What's the story
Anachronox is set in a typical sci-fi future. Boots and Stiletto make their away across six different planets in search of artifacts from an extinct race of aliens. These aliens died knowing how to combine magic and technology into a power called "Mystech" that is tied into special artifacts that you find and equip.
More robot fun
There are seven playable characters in the game, but only three can be in your party at any given time. The three available in our demo were Boots, the intergalactic detective; Grumpos, a senile old codger who's recently retired from his job as Mystech curator; and Rho, a female scientist whose attacks and special abilities center around her technical expertise.
The demo level
Our demonstration was confined to one area of the game that hasn't been seen before - an organic alien hive level that contrasts sharply with the Blade Runner-esque cities that have been shown off in earlier screenshots and trailers.
This alien hive race, known as the Verilents (a combination of the words "very" and "virulent" according to Hall), threatens a planet that Boots and his party happen to be on. The society on this planet is a prime example of democracy gone bad. They vote on everything, no matter how mundane. So while the strange race is busy voting on what color to paint its defense fighters, and whether or not its pilots should scramble with their aviator glasses or not, Boots and the gang take matters into their own hands. They hijack an experimental space fighter to go defend the planet themselves.
I wouldn't take a swim
Grumpos the fighter jock
The intro cut-scene shows old Grumpos at the controls of the starship, spouting some hilarious nonsense reminiscent of Grandpa Simpson's ranting. Meanwhile, Rho and Boots look on apprehensively from the back seat, frightened that they've entrusted their lives to a senile old man. Their shiny, chrome-skinned fighter (Hall couldn't help but gush about the reflective environment mapping) then blasts right into the approaching alien hive, which is about the size of an asteroid.
Before you can land and infiltrate the hive, you need to defeat the waves of enemies attacking your aircraft. The game switches to a rail-shooter mode not unlike Rebel Assault or Star Fox, except you have no control over the movement of your fighter (although you can choose which door to fly through next). The cursor changes into a gunner's reticle, and you blast airborne Verilents with laser fire. The better you do, the more valuable an item you earn when you land, just like a Final Fantasy mini-game.