘robin hood’ type from a moral standpoint). The games-although dealing with ancient treasures-are not set in the 1930s, like Indiana Jones, but in the modern day. Drake also has a lot of witty one-liners, some of which are groaners.

Nathan Drake in Uncharted 1.

Drake in Uncharted 4.

Nate’s frequent partner on his exploits is Victor “Sully” Sullivan, an ex-navy pilot. Victor was Nate’s main mentor and friend, and also a father figure of sorts, since Nate’s mother had died and his father left him and his brother in an orphanage. Nate’s had to bail Sully out of a few bad deals here and there, and also Sully’s middle age makes him sometimes a bit too old for his friend’s adventuring, especially when things get a bit too dangerous (For instance, he sits a large part of the second game out, and is sometimes bothered by Nate’s recklessness in Uncharted 3 and 4).

Sully

Elena

Elena Fisher is a reporter and very capable adventurer herself, who initially intends to cover Nate’s adventures her her program, but eventually gets caught up in his adventures herself. She ultimately becomes his romantic interest and in the last two games, wife, although there’s some bumps in that relationship due to Nate’s somewhat reckless nature and trying to keep her out of danger.

Chloe

There’s also a second romantic interest in Uncharted 2, the somewhat more uninhibited, mercenary and ruthless Chloe Frazier. By the end of that game though, she accepts Nate has more feelings for Elena. Chloe also appears in 3 to help out a bit.

Although the game’s stories largely follow an linear structure (no multiple endings), and the lack of an ‘open world’ environment might seem dated to today’s gamers; (as well as there being ‘quicktime events’-in which one must push buttons in a certain order and amount of time to have the scene progress) there is a great deal of variety in the gameplay: one has to carefully take cover, choose which weapons to use or take from the bad guys, use melee etc. Stealth also can be used in the later games (although not as sophisticated as in say, Last of Us or Metal Gear).

Jumping and climbing is also important-not only for rocks:

But also in the high speed chases where Drake often needs to jump from one vehicle to another really quickly.

Drake is also given a grappling rope in the fourth game, which comes in handy during situations like this:

The puzzles are of course, very important. Although some are complex, Drake/the player is often able to complete them using clues collected during his adventures, and jotted down in his journal.

The journal is also fun to look at just for some scribbling and memento’s Drake has put in there.

The series spans four ‘main’ games. Three on the PS3, and one on the PS4-Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and Uncharted 4: A Thieve’s End. There’s also one PSP spin off title, Golden Abyss, and a few novels and comics. All three of the first few games were also remastered and released on PS4 shortly before 4’s debut.

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The games have often been praised for their life-life graphics and attention to detail. They utilize the motion capture and voice talents of Nolan North (as Drake) Richard McConagale (As Sully) Emily Rose (As Elena) and Claudia Black (As Chloe) in addition to others.