By Al Giovetti
Lead Artist:

Obsidian Walkthrough

    * The Bureau
    * Spider Realm
    o Fire Balcony
    o Air Balcony
    o Metal Balcony
    o Oil Balcony
    * Bismuth
    o The Plane
    o The Statue
    o The Piazza
    o The Church of the Machine
    o The Frame in the Sky
    * Conductor Realm
    o Max's Prison
    o Control Room

    I've broken this section into two separate areas: one for gentle and semi-gentle hints; the second is spoilers and walkthroughs. I've placed the spoilers in a separate page to prevent any accidental glimpsing of the solutions. Consider it instant-gratification prevention.

    The Bureau

    The majority of The Bureau can be figured out with the help of the upside-down section of the manual. If, for some reason, you're one of those types that derives some perverse pleasure from torturing yourself by not reading the instructions, do so. --------------------------------------

    Spider Realm

  1. A general hint for this realm is to make sure you find all the places you can travel to. Specifically, several of the large scaffolds in the center of the factory can be climbed. This is not always immediately obvious and bears mentioning to save your sanity and keep frustrations levels low.

    Once you have harnessed each of the elements, returning through the portal will take you to a sort of control room. You will be shown a large star field through a window, and a small snapshot of whatever balcony you just returned from. Note that you can look down from the view of the stars, where you'll find the photo, a strange central symbol, and four slots with matching icons.


  2. * One photograph, four slots. That's a 25% chance.
  3. * Ancient civilizations created constellations in the stars, usually of symbols that held some import or power to them. The symbol on the center of the console seems pretty important to someone...

    Fire Balcony

    The Fire Balcony is only one scene: a starkly evocative image of a strange tree waving its limbs up and down against a fiery sky.

    Gentle hints:

  4. * Beneath each limb, a rod is set into the rock. Click them and watch what happens.
  5. * Did you notice the sun peeking through the clouds?

    Less gentle:

  6. * Clicking and holding on the rods causes the appropriate limb to stop waving. By doing so, you can change the order in which the limbs touch the rods.
  7. * Lightning never strikes the same place twice - it strikes different places all in sequence.
  8. * What would happen if lightning were to strike a rod when a limb was touching it?

    Air Balcony

    The Air Balcony is a landscape of gray-purple spheres, a strange cannon, and a tornado. Note than you can look down from the screen with the cannon.

    Gentle hints:

  9. * Ready, aim, fire: the cannon fires a sphere, which strikes the ground and causes a column to raise up. Tornadoes don't like cylinders.
  10. * Maybe that break in the pipe has something to do with something...

    Less gentle:

  11. * Hmm, some sponge balls and some air squeezers. Try arranging the balls in various ways on the grid.

    Metal Balcony

    A parade of nanobots, leaping off a rock formation and depositing green somethings into a funnel. Then, they stop.

    Gentle hints:

  12. * There's a conveyor belt with a strange symbol. Press the button.
  13. * Look inside the access panel at the other end of the conveyor belt. We've got an empty space that seems to hold a container - maybe some kind of catalyst?
  14. * Make a note of the "formula" on the back wall of the access panel.
  15. * How did you fare in chemistry class? Not so good? To the right of the chemistry set are some instructional videos. Watch them, and take good notes, student!
  16. * Also, students are advised to study the Periodic Table overhead.

    Less gentle:

  17. * You need to prepare a formula that changes "green" into "orange".
  18. * You've got a vial of "green" to test your theories.
  19. * Compare the diagram overhead with the arrangement of test tubes on the left. Pouring a test tube into a beaker will show you the "number" of that element.
  20. * Watch the videos again, paying close attention to what happens when two "double" elements are combined. There's a rule that obeys when they mix and when they don't. Count your "pips".

    Oil Balcony

    The Oil Balcony is a sandy dune-covered place with an elaborate sand castle. Those sound like seagulls in the distance...

    Gentle hints:

  21. * There's a number written in the sand at your feet. Find something else that will use these numbers.
  22. * Something's wrong with the ocean - it's out of sync.

    Less gentle:

  23. * Can't find any more oil? The ocean is a great source of oil, but the choppy waves make any kind of drilling impossible. Smoother seas would probably make a big difference.
  24. * Did you cross the suspension bridge that leads into the and castle? Not the way to the oil collector, but around the front. Up the long, long spiral staircase is a survey map that might help you look for oil. Scroll the map to a spot that produced oil, but is now dry. The map still looks the same, however. Pay attention to those topographic lines and see if you can find a similar arrangement somewhere else. --------------------------------------



    Not much to do here, except to scale the mountains of junk.

    The Plane

    Fly, fly away. At least that's the general plan. Might take some pre-flight work, however.

    Gentle hints:

  25. * Have a seat, pilot. Make sure you look to the right to check out your copilot.
  26. * Turn her on and let's fly. Hmmm. No power. Maybe you should go aft and check on the engine.

    Less gentle:

  27. * Watch the nanobots go round and round. Did you look at what they're turning? It's called a zoetrope.
  28. * First waves, now wings. Perhaps something is out of order.

