Obsidian

2 February 1997
Last Update: 11 November 1997

Copyright © 1997 Balmoral Software (http://www.balmoralsoftware.com). Portions copyright © 1996 SegaSoft, Inc. All rights reserved. Republication, redistribution or conversion is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Balmoral Software. Contents subject to change! For the latest information, see http://www.balmoralsoftware.com.


Table of Contents


Review

Obsidian will impress many game players with its superb 16-bit color graphics and smoothly-flowing node-based movement. Essentially a puzzle game, it has little inventory manipulation and even less interaction with people. If you're looking for a traditional adventure game with an emphasis on a well-developed plotline and characters, Obsidian may leave you wanting more. However, it surely succeeds as a piece of eye candy in the Myst flavor.

Especially enjoyable is the Bureau sequence at the beginning of the game, containing some droll references to bureaucracies, robots and a certain best-selling computer game. Unfortunately, this level of tongue-in-cheek humor is not maintained throughout the rest of the game; instead we seem to encounter more and more puzzles loosely connected by a muddled plot about machines taking control away from humans and interpreting their dreams. There's a bit of interaction shown between a female character (whom you play) and a male counterpart, but the acting involved is not particularly uplifting.

There's no doubt that the look of Obsidian is its greatest asset in immersing the player in several surreal environments. It could arguably have been even more visually impressive if additional photo-based scenes like those in the initial forest sequence had been included, but that may ultimately be a matter of taste.

The music in Obsidian was disappointing, considering the calibre of people involved. Far too synth-heavy, it ended up sounding a lot like The 11th Hour, except for some interesting jazz clarinet in the art gallery. It would have been refreshing to have included acoustic formats such as those that were so enjoyable (and unique) in Return to Zork.

The puzzles themselves generally weren't too bad, but a couple of them were very tedious exercises in synchronizing time sequences. The puzzles were certainly original, but not as mentally satisfying as those seen in other games such as Jewels of the Oracle.

The game interface is adequate, with node-based movement controlled exclusively by the mouse. Screen hotspots are indicated by a change of shape or color in the mouse cursor, so there is very little pixel searching required. A game control menu is accessible (most of the time) by using the escape key. The game comes on 5 CD's, and can be started from any one of them.


Walkthrough Abbreviations & Notes

F: Forward (Fn for n repetitions)
L: Left
R: Right
B: Back out
LF: Left-forward
RF: Right-forward
U: Up
D: Down
The spacebar can be used to skip certain video sequences

Game Start: Press spacebar twice, wait for QuickTime logo, press Esc for game menu, select Continue (even though nothing has yet been played)

Game End: Press spacebar to skip credits, must then wait through MFactory mTropolis sequence

Although the minimum game requirements specify a Pentium 90, Obsidian is actually playable on a 486 DX2/66 if sufficient RAM and color depth are available.


The Forest

From your initial position in the forest clearing, move R F and watch the game title sequence. Move D F L F into a tent in a campsite. Open the right-hand sleeping bag and click on the PDA inside. Open it up and turn on its power using the green button at lower right. After a retinal scan grants you access and you see a warning about unauthorized remote entry, click on the red Continue bar to bring up the PDA's main menu. Each of the PDA functions (mail, journal, etc.) can be selected from the main menu. The SRL buttons can be used to move vertically through a data item. Clicking on whatever icon is displayed at upper left will return you to the menu for the currently-selected function, or use the Rotate buttons to select a different function. Clicking on the Home button at far right will return you to the PDA main menu. You can also use the Fwd and Back keys for navigation. When you are finished with the PDA, turn off its power and move B R2 F L to the campsite. If you don't hear crashing sounds and a woman screaming, you haven't finished viewing all the necessary data items in the PDA. At a minimum, you should view: Move F to the base of the Obsidian formation, where you can see Max's cap on the ground and a reflection of yourself (Lilah) in the shiny rock surface. You'll be drawn inside and can see an impressive video sequence involving thousands of mechanical snail-men.


The Bureau

A fractal-like zoom-out will dissolve into the Bureau, the first of several domains created by Obsidian for your discovery and exploration. After a speech from the Bureau Chief welcoming you to the "Regional Administration Facility", he'll try to extend a bridge to you. This effort will fail when the bridge hits a statue of Atlas holding a globe, and it will be up to you to fix the bridge by going through proper (bureaucratic) channels.

