North American box art
|Engine||Modified Quake II engine|
|Distribution||2 CD-ROMs, Download (gog.com)|
Anachronox (//, created from anachronism and noxious) is a 2001 third-person role-playing video game produced by Tom Hall and the Dallas Ion Storm games studio. It offers gameplay in the style of older role-playing video games, such as Chrono Trigger and the Final Fantasy series. The game was built with a heavily modified version of the Quake II engine, rewritten chiefly to allow a wider color palette, emotive animations and facial expressions, and better lighting, particle, and camera effects.
The game features a science fiction story influenced by cyberpunk, film noir, and quirky humor. The story begins as down-and-out private investigator Sylvester "Sly Boots" Bucelli looks for work in the slums of Anachronox, an alien planet near the hub of the galaxy's space-lanes. He travels to other planets and, amassing an unlikely group of friends, unravels a mystery that threatens the existence of the universe. The story features a theme of working through troublesome events of one's past, and ends on a major cliffhanger.
The development of Anachronox was long and difficult; so much content was removed during production that Tom Hall planned to create a sequel. Critics enjoyed the game and awarded it high marks for its design and story, but its developers were disappointed with producer support, and Ion Storm closed its Dallas offices one month after the game's release. Anachronox developed a cult following, and in 2003, the game's cinematic director, Jake Hughes, spliced together sequences and cutscenes into a feature-length, award-winning machinima film.
Anachronox is a turn-based role-playing game similar in nature to many Japanese role-playing video games like Final Fantasy. The player controls a party of up to three characters as they explore a 3D environment of futuristic cities, space vessels, and outdoor areas. Players can swap other playable characters into and out of their party, talk to non-player characters, and collect and shop for equipment and items. When a player nears a character or item that can be interacted with, an arrow-shaped floating electronic device called the LifeCursor deploys, allowing the player to click on the person or item. After a certain point in the story, players can travel by shuttle (shown in cut scenes) to other planets. Players may encounter puzzles, requiring the use of a WorldSkill such as lockpicking; each playable character has a unique skill. Some sequences of the game involve minigames; in one such minigame, the player must pilot a fighter spaceship and destroy enemies with lasers. Certain maps also have simple two-dimensional minigames, such as the original games Ox and Bugaboo. A special feature of exploration is the use of the protagonist Boots's camera, which can take and store several pictures for memories or minor quests.
Players may also encounter enemies, triggering a combat mode. Like Chrono Trigger, the game features no random encounters; enemies are openly visible on field maps or lie in wait to ambush the party. Similar to Final Fantasy's Active Time Battle, each character has a meter that gradually fills with time; when the meter is full, the character can perform an action. Characters can physically attack enemies, use MysTech magic, unleash BattleSkill attacks, use items, move to a different position, or use a nearby object to attack, if present. For playable characters and computer-controlled enemies, each attack reduces their number of hit points (a numerically based life bar), which can be restored through healing items or MysTech slags. Use of MysTech and equippable shield cells require NRG, a separate energy reserve displayed beneath a character's life bar. NRG is replenished through certain items. Use of BattleSkills require Bouge, a third bar beneath NRG that automatically fills with time; players can use different BattleSkills depending on how full the Bouge bar is. Some characters must undergo certain plot developments to unlock their BattleSkills. When a playable character loses all hit points, he or she faints. If all the player's characters fall in battle, the game ends and must be restored from a previously saved game. Winning battles earns experience points and raises characters' levels, granting them improved character statistics. These statistics can be viewed through the status screen, which displays important character information and current quests. Unlike many other RPGs, Anachronox displays a character's attributes with qualitative descriptors (such as Poor and Excellent) instead of integers.
The Mysterium Tech (or MysTech) system allows players to use in-game objects collectively known as MysTech, and create new MysTech by using a configuration screen accessed through Elementor Host items. MysTech cannot be used until a certain story event, after which it awakens across the galaxy. Eight basic colors of MysTech exist, representing different elements; for example, green represents poison. Players can use MysTech to inflict damage upon enemies, plagues them with certain status effects (such as freezing them in place), or heals party members. Casting status effect-MysTech on party members will cure them if afflicted by enemy status spells. MysTech slabs and Elementor Hosts can be found as treasure in the game world or bought from shops. To create MysTech, players place colored bugs (found on small hills in several game locations) in empty slots on an Elementor Host. The color of bug placed in the function slot determines the color of MysTech, while other slots modify the power and/or range of the spell. Players can add special bugs known as Cobalt Crawlers to make a spell target all enemies instead of one; a Host filled with eight Crawlers unlocks a secret spell. The effect of bugs can be amplified by feeding them petals from Lifeflowers scattered throughout the world of Anachronox. Special Hosts with two or three different functions allow players to pick which MysTech function to use in battle.
Anachronox is a small planet floating inside a huge artificial sphere known as Sender One. Husks of futuristic cities exist on artificial tectonic plates, which constantly shift to connect different parts of the planet. Inhabitants believe that diseased aliens were quarantined there eons ago, resulting in the name Anachronox (resulting from fusing anachronism and noxious, meaning "poison from the past"). Northern Anachronox is clean and upscale, while southern Anachronox is crime-ridden and run-down; it's here that Boots runs his detective agency in the storage space above a bar. Humanity travels to different planets from Sender One, which had been the center of an alien transportation system enabling faster-than-light travel. Inbound and outbound traffic stop at Sender Station, an orbiting construct above Sender One with hotels and a red light district. Civilizations conduct business using the Canadian loonie, and several people collect MysTech—shards of rock with markings, believed to be dormant weapons or art pieces created by an extinct alien race. MysTech was first found three-hundred years ago, and is poorly understood, though avidly collected.
Other planets number Sunder, Hephaestus, Democratus, and Limbus. The galaxy's scientific community is headquartered on the temperate planet of Sunder, and people are only permitted to go there if they are sufficiently intelligent. Hephaestus is an important religious center. A mostly volcanic planet, Hephaestus hosts a town and temple complex of monks who study MysTech. Democratus is climatically similar to earth, with regions of desert, snow, forest, and prairie. Several populations of different sentient species exist on the surface, but the planet is ruled by a race of tall, thin humanoids with large craniums who dwell on a large mechanical ring constructed around the planet. This race is obsessed with the ideal of democracy, and though they possess incredible scientific and engineering knowledge, they are constantly bogged down by their own ineptitude and the frailties of the democratic process. Limbus is known as the "planet of death", as voyagers never return; its surface is arid and rocky, with sparse vegetation. A planet mentioned but not seen in the game is Krapton, home to superheroes and villains. Most of Krapton's human population has fled, tired of being constantly abducted and saved by warring superpeople.
The protagonist of Anachronox is Sylvester "Sly Boots" Bucelli, a once-hotshot private detective on Anachronox. 29 years old and described as "bold, brash, and overconfident", Boots has gotten himself into trouble and now runs his agency out of rented storage space above a seedy bar. His only friends are PAL-18, his spirited, sarcastic robot assistant since childhood, and Fatima Doohan, his secretary. Fatima was fatally injured and digitized by Boots onto a PDA-analogue "LifeCursor", where she bitterly lives to render assistance. Several allies join Boots over the course of the game; first is 71-year old Grumpos Matavastros, a "scholar, outdoorsman, eccentric recluse, and renaissance man"—and a very grumpy person. A former curator of the MysTech museum on Anachronox, Grumpos devotes his life to studying the artifacts. Dr. Rho Bowman joins the party on Sunder; she's a brilliant scientist who's been branded a heretic after publication of her book "MysTech Awake!" The team then gains support from Democratus, an eccentric planet boasting a planetary ring and brilliant technology. Two further allies are the femme fatale Stiletto Anyway—a 25-year old former companion of Boots known for being stealthy and aloof—and Paco "El Puño" Estrella, a washed up superhero who's turned to alcoholism after his comic book series was canceled. Their foes include Detta, a heavyset crime boss/kingpin on planet Anachronox, and several other monsters and shady characters.