    The Statue

    A gigantic Bismuth, towering over everything in sight. Upstairs, don't miss the fabulous museum exhibits. Take a painting class from Bismuth.

    Gentle hints:

  29. * Try the yellow button. Watch the shapes change. Submit with the green button. Watch him paint.
  30. * Did you try moving any of those pieces? Weird...
  31. * Did you notice what happens when you try to combine two of the shapes on the tray? Nothing happens. Exactly.

    Less gentle:

  32. * Didn't that empty frame say something about the artist combining what came before into a work of his own?
  33. * Bismuth doesn't like any of your designs? Maybe he's a minimalist. Remember the old art adage: Less is more.

    The Piazza

    Don't worry, it's not a chess problem.

    Gentle hints:

  34. * Quite a collection of strange objects, isn't it? Have you noticed you can click on any of them that you can see, even if they're not directly adjacent to you? Keep moving and selecting objects until something unusual happens - it always does. Interesting "music", isn't it?
  35. * On the "north" side of the piazza is a place from which you can ascend to the balcony overlooking the piazza. Stand either on the square with the chess queen or the large urn and face the wall.

    Less gentle:

  36. * "To find success, you must first trap inspiration." A trap is a device or plan that prevents someone or something from moving. Where was the last place you saw Bismuth in the video clip?
  37. * Listen to the music when you step off a square. Count the notes. There seems to be a correlation between the number of notes played and where you find Bismuth hiding behind the playing pieces.
  38. * Practice playing on the miniature game in the balcony. It's much easier when you can see everything at once. Also, one piece has been taken away kind of like you can do by clicking on one of the full-size objects.

    The Church of the Machine

    Worshipping machines is not a devotion limited to the citizens of the Internet; Re-visit your old friend The Spider and see what he can do for you, not to you.

    Gentle hints:

  39. * Don't overlook Bismuth, who's sitting quietly reading a book. Maybe it's a book of spiritual rituals.
  40. * In the catherdral below sits Abraxas, quietly waiting for you to give him some orders.
  41. * What about the blank circuit chip? Three spaces, three designs. Hmmm
  42. * Welcome to the world of robot programming. Program a sequence of steps and enjoy the ride.

    Less gentle:

  43. * Your goal is to have the spider hold the chip up to each of the three stained-glass windows. Each one will imprint one of the three mystical symbols on the chip.
  44. * Note that the sequence of maneuvers will loop back to the beginning once the sequence is complete.
  45. * Also, it's helpful to note that any of the three "turn" moves include making the turn and also moving one space forward simultaneously.
  46. * You have to do it all in one process or the chip's memory gets erased and you have to start over. Don't overlook the advantages of the square loop in the "south" part of the cathedral. Those mystic symbols sure look similar to the programming buttons on the Spiders's control console
  47. * Remember Bismuth and his book? Check back with him periodically - he occasionally reads further, shedding more light onto the mysterious rituals. (Thanks to Pete Hill for this.)

    The Frame in the Sky

    It's not really a place, but a passageway. If you haven't been to the Statue and the Church of the Machine, you'll have to complete those areas first. Also, while probably not strictly necessary, playing the game in the Piazza will come in quite helpful.

    Gentle hints:

  48. * Let Bismuth fly the Plane. He knows where to go.
  49. * Listen carefully when Bismuth gives you directions during the pre-flight check. One of his commands is a bit hard to understand, and confusion is natural, sometimes even beneficial.

    Less gentle:

  50. * Was that B2 or D2 as the second command? Hmmm
  51. * "Kill sequence and begin again." You don't always have to do what you're told.
  52. * Interesting, isn't it, that the pre-flight switch panel has the same number of switches as the Piazza has squares?
  53. * Did you just flip those switches blindly, neglecting to check the indicator lights underneath? Interesting.

    Conductor Realm

    I take no responsibility for any nightmares this relatively small realm may lead to. I know it freaked me out.

    Max's Prison


  54. * I don't know how to hint toward the obvious goal, all I can say is pay attention to the fact that the sections move until they run into another section. If anyone has a specific moves list for this puzzle, please e-mail it and I'll add it in.
  55. * Once you reach Max, you'll need to disrupt the flow of energy that's keeping him prisoner. Look down and yank out that vial of icky orange stuff and he'll be freed. I'd really hate to learn that this is the orange stuff we worked so hard to make in the Steel Balcony chemistry lab

    The Chip

    All I know is that it's the crossover chip from the Plane.

    Control Room

    Ah, the Conductor. Isn't she a sweetheart? Max wants you to flip the switches on the panel to crash the entire system. Easier than it sounds.


  56. * Again, I don't have a specific moves list, but I do know how it works. Max told you to flip "the 8 switches" to defeat the protection. When the switches "move", half of them do not get covered again. By "covered", I mean they don't have the camouflage moving onto them. It's the other 8 you need to flip. Sit far back from your monitor and try-not to go blind by crossing your eyes and trying to watch a large area.


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