Obsidian is a basically another Myst-like game. The game puts you in a very strange but hauntingly familiar setting, gives you puzzles which are tightly integrated into the storyline and make perfect sense, but you are given no information as to the objective of each puzzle nor any rules about how the puzzle works. You are expected to figure out not only the solution, but the objective and the rules.
And, as the game warns, your rules do not apply.
The bad news about this Myst-clone is that it has the same problem that Myst does. There is very little replayability since the wonder and mystery of the world is gone so once you get through the game once, that's it. And the game is short. About as short as Myst is, despite being on 5 CDs. I guess I'll just have to wait for Rivan (Myst II) to come out.
I've broken this solution up into pieces. Parts of the game "between" specific puzzles will be a narrative like this, describing what is going on and where in the game you are. The puzzles themselves will be broken into three sections -- the objective, the rules, and the solution. The objective will tell you what you are trying to accomplish at this location in the game. The rules will tell you how the puzzle operates. The solution will (naturally) give everything away. Each section will also be presented in a series of hints, ranging from very cryptic to plain english. To avoid seeing too much of a puzzle solution, you might want to set your browser's window height to be about five text lines or so.
Disclaimer: No outside sources of help were used to complete this solution. Only the manual and my experiences playing the game myself. Also, there is a lot to see in this game. This solution just covers the puzzles and the essentials. For the full game experience, you should explore the scenes.
You start in the forests of the Olympic Peninsula; a beautiful spot located in the Pacific Northwest just west of Seattle, Washington. I live in Seattle (or just out side of it anyway) and it is a very nice place to be.
The point of this first area is not to sightsee. This is a puzzle free, danger free area that gives you the chance to familiarize yourself with Obsidian's controls. I think it is a great idea.
Anyway, you're walking through the forest, watching the credits swim through your vision when you see this large growth thing on the top of a mountain. Wicked. Eventually you get to your tent.
Inside the tent is a personal data pad. It is hidden inside the right sleeping bag. Open it up and watch the video clips. Using the PDA is much like using a web browser: The up and down buttons on the left take to the next and previous pages; the mail button takes you to your mailbox; the home button takes you to the main menu; and the power button turns the data pad on or off. To view a clip or open a folder, just click on the folder. When you are viewing a clip, you can get back to the previous area by clicking on the symbol in the corner.
The game forces you to watch all of the clips in the mail, projects, and journal sections of the PDA. (The other two are not available because of network problems.) They do contain vital clues, but if you've been through the intro before, you probably don't want to waste time watching them again. It is enough to start a clip and then end it immediately. Doing this, you should be able to breeze through all of the sections in about a minute.
Now, exit the tent and head down the path again. You should hear a roar and a loud scream. (If you don't, then this means that you haven't seen everything in the PDA yet.) Head down to the Obsidian structure.
You're standing directly in front of it now, looking at your reflection. After a moment, the front wall will break away and you'll be sucked in. You'll see this scene with all of these little bots making tiles which eventually grow into a large room.
You start off in an elevator, looking out over the world. The first thing you should do is look down, push the elevator button, get out, and head for the information desk.
You probably have noticed that the lettering is very strange. Well, each letter is just rotated 180 degrees. You can look behind the red door to your right for a demonstration. It isn't really necessary. Now to check out the booths. Each booth on this level is harmless and has some interesting dialogue. I suggest you check them all out. The booths (in order entering the right area first) are "Hints", "Sources", "Travel", "Productivity", "Operations", "Mediation", "Bridge Repair", "Reception", "Bureau Hygiene", and "Rebel Control".
And that leads to our first puzzle...
Clear all of the bricks from the screen.
You control the paddle in the middle of the screen by dragging it up or down. Releasing the mouse button will pause the game.
When the red ball hits a red brick on the right of the screen, it vanishes. When the green ball hits a green brick on the left side of the screen, it vanishes.
If the ball hits a brick on the "wrong" side, it changes color to the color of the ball. Hitting the brick with the "right" ball, will change it back. Hitting it with the "wrong" ball again will end the game.
When you hit the ball with the paddle, it bounces off. The angle is steeper the closer to the end of the paddle.
There is no perfect solution. Ideally, you should try to keep each ball on its own side of the playing area.
