Psychonauts is the brain-child of acclaimed developer and adventure game guru Tim Schafer. Released in 2005, Psychonauts combined the humor and witty dialogue of Schafer's previous point-and-click adventure titles with a full 3D platforming experience.
Originally released on the Xbox and PC, Psychonauts was later ported to the PlayStation 2 and was made digitally available on the PC through Valve's Steam service and Good Old Games.
On September 29, 2011, Psychonauts received a major Steam update, adding a Mac version, achievements, cloud saves, 360 controller support, and Meat Circus tweaks. A Mac version was also made available through the Mac App Store. In conjunction with the release, a free Vault Viewer iPhone app was also released with a complete library of all of the vaults from the game. Tim Schafer and Scott Campbell provided commentary tracks for each one.
The Xbox version is backwards compatible with the Xbox 360 and was released on the system's online storefront on December 4, 2007. On October 24, 2017, it was made backwards compatible with the Xbox One.
Players take on the role of Raz, a boy with psychic abilities who runs away from the circus to attend the Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp, a training academy for young psychics, to realize his dream of becoming a Psychonaut. When the camp's supervisors realize that Raz has run away from home, they call his parents and tell them to pick him up the next day, but due to the surprising strength of Raz's mind, they allow him to train until his parents arrive.
His training begins with Coach Oleander's training ground. This war torn mind acts a tutorial level, explaining all the elements (figments, emotional baggage, mental cobwebs and vaults) Raz will encounter during his adventures as a mind traveler.
After completing Basic Braining, Sasha Nein invites Raz to his laboratory for further research. In the lab, Nein tells him he would like to try the Brain Tumbler on Razputin, which is a machine that allows the one who uses it to access the Collective Unconscious, a network of all the minds Raz has entered. From here, Sasha instructs Raz to enter his own mind.
At first, everything in Raz's mind seems sound, as he sees images of his childhood. Eventually, however, he starts to see things that he doesn't understand, such as meat, steaks, and a curious rabbit, which Nein dismisses as a primal fear or memory. Raz continues along until he finds a shadowy monster that spits a diving helm at him just before Nein pulls him out of the experiment since it is too dangerous for Raz to continue without the right abilities. He's instructed to ask Ford Cruller for permission to learn the Psi-Blast ability.
After receiving clearance, Sasha teaching Raz how to use Psi-Blast. Raz enters Sasha's shooting gallery -- a cube and close representation of how Sasha's mind is like: sparse and organized. Sasha leaves Raz alone to practice his Psi-Blast ability against censors, allowing him to chose how many will pop out at a time. Being a rush to become a Psychonaut, Raz tries to set it to the maximum level, but ends up breaking the machine instead, therefore unleashing chaos on Sasha's mind. After closing all the censor dispensers, a "Mega-Censor" appears due to build-up from all the dispensaries being closed. When Raz defeats it, Sasha gives him the the marksmanship merit badge and prepares to send Raz back into his own mind to face the monster.
Raz re-enters his psyche, Psi-Blasts the monster's face, and proceeds following the mysterious bunny when he reaches a creepy tower. In it, he sees Dogen and what appears to be a blue skinned, psychotic dentist who's set on removing Dogen's brain. Raz tries to reach him, but is unable. Sasha tells him to attend Milla Vodello's levitation class in order to save the poor about to be brainless kid.
He goes to Milla's levitation class, enters Milla's party crazy mind, and finally learns levitation. Before learning it, though, he sees Lilly and they end up discussing the nightmares they've been having that are, coincidentally, extremely similar, and decide to meet that night at the lake. Afterwards, Razputin returns to get his brain tumbled once more.
He uses his levitation ability to glide thanks the floating powers of rotten meat stench (yes, it's true) and gets inside the tower only to discover that the insane dentist has already removed it with super sneezing powder, which makes anyone who smells it to sneeze and expel his brain. That's how powerful this powder is. But not only that, he also finds Lili, Raz's love interest, in the same tower. But Loboto (the dentist) just closed the door behind him. So Raz's only option is to go save Dogen's brain. He goes into the sewer system where Loboto's just thrown the brain only to encounter a psychic tank that picks up Dogen's brain and uses it to work properly. After defeating the psycho tank, Raz ends up in a white room incredibly similar to one that was in Oleander's mind, and discovers the coach's plans to take over the world by building an army of these psychic death tanks that run on human brains. Sasha pulls him out only to tell Raz that he has to go on "official Psychonauts business" without even letting Raz explain what he's just discovered. But the agent has left one crucial item behind, the Psycho-portal, which allows to go into other people's minds. Raz picks it up and continues to explore on his own. But he will eventually have to go to the meeting with Lilly at the lake. They talk about Oleander's plans and how they need to do something about and Lilly does get a bit too excited about it and asks Raz to kiss her, but all this joy is interrupted by the appearance of a giant lungfish who swallows Lili and takes her underwater. Raz follows the lungfish by getting inside a giant diving helm and confronts it and when he finally beats it he learns that the lungfish used to be normal but Dr Loboto and Oleander have transformed it into what it is now. To save Lilly, Raz must get into the mutated lungfish's mind.