Sly Boots lives in a cheap apartment above Rowdy's, a bar in the seedy "Bricks" section of South Anachronox. Grumpos Matavastros commissions Boots to find a piece of MysTech, but Detta accosts them and steals it. Grumpos, Boots, and robot assistant PAL-18 then seek out Dr. Rho Bowman, an expert on MysTech, at an institute for troublesome scientists on Sunder. She undertakes an experiment to activate MysTech, apparently causing the destruction of Sunder. Rho and the others escape the planet on a shuttle, and drift in space for 17 days until they're brought on board a habitat ring around the planet Democratus. Rho discovers that all MysTech is now active, and can grant powers and spells. Boots pilots a fighter ship to save Democratus from insectoid invaders known as the Virulent Hive. The heroes return to Sender Station's Lounge of Commerce; Democratus joins the party, the High Council having shrunken the planet to human height. While searching for equipment, Boots earns money as an erotic dancer and encounters Stiletto Anyway, an old flame who's become an assassin and plots revenge against Detta. Rho explains that the universe operates on the big bounce principle; a universe that forms with a big bang will eventually suffer a big crunch, giving rise to a new big bang. She explains that Sunder was destroyed by an injection of matter from the previous universe, which will hasten the current universe's big crunch. If enough matter is switched between universes, the previous one can escape a big crunch and the current one will cease to exist.
The team head to Hephaestus, transformed to a tourist destination now that MysTech is active. They realize MysTech functions can be customized through the use of small, colored bugs and a MysTech host. Sly gains audience with the Grand Mysterium, who tells him that in the next universe, species known as "Chaos" and "Order" fought a bitter war. Order enslaved Chaos in the current universe, but Chaos wishes to escape to the previous universe to prevent future ones from existing and thus eradicate Order. The Mysterium tells Sly he must find and seal off the gate to the previous universe, and to journey to Limbus. The team is captured en route by comic supervillain Rictus; Boots meets former superhero Paco in his prison. Rictus flushes them into empty space; the High Council of Democratus restores the planet to its original size to save them. Scenes of reflection reveal the past on Anachronox. Stiletto had been Sly's young assistant at his upscale agency; he was in love with her, but Fatima was in love with him. Detta abducted Stiletto, spurring Sly's search. Her love unrequited, Fatima his office one night to leave a note of resignation. Sly burst in with news of Stiletto's location, and he and Fatima pursued Detta across Anachronox by flying car. Sly lost control, wrecking and accidentally killing Fatima. Suffering from major depression, Sly ran up debts with Detta to pay for Fatima's revival inside the LifeCursor.
The team regather at Democratus and journey to Limbus, where they meet creatures of the same race as the Grand Mysterium. They repel invaders called the "Dark Servants" from an orbital portal. The leader of Limbus explains that though Chaos is enslaved in the current universe, the Dark Servants (who originate from the current universe) are trying to free them and have found a way into the previous universe, where they initiated the destruction of Sunder. MysTech is a gift from the forces of Order to help the current universe's inhabitants fight Chaos. The team return to Anachronox to find Rowdy, a disguised citizen of Limbus who has been searching for the gate to the previous universe. Rowdy notes that they must destroy the key to the gate, now in the possession of Detta. The team infiltrate his fortress, kill him, and prepare to destroy the key at the gate itself—the fountain spiral of Anachronox. Grumpos seizes it, revealing himself to be a Dark Servant; he escapes with the agents of Chaos into the previous universe. Sly and the others prepare to follow them and save the universe; the game ends as they approach the gate.
Ion Storm announced Anachronox in April 1997, and planned for a third-quarter 1998 release. With Daikatana, it became known as one of the "crown jewels" of Ion Storm. Tom Hall, veteran designer and one of the founders of Ion Storm, helmed the project and originated most of its story and design. Other founding members of the team were Todd Porter (producer), Jake Hughes (associate producer and director of cinematics), Ben Herrera (artist), Brian Eiserloh (programmer), and David Namaksy (lead mapper). Mapper Larry Herring was hired after being mentored by John Romero and submitting a custom Doom 2 map to Tom Hall. Hall first conceived Anachronox in his bathroom, prompting him to install a whiteboard and sound-recorder in his shower, as well as several notepads around his house for future ideas. He conceived the character Sly Boots years earlier in college. He wrote a 460-page design document (completed in May 1997) outlining the universe of Anachronox, beyond the game's scope. He later noted that other game design documents of the period were usually only 125 pages in size. He then condensed the story, leaving a third beyond the scheduled game. The game's design phase lasted three months. Hall made plans for two expansion packs from the outset of development, owed to the huge story. Developers told Next Generation Magazine the story would be "Campbellian" and feature immense environments. Hall noted in mid-1997, "I'm starting to get on fire again... Really, not since Keen has a universe been so clear in my head...it's great to be dragged on by a world that knows what it has to be, especially when you've just started it rolling."
Tom Hall announced that Ananchronox would feature a "turbulent story with a roller coaster of emotion", and promised it would bring personality and humor to the role-playing genre. He aimed to make an emotionally-gripping, cinematic experience from the beginning: "I want this game to answer the question, 'Can a computer make you cry?' I want to make the characters so warm and friendly and lovable and identifiable... I want to start them off in fun situations, but as the game goes on, I want the atmosphere to get darker and darker. Friends betray the lead character, other friends die, and you will feel some of what they feel because you have been with these people for 50 hours, and in a sense, lived part of their lives with them." Hall remarked that the characters were facets of his childhood. He later compared the name "Anachronox" (meaning poison from the past) and the internal struggles of each character, caused by turbulent events in their pasts and "psychic poison". Hall aimed to feature high-quality direction and camera-work in Anachronox, reminiscent of epic cinematic themes in role-playing video games like the Final Fantasy franchise. He enlisted producer Jake Hughes to direct cut scenes; Hughes had previously worked on several short independent films. Developers used real-time game cutscenes instead of live-action cinematics to avoid "[taking] players out of the game". Hall remarked, "All these games switch to cutscenes that look five hundred times better than the game. The secret is not to let the cutscenes kick the game's ass."
Tom Hall chose the Quake engine for Anachronox; its developer John Carmack took interest in its use for a role-playing game. Ion Storm would soon switch to the id Tech 2 engine, necessitating a transition from December 1997 to March 1998. The team would implement engine support for 32-bit color, particle systems, a spline-based camera scriptor, facial deformations, and lip-synching. Facial deformation involved moving the vertices of a character's face, thereby creating emotional expressions and body language. Developers built the first models in Lightwave; the main characters had polygon counts of 500-700. By the end of 1997, Hall had scripted interaction with 130 non-player characters for 160 planned locations. Hall cited Chrono Trigger as a strong influence; previewers drew parallels with the Final Fantasy series and Ultima III as well. As in Chrono Trigger, battles were scripted and not caused by random, unavoidable encounters. Hall explained, "if there's a dragon guarding a door, I want the chance to say, 'whoah, look at the time, gotta run', not, 'think I'll check this door. (*roaaar*) Dragon? Where the hell was that?!?'" The team expanded the Final Fantasy-style combat by allowing actions to be queued in advance. Hall also drew dramatic inspiration from a scene in Trigger in which the characters discuss the theme of regret around a campfire.
Programming and design
As production continued, Tom Hall dubbed the game's scripting language "APE" (Anachronox Programming Language). Hall explained, "I call it my new Apple II because it's so much fun to program in and it takes all the drudgery out of it. It's sort of if you mushed together C, Basic and Java in a way—for programming people it's sort of Windows based. It began as a defined dialogue window, but provided variables so that you could position and move a picture. So from there it grew like UNIX with little bits and pieces, and you have things that initialize data to the window, things that constantly update the window, and things that happen after the window, in little code chunks and with that you can do any little thing." Hall wrote and coded the mini-game Bugaboo for Anachronox in 15 hours to demonstrate the environment's simplicity. Other tools developed for the game were B.E.D. (a battle editor), ION Radiant (for level design, based on QERadiant), NoxDrop (for item and character placement), and Planet (a spline-based camera system coded by Joey Liaw). Ion Storm worked with QuakeEd developer Robert Duffy to create QERadiant, later adapted to ION Radiant. Hall lauded Planet: "you can control entities on paths, trigger events, manipulate particles, and do just about anything you please. One of the more common team beliefs is that the only true limit to Planet is the person controlling it." Hall aimed to provide several end-user modification tools, such as one to allow gamers to create their own MysTech elements. Other programs would allow implementation of new dialogue, voice-acting, and camera work. Ion Storm developed tutorials and documentation for each tool.
Developers tasked both art and map design personnel with creating levels, ensuring visual quality. Artist and programmer Travis Doggett agreed that there should be no "elitist" distinction between artists and level designers. Hall implemented a "grow as you play" philosophy, choosing to show certain features and statistics (like "Beat" or the use of MysTech) only after the player enabled their use. Developers sought to make the game accessible to expert and casual players through two statistic displays—numerical or qualitative (using categories such as "very good" or "bad"). Hall disparaged complicated number systems found in other games: "One of the things I hate about RPGs is, you've got, like, 'here's this thing and here's that thing' and it's like 'this is 52 and that's 53' I mean, what's the difference? It's like, OK it's 'a point,' and the formula will come up to be like 'two points' and like, sure, that's going to make a difference. So now I have to hit the guy three times..." Hall also sought to ensure players knew their next goal, and invented the character of Fatima Doohan to keep track of missions. Fatima's name is a pun born from the phrase, "What am I doing?" Hall named her after the experience of loading an old saved game in an RPG and having forgotten what comes next in the current quest or storyline.
