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Each of the game's five stages is divided into four sub-stages ('ruins') and a boss area ('shrine'). All four ruins need to be completed and their respective sub-bosses defeated before the shrine can be entered and the level's boss beat. Each sub-stage or shrine can be entered by only one of the characters at a time. If one of them perishes while attempting to clear a ruin, the other will have to come to his rescue.
Both characters have unique abilities. By touching one of four special 'emotion' icons found in various places within the game, the character will change to the corresponding mood: happy, angry, sad or neutral. Each mood bestows special powers (or lack thereof) and attacks, different for both Wit and Cles. This requires a careful management of what ruin to play with what character in what emotion. Moreover, a happy character has an additional 'secret' power: Cles can walk over gaps and Wit can jump mid-air.
The game has a graphic style that heavily borrows from Hinduism, Buddhism and South-East Asian art and architecture in general. In accordance with this, the game's passwords refer to actual ruins or ancient cities in southern and south-eastern Asia, for example 'Mohenjo Daro' and 'Harappa Ruins'.
The places where the ruins are, are also cities/places which really exist. These places are Pegu (or Bago, in Burma/Myanmar), Dunhuang (China), Hunza (Pakistan), Alchi (India) and Agra (India). Agra is known for the legendary Taj Mahal.
In the ending of the game, after Wit and Cles obtain the four pieces of the precious stone, they go to the temple of Ushas and place the stone on the forehead of a statue. The game then cuts to a still of the Earth with a large nuclear mushroom exploding over a certain portion of it. In the Japanese version, it is explained that the statue was actually a triggering mechanism for a nuclear bomb developed by an ancient civilization and that the precious stone was actually the key needed to activated it. The four pieces were kept hidden separately to prevent intruders from activating the bomb, but Wit and Cles activated the bomb without knowing it.
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