You'll start out in an elevator, so look down and push the red button to ride the elevator down to the Bureau's "Atlas face". Move F to the Information desk. Looking around, you can see that you are inside a giant cube, the six faces of which form the floors of various Bureau regions. Click on the bell on the Information desk to hear a greeting from a vidbot and learn that the Bureau Chief has information about Max. Facing the Information desk, you can see that the word "INFORMATION" has been formed by rotating each translucent letter about a vertical axis. For a descriptive animation sequence showing this formation of letters, move R F3 through a red door and click on the large red book. Clicking on the guitarist will cause a letter to be created on each page (alas, the guitarist's instrument is merely approximated by a synthesizer).

Return to the Information desk and explore the booths behind it:

	Mediation					Operations

	Bridge Repair					Productivity

	Reception		Atlas Statue		Travel

	Bureau Hygiene					Sources

	Rebel Control		Information Desk	Hints
Many of these booths have hilarious video sequences involving vidbots in various Bureau departments; be sure not to miss the Myst reference in the Sources booth and the arguing vidbots in the Mediation booth. If you visit the Operations booth, you'll hear a dream reference by Obsidian in its mechanical-woman form - you'll see more of her near the end of the game. The Productivity booth has an interesting double-breakout game that's a challenge to win.

The vidbot in the Travel department will describe each of the six cube faces in the Bureau (which she refers to as the "Regional Information Facility"):

	Atlas Face		Departmental booths

	Records Face		Includes a sunken library

	Nexus Face		Used to access Bureau regions

	Security Face		Uses card-regulated passage between cubicles

	Time Face		Waiting room

	Executive Face		Bureau Chief's office
Opposite the Travel booth is a playback device describing the Atlas statue as a commemoration of the victory of bureaucracy over rebel spherical ideas.

Visit the Bridge Repair booth, click on the vidbot screen and get printed instructions:

Move B L F4 into the sunken library, then move L F LF U F2 R into the elevator and press the red button. Move R F2 to the records department computer terminal. You can press Y E S [Enter] on your keyboard in response to Max's query, but he'll get knocked off and you'll see the Bureau Network login screen.

Press [Enter] for the main menu and note the "Cloud Ring" reference. For now, enter 4 to play a game. At the games menu, select Word Games (3) and choose the WordMixer game (1). You can then type in one or more words (which may be broken between two lines of the screen) and the computer may eventually respond with the longest word made from the letters you've entered, if it can find your initial guesses in the "Bureau dictionary". Suffice to say that the longest word created from STANDARD DAMAGES is TRADESMAN, and the longest (single) word from CLOUD RING is GROUND. If desired, pick the Cloud Ring menu selection on the computer terminal and move F when the door opens. Drag the cloud and ring pieces to the six spaces at the bottom to spell out "ground", then watch a short animation sequence. Turn around and re-enter the records department. Make your way to the TRADESMAN entry in the card catalog, then pick up the Bridge Repair Request form filed there.

From the card catalog, move B R RF L F3 to the Nexus face control platform. Drag the control lever to the right to rotate the Bureau cube faces clockwise (as would be viewed from above) around you. This changes the face behind you from the Records face to the Security face. Move L2 F2 to the new face and listen to the cheerful vidbot. Pick up blue, yellow and red entry cards, two each.

Each of the cubicles in the Security face requires card(s) for entry, and usually produces card(s) in exchange. The exact card outcome is shown by the colored stripes on the card entry devices next to each doorway between cubes or the outside access walkway, as well as by the floor design in each cube. Using the cubicle map:

Cubicles Map

the shortest path through the cubes (thanks to Bernd Eggink) is

8 9 6 3 6 9 8 5 4 7
or, from the position of the receptionist vidbot outside cube 2, move R F3 LF L F2 L F2 R F4 L2 F4 L F2 L F2 R F2 R F2. If you visit Cube 2, check out the CD-ROM and bubble-gum vending machines. Note that entrances to Cubes 4 and 8 produce a black card, while Cube 7 (the Department of Pre-Approvals) requires three black cards for entry.

In Cube 7, move LF to the vidbot in the corner and click on it. After your bridge repair form is stamped with pre-approval, move B L F L F2 LF R F2 back to the Nexus. Drag the Nexus control lever to the right twice to make the Time face accessible. Move R2 F3 to the clock puzzle.