A 30 second sample of Anox_Democratus, illustrating the game's musical style.
|Problems playing this file? See media help.|
Ion Storm contracted Soundelux Design Music Group to provide music for Anachronox. The firm hired Bill Brown for additional music. Tom Hall was impressed with Brown's work, particularly music for the planet Democratus. Hall worked with musician Ron Jones and a local Dallas band to record the game's two funk numbers by mid-1998. Tom Hall planned for each character to have their own theme music, and for songs to change via interaction or exploration. He spoke of the planned music, "The Anachronox sound will be industrial, mixed with forties bluesy swing. As you get on later in the game, the music gets scarier, more chaotic, and gets down to hard-core metal." Developers integrated DirectMusic support in 1999 to allow dynamic changing of background music. Sound programmer Henrik Jonsson implemented 3D sound and other capabilities using the Miles Sound System. Developers also planned to use Magpie Pro to lip-sync animated mouths to spoken words. The team chose not to record voices for each line of dialogue, as Tom Hall felt certain speech would become repetitive. The Undermain Theatre group of Dallas provided several voices. Tom Hall voiced PAL-18 reportedly because "no one else got it goofy enough".
Promotion and later development
Ion Storm debuted a trailer for the game at E3 1997. The team worked several all-nighters and slept in a cardboard fort (named "Fort Nox") in the office to prepare the trailer. A thief stole developers' laptop at the Dallas airport, requiring Ion Storm to upload a new demo for the conference. Hall continued writing and designing; he invented the Brebulan language by creating several phonemes and glyphs of the letter 8 turned on its side. Ben Herrera completed several sketches of characters and worlds by August 1997, and the team hoped to achieve full engine functionality by September 2, Hall's birthday. The game would suffer serious delays in its production.
Ion Storm solicited feedback from fans after demonstrating progress on Anachronox at E3 1998 (booth 7345), and assured inclusion of a multiplayer mode. Tom Hall touted, "It is going to be very cinematic and about as non-linear as you can get. Some levels will be bigger than anything ever seen in a 3-D environment. We are really pushing the engine for this, with loads of textures." Developers made two demonstrations; the second featured lasers, lens flare, and volumetric fog. The gaming press received Anachronox well; one reporter wrote the game was "stunningly beautiful...[with] some of the most superb effects ever seen in a computer game, including rippling water, stunning laser lights and shadow effects". Another wrote that the game would be "graphically spectacular, with detailed characters". Panelists at E3 nominated Anachronox in the "Most Promising Game" and "Best RPG" categories. Ion Storm planned for a 1999 release. The firm unveiled new screenshots at the 1998 European Computer Trade Show. Among the game's maps developed in 1998 were Hephaestus (polished by David Namaksy); Whitendon (Iikka Keränen); Democratus, "Matrix 0", and certain interiors of Anachronox (Larry Herring); and the city of Limbus (Rich Carlson). Lead programmer Joey Liaw left Ion Storm to attend Stanford University in mid-1998. That November, several developers at Ion Storm departed to form their own company; among them was David Namaksy, lead level designer for Anachronox.
As of January 1999, Ion Storm CEO Todd Porter expected the game to ship 2.5 million copies. Ion Storm decided to produce a sequel for Anachronox around early 1999, feeling there would otherwise be too much content for one game, requiring prohibitive costs and delays. Team member Brian Eiserloh noted that several art assets had already been created for the sequel. By May 1999, the team had settled on a cast of 450 non-player characters, and planned for a late 1999 or early 2000 release date. Ion Storm launched the Anachronox website in early 1999 with a movie-style trailer. Tom Hall featured four Anachronox non-player characters in his online tongue-in-cheek spoof of Kasparov versus the World. Among the game's maps completed in 1999 were the Bricks slums of Anachronox (Seneca Menard), Ballotine (Josh Jay), Sender Station (Lee Dotson), others parts of Democratus (Matt Sophos), the Casinox area of Anachronox (Brian Patenaude), and the junkyard maze of Anachronox. Tom Hall reported in 1999 that an option was being developed to remove adult themes, later manifested as an option to turn off profanity. Ion Storm demonstrated the game at E3 1999; the team drove an RV to the event, which suffered a blowout and electrical failure. Computer Games Magazine afterward commented that Anachronox had "wider roots than a Banyan grove and more promise per square byte than a CD collection of political speeches".
Hall personally invented and scripted Boots's erotic dancing mini-game. He noted, "we're not above degrading our main character." Ion Storm showed off the mini-game at E3 2000, drawing humored reactions. Art director Lee Perry noted in March 2000 that perfecting the battle system was the biggest remaining hurdle for release. ION Storm promoted a fall 2000 release date in May. IGN reported in July that a Dreamcast port of Anachronox was planned for production after the PC version's release. Ion Storm issued a clarification that they were only considering a Dreamcast port. The firm transferred staff who had worked on Daikatana to Anachronox after the former's release in summer 2000. Jeff Wand of Ion Storm remarked that Anachronox was being written with female players in mind. The team finished the game's control setup in August.
Hall listed some of his inspirations for Anachronox in mid-2000: "In movies, some inspirational people are Spielberg, Hitchcock, George Roy Hill, Rob Reiner, and now Sam Mendes. Also a big fan of Chuck Jones, who directed Warner Brothers cartoons. Novels: Gateway, Ender's Game, Snow Crash, Hitchhiker's, so many more. Games: Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy, LucasArts adventures (Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer rock), Ape Escape (buy it now), Mario, Ultima III, Wizardry I, oh, I'm sure I'm forgetting some!" The team began working six-day weeks by late 2000. By 2001, the team was working 12-16 hour days and 6-7 day weeks. Hall described weekly bug meetings before release: "you see 100 bugs at the start of the week, fix the 80 you can replicate, and then meet the next Monday to address the 200 bugs they found, fix the 160 you can replicate, then meet to discuss the 400 they found...the time in-between is scary. Usually, the programmers find the bug, then stumble out of their cube, 'we were SO lucky to find that' or 'how did that EVER work?' It's like some bizarre divination method that no one is quite sure how it finds things, but no one wants to 'disturb the mojo'." Several Internet rumors that Ion Storm would soon close spread in May 2001. By June 2001, all dialogue had been recorded and Ion Storm was working on balancing, playtesting, and adjusting gameplay; release was set for the next month. Anachronox went "gold" and shipped to manufacturers in late June.
Release and legacy
Anachronox was released on June 27, 2001 in North America, June 29 in Europe, and June 30 in Oceania. Before releasing Anachronox, Ion Storm retextured characters and adapted sequences from the game for Shiner, a production by the Undermain Theatre. Scenes from the game were used to illustrate the vivid imagination and struggles of a paralyzed woman named Xela. Anachronox notably references the film Miller's Crossing and Barton Fink through street addresses on planet Anachronox; Tom Hall had studied acting at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and volunteered as an usher for Undermain. PC Gamer packaged a game demo of Anachronox with its 100th issue. Anachronox was USA Today's Game of the Week. The Canberra Times staged a giveaway of three game copies to coincide with its release in Oceania. The game was rereleased in Oceania as a budget title in 2004. Sold-Out Software rereleased the game in 2005. Though received well, the game's success did not prevent the closure of Ion Storm's Dallas office in July 2001; John Romero and Tom Hall departed after its release. The game became a "semi-obscure" cult classic; Tom Hall explained: "Millions were spent making it, and upon release, $50,000 advertising it." He reflected on the game in 2007:
|“||[It was] hubris to take 15 people and say you're going to make a console-style RPG, but, well, that's what we did. It wasn't insanely buggy compared to some titles, but it was rushed out the door. Eidos wanted to ship it. If we'd shipped Joey [Liaw]'s final build, it would have been very stable... I think most people didn't know the game was out. I sing the praises of Eidos for sticking with us through all the craziness—they were amazing. But they spent millions on the game, and in the tens of thousands on advertising. I think it could have found a pretty strong audience. But with all the craziness that had gone on, I feel fortunate that people got to experience it at all... People still write to me saying they found a copy, that they played and loved the game, and that they wished they’d heard about it coming out at the time.||”|
— Tom Hall
Team member Lucas Davis compiled the development tools and documentation for Anachronox and released them in August 2001. Four bug-fixing patches exist for Anachronox. Ion Storm created the first (1.01), which fixed the Windows 2000 buffer overrun crash and implemented other improvements such as taxi-cabs between distant points and enhanced save game functionality. Ion Storm released the first patch (1.01) on July 2, 2001. Joey Liaw set up a GeoCities website for reporting bugs and technical information after the game's release, and worked on a new patch in his spare time. The second patch (1.02, or build 44) was released in May 2003 and overhauls the save-game system and provides other important stability fixes. The third and fourth patches—1.02 (build 45), released September 2003, and 1.02 (build 46), released April 2004—are fan-made unofficial patches and fix most of the remaining bugs. Fans have translated the game into German and released a conversion patch. Level designer Rich Carlson released a scrapped secret level for Anachronox in February 2004 after finding it on an old floppy disk.
