The Let's Play Archive


by shockateer

Part 1: Episode 1: Welcome to Anachronox

Episode 1: Welcome to Anachronox

Welcome To Anachronox / Backup (video).
That's Anachronox, the sleazy back alley of the universe and the place I call home. A relic of a lost alien civilization, Anachronox constantly shifts and realligns itself for no known reason. The rest of the universe found Anachronox uninhabited and in a state of decay. Supposedly, the aliens who built the thing all died from plague. Upon finding the uninhabited planetoid, unsavory elements from all over claimed it as their home. But why would anyone choose to live here? Aside from being outside of any legal jurisdiction, Anachronox lies inside of a spiky, metal sphere called a Sender, whose spikes are capable of opening up warp portals for instant intergalactic travel, making it a hotspot for interstellar commerce.

Me? I'm Sly Boots, private detective.

I'm working on my biggest case ever, no, the biggest case ever. It all started on the third worst day of my life.

A tale of sorrow
A tale of woe
Now I've warned you
And away we go!

It was a quiet day in South Anachronox. Business was slow these days, but it would pick up eventually. At least that's what I told myself. It was time to end the day with my customary trip to Rowdy's to down all the Brebulan Brew I could handle. I looked out my window down at the bar. A few of the usuals, Valesta and Brazz, were there. The kooky resistance members were brooding a dark corner. Other than that, there was just a drunk Cordican and -- I jumped back from the window. An unusual face was at the bar. He had that distinctive black suit, black shades, metal fist, and face of a primate. One of Detta's thugs for sure. Before I could pull back from the window, he looked up at me and started walking toward my office. "Maybe he just wants to talk," I thought to myself. His evil grin and brass knuckles said otherwise.

Pleasant chat with Detta's goon / Backup(video).

It was no longer a quiet day in South Anachronox. Could I have taken out Detta's goon? Sure, I used to chew up punks like him daily. But things are different now. Detta owns this place. You pulverize one goon, and the next day there are five. You pulverize 5, and then it's the NoxGuards, to serve and protect your ass until it's a pulpy mess. Detta always wins. That day I was lucky; He threw me down to the bar, just inches away from my next drink, instead of leaving me bloody and bruised in my office.

Life didn't always suck like this. Less than a year ago I had the cash, a nice place in Anox North, and a living secretary. Hell, I even had an apprentice. But that didn't matter anymore. Fatima was right, it was time to find a case, and not finding Rowdy's keys. I like the guy and all, but it was insulting to have a detective of my caliber doing small time odd jobs. I may have been down on my luck, but I hadn't hit rock bottom yet. It was a metal grate I fell on.

Fatima wanted me to grab the camera, get the cash, find a lead, and pet the timeminder for good luck? Sure I needed a job, but the rest of that stuff? I always hated it when she pulled the whole mommy act with me. "Sorry babe," I said, "I'm outta here."

Fatima materialized as I tried to leave and screamed, "Where do you think you're going, Bucko! You're not staggering anywhere until you find a decent job lead, grab some money, and grab the camera from your office. Oh and pet that time minder behind you for good luck while you're at it. Yeesh, you are like a little kid sometimes."

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, killed, and kept alive inside a lifecursor. I really had no choice but to do as she said.

My pained numbed slightly by alcohol, I made my way up the back steps to my office. Despite Fatima's slander, it was a real office. It had my detective's licences, crappy modern art, and everything!

The camera was right on the desk. As for the money, I was pretty sure that it was locked up in the storage room.

I was a little out of practice with the pick, but the lock wasn't terribly complicated.

Gameplay note: Each character has a worldskill that can be used to interact with parts of the world by playing a minigame. Boot's skill is lockpicking. He has to guess numbers for each section of the lock before time runs out. An indicator helps show you how close your guesses are.

The lock popped open after a few seconds of fiddling.

As expected, the money was back here. It wasn't much, just a few hundred loonies, but it was food and booze money until I could find a job. I suddenly got nostalgic and went to look at the other crap I was keeping back here.

I did suck. What I would have given to play some Bugaboo right then.

A locked chest. I don't really remember what I put in here, but I'm sure it's good. After warming up on the door, I figured that this old hunk of junk would be easy.

Five sections? Ten seconds? Yeah, I bought this thing back when I had money. The lock was state-of-the-art back then and was still far beyond the capabilities of my pick.
Gameplay note: Each worldskill has a master level that can be acquired. That chest, as well as various chests and doors throughout the game are unopenable until the master level of that skill is attained.

Poor little guy… we had some good times. Man I've modified the hell out of PAL over the years. Bet Codricom never thought someone could trick out their toys with dataport accessories and battle claws. We need to get you fixed up bad.

Seeing that picture reminded me of everything I had lost. Back then Fatima was alive, Pal was juiced up, and she…she was around, too. I wasn't lying to you; Life used to be great. I certainly never got thrown out of any windows back then. I didn't have time to sit around and feel sorry for myself. I still had to get a job lead and pet the timeminder.
I chose to save the worst for last and went looking for that lead.