Inside its mind, or Lungfishopolis (because that's the name of the level), Raz will have to free the lungfish resistance who are trying to fight against a mysterious entity known as Kochamara that since it has arrived has been terrifying the poor inhabitants of Lungfishopolis. In this mind Raz is a giant that the lungfish have named Goggalor, and are very hostile towards him. After freeing the resistance, acquiring the Shield ability and reaching the island where Kochamara is emitting his broadcast from a radio tower that the resistance have told Raz to destroy to end Kochamara's reign, Raz fights the other giant which is none other than a projection of coach Oleander that helps him control the giant lungfish's mind. Raz defeats him, destroys the tower and frees Linda (that's the name of the lungfish). After that Raz asks Linda to take him where he left Lilly, and the latter swallows our hero and transports him to the Thorney Towers Home for the Disturbed asylum.
At the entrance he will find the guard, Boyd, who seems extremely troubled and can't stop rambling things about some milkman. Boyd won't open the door for Raz, so he must help him fight his personal demons. One Psycho-portal to the face later and Raz enters the Milkman Conspiracy level. In this level Raz will have to help Boyd find the milkman, since it's the element that seems to bother him so much. Raz obtains the clairvoyance power and discovers that Boyd thinks the Milkman is dead, so Raz goes to the cemetery to check. But first he will have to do a series of errands since agents are heavily guarding the area also looking for the Milkman and all the milk conspirators and won't let him go through certain places if he doesn't have the right item. After obtaining some flowers and passing as a grieving widow, Raz enters the graveyard only to discover that the Milkman is not dead. Exploring a bit further he discovers that the Milkman is guarded by some girls called the Rainbow Squirt and their leader, the Den Mother. Raz fights and defeats the latter and thus freeing the Milkman which actually is Boyd's hidden persona, an arsonist disguised as a milkman who uses milk bottles as Molotov cocktails. The guard/milkman/arsonist opens the doors to the asylum and just stands with a Molotov cocktail in front of the main building, not knowing if he should throw it or not... the worst is yet to come.
Inside the asylum grounds Raz will have to disguise himself as Dr. Loboto since his sidekick Crispin won't let him get to the top. Thankfully he can't see very well and a cheap disguise will do. Raz will need to get a claw-like trophy from Gloria Von Gouton the fallen actress, a straitjacket from Fred Bonaparte, a descendant of Napoleon who thinks he's possessed by his ancestor, and a painting of Dr Loboto from Edgar Teglee the bullfight obsessed artist.
After helping Gloria fight her personal demons, which in this case are represented as an angry critic who won't let her perform, winning a battle against a mental representation of Napoleon Bonaparte in Fred's mind and helping Edgar Teglee get over his failed relationship with a cheerleader, Raz obtains the three items that will get him to the top of the tower.
While climbing the tower a strange stalker will follow him, which we discover that it's Sheegor, Dr Loboto's scared assistant. She will agree to help him if he rescues Mister Pokeylope, which is none other than a turtle and Sheegor's weird pet. So Raz rescues Mr Pokeylope, gives it to Sheegor and Pokeylope in his deep, Barry White-esque voice tells us the new plan. Sheegor will have to get Pokeylope's brain out, and with Raz's telekinetic powers he will put it in a machine that enhances Pokeylope's mental powers to blast Dr Loboto. They succeed, recranealize Sasha's and Milla's brains and free Lili. But Oleander comes to crash the party and wants Raz's brain. Ford Cruller comes to join the fight and the Psychonauts leave the kids out of it by picking them up (mentally) and dropping them at the entrance of the asylum.