Give your document to the clock vidbot and learn that the clock is broken. Move R LF to the clock puzzle around the back. The object of this puzzle is to synchronize the sun, moon and planet rotations so that they do not collide with one another. The clock is started by the large lever at left. The three knobs at right adjust the starting positions of the rotations, and the white button at lower right can be used the reset the puzzle. While carefully watching the indicator pips on the control knobs, move them in this fashion:

Push the large lever at left to start the clock running, then move L RF R back to the vidbot and click on its screen. The vidbot would be happy to service your bridge repair request, but he has a year's backlog. Looks like you'll have to find another way to the Bureau Chief after all.

Move L2 F3 back to the Nexus. Drag the control lever to the right twice to darken the Nexus and view a message from a Rebel leader. She refers you to a document filed under "orient militia". Move the control lever to the left to make the Records face accessible. Move R2 F2 RF R F and use the computer terminal's WordMixer game to translate "orient militia" into "limitation" (a guess which seemed to elicit the correct computer response was "materiel"). Find the card filed under "limitation", which refers to a dialing procedure for reaching the Bureau Chief's office. Move B R LF L F4 back to the Nexus and drag the control lever to the left twice to make the Executive face accessible behind you. Move R2 F2 to the access panel.

Set the left slider at the bottom, the center slider in the middle of the cubicle maze, and the right slider in the middle of the rectangle designating the Bureau Chief's office:

Selectaphone Dialing

then click on the large red button. A thin horizontal rock is balanced on a triangular rock base. Drag the topmost point of the base straight down the screen until it appears to fold over and point toward you. Turn around and move F onto the executive face.

Move F L F L F R LF R U F RF F R F4. Meet with the Bureau Chief, apparently the only vidbot with a face (check out those eyeglasses!), and get transported to the next Obsidian domain.


The Spider Domain

You find yourself inside a large industrial-looking building or factory, at the center of which is a large, inert mechanical spider:
                                     NORTH

                                Re-entry portal


                                  Spider Head     Fire
                                                  Port
WEST     Furnace       Air        S P I D E R               Giant     EAST
         Cable car     Port                       Metal     Bellows
                                  Oil             Port
                                  Port


                                  Smelting Vat

                                     SOUTH


                               SPIDER FACTORY MAP
Move F LF R into the West end of the factory to face a realistic-looking furnace spewing forth jets of steam. Move F R F L F and, if desired, press the red button to flare up the furnace. Move L F L into a cable car and press the green button to ride it to an upper-level control platform. Move L RF to the spider control panel. On it can be seen individual controls for each of four components that must be made as "offerings" to the giant mechanical spider:
	Fire	Air	Metal	Oil
Further explorations of the factory show that each cardinal direction contains machinery corresponding to one of these components. There are also ports in the body of the mechanical spider, reached by climbing through scaffolding, that correspond to the components. By passing through each port, you'll enter a zone for each component and will need to complete task(s) within the zone in order to progress in the game.

From the spider control panel, turn around and move RF R back into the cable car. Press the green button again to return to the factory floor. Move RF R LF R F L F LF U F2 into the Air Zone.


Air Zone

Here, the objective is to trap the tornado's energy inside an array of vertical rods sent up each time the gun is used to fire a sphere. Save your game, then move D F2 inside the array control. The arrangement of dark-blue balls on the nine lighted green squares controls which vertical bars are sent up by the sphere gun. The arrangement you should try to set up is a ball on every green square except the center one; this will allow the tornado to be trapped inside an array of eight vertical rods when the sphere gun is fired. You shouldn't have too much difficulty arranging the balls on the green squares if you exploit the fact that ball(s) can be moved around the perimeter of the green squares in a clockwise direction. The initial arrangement of balls

Initial Arrangement

can be transformed into the desired arrangement

Desired Arrangement

by the (minimal) 11-move sequence

G C G C G H K I L E K
Note that the game has to be restored in order to get the initial arrangment of balls - if you merely zoom out and zoom back in, the puzzle "remembers" the way you left it. After you've obtained the desired arrangement of balls, move B2 U back to the sphere gun. In order to trap the tornado, which seems to be repulsed from the vertical rods, fire the sphere gun until the tornado moves off one of the edges of the screen. Aim the gun as far as possible toward that edge and make a note of the position of the center of the eight vertical rods. When the tornado returns to that spot, fire the gun to trap the tornado inside the vertical rods. After it's trapped, the landscape of spheres begins to "breathe" and you can turn around and move F into a planetarium. When the Air Zone "postcard" appears, move D and drag it into the lower slot second from the left. On completion of the air constellation and a few stars of the central spider constellation, turn around and move F2 back to the north end of the factory. Move F2 LF R F L F R LF LF L2 RF U F2 into the Oil Zone.