When you clear one screen, you get another. The balls move faster in subsequent waves.
The game just keeps going on forever, there is no end.
Now, head for the Bridge Repair booth. There is no puzzle here, but one is presented. You are told that to fix the bridge, you need to get a document filed under Standard Damage and get it pre-approved. Sounds simple, eh?
To get to the document area, head back to the information deck, but turn around. Head down the right ladder. When you get to the base of the ladder, everything changes orientation. Weird. Now head up the other ladder. Notice that because there wasn't a junction at the bottom that you didn't rotate? So now you are back at the information deck, but now the deck is on the wall. Get into the elevator and hit the button.
You are now in the filing area. You need to find the document. Before you look, there are other things to do.
Head to the computer console on the right side. Look, a message from Max! But it goes away all too quickly. Oh well. You can poke around the menu choices but eventually you will want to choose the "Cloud Ring" choice from the menu. A doorway opens up and you can walk through to the cloud puzzle.
Spell a word at the bottom of the screen.
Each section of the cloud and the ring can be dragged to the bottom of the screen and placed in one of the six slots.
The sections of the cloud spell "cloud" and the sections of the ring spell "ring".
You are trying to spell a six letter word at the bottom of the screen using the letters in "cloud" and "ring"
Did you notice any games in the computer that might help?
There is one game in the Word Games area called WordMixer which takes two words and gives you the longest word which can be made from those two words.
Maybe you should try playing the game with "Cloud" and "Ring"
Also, notice that the letters which spell cloud are shaped like a cloud and the letters which spell ring are shaped like a ring?
What is the area you are putting the letters into look like?
The ground. Which is also the word you are trying to spell.
When you have spelled the word "ground" head back out. Now head over to the console again, because you still have to find the document.
Find the bridge repair document filed under standard damage.
Each of the documents is filed in a drawer alphabetically. Just use the guides on the isles, the guides on the drawers, and the rolodex-like-device inside each drawer to locate the document.
As you may have noticed, the document is not filed under either standard or damage.
In fact, all of the filing words are one word long. How do you file something under two words?
Remember the cloud puzzle?
Try playing the game using "standard" and "damage".
You get back "tradesman". The document is here. Go and retrieve it.
Now head up the junction to the light (the original ceiling). Get up on the platform and pull the lever to the right once. This rotates the structure so that when you get off you'll be on the wall side with the cubicles. Head towards them.
Get to the office of pre-approvals located in the far-left corner of the cubical maze.
To go through any of the doors requires colored cards.
There is a lock on each door. The color stripes on the top of the device indicate the cards that you need to enter. The color stripes on the bottom indicate the cards that you will get back.
Exiting the office area results in the loss of all cards.
To enter the Pre-Approval area in the corner, you need three black cards.
You start with two blue, two yellow, and two red cards.
The office map looks like this:
-KKK>-XXXXX XXXXX-B>YR--XXXXX-->out XXXXX-<KKK--XXXXX-K<YB--XXXXX-RY<B- | BY K YR YR ^ V ^ V ^ KKK R BY BB B -RY>B-XXXXX-BY>R--XXXXX-YR>BB-XXXXX-->out out<--XXXXX-K<YR--XXXXX-R<BY--XXXXX-BB<YR- BB K B R RB BB V ^ V ^ V ^ YY RY YR BY YY RY -BB>YY-XXXXX-B>YR--XXXXX-BR>YY-XXXXX-->out out<--XXXXX-YY<BB-XXXXX-YR<B--XXXXX-YY<BR- | YR V ^ out B
Where, BB>YY means you insert two blue cards and get back two yellow cards. B = Blue, Y = Yellow, R = Red, K = Black
Notice the upper right corner of the maze. You can go north and then south, netting a blue card in the process.
From the corner, you can also go left then right to convert two blue cards into a black and a red card.
To solve the puzzle, get your cards and head for the middle entrance on the right side. Enter here (BBBBYR are the cards you have), head north (BBBYYRR), south (BBBBBYR), north (BBBBYYRR), south (BBBBBBYR), north (BBBBBYYRR), west (KBBBBYRR), east (KBBBYYRRR), west (KKBBYRRR), east(KKBYYRRRR), west (KKKYRRR), west (YRRR) and you're there!