Anachronox earned praise from critics, despite production delays and associations with Ion Storm's ill-received Daikatana. Reviewers highlighted the game's design, branded an unusual mix between role-playing video games and PC first-person shooters. Some compared it to the Final Fantasy series and the recently released Deus Ex. Many considered it a success; The Daily Telegraph called it the most original game Ion Storm had produced, while The Scotsman's reviewer appreciated its "many original touches". IGN felt the combination of genres succeeded where other games failed. The Edmonton Journal considered it "original, polished, attractive and comfortable". Reviewer Paul Ward remarked, "Anachronox is the first serious attempt to get that console-style role-playing game to a PC screen and it succeeds admirably." Robert Evatt summarized it as a Japanese role-playing game with strong sci-fi themes and humor. The Evening Standard wrote, "Anachronox swaps puzzlement for humour while keeping the character interaction, deep storyline and strategic battles that make the Japanese games so good." Computer Gaming World felt the game "incorporates the best elements of the adventure and role-playing genres." Charles Herold of The New York Times cited "involved storytelling and fascinating gameplay" as strongpoints. He continued, "[Anachronox] is a game of exploration...it takes the best elements of its [RPG] genre while tossing out what's annoying. Nowhere in Anachronox are you required to wander aimlessly along myriad twisting pathways in search of some elusive item, unable to walk more than six paces without being ambushed." Michael Ahlf similarly appreciated the absence of random encounters. Next Generation Magazine awarded it 4 out 5 stars, but felt the genre-blending resulted in generic gameplay at times.
Critics generally praised the game's technical design and gameplay. The game's unique elemental and magical battle system found praise, as well as its mini-games and "inventive" special skill puzzles. Lyndon Russell of the Herald Sun conversely felt the battle scenes "are cumbersome and lack fluidity... There are special attacks and options, but these become too predictable." He nonetheless praised the game's basic mechanics. Erik Wolpaw praised the battle system's focus on movement (as well as close and long-range attacks), which "helps break the attack-heal routine inherent in a lot of fighting systems". He regretted the lack of a "wait" command for characters in battle, who must perform an action or movement to progress. Josh Gregory praised the mini-games and puzzles, especially Sly's humorous erotic male dancing routine. Computer Gaming World noted that puzzle-solving was as much a gameplay element as combat, praising quest design and the utility of Fatima Doohan. The Edmonton Journal praised Fatima as an "indispensable" narrative device; Computer and Video Games regretted that she did not keep track of side-quests.
Several reviewers praised the field map and level design. Erik Wolpaw found them replete with "little details that bring the game to life"; he regretted that later maps were not as detailed as the first few players encounter. Uros Jojic concurred; "Tom and the gang have squeezed the Quake II code for all its worth in terms of the environments." Kevin Rice enjoyed the believability of Anachronox's worlds, rendered as bustling centers of activity. One reviewer summarized: "Smart and inventive level design, excellent use of ambient lighting, and quality artwork bring the various worlds of Anachronox to life far better than one would expect for a game using four-year old technology." One reviewer suspected that ION Storm ran out of time to polish the game, as some end-game locations were "hideously ugly, with huge slab-like polygons, dodgy backdrops and pixelated low resolution textures". He conceded that earlier locations contained "imagination, excellent level design, intricate texturing and bucket loads of atmosphere". Next Generation Magazine wrote that level artists created "dramatic effect" and immersion; stages contained a "sometimes bewildering" level of detail.
Several critics took issue with the game's graphics and outdated id Tech 2 engine; reviewer Stephen Hunt named the game "a muddy affair" due to the "elderly" engine. The Guardian felt the lighting was too dark, and Kevin Cheung of The Sydney Morning Herald wrote, "The atmosphere never gels. Characters, buildings and objects look awfully blocky and textures across the board are disgracefully blurry." Charles Herold agreed that the graphics were "blocky and crude", but considered the setting "a beautifully realized world... Anachronox's cinematic flair and imaginative design make it visually electrifying." Computer and Video Games felt the game's charm made the engine's age irrelevant. The Scotsman's critic appreciated Ion Storm's attention to detail in designing field map, menu, and battle graphics. The Adelaide Sunday Mail and London Express joined in praising the game's "amazing" weapon effects. Critic Paul Ward concurred: "excellent use is made of lighting and the weapon and magic effects look stunning." Another review joked that the special effects were "worthy of a Jean Michel Jarre concert", and warned gamers subject to motion sickness. One Computer Gaming World critic expressed surprise to learn that Anachronox used the Quake II engine, writing, "you'd never know from looking at it now." Another wrote, "This innovative role-playing thriller compensates for its old-school, QUAKE II-powered look so well that we're tempted to think there may be an inverse relationship between graphics and gameplay." The Canberra Times felt the characters were animated well, but suffered from disproportionate faces. Critic Michael Ahlf praised the implementation of facial expressions.
Reviewers encountered several software bugs and glitches, among them incompatibility with Windows 2000. Critic Chris Glassel considered the game to have been released in a "nearly unplayable" state, noting that the first official patch fixed few problems. Elliott Chin wondered how a game in development for three years could still suffer from so many bugs, but conceded that players could otherwise "believe the hype". Another reviewer wrote the bugs left Anachronox "a flawed classic". Critic Ian Colwell decried a "criminal" shortage of save-game slots. Computer and Video Games appreciated that players could save at any point in the game. Reviewers also criticized the game's restricted resolution choices; players could only choose from two options at polar ends of hardware requirements. Computer Gaming World nonetheless praised the camera work, suggesting that Tom Hall had achieved his cinematic goal: "The camera work adds so much to the experience that you'll wonder why such cinematic techniques haven't been used before. In one sequence, in which you're trying to break into an apartment, the game's camera angles create surprising tension. A shaky, pseudohandheld "confrontation cam" engenders both anxiety and hostility." Computer and Video Games noted the camera and cut scenes were "superbly used for laughs or to create a real sense of dramatic tension". The Guardian wrote that Anachronox featured a "movie-like pace, with key events nicely animated but strangely predictable to anyone familiar with cyberpunk fiction". Next Generation Magazine wrote that Anachronox would be remembered as the germination point for blending interactive gaming and cinema.
Critics praised the sound effects and music of Anachronox. Computer Games Magazine colorfully described the game's score: "The music is what you would expect if the bastard love child Yanni and Enya cut an album with John Tesh. It's eerily soothing, in a cure for insomnia kind of way." Josh Gregory hailed the music, especially the funk numbers. Another reviewer appreciated the "gamut of different styles" offered by the music. IGN praised a "sci-fi style" sound in the game's score. One critic noted that Anachronox's ambient style was "compelling" and songs were well-matched to their in-game areas. Another highlighted the piano interludes of Democratus as fitting and unintrusive. Alan Dang contrarily regretted the absence of distinctive themes, noting the game's music was at times "neutral" and generic. Numerous critics praised the voice acting; Chris Glassel wrote that it "actually does justice to the script", while Elliott Chin considered it and the dialogue "surprisingly good". Erik Wolpaw wished more unscripted lines had voice actors, owing to the quality of the performances. Josh Gregory appreciated the dramatic acting, and highlighted Tom Hall's performance as PAL-18. IGN enjoyed the "flawless" performance of humorous scenes. The Canberra Times disagreed, noting some instances of clichéd speech. Paul Ward wrote that the game's sound is "excellent, though somewhat sparse, with different music for each location but no footstep sounds and little in the way of environmental sounds." Chin agreed, citing excellent sound effects and music.