Oil Zone

First, note the numbers 038.1 written in the sand, and the sand castle directly ahead. Move RF and enter those coordinates into the oil retrieval device. Press its large red button to magically extract a quantity of oil from the chasm in the distance. Move B F2 to the shore.

Here you'll see nine wave segments in the ocean; the objective is to synchronize the wave motion in all of them. The wave cycle in any single segment can be advanced incrementally by clicking on it with the mouse cursor. The combined action of all segments can be checked by moving the mouse cursor away from the nine segments. This puzzle requires a fairly high degree of accuracy, but musical cues are presented - there should be a more harmonious sound when the waves are in proper synchronicity. It may be easier to solve this puzzle by first equating all three segments in each row and then matching up rows from back to front. Pay particular attention to removing "seams" between the rows.

On completion, a cube of ocean and seabed under the wave segments will rise up into the sky. Note the strange pattern of markings on the side of the seabed portion as it moves up; you'll get a closer look at this later. Move R2 F LF L2 RF L over a suspension bridge into the sand castle. Here you can get a closer look at the markings on the floating section of ocean and seabed:

Seabed Pattern

Move L LF L2 to a vaguely-similar pattern on the wall. In fact, this pattern is equivalent to the seabed pattern, but with rows and columns out of order. A single row can be moved laterally by dragging it sideways with the hand icon. Two rows can be exchanged by dragging one row to the position of the other. The entire puzzle can be reset to the starting position by rotating away from it. If rows are numbered 1-10 from top to bottom, the seabed pattern can be restored using the following steps:

  1. Move row 1 two positions to the left.
  2. Drag row 5 three levels up.
  3. Drag row 8 five levels up, then move it two positions to the left.
  4. Drag row 6 two levels up, then move it two positions to the left.
  5. Drag row 9 four levels up, then move it two positions to the left.
  6. Move row 6 two positions to the right.
  7. Drag row 9 two levels up, then move it two positions to the right.
  8. Move row 8 two positions to the right.
  9. Move row 10 two positions to the right.
Move F through subterranean and submarine passages to a display of an offshore oil geyser emanating from an underwater canyon. This provides an important clue to where additional oil supplies can be found. For an upside-down representation of the first oil supply found, move U. Turn around and move F R RF L F back through the passages to an oil exploration device. Use the red wheels to set the coordinates to 038.1, the previous place oil was discovered. Note that the left-hand digits can be measured both left and right from the 000 centerline - you'll want to move the crosshairs to the left in order to select the exact coordinates. When properly set, you can see the closely-spaced topographic lines corresponding to the chasm near the sand castle. You need to identify a similar arrangement of topographic lines at the location of the offshore geyser. This source can be located at the position of the floating segment of ocean, coordinates 133.5 Right.

Move B L LF R LF L2 F L2 RF down the stairs and back to the oil retrieval device. Set coordinates 133.5, with the horn of the device facing the floating ocean/seabed. Press the large red button to extract a second quantity of oil and restore the sand castle. Move L2 F into the planetarium. When the Oil Zone postcard appears, move D and drag it into the lower slot at far left. On completion of the oil constellation, turn around and move F2 back to the north end of the factory. Move F2 LF R F L F L RF R RF U F2 into the Fire Zone.


Fire Zone

On arrival in the Fire Zone, you'll see five waving branches on a floating tree, each one activating a light rod on the ground. Clicking on the yellow sunspot in the center of the screen causes lightning bolts to strike the light rods in sequence around the floating tree. The object of this extremely tedious puzzle is to synchronize the light rod activations with the lightning bolts. Clicking on any light rod pauses the periodic motion of its associated tree branch; this is the only method you have for controlling the relative time periods between activations of each of the light rods in the sequence. Begin by establishing the correct order of light rod activations (check the lightning bolts if in doubt); then tweak the activations a bit so as to produce approximately-equal time periods between each activation, but with a larger delay between the light rods corresponding to the fifth and first lightning bolts. This can be done by holding down your mouse button when the cursor is on an activated light rod; immediately releasing the button when the preceding light rod activates should produce a good time separation. Another strategy is to get all light rods activating at the same time, then delay each one with respect to the preceding one until the proper lightning bolt sequence is obtained.