Once here, you get the form stamped and you can easily exit out the side door. Now, head back to the light fixture and turn it twice (either direction) and head down the ramp to the office of immediate action.
Unfortunately, he won't help you since his clocks aren't running. You'll just have to fix them. Head around behind him.
Get the earth, sun, and moon to rotate forever without colliding.
When the puzzle is stopped, turning the blue dial rotates the earth and turning the yellow dial rotates the sun.
Turning the white dial changes the phases of the moon.
Pushing the button resets the puzzle.
Pushing the bug lever starts the puzzle going. If it runs a full cycle without crashing, you've solved the puzzle. Otherwise, the puzzle will stop when something crashes.
There isn't a straightforward way to solve this. There is a catch.
The moon isn't there at all when it is in the new phase.
Here's how to solve it. Reset the puzzle and start it up. Let the earth and moon crash. Now, adjust the moon so that the phase is new (clockwise 4 times) and adjust the earth so that it is centered on where the moon used to be (clockwise once). Now start it up and everything should work just fine.
Now head back to the guy out front and he'll tell you to come back in a year. As you leave, you hear a voice that asks you to go to the light and turn it off. To do this, just keep rotating to the left until the lightbulb becomes unscrewed. Then, go get the document she mentions filed under orient militia (which codes to limitation) and back to the light and go to the one face that you haven't been to.
To reach the commissioner's office by dialing his number.
You turn on the phone by dialing the number found on the "orient militia" document (934) and pushing the red button.
The three sliders represent the three axes. Where they intersect is the location that the phone opens up to.
Set the first slider to the bottom. Set the second slider to center of the bottom wall. Set the third slider to the center of the bottom wall. Push the red button.
Reach the commissioner's office.
Manipulating the rock changes the exit.
When the rock is up, the door goes to the ceiling.
The rock can be lowered to the left, right, backwards, or forwards.
Each results in you having a different orientation when you try to go through the door. If your feet aren't on the ground, then you can't get out.
You want to pull the rock down towards you.
You are now on the floor of the commissioner. Walk around to the door above the bridge and talk to him. He wants you to come back when you are facing the right direction. Okay, to do this, head up the ladder on the left, climb out onto the information deck. Then climb over the desk and onto the globe that Atlas carries. This will rotate you so that you are on the bridge and you can talk to the commissioner. You are now transported to the second phase of the game.
Now you are in what appears to be a machine factory. And there is this beast in the center, but he is tied down. You can wander around and explore this area -- there is actually quite a lot to see here -- but the interesting things are up the scaffolding stairs next to the big machine in the middle.
The next four areas can be taken in any order, so just pick a scaffolding and climb it. Each of these four areas relates directly to one of the four classical elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water; and it should be easy to determine which one is which.
Whenever you solve a puzzle, the portal that you came through changes to this view of a starfield and you are taken to a central chamber. You are also shown a card of the scene you just came from. Match it up with the slot below the symbol for the element you just solved.
Using the cannon, shoot the tornado.
The cannon fires where you aim it.
If you look down, there is a small air hole which opens up onto a puzzle.
For every ball in the light green area, you get a red beam when you fire the cannon.
Pushing a blower on the side of the square moves all of the balls in that line away from that blower.
The grid starts with all of the balls except one on the outside. You want to get the entire grid EXCEPT the center space filled so that you can trap the air in the center:
[Label the blowers like this:
ABC M..... L..... K.....D .....E .....F IHG
Push the blowers in this order: EGDDCDFCCCIFFIFIFKIKIKII
Then go outside and shoot the tornado. (It will probably take a few tries.)
Although there is a puzzle here, some narration first. You start by looking at a scene showing several bots jumping down chutes and spitting green ore into a hopper. Then all is quiet. Head down the path to the manufacturing area.
You arrive at a conveyor belt. There is a button there labeled with a symbol in green ore. (I'm calling that symbol "Fore" from now on.) If you push the button, you'll see one piece drop onto the belt, roll down to the next section, and bounce off as the door doesn't open. If you look at that compartment, you'll see space for a cylinder and the following formula on the back wall: "Fore" + (cylinder) = "Delta" [what I will be calling that other element.]
