Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Anachronox #8 - Cyberinsects

Finding the votes isn't particularly difficult, as long as you just talk to everyone and remember to use your skills in the right places. In fact, the vote I ended up having the most trouble with (Proposition nr 2, whether Vomit Torture should be allowed) was the one you'd think was going to be the easiest, because the answer was right in the open on posters plastered on the walls. I didn't think to look there!

Reading other people's letters like a criminal.

Votowne and Democratus is just absolutely bonkers. As is the entire game. It reminds me in so many ways of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and the funny thing is I wasn't even a huge fan of that book series. It felt like it tried to be quirky and weird just for the sake of it, and the story sort of got to take a backseat. To be fair, I was a cynical and pretentious teenager when I read it so I should probably give it another try. But for whatever reason, the humour in Anachronox works a lot better for me than I ever thought it did in HGttG. Maybe it's just more fun to play than it is to read about it?

Umm, shouldn't we help him?

Once I knew how to vote and had my golden vote certificate, proving that I had voted exactly like the high council that day, I made my way to ask the high council for help. Turns out they needed my help instead since the entire planet was under attack from some sort of Hive-creature that had sent out dozens of missiles to strike the planet. The high council couldn't agree on how to react, they couldn't even agree on whether there was an attack on the planet at all. They wanted to vote for it. Rho is a no-nonsense kind of person (I actually love her character) and told them that we'd gun our way into the hive and kill the queen. Boots wants to just take the space ship and run away but Rho won't let him. She's feeling guilty for blowing up Sunder and wants to atone by saving Democratus and the rest of us just has to enjoy the ride.

Rho Bowman, probably my favorite character so far.

For reasons I didn't quite understand PAL-18 chooses not to come with us. We make our way to the Verilent Hive and get to do another little mini-game, this time it's like that game Descent from 1995. Full disclosure, I haven't actually played that game, but this mini-game is how I imagine it to be. Once again the game suddenly decides to go completely mum on how to play the mini-game, probably thinking everything is self explanatory. Well... it isn't really. It took a while before I realized I couldn't fire more shots because I needed to reload, House of the Dead-style. This reloading is easily the worst part of the mini-game because I couldn't figure out a quick way to do it, each time I had to move my mouse cursor down to left corner of the screen (i.e away from my targets) and click the reload button. And you reload a lot.

A huge beehive floating around in space, what could be worse?

It also took me a while before I figured out that I could choose my own path and that I had to kill off some sort of structures before I could finally land my space ship. I flew around like a headless chicken trying to figure out what to do, but fortunately the game is pretty generous with healing items so there was little risk of failing.

Also the hit detection was bad, but overall not a horrible mini-game.

Once I am inside the hive I quickly figure out that I need to find some sort of colored items to put into colored holes to be able to open the path and... yeah it pretty much goes like all the other places I have been. While it might not be the most inventive gameplay, the dialogue and setting of the game is just so fun and funny that I don't care. The hive itself is no less of a labyrinth than the mini-game part was and here and there I find humans (?) who have been cocooned. They seem pretty ok with their situation though, I don't even make an attempt at saving these people.

You fight a lot of bugs in this place and you level up quickly in this game. Combat has yet to be a challenge but there is a lot to do so you can choose to be quite crafty about it if you like. Every character has a regular attack, some special skills that use up "bogue" which constantly charges throughout the fight, Mystech skills which use up NRG which can be recharged with Glodents (don't even ask...) and items. Any character can use any Mystech skill, they're equipped and bought like items. Special skills are unique for each character and I quickly find out that Grumpos both has an awesome aoe attack and aoe healing. With him on my team it feels like it would be impossible to die, though I really haven't felt anywhere near worried about dying so far in any case.

She looks meaner than she is.

Once I've found all the crystals I needed
to open up the path I go to fight the second boss of this game, the Hive Queen. It's a pretty fun fight, though also quite easy. For some reason the enemies are really bad at hitting you and so they miss a lot. I barely even take damage in most fights! Enemies also have a tendency to home in on just one character in my party who then takes the vast majority of attacks. Not sure if that is a good or a bad tactic, it is what it is.

The queen goes down, the missiles are disabled, Democratus is saved. We go back and get to leave with our shuttle. The Democratians have to decide on how they want to reward us, and in the meantime we go back to Sender Station Station.

I don't even know what to say.

As I am chilling in the lounge, a planet (!) shows up. Not just any planet, it's Democratus in mini-me size (because they can do that)! Apparently their reward to us is to tag along as a party member. The. Entire. Planet. This game you guys... it just has to be experienced. How do they even come up with these things?

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