Story and direction
Reviewers hailed the story, characters, and dialogue of Anachronox, citing its science fiction themes and offbeat, quirky humor. Tim Wapshott of The Times enjoyed the "imaginative" elemental host system and noted, "[Tom] Hall knows his onions when it comes to strong storylines and solid character developments." The Advertiser summarized the plot as "a beefy storyline loaded with strong characters, powerful dialogue, outrageous humour, seemingly endless surprises and a wild ride around the galaxy." Elliott Chin joined in praise of the game's "irreverent style", but noted that the humor divided the staff of Computer Gaming World. The magazine later awarded it "Best Use of Humor" for 2001, noting the game was "bursting with laugh-out-loud, throwaway dialogue and cut-scenes". IGN likened the "somewhat cocky, always funny" humor to that of Sam and Max: Hit the Road and Day of the Tentacle. Next Generation Magazine regarded the humor "darkly comical and cynical". Computer and Video Games felt the game was a "full-blown comedy" at times which never overplayed its humor. David Gordon of The Independent enjoyed the game alternatively for its "dark and ominous" elements, centered on the quest to stop the destruction of the universe. GameSpy's Kevin Rice appreciated the breadth and plot-relevance of non-player character dialogue, noting that most interactions "[push] the whole game slowly forward". PC Gamer magazine noted that Tom Hall filled Anachronox with "enough ideas, fun and imagination for 50 games made by any other developer".
The setting and ambiance found praise; reviewers drew parallels with science fiction and cyberpunk works. One reviewer felt Anachronox featured "William Gibson meets Raymond Chandler with plenty of hardboiled humour and lots of aliens." Another noted, "practically all the elements of classic sci-fi are here." A reporter for The Scotsman found striking similarities to Blade Runner, and that the game's atmosphere is "really what it's all about". Other writers compared it to The Matrix, Total Recall and the Dark City franchise. Computer Games Magazine felt the game world's "sender" system for faster-than-light travel drew inspiration from Babylon 5, Gateway, and the Star Rigger series. Charles Herold called the planet Anachronox a "perfect location for the archetypal private eye, an urban wilderness of gangsters, alien thugs and seedy bars". Steve La Rue labeled it "game noir". The Guardian and Robert McGinty of The Florida Times-Union conversely felt that the game drew from too many sources, and "tries to be futuristic but instead feels old-fashioned". McGinty nonetheless praised the length of the game, noting a serious gamer would require two weeks to finish. Kevin Cheung concurred, evoking "50 hours of gameplay". The Evening Standard appreciated the game's breadth, but criticized the story's reliance on fetch quests.
Several critics complained about the game's slow start on the planet Anachronox. One critic feared it might turn off players; another criticized the "very linear" paths of planet Anachronox. Erik Wolpaw of GameSpot disliked its "mindless errands", perceiving little good gameplay. He criticized the unavoidable elevator-riding scenes, likened to "watching a 5-hour cutscene powered by...the left mouse button". Critic Alan Dang attributed the slow pace to an early emphasis on sidequests, though he did praise the quest to help the Anachronox underground. Reviewer Elliott Chin disagreed, evoking "a superb sense of timing, starting out small and slowly building to the main event". The Canberra Times noted that the game's pace was slow at first, but never boring. Its critic praised the level design of planet Anachronox, citing its "strong style", gloomy environments, and anti-gravity walkways. Reviewer David Phelan noted that strong character writing would encourage gamers to play beyond the "pedestrian-paced" opening scenes.
Critics enjoyed the characters and dialogue of Anachronox. The Daily Telegraph named Sly a "typical downtrodden B-movie private eye", and critic Robert McGinty felt Sly was intended to be a "Mickey Spillane-style hero" in a cyberpunk setting. The Evening Standard labeled him a "space-age Sam Spade". Critic Stephen Hunt regarded him "exceedingly average", but praised the writing as "a rare offering of depth and humor...well worth following, told with a light touch often lacking in games". Reviewer Steve Polak enjoyed how the "odd" characters reflected Tom Hall's sense of humor. Robert Evatt praised the characters' "surprisingly well-crafted wisecracks" and the inclusion of Paco. One critic appreciated the "refreshing dynamic" of having "a bunch of unglorified has-beens and rejects" join forces. Reviewer Elliott Chin praised the "unique, interesting" characters: "Personality and imagination pervade every character in the game, right down to ancillary characters like the planet Democratus...one of the most amusing characters in the game." The Escapist echoed praise of Democratus, considered "utterly bonkers, yet brilliant". One reviewer praised the character balance, as Anachronox features three male characters, three female characters (counting Fatima), a planet, and an android. The Electric Playground appreciated the game's avoidance of a coming-of-age story, a popular console RPG convention. The Houston Chronicle regarded the game's speech "so clever, it almost distracts from the game play". Computer Games Magazine enjoyed the dialogue's "very natural and colloquial patter". Chris Glassel praised the game's sense of purpose, pointing out that every quest was tied (even if peripherally) to the main story. Charles Herold was impressed by the game's combination of character depth and silly humor, and enjoyed cases of breaking the fourth wall. PC Gamer called the game a "deliciously mad curio" and praised its clever writing, especially the belief of citizens of Democratus that the adventure is an elaborate soap opera.
Herold claimed that Anachronox was "brilliant" thanks to its "involving [story], intriguing characters and witty dialogue". He criticized the ending's direction, citing repetitious cut scenes between the final battles. Another critic expressed frustration at this, noting that software bugs may force players to repeat the sequence several times. Expecting a grandiose conclusion, Herold felt it was "something closer to the end of a pilot for a television series... While a sequel is clearly implied, one worries that the makers of Anachronox have used up their entire store of creativity. Anachronox 2 could be nothing more than one very long breakfast." Herold later praised the game for "wildly imaginative science fiction" and named it "the funniest game of the year". Writer Jeff Green lamented that Ion Storm shut down after Anachronox: "[it] is, in my mind, one of the best games of the year, and is easily the best console-style RPG ever made for the PC. It's a generous, entertaining smorgasbord of a game, bursting with creativity, talent, and humor, with some of the funniest dialogue and cut-scenes in any game in years. Design, at long last, was law—it just showed up a little too late. Your company's dead and your game is orphaned, but you finally turned me into a fan. Bastards!" Computer Gaming World regretted that Anachronox had been overshadowed by Daikatana, naming its story one of the most underrated in recent history. PC Gamer featured Anachronox three times in its top 100 PC games lists: #16 (2007), #17 (2008), and #61 (2010).
Cinematic director Jake Hughes independently combined the game's cut-scenes into a two-and-a-half-hour film, released as 13 MPEG files on Machinima.com. The work was considered the genre's first feature-length production and one of its most ambitious projects. Judges at the 2002 Machinima Film Festival awarded it Best Picture, Best Writing, and Best Technical Achievement. Machinima.com's editors said of the film, "Anachronox: The Movie is a tour-de-force, one of the finest Machinima films produced to date, and probably the most accomplished Machinima feature to date. Hell, it managed to hold two over-worked jury members in a room for two and a half hours before the MFF 2002 - what more can we say?". As of 2003, Machinima.com planned to release the film on DVD with extra footage and artwork.
Tom Hall felt the story of Anachronox was too large for one game (requiring an estimated 70 hours of gameplay), and planned for two expansion packs in 1998. Each expansion pack would represent another third of the overall story. He confirmed in 1999 that Anachronox would be followed by only one sequel; several art assets had already been created for the sequel by mid-2000. Hall speculated in 2000 that further adventures in two new universes may take place after the sequel. He later stated that he did not regret ending Anachronox on a cliffhanger, as most characters had resolved their inner turmoil. Ion Storm's closure nixed plans for a continuation; Hall has unsuccessfully tried to purchase the intellectual property rights to the Anachronox universe. He noted in 2007 that other team members were willing to come back to help: "We went through such turmoil but stayed for the love of the universe, the game and each other. Former team members often mention that if I ever got the intellectual property back and was going to make Anachronox 2, just tell them when and where. We have, as we say, 'The Love.'" Hall remarked in 2010, "If I don't do the game in the next 10 years, I'll just write up the rest of the story and put it on my website for closure, how about that?"
- Pearson, Craig (2012-03-15). "The Wait Is Over: Anachronox Is On GoG.com". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
- "Anachronox General Information". Ion Storm. 2001. Archived from the original on 2001-06-28.
- "Anachronox Story". Ion Storm. 2001. Archived from the original on 2001-12-12.
- Polak, Steve (2001-08-28). "Steve's stars". The Australian (Nationwide News Pty Limited).
- Boxer, Steve (2001-07-19). "Anachronox Eidos, pounds 29.99 PC". The Daily Telegraph (Europe Intelligence Wire).
