Adventure Game Reviews
Computer Games for Kids
The Non-Boring Chemicus Walkthrough
Chemicus is an extremely linear game. It's possible to solve some of its puzzles in more than one order, but this doesn't affect the gameplay at all;
there are no optional actions that can be taken, not much of a plot, and unlike the
Myst series that inspired it, there really are no interesting details
to be noticed. So Chemicus is not a game in need of my "travel guide" series of low-spoiler walkthroughs (which focus mostly on
broadening players' enjoyment of games by pointing them towards interesting things they might not have thought of doing themselves).
But there's another kind of walkthrough that might be of great use to you, especially if you're playing with your kids, and that's one that tells you what the
heck you're supposed to be doing in it. Chemicus has no narrator, no instructions, and no logical plot progression, and the whole thing is poorly
and inadequately translated from the German. With two or three exceptions, there is
no indication whatsoever as to what your character is supposed to be accomplishing next, and trial and error is the only way to figure out which puzzle to
attempt next. This can be very frustrating as you repeatedly travel back and forth between five or six puzzles trying to figure out which is the one you're
supposed to solve next and which ones will be unsolveable till a later point in time! It's my opinion that game designers should never waste their
players' time and energy on pointless guesswork. Chemicus has plenty of interesting puzzles that can stand on their own merits, and forcing us to jump
through illogical hoops to get to them does nothing but detract from the entertainment value.
So here's my Non-Boring Guide to Chemicus, in which I tell you exactly where all the interesting parts
of this game are and in which order to do them to maintain the highest fun-to-tedium ratio. There are no puzzle spoilers in this walkthrough.
I tell you where the puzzles are and whether it's possible to solve them yet, but not how to go about it. If you're looking for the solution to a particular
Chemicus puzzle, I recommend the excellent UHS site--you
can only see one hint at a time there, so you can get the answer to one puzzle without ruining all the others for yourself. My walkthrough, bare-boned
by design, is meant to help lead you past those sticking points that are the fault of the interface, bad writing in the game, or just your own uncertainty
about what you're supposed to be doing next. Feel free to print it out and use it to help lend some added direction to your travels through Chemicus.
If you want even fewer spoilers--you're considering whether or not to buy the game, for example, and
just want to know whether there's anything you're going to hate in it--please try my
Chemicus Review page
to find all the pertinent information in one convenient spoiler-free package.
The Non-Boring Chemicus Walkthrough
General Gameplay Tips: Don't worry about making a mistake or using up any ingredient that you're going to need again.
All puzzles in this game can be repeated as many times as you need to until you get the right answer, even those that may initially seem
to have permanent effects. Every time an object cannot be picked back up, it means you will never need it again. There is no way to lose
this game (besides quitting). In fact, you don't even have to bother with multiple savegames: one backup savegame to guard against
technical difficulties is plenty. You can't paint yourself into any corners in Chemicus, and if you try to solve puzzles in the wrong order,
the worst that will happen to you is you will waste your time. Don't worry about your friend's radio transmissions, either. There is no useful
information contained in any of them, and you won't be able to find where he's being held anyway. Just go around solving puzzles. I've
broken the game down into goals for you, to help compensate for the directionlessness of the plot:
Objective #1: Get the safe open.
Objective #2: Figure out how to travel to the other dimension (or whatever it is.)
Objective #3: Power up the transporter (the little spaceship-looking thing.)
Objective #4: Find all the transporter modules to complete the control pad.
Objective #5: Notice the SnPb transporter module doesn't work. It just takes you back to the S station again and makes an error sound at you. If you get out and
look under the transporter, you'll see there's a missing gear shaft down there. Your next objective is to replace that so you can get to the last station. To do this
you will first need to successfully make quicklime and cast iron (in either order.)
Objective #5A: Make quicklime. (This is a doozy; you have to solve one puzzle to get a sample of limestone, then solve another puzzle to turn
the gas on so the bunsen burner in the Zn lab will work, and finally make the quicklime. There's a repair log in the Ni lab that will
give you some important hints.)
Objective #5B: Make cast iron. (The repair log is again helpful. You'll need to create your own sparkler as one of the ingredients.)
Objective #5C: Go to the steelworks and cast the new gear shaft.
Objective #5D: Repair the transporter track at the S station and travel to the last station, SnPb.
Objective #6: Now you finally have all the objects you need to open the locked door in the Cl area. (You will need to create a new object from some others in your
inventory first, but I don't want to give this away.)
Objective #7: The next step is the nose puzzle at the CNO station. You should have found all the clues and ingredients you need to make the correct perfume by now,
but the distiller in the perfume lab will not function until you turn the gas that you had to turn on for Objective #5 back off. (I was unable to find any indication in
the game as to why this might be, but I replicated it, so it's obviously intentional. Just reverse the two steps you took to turn the gas on in the first place.)
Objective #8: Using the mirror room inside the nose building, you can now create the golden right arm you need to complete the statue at the H station. This will
take some doing; first you need to find the golden left arm, which is well-hidden, then you need to solve the beads puzzle on the wall, which requires making a red
bead (try looking up glass colorization in the online tutorial), which in turn requires making the right kind of copper oxide, for which you'll need to solve the puzzle
with the cube marked CU outside the Cu-Ag-Ni-Zn lab complex. Once you've fixed the statue, pull on the arm and go over to the neuron-shaped computer console.
It won't seem like anything has changed, but this must be done before you can proceed (you also need an object here.)
Objective #9: This is the one that had me stupefied for a while. The next thing you need to do is forge a keycard for the door that you cannot open in the room
underneath the pool at the Cl area. As far as I can tell there are no clues anywhere in the game telling you how to create this keycard; I made mine through
trial and error, solving the only puzzles remaining in the accessible areas of the gameworld and seeing what happened. Since this wasn't terribly satisfying, I'll
break it down into goals for you.
Objective #9A: You need a wooden template. (You can just find this.)
Objective #9B: You need a solder template. (First you need to make solder, then fire it.)
Objective #9C: You need a mirror template. (First you need to get a pane of glass, metallize it, then cut it into the right shape. You'll need to
solve the puzzle with the electrodes in the beaker before you'll be able to leave the room with the glasscutter, too.)
Objective #9D: You need to fill a darkroom lightbulb correctly in the room under the pool. (If you haven't yet found this area, you'll need to
solve the puzzle in the main control room that lowers the level of the water to give you access to the door.)
Objective #9E: You need to use these objects to operate the projector in the darkroom at Ag, use trial and error to come up with the one
image the game will let you take a picture of, and develop a picture of that image. That'll be your keycard. Pretty silly, huh.
Objective #10: Beyond the door is a new area with a balloon gondola you must repair and activate to get to the last area of the game.
Objective #11: This is very badly explained, but in order to fix the broken tube in the computer room, what you need to do is create a molecular model of the white
powder you find by the main terminal. Everything you need to do this is in this tower, it's just a matter of operating all the computer terminals in the right order
and crediting your keycard by using the disposal system (disposing correctly of 10 items left me with more than enough credits, if you want to save yourself
a few extra elevator rides.)
Objective #12: Use the main terminal to win the game. (You'll need to place the model and solve a puzzle to figure out the computer's password first.)
And you've done it! Congratulations. It's still not clear exactly what it is that you've done or why it is so important, but nonetheless, this has been an
interesting game and well worth the modest investment of time it takes to play. If you enjoyed this game and are looking for more of the same, you can try the previous
game in the series,
Physicus. Happy gaming!
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