Finally, try to time the lightning bolts to correspond with the activation sequence you've set up. When a lightning bolt and a light rod activation coincide, a loud organ note is heard (a different note for each light rod). This will aid in fine-tuning the final correspondence between activations and lightning bolts. For some reason, the game music could not be turned off in order to facilitate hearing the timing of the organ notes. Note that accessing the game-control menu will reset the puzzle to its original state.

When the puzzle has been completed, the tree ignites and you can turn around and move F into the planetarium. When the Fire Zone postcard appears, move D and drag it into the lower slot at far right. On completion of the fire constellation, turn around and move F2 back to the north end of the factory, where the mechanical spider opens its mouth to show a fire raging inside. Move F2 LF R F L F L RF R LF U F2 into the Metal Zone.


Metal Zone

On arrival in the Metal Zone, you'll see lemming-like mechanical snail-men dropping glowing green objects into a hopper next to a factory in the distance. Move RF through a tunnel to the base of the hopper and press the large red button above a "4" symbol. A green rock falls onto the conveyor belt, but is blocked from entering the chamber behind the perforated doors. Move RF L and note the equation written on the back wall of the processing chamber:

Processing Chamber Equation

This indicates the purpose of the processing chamber is to transform element 4 (green rock) into element "alpha", which remains to be defined. Move R F L F through several doorways into a chemistry lab. Note the vials of red, yellow and blue fluids at left, and the single vial of green fluid at right, identified with the 4 element symbol. Move R, drag the left-hand video cartridge into the slot below the display screen and press the top triangle button to play it. Here, you learn that red-red and red-yellow combinations are possible, but not red-blue ones. Remove the first video cartridge and insert the other one to learn that when a red triangle with more dots is combined with a pair of red triangles with fewer dots, the triangles are exchanged so that the pair of triangles contains the ones with the larger number of dots.

Move B L U and observe the chemical element definitions:

Chemical Table

Here you learn the chemical components of elements 4 and alpha. Move D to the chemical table. Two components can be combined by pouring each one into the clear glass receptacles and pressing the red mixing button in the center of the screen. A receptacle can be emptied by pressing the red button at the base of the brown device next to it. The chemical notation for the contents of the receptacles is shown on the two video screens. The strength (number of dots) of each chemical component increases from left to right in the vial stand at left; for example, the right-hand blue vial contains a 6-dot blue component and the left-hand red vial contains a 1-dot red component. The vials for the 3-dot yellow and 2-dot blue components are missing.

Test various solutions by mixing them with some of the element-4 green fluid. If the result consists of the desired orange alpha element (1-red plus 3-yellow), then you have found the correct solution for the green-rock processing chamber. The only possibilities are:

Mix up one of these combinations and pick up the glass receptacle containing it. Turn around, move F R F R and click on the center of the processing chamber. Move L F R2 and press the conveyor belt button. The enriched green rock now powers up a factory manufacturing mechanical snail-men, who can head for the mines to produce more green rock.

Turn around and move LF F into the planetarium. When the Metal Zone postcard appears, move D and note the shape of the central spider symbol. Drag the postcard into the lower slot second from the right. On completion of the metal constellation, you can connect the dots to produce the spider constellation:

Spider Constellation

Turn around and move F4 back into the factory. You'll then experience one of the more intense animation segments in Obsidian - being eaten by the giant mechanical spider you have now activated. After a short animation segment, you'll find yourself in the final Obsidian domain.


The Junkyard Domain

Move L F2 and click on the red radio button. You'll zoom in on an ornithopter resting in the palm of a huge mechanical hand. Move R2 LF F and note the mechanical snail-men rotating a zoetrope. Move F and you'll see an out-of-sync animation of a bird flying. Click on the bird to open up the zoetrope. You'll need to rearrange the zoetrope frames so that the bird animation is smooth:

Zoetrope Sequence

To check intermediate results, move F and watch the animation. When the zoetrope has been properly arranged, move B R2 F LF D into the (human) pilot's seat. Turn on the ignition key at left and wait for the preflight check to commence. At the verbal prompts, press buttons D-1, B-2 and A-3 (be sure to click on the yellow spherical buttons, not on the black and white switch covers). Use the Destination Selector screen to choose your next destination (the Hand represents the ornithopter base, your current position):

	                    Church of the Machine        Frame in the Sky

	Piazza

	             Hand                                     Statue


	                       JUNKYARD DOMAIN MAP
All destinations except the Frame in the Sky are "regulation destinations" and may be visited (to reach the Frame in the Sky, you'll need a crossover chip from the Church of the Machine). On arrival at your chosen destination, move B F out of the ornithopter.