- "Game of the Year: Best Use of Humor". Computer Gaming World (ZDNet) (213): 76. April 2002.
- Yans, Cindy (2001-01-08). "The 10-ton RPG - Tom Hall shows off his babe-in-arms, Anachronox". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on 2003-01-30.
- "Elvis Bacon reveals the truth hiding beneath the overcoat". Computer and Video Games. 2001-08-14. Retrieved 2010-12-12.
- "August 29th - Best of the Fest!". Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences. 2002-08-29. Archived from the original on 2003-02-05.
- Anachronox instruction manual. Ion Storm. 2001.
- "Anachronox - Check out Tom Hall's next game". PC Gamer. 1997. Archived from the original on 1998-02-18.
- Anachronox (Prima's Official Strategy Guide). Prima Games. 2001-06-26. ISBN 0-7615-2609-9.
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: Sender Station. (2001-06-27) Mean Tang: Thanks, man. Here's the secret... You know that door right around this corner? Well, it leads to Pumping Station 7. But if you break left instead of right, there's a gate that leads to the Routubes… Sender Station's underground substructure. If you take the Routubes all the way down into the core, you'll find a secret Red Light District where you can party 'til dawn.
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: Anachronox. (2001-06-27) SenderNet: Due to a freak of galactic commerce, this has become the standard unit of currency for the galaxy. Some areas still use non-digital money. The one-dollar coin is called a "loonie", because it has a loon on the back.
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: Democratus. (2001-06-27) Fatima: Sorry to interrupt, but I just dug up some interesting info on this dump. Formerly known as Tevolin II," the planet of Democratus was made up of hardline isolationists before the sudden fall of Emperor Ducalion last year. They've only recently become interested in interplanetary relations. The whole planet is run by committee. They are extremely bureaucratic, with an elitist class living in a ring floating around the planet, and a working class that has been relegated to the surface. Limited-access visitors report amazing technology, but none of it is allowed to be exported. Either that helps or it doesn't. Have fun.
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: Sender Station Lounge of Commerce. (2001-06-27) Grumpos: Limbus is a remote planet on the far side of the universe. Any ships that attempt to land on the surface vanish without a trace. Stories of eerie visions and ghost fleets have haunted the planet for years. One thing is for certain about Limbus... the name is synonymous with death for good reason. Go there, and you die.
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: KSC Grimacer. (2001-06-27) Amanuensus: In 197AC, An unexplored sender spike sent an expeditionary team to a remote area of the universe somewhere near the Wu-Chan system. They discovered a crtystalline planet operating under bizarre comic book rules. It was the superhero world of Krapton. The normal inhabitants of the planet, tired of being constantly abducted and saved by their super-powered population, had long since moved away.
- "Bio: Sylvester "Sly" Boots". Ion Storm. Archived from the original on 2001-12-12.
- "Bio: Fatima Doohan". Ion Storm. Archived from the original on 2001-11-16.
- "Bio: Grumpos Matavastros". Ion Storm. Archived from the original on 2001-12-12.
- "Bio: Dr. Rho Bowman". Ion Storm. Archived from the original on 2001-04-24.
- "Bio: Stiletto-Anyway". Ion Storm. Archived from the original on 2001-12-12.
- "Bio: Paco "El Puño" Estrella". Ion Storm. Archived from the original on 2001-12-12.
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: Anachronox Junkyards. (2001-06-27) Boots: Gnash them snappers, kid; I got a sock that eats like a meal. This putrid, unwashed, puss-soaked, blood-crusted sock was fermenting around a gangrenous stump of a foot for eight and half months. This is the chewiest, smelliest sock you'll ever have the luck to nosh on. And you're just a short Q&A away from suckin' this baby dry!
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: Brain Train. (2001-06-27) Fatima: I can't find a listing in the Callosum Scientist Directory. The only reference I could find was a six-month old shipping log which shows laboratory equipment for an "R. Bowman" shipped to a building called the "Rainbow Sanctuary". / Perrot: Beyond this gate is the Rainbow Sanctuary. It's restricted. Heretics only.
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: Democratus Hangar. (2001-06-27) Rho: Rho: Can I cook or what? The spatial disturbance that split Sunder in half must have activated my MysTech. And if I'm right about its properties, this isn't the only slag that's active. I think every slag of MysTech around the galaxy can now release the energy that's always been dormant inside it.
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: Sender Station Lounge of Commerce. (2001-06-27) Democratus: Ahem... Joining your quest is the least we can do for saving us. Our planet is at your disposal.
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: Sender Station Lounge of Commerce. (2001-06-27) Rho: This is our universe. 15 billion years ago, the big bang erupted, giving birth to the cosmos in the blink of an eye. Hot matter was hurled in every direction, coalescing into stars and galaxies over the course of billions of years. As it continues to expand, the pull of gravity with sow this expansion more and more; eventually, it will stop expanding all together and contract, collapsing the whole ball of wax. This implosion in turn will cause another big bang, resulting in the birth of a new universe. Current science leads us to believe the cycle is infinite. Everyone with me? Fatima, loop our universe. Now, imagine what would happen if we added some mass to our universe. An increase in the amount of matter leads to an increase in the strength of the gravitational pull, speeding up the collapse. The more matter there is, the faster it will implode. My point is, the spatial disturbance that split Sunder in half was matter from the previous universe pouring into our own. The TDD confirms it. Not only is someone from the previous universe adding matter into our own, they're also removing matter from theirs at the same time. If they remove enough dirt from their backyard, they'll escape the gravitational pull that will otherwise cause their universe to collapse. That means our universe will never be born; we will never exist.
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: Sender Station Lounge of Commerce. (2001-06-27) Grand Mysterium: The card in the center is our universe. Know then that there are two godlike forces beyond our galaxy, beyond even the end of our time. These two forces are warring, and their battle has spilled over into our universe. One of these forces, we shall call chaos. The other, we shall call order. Sometime ago, order trapped chaos in our universe. Chaos has been trying to escape ever since. Their goal is to reach the universe before our own; once there, they will attempt to destroy us. For if our universe never exists, neither will any of us after it. In essence, this would destroy order forever. Chaos is unconcerned with us; we are merely in the crossfire.
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: KSC Grimacer. (2001-06-27) Rictus: I shall kill you...with death!
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: North Anachronox. (2001-06-27) Fatima: I've known for a long time you don't feel anything for me. The fact is, we both love people we can't have, and it's killing me. I can't work for you anymore; I have to leave. I guess tonight's a good a night as any to make my exit. Thank you for everything you've given me, and haven't given me. Have a beautiful life, Sly. I'll love you always. Yours truly, Fatima.
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: Detta's Fortress. (2001-06-27) Detta: I can see why you wanted to keep her around. She worth the price? / Boots: Every penny. / Detta: That's right, sweetie. I'm your benefactor. You owe your digitization...your existence, to me.
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: Limbus Sanctum. (2001-06-27) Santadramangetricus: ...the Dark Servants. Only later did we find out who they really were: foot soldiers for an evil presence trapped in our universe... Their story begins 55 billion years from now, after our own universe has long been extinguished by time. Their true name is the Sh'tagra, highly evolved creatures of immense power. Chaos is their creed, and for centuries they have waged a brutal war against the Vaire, a race of equally powerful beings whose belief system centers on the order of the cosmos. On the verge of losing the war, the Vaire make a last-ditch effort to rid themselves of the Sh'tagra forever. They send the Sh'tagra back in time, across the fabric of space, trapping them in our universe. They also send back MysTech to help the unsuspecting inhabitants of the universe they've foisted their enemy upon... MysTech is very powerful, something a developing universe might abuse. The Vaire made sure MysTech would only activate if the fabric of the universe was tampered with. It was... It is the Dark Servants who are responsible for the destruction of servant. They found a way into the previous universe and have begun the process of destroying our own while they wait for our masters.
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: Limbus Sanctum. (2001-06-27) Santadramangetricus: There is a strange, shifting world in the center of our galaxy. You must go there, and aid Roweidekhalicon, a fellow member of the vigil, who's been on a lifelong search for the echo gate. He owns a drinking establishment in south Anachronox. / Boots: You're so talking to the right guy.
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: Anachronox Fountain Spiral. (2001-06-27) Grumpos: Well, here goes! / Boots: What are you doing?! / Grumpos: What must be done!
- Ion Storm. Anachronox. (Ion Storm). PC. Level/area: Anachronox Rowdy's Bar. (2001-06-27) Boots: Then let's do it. Let's get some breakfast.
