The Wait Is Over: Anachronox Is On GoG.com

By Craig Pearson on March 15th, 2012 at 6:00 pm.

It looks soooooo Ion Stormy
My wait, actually. The best bit of the PC Gamer Top 100 meetings was listening to Gamer’s secret weapon Tony Ellis (if you’ve ever laughed at a caption or dark dark bit of humour, it was probably from Tony’s sick mind), talking about Anachronox: we’d all stop flushing heads down the toilet and pause mid-Chinese burn as he told us about the insanity of Ion Storm’s other game: all I remember now is that you could have a planet as a companion. A planet! I’ve been waiting for it to appear on GoG, and this morning it did. In addition to the planetary buddy, it’s a combination of Japanese style RPG and western sensibilities, but thanks to a rushed production (lots of content was removed then Ion Storm closed a month after release), it’s also rather buggy.

I’m still willing to spend $6 on it. I have that in my pocket right now. And a hole! I wonder if they’ll take that as payment?

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88 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    Anachronox is one of the funniest games I’ve played, rivalling Day of the Tentacle. I highly recommend it.

    Also, this GOG release is all patched up, so you won’t have the bugs to contend with.

    • Bob says:

      Oh yes indeed. There are some excellent lines that made me laugh outloud. I’m not the biggest fan of it’s combat, but fortunately the game has other entertaining elements. If you get your MysTech in the correct combination you almost become a demi-god.

      …..spit in my soup anyway, it’ll give it some flavour. :P

  2. espylaub says:

    Superb game. Loved it to bits. Fantastic scenery and atmosphere (later on :D).

  3. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    I remember this game being like a comedic Final Fantasy that had very infrequent combat. Seriously, I remember not having a good grasp of the battle mechanics because the vast majority of my time with the game was spent running around talking to people.

  4. Author X says:

    Oh my gosh, yes. Fantastic. I never finished it when I was a teen, and now I finally have a chance.

  5. Eskatos says:

    I really want to buy this, but every time I’ve tried to get *totally legit* versions of Anachronox working with Windows 7 I have met with complete failure. The only question is am I willing to take a chance on getting nothing for $6?

    • mouton says:

      GOG says it is Win 7 64bit compatible. As there is no DRM, you can easily try a hook&parrot version and then buy it.

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    • BloodyHoney says:

      GOG is usually pretty good about working out compatibility issues with their releases. And assuming it doesn’t run properly, they have a great customer service thing for helping you get it up and running.

      So, I say take the risk.

    • menderslan says:

      ^ Every game I’ve bought from GOG has worked flawlessly on Windows 7 64-bit.

    • SirSlaxalot says:

      I bought it earlier today and it works fine on the 2 systems I tried it on (both Win7 64). As usual with Gog you might have to start some with Administrator privileges.

    • Luk 333 says:

      I tested the game on Windows 7 x32 and Windows 8 CP x32 with an AMD Athlon II x2 250 and GeForce 460; everything seems to be working fine. Last year I tried to run, ummm, “another version” of the game and that failed hard, so it seems that GOG managed to fix the issues.

    • DrGonzo says:

      So pleased to hear this works. Bought I76 on there very excited and it hadn’t been fixed. Can anyone definitely confirm you can get passed the tutorial? That was where it would always go wrong for me, would get teleported out of the level and all of the scripted bits would start again, in green.

      • kibertoad says:

        Try the fan launcher for I76 (found on GOG forum) or the nGlide wrapper – problem solved :).

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      This GoG version works on my computer but the original disc version doesn’t. So whatever GoG did, they did it well.

  6. Jorum says:

    I played it first time round and don’t remember it being buggy to be honest.

    Anyone who hasn’t played should pick it up this time round.

    Packs in so many ideas throughout. Even small touches like giving the ubiquitous cursor a valid in-game existence shows the imagination and attention.

    It also moments of greater epicness and genuine emotional impact than the most of the gritty, oh-so-earnest and po-faced epic games since.

    I’m probably gonna buy it on GOG even though my disc copy must be here somewhere

    • mckertis says:

      “I played it first time round and don’t remember it being buggy to be honest.”

      Before patches, i was only able to finish it with the cheatcodes, specifically noclip one, since some scripted events AT THE VERY END failed to activate. Mostly the end of Detta’s compound and such.

  7. ResonanceCascade says:

    Sold! I’ve always wanted to give this one a shot.