The first person I checked in with was Marina Silvero. She coordinates a kind of resistance against Detta. Free the city of corruption and all that jazz. I hated Detta as much as she did, probably more, but back then I was too afraid of becoming another crimson smudge on a Noxclub.
"Hey boots, there's glass in your hair," Marina said as I drew near.
"I know, it's all the rage on Cordica."
Ignoring my joke, she went straight to business and said, "All the elements are falling into place. In a few weeks, well hit Detta's fortress. I'd ask you to join us if I thought you'd say yes."
Looking back, I wish I had the guts to say yes, but instead I just laughed and kept playing the drunken fool.
Marina's face turned stern. "Yerocan's disappeared. And he's got the blueprints. Where is that boy?"
"Uh yeah, I'll let you know if I see him."
When people in the resistance "disappeared" it usually meant that someone was about to find a finger in their hotdog.

I stopped to chat with Marina's co-renegade Mardoman.
"Hey Mardoman, what's new?" I asked.
Mardoman didn't know how to talk anything except business. "Noxguards raided the compounds of the three top crime lords in The Bricks last night. Guess Detta's got the house to himself now. The three crime lords are in detention awaiting trial. They'll all be dead within the week. It's just a matter of time before we topple Detta. We're just weeks away from something big."
The resistance was always "just weeks away." How was I supposed to know they really meant it this time?

"Fine, I'll bite. Enjoy your alleyjuice."

Uh-huh. Whackmaster Jack? Temple of Beating? Was he trying to hit on me? I figured it was probably just the alleyjuice talking anyway.

I quickly felt uncomfortable talking to the drunk and went to chat with Brazz, a regular here at Rowdy's. Pretty big guy. He probably could have say...stopped someone from throwing me out a window. Thanks a million Brazz.
"How's work in the mine going, big guy?" I asked.
"I'm nervous Sly," he said. "Detta's sending people to the tunnels behind the Tenements to excavate MysTech. Problem is... everyone's coming out of there minus their limbs. I don't wanna fight cave monsters, and I certainly don't want to work for Detta. But a man's gotta eat, right?"
"Tell me about it. I'm down to my last few loonies myself, not that I'd consider cave work," I said.
"Did I ever tell you I'm afraid of the dark?"
"No Brazz. No you didn't."
And with that sudden burst of candor from the big guy, I figured it was time to say my goodbyes and get outta there. MysTech, in case you've been living underneath a rock for the past month, are strange stones thought to be relics of the alien civilization that abandoned Anachronox. People with too much money liked to collect the stuff. Anyway, it certainly wasn't worth losing any limbs over.

Rowdy sure did make me feel a lot better about myself. But hey, he was letting me stay in his place and hadn't called in my astronomical tab yet so I couldn't complain.

Valesta was another regular at Rowdy's and just about the only person left to talk to about a job.
"Hey, Booter," She said. "Caught your swan dive earlier. Pretty sweet, dude."
"You like that? I've been practicing all week."
"Hey, you still looking for work? My friend Deanamo's been exploring the tunnels for some guy. Maybe they need an extra hand. She's slumming at Frank's Flophouse if you're interested."
"Thanks, babe. You're a peach," I replied, although I really hoped I wouldn't have to stoop to spelunking for cash.
"All for you, Booter."
She was totally into me. From what I could gather, her friend was doing the same job that Brazz had talked about. The one with the limb losing. I was in no hurry to jump into monster infested caves, but that lead would at least satisfy Fatima. After that I just had to pet the time minder.

I really didn't want to touch the winged brain abomination. The eggheads on planet Sunder say that the Timeminders exist outside of time, seeing all of history concurrently. Supposedly, touching one makes them see your whole life in an instant. Petting the timeminder is said to bring good luck. All it gives me is a sticky hand, but Fatima sure believes in it. To each his own.
Gameplay Note: Timeminders are savepoints. On hard difficulty, you can only save at timeminders.

After going through all that crap, Fatima let me walk outside of the bar. I decided to chat with the doorman before heading out.

Having someone seem concerned about my well-being instead of cracking jokes was a welcome change. It was such a welcome change, in fact, that I decided to make some more small talk.
"So how's life, Travis?" I asked.
His eyes lit up at someone taking interest. "This job's boring, so I've been taking up drawing, you know? Mostly just doodles on the backs of concert flyers. Wanna see a little picture I drew?"
Normally, I'd tell him to beat it, but since he was the only person in the whole bar who gave a damn, I took a peek.

I was glad he said it before I had to be rude.

By that time I had exhausted the possibilities at Rowdy's, so it was time to head out into the Bricks.

End: Thus concludes the first update. I'm open to any and all suggestions on how to make this LP thread (more) enjoyable. There's a great story to be told here so long as I can keep the audience enticed. If you've played the game, I'd definitely appreciate ideas for encouraging audience participation. I have a few ideas, but more are certainly welcome. Also, I'd like to hear some suggestions on where I can upload the music files. Some of the compositions are really nice and add to the atmosphere of the game.

Will our hero suffer another humiliating beating? What horrors lurk in the MysTech tunnels? What exacty is mixing and matching? These questions and more (maybe) answered next time on Let's Play Anachronox!