Legends of the Hidden Temple

I just wanted to rage a little bit and I decided to write about one of my favourite all-time tv shows: Legends of the hidden temple. This show was aired on Nickelodeon from September, 1993 to 1995. It was an adventure-action tv show where 6 different teams competed against each other for the chance to get inside the temple and claim the prizes. This TV show was very popular in Argentina and most of us watched regularly on Saturdays, the same night as Are you Affraid of the Dark? There were many classic quotes and sequences coming from this TV show. I always wondered why those little kids were so so bad at assembling the silver monkey. Were they dumbs? We don’t know.

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The teams were: the blue barracudas, red jaguars, green monkeys, orange iguanas, purple parrots and silver snakes. These teams compete in three different rounds. The first round of the show, called “The Moat” involved a stunt where the six teams had to get across a narrow swimming pool known as the “moat” (duh). Some of the commonly used methods included rafts, ropes, and bridges. All six teams attempted to get both members across and punch a button. Typically, if a team member fell in the water, that partner (or occasionally both teammates) would have to go back and try again until they could get across. The first four teams to hit their gongs advanced to the second round, known as “the steps of knowledge”. This part wasn’t really funny, but in the introduction of the teams you could actually “guess” which teams were going to be able to go through the moat and advance to the next round. Skinny and pale kids? No way.

Olmec (the giant head) begun the “Steps of Knowledge” by telling the remaining teams the episode’s legend. After finishing, he asked the teams a series of questions to test their memories. A team that knew the answer buzzed in by hitting the button (known as an “ancient marking”) on their step with their feet, and their staircase lights up so they can answer (Definetely the productors or people involved with the show ran out of ideas and added this time-filler). Each multiple-choice question had three possible answers. If the team answered correctly, they moved down to the next level. If a team answered incorrectly or went too long without an answer (three seconds after being called upon), the other teams would have a chance to answer. The first two teams to step down to the bottom level by answering questions correctly moved on to the next round. I was shocked of how stupid some contestants were. Olmec had just told the whole legend and kids couldn’t remember easy answers? How stupid were they?

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“The Temple Games” (or the third phase) round was introduced as a turning point in the episode away from the unpredictable oat and mind games of the Steps of Knowledge, where “the glory went to the fastest and the strongest.” Here, the two remaining teams competed for as many pendants of life as possible in three physical challenges. The first season featured more of an emphasis on teams climbing and/or crossing ramps to retrieve objects, while hindered by bungee cords attached to them. Most times the ramps were covered with soap or water to make it more difficult. The second and third seasons introduced more physical activities such as climbing, riding moving or spinning objects, or spinning a giant wheel. The first two challenges, which pitted a single member of a team against another, awarded a half-pendant each, and the final challenge, involving both teams in whole, awarded a full pendant. If a Temple Game ended in a tie, both teams were awarded the pendant value of that game. After these rounds, the team with the greater number of pendants went on to the final round. This part was actually fun to watch since there was a high chance to see some kid getting injured. You know, when you’re young, really young, you have like no empathy for kids from TV shows, mostly because you’re envious of them, so you desire to see some bones crushed or some blood coming from a nose. Normality.

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In the event that the two teams’ pendant totals were tied after the three games, Olmec asked a tiebreaker question to determine the winner. A “tiebreaker pedestal” was brought out, and the first team to hit the button on top of their gong earned the chance to answer the question. The team would have three seconds to answer, and their first response had to be accepted. A correct answer allowed the team to go to the Temple. At this point everything seemed kind of fair, but when the winner team had to go the temple is when things got really unfair. To make a rough stat, only the 30% of the teams during the three seasons have won the prizes, which in my opinion, it’s kind of low for a children TV show. Even more, if you start to think that only 1 team could actually make it to the temple that reduces the numbers even lower. What were they thinking? Or better, who made the castings? Most of the contestants were: 1) Dumb to answer easy questions 2) Not in a good physical shape 3) 1 and 2 4) Kids who never watched the show and they didn’t know where to go inside the Temple 5) Kids that never watched the show and didn’t know how to assemble the silver monkey 6) Rich kids who didn’t care about prizes.

In the final round, often known as the “Temple Run”, the winning team took whatever Pendants of Life they had (most commonly, a full pendant and half of the second) into the temple. The temple consisted of 12 to 13 rooms, depending on the layout, each connected by a doorway which may or may not have been open during the game, depending on the setup used that day. One room in the labyrinth had the themed artifact; three rooms held Temple Guards (which were really scary motherfuckers). If the winning team had an incomplete pendant, the remaining half-pendant would be in a room as well. However, if the team had only one pendant going into the temple, there would be no hidden pendant. In that case, if the second player ran into a Guard, the game would end (extremely unfair).

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The winning team had three minutes to retrieve the artifact. One player was sent in first, with a complete pendant. The second player remained outside the Temple gate to watch the first player’s progress. In each room, completing a puzzle or accomplishing a task would unlock a door to another room. When a player encountered a Temple Guard, the player was forced to give up a full pendant in order to continue or if caught without a pendant be taken out of the temple. The second player now had the chance to enter, with all opened doors remaining open and all known Temple Guards nonexistent. If the second player possessed only half a Pendant of Life, a Temple Guard could catch him or her and end the game. To prevent that, the second player would also have to find the other half of the pendant which was hidden in the temple. It was often well-hidden and only a few contestants have found one during their run (everything in less than 3 minutes, yeah, something that children can achieve).

If either player reached the artifact, all remaining Guards “vanished” and all locked doors instantly opened, allowing the player to escape unhindered. Just for getting into the temple, the team automatically won a prize. If they picked up the artifact, they also would win another prize of slightly higher value. If they escaped with the artifact before time ran out, the team won a vacation (sometimes to another country), or a week at NASA’s Space Camp, in addition to the two merchandise prizes.  If you watched the show as I did, you should know that not many teams actually did it on time or were able to actually ensemble the friggin silver monkey artifact. Actually, I can’t recall how many times I yelled at the TV set “That’s not the way you moron!”.

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Generally speaking “Legends of the hidden temple” despite of its insane difficulty, it was a worth to watch show, even these days I have a blast watching it (and I am 30). I think TV  Nickelodeon needs shows like this one, where children can win prizes while doing exercise and getting scared, unlike those ccrappy shows that Nickelodeon airs these days. They should do it like in Japan, where they still air this show and many other shows from the 90’s. I would love to see re-runs or actually a few game-shows with actual content.

In conclusion, if you missed this piece of history, there are many youtube videos about it, go and watch them. I would like to thank to Linda and her great website about this TV show, you can check it here:http://legends93.webs.com . It’s a really old website but always worth to check.

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