  8. jack4cc says:

    Yes, yes, YES!

  9. Danners says:

    I always thought Anachronox started with a “U”?

    Either way, I’ve been wanting to finish this game forever…still have the game and box sitting on the shelf behind me.

  10. Alistair says:

    Played it at the time and don’t recall it being buggy at all. Didn’t really get the JRPG-style combat but still very recommended :)

  11. Tyrone Slothrop. says:

    I remember watching one of the pivotal cutscenes on a magazine-included CD of machinima back around 2003 and being astounded by the direction and detail of what I witnessed. The sheer scope of the world, the staging of all the little moving parts, landscape and characters in the Quake II engine is still mind-blowing to me, just thinking about it.

    I do wish there was a high-definition cut of all the cinematics with some contextual gameplay, I do recall there being something exactly to that effect (I implore you gentlemen and scholars to link me to this). I utterly love the concept and many aspects of the story and certainly the presentation but the gameplay disappoints me. For me at least, it was a game that really deserved a better game to be attached to… {dreams of a sandbox Anachronox, Deus Ex, L.A. Noire, Freelancer hybrid}.

  12. LionsPhil says:

    Hmm. Got this one on disc somewhere, when I unfortunately went on a bit of a binge of trying to catch up on games I’d missed a year or two before GOG launched.

    Seem to remember that it was heavily tainted by a poor combat system that got in the way of the talky bits.

    • Luke says:

      Aye the combat is terrible.

      And while they were very beautifully shot, having to watch all those incidental camera-sweepy bits whenever you got on an elevator got old really fast, if you ever had to traipse back and forth across an area.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        This version is fully patched, so you can hold the Backslash key to speed the game up. So if you’re tired of walking around and watching combat animations, just press Backslash to speed through them.

    • deadly.by.design says:

      Check my link down below (not a euphemism) for the machinima version, if you can’t get past the gameplay.

  13. Fumarole says:

    Something about that guy’s hair reminds me of NWN.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Not only can you have a planet in your party, that planet is even inhabited, by excessively democratic people. Each time you want to use its orbital laser, you have to win a discussion with the reigning council, which is achieved by talking loudly at every councilor that objects.

    I remember the combat using pretty standard JRPG mechanics. Fortunately, grinding is not necessary, as the levels of all party members are raised to certain minima, at specific points in the game. There is only one hard battle (fighting a Door Lord, an alien species that has the guarding of doors at the center of its culture), but it is completely optional.

    • Premium User Badge

      Oozo says:

      You, sir, just sold a copy of the game. I had heard that it had a great, absurd sense of humour, but that’s even more brillant than I thought.

  15. DrCBVI says:

    This news finally convinced me to sign up if only to share one of the best cut-scenes from it:


    (spoilers, er, referenced but not outright spoiled)

    A completely mad, wonderful game, sorely deserving of a sequel. Don’t know whether to dig out my old CDs of it or just buy it again. Hm.

    • Waltorious says:

      Anachronox is indeed amazing, and it’s truly a shame they had to cut so much from it and it never got a sequel. Let’s all buy this from GOG, and then let’s all crowd-fund Anachronox 2!

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        You’d have to convince Eidos to hand over the IP, which is unlikely if they’re making money from the GoG version.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Revisor says:

    This is such an ambitious game that to this day it has no match; at least I can’t think of any.
    A scifi noir adventure/comedy/thriller with great characters, writing, acting, level design, music and directing

    Just watch the intro
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfBXXriU54s

    And then buy and try it.

  17. buzzmong says:

    As Bluerps says a planet as a party character is simply mind bogglingly amazing, think it bent my mind a little bit when you end up on it before it becomes a party member.

    This game is a gem, and I was mightily disappointed when I lost my discs. So I’ll be snaffling it up on GoG.

    I never did however figure out how to open the safe in Sly’s office as your lockbreaking skills can’t ever be high enough before you leave the planet. Bastard thing.

  18. KDR_11k says:

    I got it in a box a long time ago. Even then it was way past patch support and you needed a fan patch to make it somewhat stable (loves to crash on map changes). I hope that patch is included on GOG.

    Really liked the game, I think they knew that combat isn’t the strong point of games like that so they dialed it down. They even play jokes with the way the combat arenas are integrated into the environments.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      They weren’t ‘fan’ patches technically. They were made by the game’s programmer in his spare time after the company was shut down.