Now head through the next door into the chemistry lab. You'll see a periodic table above the chem set, a tape player to your left, and there are seveal chemicals and a mixing chamber in front of you.
Create the chemical in the cylinder necessary to continue the manufacturing process.
Looking at the tapes and the tables should give you the following information:
To mix two chemicals, put one solution in the left cylinder and the other in the right cylinder and hit the button in the middle. Hitting the button next to the left and right cylinders will empty that cylinder.
The flasks to your left contain the elements R1-R4, Y1-Y5 (but Y3 is missing), and B1-B6 (but B2 is missing).
The formula for "Delta" is R1Y3. The formula for "Fore" is Y3B4
If you mix two "singles", and they are compatible, then they will join to form a double. Red and Blue are incompatible with each other.
If you mix a double and a single, then the two largest elements that are compatible will form a compound. Such replacement can only occur if the newer element is heavier than both of the other elements. A Y2 cannot replace anything in Y1Y2 because Y2 is not heavier than Y2.
Mixing two doubles will cause the largest two compatible elements to form a compound, much like mixing a single and a double. The two elements left over will form another compound.
You are looking for a mixture that will satisfy the formula "Fore"+mixture="Delta", or Y3B4+mixture=R1Y3
Since Y3 is in both mixtures, it should stay the same. However, since R1 is "lighter" than B4, "Delta" must be the leftover chemical.
That means that you would have to convince B4 to join a heavier compound and leave R1 off.
The way to do that is to have B4 and some other element be the two heaviest compounds.
The compound in the mixture must have R1 in it also, so you cannot use a B, since blues and reds are incompatible.
That leaves the mixture R1Y5.
Mix R1 on the left with Y5 on the right. Take the cylinder and put it into the manufacturing chamber. Then push the button and leave the scene.
Connect the power of the sun to the tentacle plant.
When you click on a pillar, the tentacle that hovers over that pillar stops moving.
When you click on the sun, a bolt of lightning shoots down and hits the five pillars in order.
If the tentacle is touching the pillar at the same time the lightning strikes, you hear a chime.
You need to get all five tentacles to chime at the same time.
Just set it up, and make adjustments until they are all positioned correctly. There isn't a way of telling you exactly how to set it up except for the rules listed above.
You start in a large desert area surrounded by dunes and the ocean. There is scrawled into the ground the number "038.1". This area is largely an area of recognizing what goes where; it is hard to give hints for so I'm warning you now that you should only read one paragraph at a time to avoid giving away the entire world.
The first interesting place to head to is that small castle on the dunes. You'll see a scope there which has a dial. The two numbers look very much like they could hold that number on the sand, so dial up "038.1" and enter it in. You'll see that you've struck oil!
Now, the next area to be is the waterfront, all of the way straight ahead. You'll notice an odd area of water where the waves don't line up. Clicking on a section of water will cause it to move. You have to line up all of the areas so that there are no seams. [The water does not have to line up with the water that is not part of the puzzle.] It is easiest to start from the far back corner and work your way forward.
A large area of the ground has lifted itself up. Notice that odd pattern on the side of the ground? Make a note of it (it is much easier to see when you are in or near the castle). Now head back to the castle itself, but approach it from the opposite direction. You'll enter inside it.
Turn towards the central hub. There is a weird design on the door. You need to make this design look like the one outside. You can move lines up and down, and you can rotate them around (they wrap around the edge).
The exact order of the lines is: Top line, left twice. Drag the fifth line up to the second line. Drag the eighth line up to the third line and then left twice. Drag the sixth line up to the fourth line and then left twice. Drag the ninth line up to the fifth line and then left twice. Sixth line, right twice. Drag the ninth line up to the seventh line and then right twice. Eighth line, right twice. Ninth line is correct. Tenth line, right twice.
When you go through the newly opened door, you'll see the area of the ocean floor where the land rose up and see an oil spurt there. You need to find out where that is.
Return to the tower and head for the scanner. Scan north, looking for a feature that looks like the area where you saw the well. This is at location 133.5.
Return to the scope and enter 133.5 into the device and push the button.
You are back in the central chamber. Now, all you need to do is connect the points in the correct order. They will form a pattern that looks very much like the letter M. When this happens, watch the movie, and then return to the factory floor where you will be transported to the next world.