- "ION Storm Reveals Plans for Premiere Line-Up of Computer Game Titles". Business Wire (Business Wire, Inc.). 1997-04-07.
- "Bulletin Board: Software". Houston Chronicle (Houston Chronicle). 2001-07-27. p. Business 5.
- Hall, Tom (1997-05-30). "Designer Diaries: Anachronox - May 30, 1997". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2000-08-18.
- Haskins, William (1998). "Storm Troopers: A Ride with the Rocketman". Ion Storm. Archived from the original on 2001-11-23.
- "Tom Hall and the Crezzy Man's Universe". PlaneAnachronox. 1998-03-27. Archived from the original on 2003-08-27.
- Accardo, Sal; Kosak, Dave (2000). "Legends of the Hall". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 2000-08-16.
- "From Ion Storm and Eidos comes the East meets West, PC meets Console RPG, Anachronox, this week's 3dfx Game of the Week". Next Generation Magazine. 1999-04-23. Archived from the original on 1999-10-12.
- Saunders, Michael (1997-11-23). "The next Hollywood: It's getting harder to tell the movies from the computer games". The Boston Globe (Globe Newspaper Company). p. N1.
- Chin, Elliot (1997). "Preview - Anachronox - Tom Hall Explains His Role-Playing Vision". Computer Gaming World. Archived from the original on 1998-04-16.
- Biever, Celeste (2003-10-25). "The animation game; Could movies made from video games soon have Hollywood on the run? Celeste Biever enters a world where killer robots commune and lumberjacks accidentally shoot each other". NewScientist (Reed Business Information UK): 28.
- Hall, Tom (1998-03-06). "Designer Diaries: Anachronox - March 6, 1998". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2000-08-18.
- "Jay Hosfelt vs. The 13th Arm". PlaneAnachronox. 1998-10-23. Archived from the original on 2003-10-25.
- "Anachronox - The third leg in Ion Storm's triad may turned out to be its most underrated". Next Generation Magazine (Imagine Media) 1 (53): 36–37. May 1999.
- Fudge, James (1999-03-18). "Ion Storm Launches Anachronox Web Site". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on 2002-12-15.
- Vanous, Cindy (1999-11-05). "Hitting the bricks on a case that's out of this world". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on 2002-12-15.
- "Editing". Ion Storm. 2001. Archived from the original on 2001-04-05.
- Bauman, Steve (1998-10-06). "Ion Storm's First Fantasy". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on 2002-12-12.
- "Anachronox - Bringing cinema to the PC RPG". Next Generation Magazine (Imagine Media) 1 (4): 48. December 1999.
- "Zdim - Roving Reporter". Ion Storm. 1999. Archived from the original on 2001-03-07.
- "Travis 'SevenCubed' Doggett". PlaneAnachronox. 2001-08-21. Archived from the original on 2003-08-27.
- Hall, Tom (2000-04-10). "Anachronox Diary: Entry #7". Ion Storm. Archived from the original on 2001-12-12.
- Brown, Bill. "Credits".
- Hall, Tom (1998-04-03). "Designer Diaries: Anachronox - April 3, 1998". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2000-08-18.
- "Microsoft Ships DirectX 6.1; Latest Upgrade to Windows Operating Systems' Services for Multimedia Introduces DirectMusic, a Revolutionary Technology for Music Production And Performance" (Press release). PR Newswire. 1999-02-03.
- Sullivan, Dan (2000-04-28). "Anachronox interview". IGN. Archived from the original on 2001-10-31.
- Hall, Tom (1997-06-17). "Designer Diaries: Anachronox - June 17, 1997". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2000-08-18.
- Hall, Tom (July 1997). "Inside Tom's Brain: E3 1997". Ion Storm. Archived from the original on 2001-03-07.
- Hall, Tom (1997-07-16). "Designer Diaries: Anachronox - July 16, 1997". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 1998-01-21.
- Godinez, Victor (2002-07-06). "Game programmers survive the Storm - Former ION studio executives to teach classes at UTD". The Dallas Morning News (The Dallas Morning News). p. 1F.
- "GAME OF THE WEEK: Anachronox". The Scotsman (European Intelligence Wire). 2002-07-21.
- "Tomb Raider III debuts at Electronic Entertainment Expo". Business Wire (Business Wire, Inc.). 1998-05-28.
- Polak, Steve (1998-10-27). "Dungeon of Deadly Deeds". The Australian (Nationwide News Pty Limited). p. C12.
- Wapshott, Tim (1998-06-03). "E3 adds 3-D to equation...to the power of X". The Times (Times Newspapers Limited). p. Interface 10.
- Hall, Tom (June 1998). "Inside Tom's Brain: E3 1998". Ion Storm. Archived from the original on 2001-03-07.
- Hall, Tom (1998-07-20). "Designer Diaries: Anachronox - July 20, 1998". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2000-08-17.
- Ocampo, Jason (1998-09-11). "A look at designer Tom Hall’s 3D RPG". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on 2002-12-15.
- Ocampo, Jason (1998-08-10). "Ion Storm's First Fantasy". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on 2002-12-15.
- Goldstein, Alan (1998-11-21). "Eight Ion Storm designers leave to start own venture firm says loss won't affect Daikatana video game debut". The Dallas Morning News (The Dallas Morning News). p. 1F.
- Biederman, Christine (1999-01-14). "Stormy weather; Hot new computer game maker ION Storm appears to have all it needs for success -- top talent, plenty of money, and legions of anxious fans. So why is its future so cloudy?". Dallas Observer (New Times, Inc.).
- Fudge, James (2000-07-14). "Anachronox times two". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on 2004-01-03.
- Eiserloh, Brian (2000-07-12). ".plan file for Brian "Squirrel" Eiserloh". Ion Storm.
- "Ahead of the game: how the Top 20 could look". The Times (Times Newspapers Limited). 1999-05-19. p. I10.
- Snyder, Mike; Montgomery, Andre (1999-05-17). "Game for some high-powered electronic entertainment? Action that gets things shaking". USA Today (Gannett Co., Inc.). p. 5D.
- Fudge, James (1999-07-31). "Tom Hall vs the World". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on 2002-12-20.
- Hall, Tom (1999). "Hall vs. the World". Ion Storm. Archived from the original on 2000-04-17.
- Hall, Tom (1999-07-14). "Anachronox Diary: Entry #4". Ion Storm. Archived from the original on 2001-11-17.
- La Rue, Steve (1999-05-18). "Fun & Games Next wave of computer games promises 'adjustable' violence, more skin and flawed heroes". The San Diego Union-Tribune (Union-Tribune Publishing Company). p. Computer Links 4.
- Sullivan, Dan (2000-05-20). "E3 Report: Anachronox". IGN. Archived from the original on 2002-02-12.
- O'Brien, Chris; Wilson, Billy (2000-03-15). "Q&A with Ion Storm's Lee Perry". Voodoo Extreme. Archived from the original on 2000-12-11.
- "mmWire News Briefs -- Activision, Recoton, bleem, 3DO, ZD, id, Midway, Sierra, Red Storm, Acclaim, EA, Infogrames, THQ, Eidos, Codemasters, Crave, LucasArts". MmWire (Phillips Business Information, Inc.). 2000-05-08.
- "Anachronox Rumors Find Some Fact". IGN. 2000-07-12.
- "Anachronox Rumor Central". Ion Storm. 2000-07-12. Archived from the original on 2001-09-11.
- Perry, Lee (2000). "Anachronox Development Update". GA-RPG.com. Archived from the original on 2001-04-17.
- Barham, Debbie (2000-09-19). "I.T@standard: Your Console Needs You: With hunky lead characters, emotive story lines - and even Alice in cyberland - computer game makers are wooing women like never before, says Debbie Barham". The Evening Standard (European Intelligence Wire).
- "GameFinger Plan: Tom Hall". Tom Hall. 2000-08-23. Archived from the original on 2000-10-22.
- Hall, Tom (2000). "Anachronox Diary: Entry #8". Ion Storm. Archived from the original on 2001-12-12.
- "ION Rumors Rebuffed". IGN. 2001-05-30.
- "Updates - Pipeline". Computer Gaming World (ZDNet) (203): 41. June 2001.
- "Anachronox Officially Goes Gold". IGN. 2001-06-19.
- Sime, Tom (1999-06-25). "Video game gets in the act at Undermain". The Dallas Morning News (The Dallas Morning News). p. 1C.
- "Updates - Pipeline". The Grocer (William Reed Publishing Ltd.): 52. 2001-07-28.
- Saltzman, Marc (2001-07-02). "Game of the week". USA Today (Gannett News Service).