  19. Consumatopia says:

    Couldn’t finish this one–something about the camera makes it one of the few video games that gives me motion sickness.

  20. Hoaxfish says:

    That sodding cliff-hanger ending/sequel that never-happened lead-in…

  21. Godwhacker says:

    Well, waiting for it to appear on GoG is laudable, but none of the devs will get anything

    http://machinestudios.co.uk/viewentry.php?id=45

    • Vagrant says:

      If it makes you feel any better about not pirating it, you’re supporting GoG.

    • Treymoney says:

      Those companies are all out of business. What do you want GOG to do?

    • bill says:

      They got paid for making it.
      and it’s doubtful that most of them would get anything anyway, even if the studio was still running.

  22. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    I have a lovely big box sitting next to me, yet I’ll probably still get the GOG version.

    http://yfrog.com/kgmedhwj

    • frenz0rz says:

      I had the chance to buy that boxed copy once in a cash converters, but passed it up due to never having heard of it. A few years later I acquired a Sold Out copy of it on PC Gamer’s insistence and almost instantly wished I’d bought the original when I’d seen it.

      Also, the lady in the mouse cursor. So sad :(

  23. Inglourious Badger says:

    Anachronox was superb. One of those games, like Psychonauts, I thought it was only me who liked it THAT much. But then you bring it up in conversation and gamers of all ages go OH WOW wasn’t Anachronox great? It’s a JRPG for anyone who hates JRPGs, and one of the funniest games ever.

    I won’t be playing it again though, I wouldn’t want to ruin the memories.

  24. Premium User Badge

    DarkWeeble says:

    Instant buy. Not even asking the Holder of the Purse Strings if it’s ok.

  25. Luk 333 says:

    This is one of the greatest game ever and I really hope more people will play it. It’s one of the few games where, knowing that the end is near, I revisit old areas and characters as a way of saying goodbye, maybe even hoping that I’ll find a new dialogue line or a connection between two characters. More than 6 years have passed since the second time I finished the game, so I think it’s time for a third dreaming.

    This is the review I wrote a couple of hours ago for GOG. I hope this will convert at least a few of the unbelievers. :)

    “This is it. My all time favorite game. The best videogame story I’ve encountered.

    I have completed over 220 games, I’ve went through Planescape: Torment, Psychonauts, The Longest Journey, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 7&8, KOTOR, Fallout 1&2, the Legacy of Kain series, Mass Effect 1&2, Portal 1&2, Sanitarium, Syberia1&2, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island 1-3, The Witcher, No One Lives Forever etc., but this right here is the gold standard for me. It manages to mix lots of humor and satire with drama and unexpected & underplayed moments of normalcy, sadness and regret. It makes you care for the characters, the world and even that NPC with one repeating line. One of my favorite aspects, criticized in the reviews at the time, is how slow the epic part of the story starts. You’re a loser, unsympathetic, incompetent, probably alcoholic detective that is scraping for a job on a half-dead dirty planet. You’re not saving anyone, not even yourself, but the first hours serve as a great initiation, a bonding experience that’s transforming you into a somehow normal citizen of Anachronox, one that knows its people, secrets, places and failures and is worried only for his paycheck and the quality of drinks. So when things will start to go crazy (and I mean CRAZY!), you‘ll be doubly surprised: as a player and as a normal inhabitant of Anachronox. While progressing through the game a lot of things will change, but most importantly the characters will change, grow, surprise you and sometimes bitterly disappoint you.

    But there’s much more to this game than the story. The music is outstanding and I still regularly listen to 6 of the tracks. It usually provides a counterpoint to the mostly humorous story, underlying a sense of sadness visible in every part of the world. The voice acting is top notch and the delivery of cutscenes is still superior to a lot of current AAA games. Technically speaking, because of the Quake 2 engine, the game doesn’t seem released in 2001 (Max Payne! Serious Sam! GTA3!), looking more like 1998-1999, but with a few tricks and a LOT of artistic sense, this is still an immensely beautiful and fascinating game to look at.