You enter this land in a large junkyard. Run down the path and push the button on the radio; you are then taken to the big hand in the center of the junkyard. There is an empty painting hanging mysteriously in the sky, and a junk plane on the ground behind you. The first thing you have to do is to get the plane airborne. If you go to the engine room, you'll find the first puzzle of this area.
Make the plane fly by making the bird fly straight.
The frames that make up the animation can be moved around and are shown in the order displayed from left to right (looping around).
The frames need to be in the right order so that the motion of the bird is smooth.
There isn't much here to say except for the exact moves that solve this puzzle:
Number the frame positions from left to right from 0 to 10.
Move 4 to 1, 7 to 2, 4 to 3, 6 to 4, 7 to 6 and 10 to 8.
Now head to the captain's chair, look down and turn the key, then follow the directions. You select a destination by clicking on the location on the screen. Since the most interesting place is obviously the frame in the sky, select that. Hmm, not a valid destination? Probably because there is nothing in the frame. We'll see about that. Head for the Statue; that is the right blip.
(In truth, the next three sections can be done in any order.)
You enter the statue and climb up (and up, and up. Reminds me of the Statue of Liberty in New York) to find a large gallery. Browse all of the paintings and eventually head down to the far end of the gallery. Then enter the door on the left and examine the printing press.
Prepare an empty canvas.
There are eight pieces that can be slid around on the canvas.
The yellow button will arrange the pieces into one of three configurations.
The green button will "print" what you have and submit it to the robot artist.
If two pieces are on top of each other, they cancel each other out.
You are trying to obliterate all of the pieces.
To do this, start by taking the unusual piece and placing it in the center of the canvas. Get all of the other pieces out of the way.
Next, take the short, horizontal rectangle and place it so that it overlaps the thin section of the previous piece. You should end up with two squares, slightly offset from each other.
Next, take the other horizontal piece and place one end of it on the upper square. This should obliterate the existing square and leave you with a new square.
Next, take the vertical rectangle and place it over the lower square so that it obliterates that square and leaves another one below it.
Now take a pair of triangles and join them into a square and place it over one of the squares. Use the other pair of triangles to obliterate the other square.
Hit the green "print" button.
The robot will paint a scene and mount it. If you flip the switch next to the painting, it will transmit that picture to the frame in the sky.
Since there is now something in the frame, return to the plane and try to fly towards it. The plane complains that it is a non-regulation destination and the plane is configured for regulation flight. Looks like you need to figure out how to make a non-regulation flight. Head for the Piazza instead (the left blip).
As you get off the plane, you see a building floating in the sky. As you enter, you see a four-by-four playing area with a robot that wants you to catch your inspiration.
Trap the robot who gave you your original message about inspiration.
You both are on a grid. You start at the lower-right and the robot starts at the upper-left.
You take turns moving. You can only move up, down, left, or right. (In the game interface, only moving forward counts as a move; turning to the side does not.)
Before you move, you can make one of the sixteen objects vanish. This prevents the robot from moving into that square.
You cannot make the object that the robot is currently hiding behind vanish, but this is a good way to find the robot.
Below is a series of "best moves" that will allow you to win. In general, ignore the robot until you are in one of the four center squares on the board. If the robot is on the same side of the grid as you, then use the solutions; otherwise step onto that side of the grid.
Key: . = free space; * = space with object removed; y = You; r = Robot's current location, n = next move. To read the key, you remove the object from the space marked with a * and then move in the direction towards the n.
If you are on the same side of the grid as the robot, then the robot can only be on one of the squares marked. The first pattern is a "win", the second and third both lead to the first pattern.
rn.. (Win!) .*r. .... *y.. .yn. .ynr .... .... ...* .... .... ....
After you have won, go up the stairs at the back of the game board. You'll see a miniature version of the game. There isn't really a game to play here, but notice the chimes that get made after each move you make. It is one for every space away the robot is.