Piazza

Move F2 into the piazza, where you'll hear a voice intone
To find success, you must first trap inspiration
and you'll see a mechanical man move amongst the squares of the piazza courtyard. Move F4 R F L F L F onto the piazza balcony. Here there is a miniature of the piazza courtyard and you can practice putting the Lilah piece on any occupied square, thus disclosing the location of the mechanical man piece. After playing the miniature game, you'll see that the both pieces must move to an adjacent non-diagonal square every move, and the musical cadence that plays at the end of the move indicates the proximity of the two pieces - the fewer the notes, the closer they are together. The object of the puzzle is to trap the mechanical man into occupying an open square and becoming visible. This puzzle is easier to solve in the full-scale version, so move B L F back onto the piazza courtyard. Click on each of the courtyard pieces until you find the location of the mechanical man. Note that the piece you click on disappears; you'll need to use this feature to your advantage when trapping the mechanical man. The mechanical man can be trapped only in a corner of the courtyard. Note that your game cannot be saved, restored or even quit while you're inside the piazza. Starting from a position just outside the piazza, and using the following courtyard map

Piazza Courtyard

a move sequence that traps the mechanical man most of the time is

Move F2 (onto the position of the red fire hydrant)
Move F R
Click position 3 or 8 to disclose the mechanical man
Click position 7 to remove the head
The mechanical man is now forced to move to either position 2, 4 or 12
Move F onto position 10
Click position 4 to disclose the mechanical man
Click position 8 to remove the fountain
Move F L onto position 11
The mechanical man is now forced to move to position 3
Click position 2 to remove the chesspiece
Move F onto position 7
The mechanical man is now forced to move back to position 4
Click position 3 to remove the jug
Move R F onto position 8 and trap the mechanical man:

Once you've found your inspiration, follow it at any cost, even if that means playing by your own rules

From position 8, facing position 4, move L F3 L F6 R2 LF D back into the ornithopter. Turn on the ignition key and wait for the preflight check to commence. At the verbal prompts, press buttons D-1, B-2 and A-3. Use the Destination Selector screen to choose your next destination.


Church of the Machine

Move F R and click on the mechanical man's open book. He shows you a church map, indicating that three components of what will later be seen is a "crossover chip" can be found in the three alcoves of the church. Click on the book to return it to him, then move R F R RF LF F through the church nave and into the maw of another giant mechanical spider. The spider's arm picks up the untreated crossover chip; your task will be to program the spider to move through the church passageways until all three alcoves have been visited and the chip has been returned to the church nave after each treatment.

First, note that ten spider movement instructions are represented by ten green tabs under the viewscreen, initially all upward-pointing arrows. The instruction currently selected for possible editing is highlighted in light green, and the yellow triangle on the bottom indicates which instruction has last been executed by the spider. The small black left-pointing arrow at lower right indicates that, under certain circumstances, the instruction set of the spider will be repeated from the beginning once the set of ten is exhausted. The spider's program is executed by moving the brown lever at lower right. A square of four controls at upper right can be used to edit the spider movement instructions:

Triangle: Advance editing point to the next spider instruction

Down arrow: Cycle downwards through the set of possible instructions

Up arrow: Cycle upwards through the set of possible instructions

Four triangles: Advance editing point four positions to the right

These controls are also repeated on the church map visible in the viewscreen; when the spider visits this lower area of the church, the corresponding control command will be applied to the currently-executing spider program:

Church Map

As a result, it's possible to modify the spider's program during its execution, which in turn will allow the spider to avoid movements that are completely repetitive. The far-left instruction with a chip icon on it cannot be edited, and must be executed when the spider is at the central crossroads of the map, facing north (its starting position). Also, executing the "chip instruction" resets the current editing point to the extreme left.