    While the only resemblance that the story has with JRPGs consists in its linearity, the gameplay is much more related to its Japanese source of inspiration: turn-based, action timer, special skills etc. I think it works quite well and is superior to its peers because of the great camera movement. The game has mostly no random encounters (I actually remember only one short area where random encounters happen) and very few zones where you need to fight enemies every time you need to pass through there. Fortunately there’s no grinding in the game and at some points you might even wish for more fighting, to test those cool new attacks. Oh, don’t play the game on Easy, because it will just transform the fighting into a series of impossible to lose cutscenes. :) The game is really easy even on normal, so if you’ve ever played a jrpg or Mass Effect on normal, select Hard.

    I love this game. I love everything about it. It’s funny as hell, amazing, surprising, sad, beautiful, humane and full of heart.”

  26. Bhazor says:

    Hi I’m from an alternate dimension where Anachranox was hugely successful. Now we’ve got nothing but funny, whimsical surrealist magical realist games. We’re getting a bit sick of it all actually and want to try some manic-depressed, hollywood copying, stuck up their own arse games like Mass Effect or Modern Warfare.

    We’re also ruled by the iron fist of Norwegian facism. Even we’re not sure how that happened to be honest.

  27. Axyl says:

    Umm.. you want to use your hole as payment?…

    :P

  28. deadly.by.design says:

    YES. Everyone should play Anachronox.

    For those without the time to play or replay it, there’s also the machinima version that’s worth watching in its own right. http://www.archive.org/details/JakeHughesAnachronoxTheMovie

  29. djbriandamage says:

    Sorry Craig, I asked GOG and they said they’d take your $6 but not the hole.

  30. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    Brilliant game, still got my original copy though

  31. brulleks says:

    I don’t even like turn-based RPGs, but this is one of my favourite games regardless. I remember finding all the cut-scenes at one point and cutting them to DVD, just so I could show them to other people.

    I was like a nerdy tourist showing his holiday movies off to bored friends – they were awful quality, even by the standards of other machinima at the time – but it was my bloody Bible and I was its messenger.

    So this must be the Second Coming.

  32. Premium User Badge

    Drayk says:

    I loved the universe and the story but the combat was awful.

    • Werthead says:

      The combat is not great, but it’s such a tiny part of the game it’s a total non-issue. You can avoid a lot of the combat in the game (certainly most of the random encounters) if you wish, as you can see enemies before they attack you and plan alternate routes, if available. Some of the unavoidable minigames, on the other hand, are quite pony. Flying your spaceship into the giant space insect hive was not a lot of fun.

      • Caiman says:

        I can’t recall the combat being that bad to be honest, typical JRPG fair. Well except for the final boss fight which is as far as I got. I tried, and I tried, and I tried, and tried again… but I just couldn’t beat the damn thing. Had I known that the ending was an unresolved cliffhanger, though, I might have given up sooner. Great game up until that point though, I still remember the great bar music on one of the planets.

  33. I_have_no_nose_but_I_must_sneeze says:

    I thought this announcement would make its way here, and RPS as usual does not disappoint. More people should play this. It somehow manages to be both absolutely ridiculous (in a good way) and an engaging, moving story. The only thing I remember annoying me was the final battle, which I found maddeningly difficult.

  34. TheGameSquid says:

    I’ve always believed that Anachronox was a good game, but not a great one. Aside from its charming story and characters, there’s very little the game does better than ‘good enough’…

    Regardless I will be picking it up. It HAS been quite a while since I played it.

  35. buzzmong says:

    If only Tom Hall could get the rights to this, then I think it would be another good Kickstarter project for the planned sequel.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jackablade says:

      Hm. Well, the rights have probably fallen into the hands of Square-Enix now. Square-Enix who published Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy from which Anachronox’s combat mechanics are lifted pretty much entirely.

      I figure if any publisher had any likelihood of putting Anachronox Prime into development, it’d be Square. It might not be a hugely likely likelihood, but one needs to hang ones faith on something.

  36. Premium User Badge

    Jackablade says:

    Kalu kalay!

    Probably not a lot more that needs to be said, really.

  37. cyan says:

    It was Tony’s PCG review that originally persuaded me to buy this, and it’s probably my favouritest game ever, I squealed when I read this!

  38. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    Oh man, Tony Ellis captions! Amazing sauce.

  39. Runs With Foxes says:

    As mentioned above, if anyone gets a bit tired of the running back and forth and the long combat animations, you can hold down the Backslash key to speed up the game (a lot, like 1000%).