- "Giveaways". The Canberra Times (The Federal Capital Press of Australia Pty Limited). 2001-09-03. p. A17.
- Jones, Heddwyn (2004-10-06). "Battle fatigue". Herald Sun (Nationwide News Pty Limited). p. C04.
- gremlin (2005-08-29). "Anachronox review". GameBoomers. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
- Parrish, Peter (2010-08-24). "The Best Planet Companion". Escapist Magazine.
- Drake, Shannon (2007). "Ion's Other Game". The Escapist Magazine. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
- "Anachronox Editing Tools and Docs v1.2". FilePlanet. 2001-08-23. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- Liaw, Joey (2001-08-21). "GameFinger Plan: Joey Liaw". PlanetQuake. Archived from the original on 2004-03-24.
- Eiserloh, Brian (2001-06-28). "GameFinger Plan: Brian Eiserloh". PlanetQuake. Archived from the original on 2004-03-24.
- "Anachronox Patch". IGN. 2001-07-02. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- "Anachronox Unofficial Patch". FilePlanet. 2003-05-27. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- "Anachronox Unofficial Patch Update". FilePlanet. 2003-09-04. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- "Anachronox Patch v1.02 Build 46". FilePlanet. 2004-04-12. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- "Anachronox German Language Pack Project". www.easy-fos.de/anachronox. 2004-08-29. Archived from the original on 2004-08-29. Retrieved 2010-09-11.
- "Anachronox German Language Patch". FilePlanet. 2004-04-12. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- Carlson, Rich (2004-02-29). "O B L I V I O N". Rich Carlson. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- Russell, Lyndon (2001-10-17). "Game reviews". The Herald Sun (Nationwide News Pty Limited).
- "Hot Shots". Computer Gaming World (ZDNet) (200): 48. March 2001.
- Gaudiosi, John (2001-08-03). "Install Now?". The Washington Post (The Washington Post). p. FE12.
- "Anachronox - PC Review at IGN". IGN. 2001-07-18. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
- Bilodeau, Steven (2001-10-04). "Secretary's ghost guides role-player through Anachronox: Final Fantasy style, easy-to-learn combat and humour make this game exciting". Edmonton Journal (CanWest Global Communications Corp.). p. E8.
- Ward, Paul (2001-09-27). "Features". The Advertiser (Adelaide) (Nationwide News Pty Limited). p. 053.
- Evatt, Robert (2001-08-24). "Pixelated: Great-looking aliens enhance game". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock Newspapers, Inc.). p. W11.
- Munk, Simon (2001-07-31). "PC games; ITstandard: Reviews". The Evening Standard (InfoTrac Newspapers). p. 49.
- Jones, George; Higo, Nao; Mielke, James (July 2001). "Read.Me". Computer Gaming World (ZDNet) (204): 28.
- Herold, Charles (2001-08-16). "GAME THEORY - Saving the Universe, Sam Spade Style". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). p. 8.
- Ahlf, Michael (2001-08-28). "3rd installment of 'Bloody Roar' series makes premiere on PS2". The Daily Cougar (University Wire).
- "Anachronox - Genre buster, or just bust?". Next Generation Magazine (Imagine Media) 4 (10): 82. October 2001.
- Glassel, Chris (2001-08-22). "'Max Payne' takes video-game action to the max". The Mobile Register (Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services).
- Chin, Elliott (October 2001). "Finally: Fantasy". Computer Gaming World (ZDNet) (207): 70.
- Wolpaw, Erik (2001-06-16). "Anachronox for PC Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
- Gregory, Josh (2001-06-27). "RPGFan Reviews - Anachronox". RPGFan.com. Archived from the original on 5 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
- "Anachronox Review". Computer and Video Games. 2001-08-13. Retrieved 2010-12-12.
- Jojic, Uros (2001-07-19). "Anachronox Review". http://www.actiontrip.com/. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
- "Reviews: Anachronox". GameSpy. 2001-08-11. Archived from the original on 2001-08-16. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
- "Anachronox". http://www.gamingage.com/. 2001-07-26. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
- "Anachronox PC Review". http://www.eurogamer.net/. 2001-09-25. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
- "WOW GAMES: Keep on Trekkin' 62". The Daily Record (Glasglow) (European Intelligence Wire). 2001-07-20.
- Hunt, Stephen (2001-08-17). "Anachronox , published by Eidos for PC". North Yorkshire County Publications (England) (Newsquest Media Group).
- Anderiesz, Mike (2001-07-28). "Online: Final Fantasy with extra welly won't walk it: Anachronox PC pounds 39.99 Ion Storm/Eidos 3/5 stars". The Guardian (Infotrac Newspapers). p. 8.
- Cheung, Kevin (2001-10-13). "Split hares - Games". The Sydney Morning Herald (John Fairfax Publications Pty Limited). p. 14.
- "Joining Sly and Stiletto?". The Advertiser (Adelaide) (Nationwide News Pty Limited). 2001-08-05. p. 092.
- Dhamrait, Narinder (2001-08-07). "The Express: Anachronox PC, Windows 95, 98, GBP27.99". The Express (London) (Europe Intelligence Wire).
- Hellaby, David (2001-08-27). "Boots battles the low-life in action-packed adventure". The Canberra Times (The Federal Capital Press of Australia Pty Limited). p. 17.
- "We are living in a Materia world..". Gamerevolution.com. 2001-08-01. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
- Colwell, Ian (2001-10-01). "Offline: Anachronox". What PC (VNU Business Publications Ltd).
- "Anachronox Review". Computer Games Magazine. 2001-10-03. Archived from the original on 2004-08-04. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
- "Anachronox". http://www.game-over.net/. 2001-08-06. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
- Dang, Alan (2001-08-08). "Anachronox Review". http://www.firingsquad.com/. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
- Wapshott, Tim (2001-07-28). "Anachronox - Games". The Times (Times Newspapers Limited).
- Gordon, David (2001-09-08). "Staying In: Video Games". The Independent (Newspaper Publishing plc). p. 66.
- "PC Gamer's Top 100". PC Gamer. 2008-08-05. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- Robert, McGinty (2001-09-19). "fastplay". The Florida Times-Union (The Florida Times-Union). p. E–1.
- Phelan, David (2001-08-29). "ChipShop: Games". Time Out (Time Out). p. 200.
- "Anachronox Review". The Electric Playground. 2001. Archived from the original on 2002-08-17.
- "PC Gamer's Best 100". PC Gamer. 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- Herold, Charles (2004-08-12). "Exhausted by Terror and a Spidery Rescue Routine". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). p. G5.
- Herold, Charles (2001-10-04). "GAME THEORY - Yielding (or Not) to the Magic of Exotica". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). p. 9.
- Herold, Charles (2001-11-15). "GAME THEORY - To Play Emperor or God, or Grunt in a Tennis Skirt". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). p. 11.
- Green, Jeff (November 2001). "Requiem for a Dream". Computer Gaming World (ZDNet) (208): 160.
- "Make with the ha-ha funny games". Computer Gaming World (ZDNet) (236): 118–119. March 2004.
- "Computer Gaming World's 2004 Overrated/Underrated". Computer Gaming World (ZDNet) (239): 68–74. June 2004.
- "PC Gamer's Top 100 PC Games of All Time". PC Gamer. 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- Horiuchi, Vince (2005-01-25). "Rise of the machines - Serious gamers make films with 3-D platforms; Video gamers make movies". The Salt Lake Tribune (MediaNews Group): D1.
- Azhar, Azeem (2003-11-20). "The Guardian: Play it again, Sam: Forget Hollywood special effects, hip film-makers are using PCs to create a new type of cinema, reports Azeem Azhar". The Guardian (Financial Times Information Limited).
- Parker, Sam (2003-07-11). "Anachronox feature-length movie released". Gamespot. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Buchanan, Levi (2003-08-09). "Underground machinima is making waves". The Chicago Tribune (Chicago Tribune): 23.
- "Deus ex Machinima?". The Economist (Economist Newspaper Limited) 372 (8393): 3–4. 2004-09-18.
- Buchanan, Levi (2003-08-22). "Machinima Blends Film, Games". South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Tribune Media Services): 24.
- Kallay, Jasmina (March–April 2007). "Rise of the machines". Film Ireland (Filmbase) (115): 22–23.
- "Anachronox Q&A". Gamespot. 2000-05-22.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Anachronox|
- Official Eidos Anachronox Webpage (archived version until 2005)
- Anachronox at GameFAQs
- Anachronox at MobyGames
- Anachronox: The Movie at Archive.org
- Anachronox trailer at Archive.org