Meanwhile, Edgar who feels well and wants to leave the asylum but couldn't because he was chained to a gas pipe, breaks the chains but also the pipe, but it's okay because there's no gas coming out. Until Gloria who wants water to irrigate the flowers accidentally opens the wrong valve, and activates the gas. Boyd realizes he's no longer the Milkman and throws his last Molotov cocktail into the asylum. Like you would have guessed by now, the asylum blows up, the debris almost crushing Raz and Lili who were just kissing, but Raz activated his shield in time. They meet Nein, Vodello and Cruller who seem to have won the battle as they see Oleander completely brainless (Cruller used the sneezing powder on him) but his brain somehow managed to get into a Psychic Tank. The tank blasts the Psychonauts and Lili unconscious, leaving Raz being the only one to dodge it.
After fighting and beating the tank, Raz goes check it, a terrible mistake because the tank releases some sneezing powder and Raz despite trying not to sneeze expels his brain. Now the only thing he can do is use his telekinesis power to pick himself (or rather his brain) up and put it inside the tank, along with Oleander's brain. This causes the two mind to fuse together and thus creating the last level, the Meat Circus.
Raz's and Oleander's memories of their childhood are now mixed together and it's up to Raz to undo this mess. Raz will have to help young Oleander save his bunny (that his father, a butcher, killed) through the Meat Circus. After saving the bunny Raz will fight mental representations of Oleander's father and Raz's father. After doing this, Raz's real father will enter Raz's mind (or rather the mess that is the Meat Circus), revealing that he himself is a psychic, and that he only wanted Raz to be safe from situations like this. The final boss are the two evil visions of Raz and Oleander's respective fathers combined. Raz's real father will give him all his mental power to become some sort of giant Raz that will be able to beat them. He succeeds and the two minds are separated.
Oleander is finally free from his personal demons and apologizes to everyone who was affected by his evil endeavors, and Raz is awarded for his bravery by becoming an official Psychonaut, but alas, Lili has to return back home. Just when we thought everything was over, the Psychonauts receive a message saying that Lili's father, who turns out to be the leader of the Psychonauts, has been kidnapped. They all go to the mission in a ship and the game ends, hinting at a sequel that may hopefully come one day.
The world of Psychonauts is full of many odd, creative characters.
|The main protagonist of the game, Razputin (Raz for short), left his home of the circus to join the Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp. Raz displays amazing mental abilities, and quickly becomes envied by other campers Bobby and Benny. He also develops feelings for a female camper Lili. Raz becomes the protege of the camps' teachers and finds himself on a mission to stop his evil coach, Coach Oleander.|
|Ford is one of the original Psychonauts and acts as a mentor for Raz. He works as a janitor, chef, ranger, and lifeguard at Whispering Rock. He owns a secret laboratory at Whispering Rock, where Raz can get new abilities and deposit his many collectibles.|
|An intelligent and elite Psychonaut with a think German accent. He trains Raz and shows him the ins and outs of being a Psychonaut. Like Raz, Sasha ran away from home to become a Psychonaut.|
|Milla is another elite Psychonaut who teaches Raz the power of levitation at her dance party. She is a partner of Sasha.|
|Morceau Oleander, better known and Coach Oleander, is the head of Basic Braining at Whispering Rock. He has a tough, no-nonsense attitude that is meant to turn young kids into Psychonauts.|
|Also known as the Milkman, Boyd is a paranoid, troubled security guard. Boyd has a level taking place in his mind called the Milkman Conspiracy.|
|Modified by Oleander's experiments, Linda is a terrifying creature living at the bottom of the Whispering Rock lake. If Raz falls into the water, Linda grabs him and brings him to shore. Raz fights her underwater in a giant bubble. Raz finds out she was under mind control, and becomes her friends. Linda gains Raz access to Lungfishopolis.|
Gameplay consists of traditional platforming elements combined with puzzles and obstacles that must be thwarted using Raz's ever-increasing arsenal of psychic powers. During the course of his adventures Raz learns new powers, including telekinesis, invisibility, and pyrokinesis. While proper use of these new abilities is necessary for completing the game's main story, Psychonauts allows for more creative uses of Raz's powers on friends and foes alike, often resulting in entertaining results.
Like any good modern platformer, Psychonauts offers tons of collectibles for the player to get. Certain collectibles will allow Raz to advance in rank which is necessary for him to learn new powers or upgrade them while others are just there to learn a bit more about certain characters and their background or the development process of the game.
Psi-cards and psi-cores are the first collectibles the player will find. In order to advance one rank the player will need to find nine Psi-cards, combine them with a Psi-core using a machine in Ford Cruller's headquarters that will make Raz advance a whole rank. Nine Psi-cards with a Psi-core is called a Psi Challenge Marker. It's pretty rare to find them in their original form, and reaching them is usually a challenge.
