Win 3.1 or higher (95 preferred), 486 or higher (Pentium preferred, 4x Cd-rom, MPC2 compatible sound card, SVGA display, 6MB free hard disk space, 256 colors. Point & click.
Installed without a hitch on my Win 98 computer. Wish I could say it played just as hitch-free. The graphics were pretty decent & crisp. The music was nothing to record & play in your car but it wasn't arcade music either. I turned the volume down & couldn't hear it but could still hear the voices...a definite plus. There are a few bugs to maneuver around. You wont, but you'll learn from them. The game freezes, occasionally. I had no actual crash as I still had control over my mouse & there was movement by the characters on the screen as well as sound but I still had to Ctrl-Alt-Del out & reload an earlier save. Not so bad but can be awfully annoying when there is a particularly long dialog or puzzle you have to redo...over & over. The game apparently crashes when you have such great intuition to move ahead before the game is ready to let you. So if crashing occurs it's because you've done something before you should have. Forget about that & try something else, after you reboot & restore, that is. But lets talk about the story.
The world is broken. I think you've gathered that much so far by the title. The first scene involves flying cows, a good start.
You walk to a shack in the middle of the woods to discover the headquarters to the "World Works", an engineering group dedicated to keeping the world in a harmonious balance of the four elements: fire, air, earth, & water. You discover two scientists who, guess what, need your help to fix the problems that are occuring worldwide. They fit you up with gear & send you down the "pole" into the core of the earth. The "pole" being a giant candy-cane striped North-South pole that extends through the earth...wouldn't you picture it looking like that? Once in the core you discover another species. Mechanimals. Mechanimals are part biological animal & part machine. These guys are all different, very abundant & hard to keep track of. Some are helpful, some not, all are very interesting to say the least. Landing in the core you find 4 mechanimals stuck in some sort of force fields. One each for the 4 elements. Your task, as you come to find out, is to get those guys outta there & restore balance to the surface world. In the process there are many subplots to follow & solve. Puzzles are of the inventory type & there are a couple mechanical/logical to solve with clues found around. Some puzzles are solved by being mean. What I mean by mean is, you have dialog choices & one is usually a normal reaction & the other is a snotty comment. Sometimes you have to choose the snotty comment to move along. Sometimes you have to be a nicey-nicey. Choose wisely.
Inventory is managed at the bottom of the play screen. Leaving your cursor there for a few seconds pulls up the inventory/options screen. Clicking on the crate brings up the inventory. Inventory is side scrolled. Clicking on the gear brings up the options menu, save, load, quit & volume. A text option would have been nice, particularly with some of the mechanimals. Also when presenting an inventory item to a character you must give it to them BEFORE initiating coversation, or be forced to listen to their ramblings yet again. Inventory is not abundant & not hard to handle. You must close the crate before leaving the inventory menu is the only annoyance. You know you're frozen when the inventory bar wont go away.
This was supposed to be a kids game but I found myself stuck more than once. I never had to consult a WT but did check out the hints file included on the CD. Nice feature. The game is challenging & fun, not too short & not tiringly long. The puzzles were generally fun & not frustrating, although having to redo the Iron Works due to freezes several times may yield other opinions. I didn't like that there were some places that were inaccessable. I don't mind if you can get there eventually but why put up this big giant door that looks so important that you never go through? A wall would have been better. I hope that I'm not sounding like I'm giving this game a bad review because I really enjoyed this little game. If you have the chance, give it a whirl. The mechanimals alone are worth it. All in all, a fun little diversion & worth the time playing & the money spent. The best part?....No timed sequences, no slider puzzles, & no mazes! 2 Mechanimal paws up!