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|16 MAR 2012 at 6:39pm|
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Posted In: Articles : Reviews
Note: Originally published 21 Feb 2002
Let me first tell you that this game was supposed to be a disaster. It was developed by Ion Storm, the Eidos-owned subsidiary of Eidos. And before you say, Hey! Didn't Ion Storm create the spectacular Deus Ex? Yes it did, but that was that was the Austin-based, Warren Spector-led Ion Storm group that is now basically doing the work that Lookinglass Studios left off (they're currently cooking up Thief III and Deus Ex II. . . . at least they were until Ion Storm's continued existence came into jeopardy recently . . . but that's a different article) No, Anachronox was made by the Dallas-based Ion Storm team. Yeah, the same guys who made the now-legendary-disaster Daikatana, the Heaven's Gate of recent games.
Add to this the buzz I kept hearing at E3 last year. I kept scouring the huge Eidos area for signs of the game - nada. The scuttlebutt was that the game was a train wreck and they weren't going to let it stink up the showroom floor.
The game's main protagonist is that mainstay of B-movies everywhere, the down-on-his luck detective. This particular detective is named Sly Boots, and he lives on the very strange world of Anachronox, which is a hollow sphere constructed by a long-vanished alien civilization some time before humans (and others) discovered this, and a whole network of abandoned worlds and promptly moved into them.
As the story begins, Sly owes the local political boss money, and this gets the story rolling. I can't even begin to describe the gigantic plot that unfolds in this game, but it includes the reawakening of a long-dormant magical substance called "mystech," and how this development literally threatens the very existence of our universe.
The character-development in the game is nothing like that of D&D-based RPGs. Through the course of the game you develop a team of seven characters, though only three can be active at any one time. These characters are already set, and while you can develop them by gaining experience and better equipment, you're working along a pre-ordained track. The abilities and skills each character can acquire are pretty much set in stone.
This doesn't matter a bit, though, as it's a delightful septet. In addition to Sly, there's a grumpy old Grumpos, a mysterious sort of archaeologist; Rho Bowman, a feisty and iconoclastic scientist who thinks she's on the verge of a major breakthrough regarding Mystech; PAL-18, a robot valet; Stiletto Anyway, a buxom and very dangerous woman from Sly's past; and two very strange characters I'll mention a little later.
What distinguishes Anachronox is the fact that the entire game feels utterly drenched with an infectious sense of fun and good gameplay. Every corner of the game has fun things to discover. Even the Options Menu, for example: When you pick the "Easy" setting, you see a graphic of Sly facing down a fearsome bunny rabbit. The game is full of hilarious dialog, frequently from completely unimportant characters. Example: in a shuttle station there's a character sitting on the science-fiction equivalent of one of those luggage dispensers at the airport. When you talk to him, he simply says, gleefully, "I love the way this thing vibrates my butt."
The storyline is consistently innovative as well. In addition to the vast underbelly of Anachronox itself, you get to visit several other planets, space stations, and space ships. Every one of these environments is teeming with life, and the populations and environments are wildly diverse.
In a game full of highly imaginative twists, two truly stand out. First there's the fact that one of your party members is a . . . planet. Yep, you heard right. A planet. Second, during one ill-fated jump through hyperspace, Sly and his team get pulled in by a huge Villain starship. This starship is from a famous "superhero planet," and for this sequence the entire format of the game changes to that of a comic book. You also end up with a party member who's a superhero (albeit a washed-up alcoholic superhero). It's an inspired bit of silliness, and it's just an example of the various ways the game remains fresh through the very end. There are dozens of minor examples, such as the fact that you can gain experience points by properly voting in a local election, and you can make money by dancing in a gay bar!
Graphically, the game is just plain gorgeous, from the very first areas of the game, which introduce Sly's neighborhood in Anachronox in all its eye-boggling, Escher-esque challenging glory. The colors are lush and the characters themselves are truly convincing.
In short, this game has everything that adventure gamers are supposed to like: A fantastic story, great characters, beautiful worlds to explore, fascinating puzzles to solve, and lots of great humor.
-Well, listen to my story, a story I will tell, of an airborne sapper, who would go through hell, His home was FT. Leonard Wood, the land that God forgot, the mud was 18inches deep, and the sun was blazing hot.
Last edited by karla : 17 MAR 2012 1:30pm
|17 MAR 2012 at 6:09pm|
Posts : 1
Joined: 17 MAR 2012
Status : Offline
[size= small]Played this game a few years ago, have to say its one of the best games I have ever played, often wished a follow up had been brought out.
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