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Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is an action-adventure video game developed by Naughty Dog, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 3. The first game in the Uncharted series, the game follows treasure hunter Nathan Drake as he searches for the fabled El Dorado.
The game received positive reception from critics, who praised its high-production value and story, although the game's length and graphical issues were criticized. The game was followed by three sequels: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves in 2009, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception in 2011, and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End in 2016. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune HD was included in Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection.
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is a third-person perspective action-adventure game with elements of 3D platforming, shooting, and puzzle solving. Taking control of treasure hunter Nathan Drake, the player traverses a South American island in search of the treasure of El Dorado. Platforming elements involve Drake scaling ruins or terrain, which can be accomplished by climbing and jumping, as well as swinging from ropes.
While the game includes hand-to-hand fighting, shooting is the primary form of combat. Drake can hold up to two guns (one single-handed and one double-handed) and four grenades at a time. Each weapon has a limited number of ammunition, but Drake can pick new guns and additional ammunition from the environment, such as defeated enemies. Drake's health is represented by the screen color: the graphic colors will fade as Drake takes damage, and return to normal as Drake regains health, which can be done by resting or hiding behind cover. Drake can either aim his weapon or blind-fire: the effectiveness of the latter varies depending on the gun used. If Drake is hanging from a ledge, he can only fire single-handed weapons or throw grenades.
The game has four difficulty levels, which are (in order of ascending difficulty) Easy, Normal, Hard, and Crushing.
The game opens with treasure hunter Nathan "Nate" Drake, along with journalist Elena Fisher, recovering the coffin of 16th century English explorer Francis Drake. Inside, they find only Drake's diary, with notes pointing to El Dorado. Their boat is suddenly attacked by pirates, but they are rescued by Nathan's friend and partner Victor "Sully" Sullivan. Upon reaching shore and reviewing the diary, Nate is convinced by Sully to abandon Elena, as the documentary she is trying to film of the search will attract competition.
Following the diary, Nate and Sully venture to a pre-Columbian temple, where they learn that El Dorado is not a city of gold, but rather a large golden statue. They find a marooned U-Boat nearby, which Nate enters to find mutilated Nazi corpses and a map of the island where El Dorado is located. Before they can continue, Nate and Sully are intercepted by criminal Gabriel Roman, to whom Sully owes millions, and his lieutenant Atoq Navarro. Deciding to find and take the treasure of El Dorado for himself, Roman takes the map and attempts to shoot Nate. Sully is shot in the chest when he tries to intervene, but Nate manages to escape when the U-Boat explodes (caused by a torpedo he accidentally triggered while leaving the submarine). As he flees, Nate runs into Elena, who has been pursuing him and Sully, and escapes the temple with her.
Nate and Elena take Sully's plane to the island, but the plane is shot down and the two are separated in the crash. While searching for Elena, Nate runs into the pirates from before, including their leader Eddy Raja, Nate's former acquaintance who has been hired by Roman to secure the island. Nate manages to escape Eddy with Elena's help, but the two argue on how to proceed. The two agree to at least head for the harbor of the island's abandoned colony, where Elena discovers that Sully is alive and with Roman and Navarro. Nate convinces a suspicious Elena to reach Sully, either to save him or to "beat the crap out of him".
The two find Sully in the library of the colony's monastery. Sully explains that Drake's journal (which was in his shirt pocket) blocked the bullet, and that he has been misleading Roman to stall for Nate. Following the journal, the three locate the underground chamber where El Dorado was hidden. A booby trap separates Sully from the group, leaving Nate and Elena to search for the treasure. After navigating the maze-like vault, and fighting again with Eddy's pirates, the two find Francis Drake's body. The discouraged Nate leaves Drake's ring (which contained the coordinates of his coffin) at his body, and he and Elena search for a way out. Elena finds a tunnel, but before Nate can follow, he runs into Eddy, who is running from zombie-like creatures.
While Eddy is killed by the creatures, Nate and Elena escape into a bunker belonging to the Germans Nate found in the Amazon, who hid the idol under the church. Venturing further inside to restore power to the escape elevator, Nate learns that the monsters are in fact the Spaniards and Nazis mutated by El Dorado: Francis Drake had sacrificed himself to keep the idol from leaving the island. As Nate makes his way back, Roman and his men enter the bunker, finding where the Germans hid El Dorado and taking Elena hostage. Escaping the ruin and reuniting with Sully, Nate races to the church, arriving to see Roman find the idol. Navarro tricks Roman into opening El Dorado, causing him to turn feral before being killed by Navarro, who intended to betray Roman all along and plans to sell El Dorado as a bioweapon.
Navarro makes off with Elena, having El Dorado hooked up to a helicopter. Nate and Sully manage to escape Navarro's men, and Nate jumps onto the statue to stop it. This sets off a chain of events, leading to the helicopter crashing aboard Navarro's cargo ship. After a long shootout, Nate subdues Navarro and rescues Elena before pushing the helicopter off the boat. Navarro's foot gets caught in the rope connecting the helicopter to the still-attached idol, sending him and El Dorado to the bottom of the ocean. Sully arrives in one of the pirate's boats, revealing several chests of treasure stolen from the now-dead pirates. Elena gives Drake's ring (which she took from his corpse) back to Nate, and the three leave the island. As they leave, Elena reminds Nate that he owes her a story, to which he promises to give her one.
Naughty Dog began production of what would become Uncharted: Drake's Fortune following the completion of Jak 3. Total production time lasted about two years. For inspiration, the developers looked to various sources for action and adventure media, including Indiana Jones and National Treasure. During the development, Naughty Dog switched coding languages from GOAL, their proprietary language, to C++.
The game was revealed at E3 2006. Comparisons to Tomb Raider were inevitably made, although Naughty Dog stood by their creation.
Naughty Dog aimed for realistic character models and world in order to take advantage of the PS3's increased power. Feeling that monochromatic color schemes were overused in game worlds, the developers hoped to design a world that was vibrant and encouraged exploration.
Nathan Drake was designed to be an "everyman", in order to make him more relatable and avoid the tropes of hyper-masculine game characters. Inspiration for his character was taken from action-adventure movie protagonists, as well as Johnny Knoxville for his appearance. To make Drake feel more realistic, Naughty Dog made a wide range of animations, and implemented a blended animation system to allow Drake to respond to the environment: a single movement was comprised of as many as 30 different animations. Similarly, Elena Fisher was designed not to be overly sexualized or a "damsel-in-distress": instead, Naughty Dog aimed for a "girl-next-door" appearance, and made her on par with Drake's abilities.
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune received positive reception from critics. The game currently holds a score of 88 on Metacritic, based on 66 reviews from critics.
The game was followed by three sequels: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves in 2009, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception in 2011, and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End in 2015. Additional spin-off works, such as Uncharted: The Lost Legacy were also released later.
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