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Psychonauts (Xbox)

89
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.7
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
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Description

At a summer camp for up-and-coming psychics, a young boy with an unusually high level of psychic ability inexplicably shows up. The boy, named Raz, is allowed to stay at the camp until his father comes to pick him up, but his arrival coincides with very strange circumstances. Soon, evidence that someone is psychically tampering with the campers' minds reveals itself, and Raz is the only one who can stop it. Raz must project himself into the psyches of several different people in order to figure out what is going on and who is behind the recent occurrences.

Psychonauts is a 3D platform game with a rather unorthodox style. The characters' inner worlds are the game's levels. Each world reflects the personality of the person whose psyche it represents, often resulting in unique, surreal creations, and influencing the gameplay style. For example, the psyche of a giant lungfish is presented as a large city populated by fish people, in which Raz himself becomes a giant monster who can destroy entire buildings; the psyche of a mental patient is a huge board game, where Raz has to command armies in order to defeat Napoleon, etc.

There are also many gameplay elements and tasks which are common for all the levels. These include Raz fighting the (not very numerous) regular enemies, defeating level bosses, collecting currency, "figments of imagination" needed to upgrade his powers, and bonus items such as complete sets of the character's memories and others. Many of the game's puzzles require the usage of psychic powers, which Raz obtains in a more or less strict order. These powers range from combat abilities such as Psy Shield to Telekinesis (moving objects without touching them) and Clairvoyance (reading other people's minds).

The camp itself serves as the game's "hub", in which the player can explore, interact with characters, search for secret areas and items, and so on.

Screenshots

There are no Xbox screenshots for this game.

There are 20 other screenshots on file for other versions of this game.


Alternate Titles

  • "意识世界" -- Chinese spelling (simplified)

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Different from all other games i have ever played. Todd Bello (32) 4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars

The Press Says

Netjak Jun 15, 2005 9.5 out of 10 95
TeamXbox Apr 19, 2005 9.4 out of 10 94
Daily Game May 10, 2005 9.4 out of 10 94
GameLemon Jul 24, 2006 9.4 out of 10 94
Gamesmania Jul 08, 2005 93 out of 100 93
1UP Apr 19, 2005 9 out of 10 90
Game Informer Magazine May, 2005 8.75 out of 10 88
IGN Apr 22, 2005 8.7 out of 10 87
GamePro (US) Apr 19, 2005 4 out of 5 80
Games TM Jun, 2005 7 out of 10 70

Forums

Topic # Posts Last Post
Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!! 7 Parf (7315)
May 31, 2012
Just Finished it (sort of) 1 Joe Price
Apr 29, 2009
Windows or XBox? 10 micnictic (385)
Mar 04, 2009
I hope the guy who made the final level gets fired 16 Matt Neuteboom (941)
Aug 07, 2008
Does the last level drag the game down a little? 2 Atomic Punch! (151)
Nov 05, 2007
I feel disappointed 10 Zovni (9360)
Jul 16, 2007

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Psychonauts appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Bobby Zilch

The annoying bully-type character in the game, Bobby Zilch, is based on the camp bully from Schafer's real life experiences, who was also named Bobby.

Boyd

The dialogue of the paranoid security guard Boyd is partially based on a mentally ill person which used to swipe Double Fine's doorstep once a week and talk with Tim Schafer about his conspiracy theories.

Names

Several characters' last names mean "no", "none" or "nothing", including Bobby Zilch and Sasha Nein.

Ostrich

One idea Tim Schafer had for the game's protagonist was a mentally unbalanced (with multiple personalities) ostrich. However, this idea was dropped as Schafer is a strong believer in games being a form of wish-fulfillment, and he came to the conclusion that not many gamers would dream of being insane ostriches. One wonders if there would have been a personality-changing game mechanic consisting of the ostrich sticking its head in the ground and pulling it out again with a different persona.

Raz

Not only is Raz played by Invader Zim voice acting talent Richard Steven Horvitz (who was born in 1966); if you work hard, you may be able to unlock a Primal Memories journal entry with concept art showing Raz to be simply a non-green Zim with goggles!

The original main character was going to be named D'Artagan, but was cut. He is referenced twice though; in the beginning cutscene, when Coach Oleander is trying to guess Raz's name, he says, "Starts with a D!" Also, the original D'Artagan model can be seen poking out of the outhouse in the ending cutscene.

The name comes from Razmig Mavlian, an animator at LucasArts who later joined the Psychonauts team. It could also be a reference to Grigori Rasputin (died in 1916), the famous Russian "court mystic", who was considered by many a religious charlatan. Raz's special psychic powers is a reference to Rasputin's alleged mystic healing powers.

References

  • In the campfire area there is a tree with a crashed van and three tombstones under it. Some say this is a Day of the Tentacle reference, as the truck looks similar to the one used by three characters in the game. It is also a double entendre stating Schafer's opinion of LucasArts' commitment to adventure games - dead.

  • After getting the canoe from Cruller, you can ask him "Admiral Cruller? That canoe...are you...in love with it?" This is a reference to Sal in Grim Fandango asking if Manny was in love with Meche.

  • When you need a Marksmanship learner's permit and don't have it yet, you can tell Sasha "I left it in my other pants." Guybrush says something similar in Monkey Island 2.

  • The obligatory Star Wars reference: When Clem and Crystal are standing on the roof of the lodge, you can overhear their conversation which includes, "We're going to be so powerful, aren't we?" and a reply of "More powerful than you can possibly imagine."

  • The Russian immigrant Mikhail Bulgakov is named after the Soviet/Russian writer, author of the popular novel The Master and Margarita

  • The character of Edgar Teglee is based on the real artist Edgar Leeteg who popularised the Black Velvet style of painting of that level's art style. Leeteg initially worked as a billboard painter and sign writer in California before losing his job due to the depression. Later he went on to achieve infamy for his cheesy art style.

  • The four painting dogs in the same level are the dogs from the famous Dog's Playing Poker painting, actually called "A Bold Bluff" by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge.

Release delay

The PC version was inexplicably delayed to April 27th, even after the announcement that both the Xbox and PC were shipping on their original release date. This is likely due to manufacturing complications.

Xbox exclusivity

The game was originally supposed to be an Xbox-exclusive title. Microsoft dropped the publishing contract in 2004, at which point it was picked up by Majesco, who requested PC and PS2 ports.

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2006 – Best Xbox Game of the Year
  • BAFTA Video Game Awards
    • October 10th 2006 - Best Screenplay
  • Computer Games
    • March 2006 - #10 Game of the Year 2005
  • GameSpy
    • 2005 – #7 Xbox Game of the Year
    • 2005 – Xbox Platformer of the Year
    • 2005 – Special Achievement in Art Direction (PC)
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 22/2008 - names as having one of the "10 Coolest Levels" for the Milkman Conspiracy. (It manages to connect parody with playing elements and the three-dimensionally twisted environment unifies theme and style.)
  • PC Powerplay (Germany)
    • Issue 02/2006 - #3 Action Game in 2005
Information also contributed by Depeche Mike, Kabushi, Mark Ennis, PCGamer77, Pixelspeech, Rupert Breheny, Tomer Gabel and Pentatonic Duck

Related Web Sites

Zack Green (1015) added Psychonauts (Xbox) on Apr 20, 2005
Other platforms contributed by Hamish Wilson (145), Sciere (251707), Kabushi (121978), Parf (7315) and Zack Green (1015)