Now return to the plane. Start up the flight sequence again. Notice how the switchboard looks a lot like the game board. And notice that after you flip switch D1, the light next to D1 is lit green (representing "you") and the light next to A4 is lit red (representing the robot), but won't stay open. If you open any cover, that is like removing the object. Try playing the game; when you win, you'll be in non-regulation flight mode. Select the Frame in the Sky. The plane will complain that weather forces you to use a computer pilot. Try flipping the large red lever. The plane says that it is missing a crossover chip that allows you to change control over to the computer. Need to go get that chip.
Fly to the Church of the Machine (the center blip).
Right inside the front door, there is a view of the central area. There is also a small conductor. He will show you a map of the area that has curious designs labeled at the end of the halls. After you have looked at it, head down the stairs and look at the large bot in the center of the room.
It is located directly in front of a chip. When you climb inside the mouth of the machine, a programming board appears.
Program the chip by burning the three symbols into it.
The eleven symbols at the bottom of the screen represents a program that the machine will follow.
The first symbol is unchangeable -- the gets the chip and holds it up to the light. This only works if the machine is in the center of the temple, facing north.
The arrows instruct the machine to turn in that direction (or not to turn at all, for the straight arrow) and then move one space forward.
If the machine reaches the end of the north, west, or east corridor it will burn a symbol onto the chip. Order does not matter; burning a symbol twice will not hurt.
If the robot stands next to one of the statues in the southern area, it will adjust its program exactly as if the human pilot had entered the key that is next to each symbol. The direction the machine faces is not important.
If the robot ever runs into a wall, or executes the "chip" program without being at "home", the program will end and the chip will be erased.
The program always starts with both the green "cursor" and the instruction "pointer" at the beginning. Every time the program reaches the end, both the cursor and the pointer are reset to the start and the program resumes.
Pulling the lever in the corner will start the program. Pulling it again will abort the program and reset everything.
There are no enough slots to simply walk to all three sides of the temple and return back.
And if you don't change the program, there won't be any way of getting all three symbols.
What you have to do is get one symbol, then edit the program so that you are ready to get the next symbol.
You can get the first symbol by using the instructions, Right, Forward, U-Turn, Forward, Left. This will leave you facing south.
Getting another symbol would start with the instructions, Left, Forward, U-Turn, Forward, Right.
Notice that these patterns are exactly the same except for the first and last instruction?
If after you executed these instructions, you went into the south area and visited the "Next", "Down", "Next 4", and "Up" re-programming statues, that would change the first instructions to go from one direction to another. [The first next moves the cursor from the "Chip" code to the first direction. "Down" changes Right to Straight (and then to Left). "Next 4" skips to the "last" code. And "Up" changes the Left to Straight (and then to Right).
Then head back north so that you are in the right position.
This sequence of instructions is: Chip, Right, Straight, U-Turn, Straight, Left, Left, Right, Right, Right, Straight.
After you run the program, get the chip and place it in your ship. There is a place labeled "insert" to the right of the door to the engine where it can be placed.
Now you should be able to give the computer pilot control, enter non-regulation flight, and select the Frame as the destination.
You enter this world on this wild pathway. Head down the pathway (though the green door) and continue straight at the junction. You'll hear Max call out to you at this point, but the path to him seems blocked.
Reach Max by positioning the pieces to form a continuous path.
There are three horizontal pieces and three vertical pieces.
When you move pieces up and down, only the vertical pieces move. When you move left or right, only the horizontal pieces move.
If a piece is blocked by another piece, or at the end of the play area, the piece will not move.
Make the following moves:
Up three times.
Left seven times.
Right four times.
Now head down the path. Max seems in pain. Look down and remove the cylinder of chemical and pour it into one of the tubes to the left or right. He'll tell you to head back to the keypad at the location where you came in. Run back there and work on the last puzzle.
Make the manual override switch visible by pushing the eight keypad buttons.
There are eight real buttons and eight phantom buttons.
If you push a real button, it lights up.
If you push a phantom button, it resets the keypad and all of the phantom buttons move one square.
Hit buttons at random until you hit a phantom button. When it does, try to watch to see which eight buttons are the phantom buttons. Then hit the other eight.
You now go through the endgame. You can either flip the switch back or do nothing during the five second countdown. The two ending are both short and disappointing. I wish the ending was as thorough as the rest of the game, but given the choice between endgame animation and gameplay, I prefer gameplay.
Enjoy, and wait for the next Myst like game.