How can I even begin to describe this vast and fascinating game? Produced by Ion Storm (now defunct) in 2001 and underappreciated at the time, it has now become one of the games on RPG "favorites" lists and deservedly so. Although listed as an RPG, this game really has both adventure and action elements. If you are a dyed-in-the-wool adventure player and want to try some RPG, this is a great choice. It does have battles, but I played in "easy" mode and found them painless(except for the final one-but if I could do it anyone can.) I'm a real wimp when it comes to battles.
As for game play and system requirements: You'll need 128RAM,16MB video, 8X cd ROM drive. I played it on WINXP with no problems, altho 2 patches are reccommended, which I did install. They can be found at Planetanachronox.com, along with loads of other helpful info.
Game controls are fairly simple: mouse for steering and arrow keys for direction. You control 7 different characters at different times and some don't come into play until later in the game. You toggle back and forth between them with tab key. When battle situations arise, you choose health and weapons by R clicking on various little boxes that come up with each character.Some finger dexterity with mouse and arrow keys is involved to master the "worldskill" for each character. I found the game to run smoothly with few, if any glitches, once I got the hang of how everything works(no easy task-the game IS complicated.) I made liberal use of the generous help that is out there. One nice thing is the game autosaves at the cutscenes, so you can go back to many previous spots, and has 12 manual save slots.
The story unfolds as you go along in the game and talk to all the different characters-and they are...well..different. Being set in sometime in the 3rd millenium, of course there are all sorts of wierd and whacky extraterrestials roaming around: humanoids with one eye in the center of the forehead, talking lizards, robots of all shapes and sizes, ape-like creatures, cute little teddybearish critters,insects that capture humans, comic book characters-you name it.
Our hero, Sly Boots, a down-on-his-luck detective with bad credit and a reputation for being an irresponsible bar fly,stumbles into a situation where he begins to uncover a nefarious plot to take over and rule the galexy. He becomes entangled in finding the identity of a cruel and ruthless dictator and the terrifying machinery he has set up to accomplish his scheme to be the ultimate boss of everyone and everything.
As Sly, you must unravel the mystery of Mystech, a substance with unimaginable powers that has fallen into the hands of the evil one.In short, you must save the universe from ultimate destruction.
But you don't have to do it all alone-there is a whole cast of characters to help you in your quest:
Grumpos Matavastros, retired Mystech Museum curator has devoted his life to the study of mystech. He's cranky and very hairy.his skill is yammering people into saying or doing things.
PAL-18, Personal Android Lackey, in other words a cute little robot belonging to Boots. Loyal servant and friend for past 20 years and takes plenty of abuse from Boots. He can hack into computers-this comes in VERY handy.
Dr. Rho Bowman, a scholar of Mystech who wrote a controversial book on the subject, later declared a heritic by her colleagues. She's one tough lady and is very good at analysing. Comes in handy because Boots hates to read.
Stiletto Anyway, Boot's one-time girlfriend who has become a mercenary for anyone who will hire her. She's an expert knife-thrower who loves agood fight.
Paco Estrella,former superhero of Krapton Comic books. The company folded and left Paco without a place. He's lost his ability to fly but can break anything with his fists.
Democratus, believe it or not- a planet that can change from planet size to beachball size and will help Boots win battles. His skill is arguing people to death.
And then there is Fatima, Sly's former secretary, who died and now has been digitised into his "life cursor", a flying arrow that helps him through quests and advises him on what to do next-this comes in very handy for you too.She has a thing for Boots too.
Ok, now that you've got the characters, where do you go? All kinds of places, that's where. There's no doubt about it, the game is huge.There are at least 12 major locations, each containing several different areas to explore, all strikingly unique,amazing, bizzarre and/or colorful. For example, Anachronox, where Boots has his office, is a floating city within a gigantic sphere. It has shifting plates, tunnels,and elevators tha whisk you up and down dizzying heights, as well as "gravpaths" to shift you from top to bottom-don't forget, you are inside a sphere with artificial gravity, so you have to shift from rightside up to upside down. At one point you'll be in a car chase in the air-of course its jet propelled and dodging around the tops of buildings.Just in Anachronox alone there are at least 8 different locations to explore and numberless characters to talk to.
You learn about the "senders", enormous spikes that stick up out of the planet and each one is a gateway to a different place in the galexy. The discovery of the first sender opened up trans-galactic travel.Some senders havn't been explored yet and some who try new ones never come back.You don't find out interesting tidbits like this unless you talk to everyone.
You can take a shuttle to sender station(don't forget to visit the red light district there-it's hilarious!), and from there take off for 2 other fascinating planets, Haephestus and Limbus.During the game you can shuttle back and forth to these planets from Anachronox via the sender.Earlier in the game you get hijacked by a villain ship from the comic book planet Krapton, land on the ring city of planet Democratus, and engage in a space battle with a virulent race of gigantic bees.
This game is peppered with lots of tounge-in-cheek humor-just about everyone you talk to will tickle your funny bone. Whether humanoid or insectlike, the wierd and whacky beings you talk to will always have something to say about life in general-family problems, male-female(and "other")entanglements,sex, authority figures, crime, anti-establishment,totally whacko, and the just plain pathetic.
The appearence,atmosphere, and special effects aer impressive. The battles involve colorful pyrotechnical displays-spirals, colored lights,and shooting stars.And plenty of noise. The music is good too. Each area has it's own catchy tune, appropriate to the feel of the place.There are some great scenes of space travel-you really get to feel like you're out there, speeding into the orbit, then atmosphere of another planet.
Due to the huge number of quests,different combinations of characters, and 3 difficulty levels(easy, normal and way too hard) the game has great replayability.
My complaints are these: It needs a more detailed manual to explain how to use the things you pick up -and there is a LOT of stuff. I didn't understand much of it, how ever this didn't prevent me from enjoying and completing the game.
If you have to replay a cutscene over and over because of losing a battle there is no way to use "esc." to bypass it. This only happened to me at the end game where the battle was tougher.
There was a quest where the things you had to do didn't register in the game, so quest couldn't be completed. However this was a minor quest and didn't spoil anything.
All that being said, if you enjoy sci-fi, a good detective yarn, or a just plain rollicking good tale, this game's not to be missed.