The set of possible movement instructions are:

Up arrow: Move forward one node

Right arrow: Turn right, then move forward one node

U-turn symbol: Turn around, then move forward one node

Left arrow: Turn left, then move forward one node

There are 4^10, or 1,048,576, possible ways in which the spider can be programmed, nearly all of which will end in failure with the spider either running into a wall or unable to properly treat the crossover chip it is carrying. Avoid programs with too many U-turns - there are 451 ways to put the spider into an infinite loop! Note that it's not enough to visit each alcove for chip treatment; the spider must re-enter the church nave from the south after each treatment so that the partially-treated chip can be exposed to the central beam of white light. In order to accomplish this feat, the spider must visit the lower alcove in order to have its program adjusted.

The only two solutions to this puzzle are, left to right:

	Solution 1		Solution 2

	Right arrow		Left arrow
	Up arrow		Up arrow
	U-turn			U-turn
	Up arrow		Up arrow
	Left arrow		Right arrow
	Left arrow		Up arrow
	Right arrow		Left arrow
	Right arrow		Left arrow
	Right arrow		Left arrow
	Up arrow		Right arrow
On completion of the puzzle, move F L2 D and pick up the now-programmed crossover chip, then move U R2 F R LF R F R back into the ornithopter. Place the crossover chip into the receptacle marked "INSERT", then move R LF D. Turn on the ignition key and wait for the preflight check to commence. At the verbal prompts, press buttons D-1, B-2 and A-3. Use the Destination Selector screen to choose your next destination.


Statue

Move L F2 R F4 L F2 up ramps and spiral stairs to an art gallery. In the mechanical man's painting studio, move LF to the large printing press. A light table will activate, and you can move variously-shaped black tangrams around on it. Note that when two tangrams overlap, they cancel each other out and a white area is produced. The left-hand yellow button resets the puzzle to a configuration without overlap. You can "submit" your creation to the mechanical man by pressing the right-hand green button; if you haven't got it right, the mechanical man will crumple up the paper and throw it away. What he wants you to do is arrange the tangrams so that they all cancel out and only a featureless white screen results. To accomplish this, separate all the black pieces for easier identification, then cancel the two abutting narrow rectilinear pieces with the two abutting wide rectilinear pieces. Finally, each pair of triangles can be formed into a square, with the two resulting squares cancelling each other out:

Tangrams Solution

The mechanical man seems pleased with the completely-blank canvas you've provided him; he then adds his painting to the art gallery. Click on the activation lever to the lower left of the frame, then move B and press the green button to hear Obsidian's chilling plan for a planet uncontaminated by people:

Obsidian's Plan

Explore the art gallery, then return through the exit door and down the ramps to the ornithopter.


The Frame in the Sky

Enter the ornithopter and move R2 LF. Since the crossover chip has been installed in the ornithopter, control may be given over to the machine-man pilot in the seat next to you, and he will (eventually) fly you to the Frame in the Sky. Lift the red-handled lever at the left to transfer control to the machine pilot. To prepare the ornithopter for non-regulation flight, press button D-1 at the prompt, then disobey orders and press button D-2. Here, the black-and-white switch covers represent a 4 x 4 analog of the grid seen earlier in the courtyard of the piazza . As before, your objective is to force a hidden object (in this case a red light) into a corner position. You can check for the location of the red light by clicking on switch covers; the last one clicked will remain open and cannot be used by the red light. The rules are unchanged from the piazza puzzle - both the green light (your position) and the red light can move only one position vertically or horizontally per turn. The green light is turned on by clicking on the yellow spherical button next to the desired switch cover. Be sure to ignore all the warnings about killing the sequence.

A sample solution sequence for a red light initially in position A-3 is:

Block red motion left by opening switch cover A-2
Press button C-2 to begin to converge on the red light
The red light is found at position B-3
Block red motion left by opening switch cover B-2
Herd the red light towards the corner by pressing button C-3
The red light is found at position B-4
Block red motion downward by opening switch cover C-4
Force the red light into the corner by pressing button B-3
Lock the red light in the corner by opening switch cover A-3 and pressing button B-4
The ornithopter will then transport you to the Frame in the Sky, which now contains the painting seen earlier in the Statue art gallery. After an impressive animation sequence in which the ornithopter de-rezzes and the mechanical man transforms into a machine woman, you'll find yourself in a surreal environment from which the machine woman is trying to "reboot the world" without people.

