By Al Giovetti
* The Bureau
* Spider Realm
o Fire Balcony
o Air Balcony
o Metal Balcony
o Oil Balcony
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 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.
- 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
- * One photograph, four slots. That's a 25% chance.
- * 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...
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.
- * Beneath each limb, a rod is set into the rock. Click them and watch
- * Did you notice the sun peeking through the clouds?
- * 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
- * Lightning never strikes the same place twice - it strikes different
places all in sequence.
- * What would happen if lightning were to strike a rod when a limb was
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.
- * Ready, aim, fire: the cannon fires a sphere, which strikes the ground
and causes a column to raise up. Tornadoes don't like cylinders.
- * Maybe that break in the pipe has something to do with something...
- * Hmm, some sponge balls and some air squeezers. Try arranging the balls
in various ways on the grid.
A parade of nanobots, leaping off a rock formation and depositing green
somethings into a funnel. Then, they stop.
- * There's a conveyor belt with a strange symbol. Press the button.
- * 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?
- * Make a note of the "formula" on the back wall of the access panel.
- * 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
- * Also, students are advised to study the Periodic Table overhead.
- * You need to prepare a formula that changes "green" into "orange".
- * You've got a vial of "green" to test your theories.
- * 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
- * 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".
The Oil Balcony is a sandy dune-covered place with an elaborate sand
castle. Those sound like seagulls in the distance...
- * There's a number written in the sand at your feet. Find something else
that will use these numbers.
- * Something's wrong with the ocean - it's out of sync.
- * 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.
- * 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.
Fly, fly away. At least that's the general plan. Might take some pre-flight
- * Have a seat, pilot. Make sure you look to the right to check out your
- * Turn her on and let's fly. Hmmm. No power. Maybe you should go aft and
check on the engine.
- * Watch the nanobots go round and round. Did you look at what they're
turning? It's called a zoetrope.
- * First waves, now wings. Perhaps something is out of order.
A gigantic Bismuth, towering over everything in sight. Upstairs, don't miss
the fabulous museum exhibits. Take a painting class from Bismuth.
- * Try the yellow button. Watch the shapes change. Submit with the green
button. Watch him paint.
- * Did you try moving any of those pieces? Weird...
- * Did you notice what happens when you try to combine two of the shapes
on the tray? Nothing happens. Exactly.
- * Didn't that empty frame say something about the artist combining what
came before into a work of his own?
- * Bismuth doesn't like any of your designs? Maybe he's a minimalist.
Remember the old art adage: Less is more.
Don't worry, it's not a chess problem.
- * 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
- * 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.
- * "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?
- * 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.
- * 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
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.
- * Don't overlook Bismuth, who's sitting quietly reading a book. Maybe
it's a book of spiritual rituals.
- * In the catherdral below sits Abraxas, quietly waiting for you to give
him some orders.
- * What about the blank circuit chip? Three spaces, three designs. Hmmm
- * Welcome to the world of robot programming. Program a sequence of steps
and enjoy the ride.
- * 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.
- * Note that the sequence of maneuvers will loop back to the beginning
once the sequence is complete.
- * Also, it's helpful to note that any of the three "turn" moves include
making the turn and also moving one space forward simultaneously.
- * 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
- * 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.
- * Let Bismuth fly the Plane. He knows where to go.
- * 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.
- * Was that B2 or D2 as the second command? Hmmm
- * "Kill sequence and begin again." You don't always have to do what
- * Interesting, isn't it, that the pre-flight switch panel has the same
number of switches as the Piazza has squares?
- * Did you just flip those switches blindly, neglecting to check the
indicator lights underneath? Interesting.
I take no responsibility for any nightmares this relatively small realm may
lead to. I know it freaked me out.
- * 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.
- * 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
All I know is that it's the crossover chip from the Plane.
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.
- * 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