Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Anachronox (released July 2001) is a computer game produced by Tom Hall and the Ion Storm games studio. It is a 3-D, third person RPG game. Development took around three and a half years. The game is built on a heavily modified version of the Quake 2 engine, heavily re-coded to allow for improvements such as a wider color palette as well as more complex character animations (including facial expressions).
The gameplay style is heavily influenced by console RPGs such as the Final Fantasy series, as opposed to the style of computer RPGs such as the Baldur's Gate or Fallout series. Character statistics and item collection are simplified, and the emphasis is on exploration and story-telling rather than character building. Although at first the game appears to take place in a gritty, cyber-punk universe, the story is actually fairly light-hearted, with a quirky sense of humor.
The player plays the part of Sylvester "Sly" Boots, a down-and-out detective in the slums (known as "The Bricks") of an alien world called "Anachronox". Anachronox sits inside a giant, hollow sphere called Sender One, which is the centre of the galaxy's network of space-lanes.
Recruited against his will to investigate a mystery concerning the very nature of the universe, "Sly" travels throughout the galaxy, meeting many characters along the way, some of who can join the player's party. A few of these characters are Pal-18, Sly's robotic buddy; "Grumpos" Matavastros, a wiley old professor; and Stiletto the leather-suited assassin.
The game ends on a major cliff-hanger, as the development team was only able to complete about 50% of the story they intended. The second half of the game's story was supposed to be covered in the sequel, but the game's poor performance in the retail market coupled with the dissolution of Ion Storm suggests that no sequel will ever be made.
The game has notably good music.
Since its release some fan-based updates have been produced which provide such improvements as taxi-cabs between distant points, greater stability under newer versions of Windows, and enhanced save game functionality.
Anachronox did poorly commercially. This fact, coupled with the poor performance of Daikatana, another Ion Storm release around the same time, partially contributed to the collapse of Ion Storm's Dallas branch. The game nonetheless developed a cult following, largely due to its off-beat, humorous storyline.
In response to favorable input about the game's story, the developers independently spliced together the game's cutscenes into a single hour-and-a-half long machinima movie, which has since been distributed over the internet.
About three hundred years ago a number of artifacts were found. Named 'MysTech ' (Mysterium Technology), they were believed to be devices left by a long dead alien race. Some of the devices were weapons, others healed and some have not been fully understood.
A small planetoid-sized reflective sphere, a Sender , was discovered in space. Long spikes could be seen protruding its outer shell at regular intervals. A star pilot approaching the Sender noticed a signal being transmitted by one of the spikes. He found himself accelerating toward the Sender and was then transported to another part of space via some sort of hyperspace tunnel. These came into regular use once ships had been equipped with inertial dampers. Senders later became the hubs of lucrative trade and galactic civilization. Right in the centre of the universe lay Sender One, which orbited the city of Anachronox.
It is believed that Anachronox was home to millions of quarantined aliens many years ago. These aliens are thought to have died of a horrible plague. Anachronox is now largely a ruin and has become the centre of nefarious dealings in the galaxy.
Sylvester "Sly" Boots lives in a cheap apartment above Rowdy's, a seedy bar on the seediest street in a section of Anachronox called the Bricks . Somehow surviving an attack from a number of mysterious henchmen, Boots is enlisted by a renegade scientist and begins a perilous journey which pits him against some of the most dangerous enemies in the universe...
Sylvester "Sly Boots" Bucelli
Ever the egomaniac, Boots is the type of guy who thinks everybody likes him. He is a down-on-his-luck private investigator on planet Anachronox. He doesn't have many close friends, although he is the proud owner of PAL-18, his robot. His only other 'friend' is a floating lifecursor containing the digital "ghost" of his ex-secretary Fatima.
Former curator of the MysTech museum, Grumpos joins the journey to save the universe quite early on in the game. His knowledge of MysTech and its uses are unsurpassed. He is a worthy addition to the team.
A robot Boots received on his 9th birthday, PAL-18 has recently been collecting dust in the corner of Boots' room. Once some new batteries are found, PAL is brought back to life to add his humour and numerous skills to the team.
Doctor Rho Bowman
The team meet Rho at Sunder, the science-center of the universe, to ask her to analyse some MysTech they have discovered. Having discovered the sheer power that a piece of MysTech contains, Rho joins the team on their quest to discover how and why MysTech exists.
The Planet Democratus
Once the team escape from Sunder, they find themselves at the planet Democratus, a world with incredibly advanced technology, but almost no common sense. Having pleased the leaders of the planet by helping them escape from near death by missiles from the Virulent Hive, the planet offers to join the team on their quest. They are able to achieve this by shrinking the planet to human size. They do this via their extremely advanced techology, which they are unwilling to share with other civilisations.
Stiletto, also known as Sera, was once an employee of Boots' and is now a freelance assassin. Having met each other again at the red light district, they can both see that many things have changed since they last met. Stiletto reluctantly joins Boots to save the universe.
A super hero from Krapton, a planet of super heroes. Paco lost his job, and was later captured and imprisoned onboard a supervillain's ship, and has become a depressed alcoholic. He's lost all confidence in himself and has given up trying to be a superhero.
Boots' former secretary. She died when she was thrown from (and then hit by) Boots' skycar during a chase. Fatima has now been digitised. She helps Boots to keep track of numerous stats in the game. She frequently seems sad but is very loyal to Boots.
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