Move R F2 to a disassembled bridge, beyond which is a strange prison in which Max is trapped.

Lilah, please, come quickly!
Your task is to use the arrow buttons on the control panel at lower left to combine the bridge segments so that a continuous path is created between you and Max. The left and right arrows simultaneously slide all horizontal bridge segments (unless blocked by a vertical segment); likewise, the up and down arrows affect all vertical segments as a group, unless one or more is blocked by horizontal segment(s). The puzzle is reminiscent (in two dimensions) of those wooden sphere puzzles that are entirely constructed from notched straight pieces. Certain joinings of bridge segments may appear to be unsmooth, but at least one of them can be ignored since the "bad joint" seems to dissolve when the bridge arrangement is complete. The puzzle is reset to the same initial configuration if the game control menu is accessed or your position is changed.

Consider the starting arrangement of bridge pieces in an array with 8 rows and 12 columns:

Initial Bridge Arrangement

Since the terminus of the bridge must be in column 5 (ostensibly at row 8), the only piece that can reach Max's prison is F. The only piece able to make contact with F is E, so that must be the next-to-last piece in the bridge sequence. The lowest square covered by F is row 6, column 5 and the rightmost portion of piece E could range from column 5 to column 7. The only piece within reach of E is D, and to make a connection E must be shifted as far to the right as possible, covering columns 5-7.

By similar reasoning, the only remaining piece within reach of D is C; piece D must be positioned to cover rows 4 and 5. Likewise piece C covers columns 8 and 9, in order to reach piece B, which in turn covers rows 2 and 3 and abuts piece A covering columns 8-10.

The final bridge arrangement thus is

Final Bridge Arrangement

The shortest solutions for establishing this arrangement are the following five 16-move sequences:

U D L2 U3 L U R3 D4
U D L2 U3 L U R2 D R D3
U D L2 U3 L U R2 D2 R D2
U D L2 U3 L U R2 D3 R D
U D L2 U3 L U R2 D4 R
When the bridge is complete, move F D, pick up the glass receptacle of orange fluid and drop it into the abyss below. Max is freed from the energy field, but apparently has no time for thanks. Instead, he orders you to set the "eight buttons" and runs off. Left behind, you can move L2 F2 back to the crossroads in this crazy world. If you haven't had enough of Max's abuse, move L F R2 F L. Repeat the sequence for even more fun (are Lilah and Max supposed to be an item??).

From the crossroads, move F2 to a distortion of the ornithopter preflight console. The original ornithopter puzzle has metamorphosed into what is arguably the most difficult challenge in Obsidian (except perhaps for the lightning tree in the Fire Zone). Here, the object is to click on the correct eight buttons from an array of sixteen, but every time an error is made, the puzzle resets! Partial results are not retained if the game control menu is activated, if the viewpoint is zoomed out, or if a previously-saved game is restored. In short, the puzzle resets no matter what you do, short of getting all eight buttons correct without a mistake. When the puzzle resets, half of the buttons (but a different set of eight each time) are obscured by sliding patterns emanating from the rest. Your job is to identify which of the eight buttons were not slid over.

To accomplish this feat, you've got to keep very close watch on all sixteen buttons. We found it useful to have two or more people watch separate rows of the array, but be prepared to clean fingermarks off your monitor afterwards!


Endgames

As soon as you've lighted eight buttons, save your game. On return from the game menu, or after restoring the saved game, you won't have to replay the control panel puzzle. For the endgame sequences, click on the control transfer lever at left, then watch a debate between Max and the machine woman (check out those sexy leather boots!). When your viewpoint is returned to the control panel, you have 5 seconds (shown as a countdown on the control panel) to click on the control transfer lever again. If you fail to click within the time limit, you and Max are transported to the machine woman's idea of paradise, as seen earlier in the painting. If you manage to click the lever before the countdown ends, you get a "better" ending in which the machine woman and her surreal world dissolve and you and Max are returned to the forest.

Check out Scott Harvey's page for more information about Obsidian, including the excellent suggestion of using screen capture to facilitate solving the final control panel puzzle.


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Copyright © 1997 Balmoral Software (http://www.balmoralsoftware.com). Portions copyright © 1996 SegaSoft, Inc. All rights reserved. Republication, redistribution or conversion is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Balmoral Software. Contents subject to change! For the latest information, see http://www.balmoralsoftware.com.