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Sly Boots is a private investigator who is in a bit of trouble - money trouble that is. So his first priority is to earn some money; when a mysterious rich man unexpectedly turns up with a tempting offer, Sly begins to think that his troubles are a thing of the past. Naturally, he couldn't have been more wrong, as he soon slides into something much, much bigger: he will discover a great mystery which may cause the destruction of the universe.

Anachronox is a sci-fi role-playing game that predominantly follows the Japanese template, though also incorporating elements from Western-style RPGs. Though its plot is serious in nature, the game features humorous dialogue and many bizarre situations.

The combat system has many similarities to the Final Fantasy series: it is turn-based in principle, but every character has an action bar. After every action it is depleted, and when it is filled again the next action can be started - no matter if the enemy has attacked or not. Important differences are the ability to move around on the battlefield in restricted ways and the non-random battles. Another similarity is the character development which automatically increases the character's stats.

However, the game is less combat-oriented than most Japanese-style RPGs. Most of the time is spent exploring the hub areas, solving (side) quests and conversing with people.

At first Sly is alone, save for his electronic secretary Fatima, but during the course of the game he recruits six party members to help him out, some of which are rather eccentric. Every party member has a special ability, played out in action-based mini-games, which are needed to solve quests, e.g. Sly can lockpick doors. There are also other mini-games to be found, partly needed to solve quests and partly optional. Sometimes there are traditional logic puzzles to solve.


Anachronox Windows Minigame: navigate the ship while avoiding randomly appearing rocks
Anachronox Windows Lavish decorations in this room!..
Anachronox Windows Like most Japanese-style RPGs, the bosses in Anachronox clearly suffer from megalomania
Anachronox Windows You can switch between your characters most of the times. Controlling PAL the robot, displaying his special skill, exploring the hilarious planet Democratus

Promo Images

Anachronox Screenshot from
Anachronox Screenshot
Anachronox Screenshot from
Anachronox Screenshot


Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Anachronistic Unicorn Lynx (181446) 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars
A really wonderful game xroox (3957) 4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars
If you celebrate Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams: here's a surprise for you... silent_driver (13) 4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars
Great, great game, but call the Orkin man before playing Atomic Punch! (194) 4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars
Remember When Games Were Fun? Scott Monster (1009) 4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars
Amazing, often overlooked adventure RPG... john johansen (2) unrated
U as in Anachronox, duh. MAT (229787) 4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars
A plot better than most Sci-Fi movies Plix (204) 4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars
An absolutely remarkable game xofdre (82) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
Pixel Hunt-tastic disappointment Zovni (10627) 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

Critic Reviews

Just Adventure Feb 21, 2002 A 100 Aug, 2002 4.9 out of 5 98
GameSpy Aug, 2001 84 out of 100 84
Gameplay (Benelux) Aug 31, 2001 83 out of 100 83
Game Over Online Aug 06, 2001 80 out of 100 80
GameStar (Germany) Jul, 2001 78 out of 100 78
FiringSquad Aug 08, 2001 77 out of 100 77
Gameswelt Jul 02, 2001 71 out of 100 71
Old PC Gaming Jul 23, 2017 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70 Aug 03, 2001 69 out of 100 69


Topic # Posts Last Post
Bipidri collectables reward 3 Klaster_1 (57724)
Jun 03, 2011



When you land on Hephaestus, try the arcade. You'll find Bugaboo, a Galaga clone. The artwork is even in the same green style of the original coin eaters.

You'll also find Pooper, a quasi Pac-Man clone. Both games were developed with the APE, built in to the game engine.


In the ending-credits, which are longer than the regular ones, there are some hilarious texts and greetings from the developers.


In the development process of Anachronox, nearly half of the game had to be cut off to reduce production time. The half that was cut off was going to be put together as a sequel, but with Ion Storm shut down, and lukewarm sales, it never happened.

Development Tools

Ion Storm did a couple neat tricks for Anachronox.
  • APE stands for Anachronox Programing Environment. Its a programing language that was used to create all the interaction and gameplay. It was also used to create the minigames that you could play.
  • Magpie: Magpie was a program designed to process MP3s and create .lip files that the game engine could use to lip-sync dialogue. The lip files were simple text files that would load with the MP3s during cut scenes.


Ion Storm heavily modified the Quake II engine for this game. They added several features, including a refined particle effect, a mini game scripting language, and facial animation modification that allows lip syncing to dialogue.

The developers used the facial animation to good effect, letting the characters express their emotions with facial expressions.


Anachronox was influenced by the popular Japanese RPG Chrono Trigger, one of Tom Hall's favorite games. The game's title also alludes to that.


Jake Hughes, the cutscene director of the fabulous Anachronox cutscenes, published a very special goody on
It's a 1 Gigabyte collection of all cutscenes, edited to a 2 1/2 hour Anachronox movie.

References: Dopefish

id software's famed Dopefish makes a cameo in Anachronox. You can find him in ones of the water tanks in the lair of the Orange Roughies, located on Rictus's ship. Just follow the burping noise. The Dopefish can also be seen in a tank in Rho's lab and (allegedly) at the Moon Burger restaurant on Hephaestus.

References: Games

  • In the Red Lights District of the Sender Station, you can order a special treatment called "Deus Sex"... The object of this pun is, of course, Deus Ex, also developed by Ion Storm.

  • Many references to Tom Hall's past games can be found throughout the game. One of the more obvious ones is in the Tenement Area; if you look at the other names for the directory, you can see "B. Blaze" in a room, a clear reference to Commander Keen games.


  • Located in Sender Station is Jawnn, Pawl, Jorj and Ree'ngo, who form the teen rock sensation, The Meatles! Talk to them and they'll recite lyrics from popular Beatles songs.

  • One of the customers in the bar at the beginning of the game is Dim Jose. Swap the front letters and you'll get Jim Dose. Jim Dose used to work on the sound engine on previous Apogee games along with Tom Hall.
  • Two guys you can talk to on Democrates are discussing an opera written by the Czech composer Leoš Janáček (1854-1928).


If you wait and press nothing at the start screen the Anachronox symbol will eventually fall down and two repair bots will appear to put it back in it's place. Wait a little more and PAL-18 will also appear and start looking at you through the monitor. This rotating logo can also be viewed as another Deus Ex reference/parody.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • April 2002 (Issue #213) – Best Use of Humor of the Year
Information also contributed by hydra9, Karthik KANE, kbmb, Scott Monster, tarion, Unicorn Lynx, xofdre and Zovni

Related Web Sites

Unicorn Lynx (181446) added Anachronox (Windows) on Jul 12, 2001