  40. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Craig, you just made my day, and it was a good one to begin with! I’ve been wanting to play this game ever since I watched the machinima about a decade ago (o_O) but never got around to buying an old copy. So, thanks for the tip! It’s already sitting on my hard drive waiting to be played.

    Also, since I’m no longer lurking, I’ll take this moment to say: Hi, I’m Particlese, and this is my favorite tech-related news site on the Internet. Even the comments are loads more intelligent than normal!

  41. Werthead says:

    One of the greatest games ever. Long reasons why here:

    http://thewertzone.blogspot.com/2011/12/wertzone-classics-anachronox.html

    Short reasons why:

    1) Your mouse pointer is a sentient character in the game and suffers from existential angst at existing solely to fly around rooms and point at things of interest.

    2) You know how in ME3 people go, “WTF?” when they realise you’re walking around with a 50,000-year-old dude from an extinct species? Vaguely amusing. But nowhere near as hilarious as walking into a bar and having everyone get seriously freaked out by you having a ten-foot-wide planet floating over your shoulder. It’s worth having Democratus in your party at all times just to see the NPCs freaking out.

    3) The ending and the knowledge there is no sequel. It’s painful, but also extremely awesome with a cool twist that totally blindsided me when I played it. Almost as good as FREESPACE 2’s ending, and shares with it the fact that it’s worth playing even though there is no real closure.

    4) Boots’ metacommentary on CRPG cliches that starts kicking in about halfway through the game. It’s actually rather depressing that an awful lot of the things he starts ripping into as being tired and cliched in 2001 are actually still prevalent in the genre a decade later.

    5) That quest that takes place entirely in silence in the snow featuring that superhero dude rescuing a little girl.

    6) Rictus and his henchmen (the Laser League of Devil Slugs!), not to mention his ludicrous catchphrase, which would have become an Internet meme if the game had been more popular. All together now, “I SHALL KILL YOU…WITH DEATH!”

    • Premium User Badge

      Jackablade says:

      The closing moments of your number 5 point would have to be among the most genuinely poignant moments I’ve ever come across in a game. I almost shed a manly tear.

    • ZB says:

      If by “in the snow” you mean “in the desert”, then yes. The snow level was where Boots ended up.

  42. qptain Nemo says:

    So happy to see all the love for the game. I don’t feel as alone anymore. :)

    I wish there was a good way to make Square Enix stop sitting on the IP needlessly and give it back to Tom Hall already.

  43. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    How well does it do Gamepads, specifically the x360 one? At all? I’d be all for a strong-storied game I could play from the couch.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      I’d guess given its vintage it wouldn’t have great pad support, but there’s always Joy2Key or its ilk.

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      yeah, I figured as much, yet if it’s directInput, there may yet be a chance to rebind the axes and buttons.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      The way the controls works might make using a gamepad a little frustrating, as you move the cursor from one side of the screen to another to move the camera, but I guess it’s worth a shot. It just seems like it would be really cumbersome.

  44. Dizzard says:

    I’ve never heard of this game until today.

    It looks really interesting, think I’ll give it a go.

  45. vodka and cookies says:

    Anachronox is a fantastic game hugely underrated, very mush still worth playing.

  46. SurprisedMan says:

    I’m not sure I can do Anachronox again, but I really enjoyed it at the time. The problem is, for all I liked it, I also remember how long it takes to get going, and just how long the game is in general, how the combat was kind of slow and how the ending is one of the most frustrating in gaming’s history since they never got to make that sequel.

    I’d say, if you’ve never played Anachronox, it’s worth it. It was a game that reminded me in a good way of LucasArts, when LucasArts were becoming less and less good. But I don’t think I can do it again myself.

  47. Irkm says:

    I remember playing Anachronox very fondly. But it’s very buggy. Many crash bugs that could even corrupt the game state.

    There is an unofficial patch by one of the Anachronox programmers that makes ist playable.

    Does anybody know if this patch made it into the new release?

    I can’t find the site i got the patch from but i think this is the correct one:
    http://www.fileplanet.com/124622/120000/fileinfo/Anachronox-Unofficial-Patch

    From the release notes:
    Fixed an evil pointer bug or three. There was a really fun one that would
    randomly write a backslash to a random part of memory every time a model was
    loaded. Oh, and another one where free would be called on an invalid pointer,
    slowly fragging memory. I don’t understand how people were able to finish the
    game at all.

  48. engion3 says:

    you have an a hole in your pocket?