While exploring other people's minds Raz will collect figments of their imagination. These are pretty common and each one of them have a certain number of points assigned to them. When Raz has collected 100 of these "figment points" he will advance one rank. Raz starts the game at level 1, and the maximum level is 99.
Emotional baggage in this game is literally what the name says. Crying suitcases, purses, steam trunks and whatnot. To be precise in every mind there is a suitcase, purse, duffle bag, steam trunk and a hatbox that has to be assigned to their respective tags. Once this is done their Primal Memories will be unlocked which is actually art concepts scripts and etc that the developers have used for making the game.
Raz will also find in all the minds he enters Mental Cobwebs that plague the mental landscape. To retrieve them he will need a cobweb duster and if he brings them to the machine in Cruller's headquarters it will make him progress one rank for each cobweb collected.
Mental vaults contain memories of the person's mind he's exploring that are important and contain a diaporama explaining a bit of that specific character's background.
Finally by the last half of the game Raz will have to recuperate his fellow psycadets brains for reasons explained in the plot section. Each brain will give him one mental health point which is represented by a little brain in his health bar.
Merit Badges, Psychic Powers and Upgrades
Throughout the adventure, Raz will get Merit Badges that allow him to use different psychic powers and get to different areas in the camp. These merit badges he receives will either be given to him for completing a certain level or by obtaining a specific rank.
|Badge / Power||Description||Requirements|
|Basic Braining||First badge obtained in the game; allows access into the main campgrounds and surrounding area.|
- Complete "Coach Oleander's Basic Braining"
|Unlocks the Psi-Blast ability; as the name implies, this ability allows Raz to fire a power blast of psychic energy.|
- Chain Blast - Shots bounce off of up to 3 nearby enemies and/or objects. (Rank 40)
- Super Chain Blast - Shots bounce off of up to 6 nearby enemies and/or objects. (Rank 70)
- Infinite Ammo (Rank 95)
- Defeat the Mega-Censor in "Sasha's Shooting Gallery."
|Oarsman||Allows Raz to use the canoe at the lake; required to attend Milla's levitation class.|
- Complete the second part of "Brain Tumbler Experiment."
|Unlocks the levitation ability, allowing Raz to roll around on a psychic ball, jump onto farther/higher surfaces, as well as float and glide.|
- Wrecking Ball - Energy ball does damage to enemies while moving at full speed. (Rank 50)
- Rolling Havoc - Energy ball does damage to enemies at all times. (Rank 75)
- Complete "Milla's Dance Party."
|Protects Raz from all enemy attacks for a short period, though prevents him from moving ahead.|
- Offensive Shield - Enemy projectiles bounce off of shield. (Rank 55)
- Ferocious Aura - Deflected attacks damage nearby enemies. (Rank 80)
- Obtained at the beginning of "Lungfishopolis," from the resistance.
|Allows Raz to view the world through the eyes of another character or enemy. This can also be used in combination with some items, which will allow him to see through the eyes of the object's owner.|
- Obtained at the beginning of "The Milkman Conspiracy," in Boyd's fridge.
|Unlocks the "Confusion Grenade." As its name implies, enemies hit with the attack become so confused that they are unable to attack.|
- Sensory Scramble - Confusion effects longer and reach a wider area. (Rank 85)
- Infinite Ammo (Rank 95)
- Obtained during "Black Velvetopia," given by El Luchadore.
|Pyrokinesis||Allows Raz the ability to set enemies and objects on fire with his mind. Neat, eh?|
Thermal Detonation - Enemies explode after successful immolation. (Rank 45)
|Allows Raz the ability to move lift/move certain objects, and nearby NPCs, with his mind.|
TK Extension - Extends the throwing range of an object. (Rank 65)
|Allows Raz to turn invisible for a short period of time.|
Advanced Invisibility - Extends invisibility duration. (Rank 60)
Additionally, when Raz is Rank 35 he is able to use the Palm Megabomb, an upgrade to the Palm Bomb, an ability Raz can use from the start. While in the air the player will have to press the attack button as many times as he can to do bonus damage when Raz strikes the ground.
Lastly, Psychic Regeneration is obtained at rank 90 and will fill slowly fill up Raz's mental health.
The graphics and art design are wildly different from any other platformer. The characters look more like Tim Burton creations than Crash Bandicoot clones, having a hand-drawn, hand-sculpted look to them.
Each mind the player enters has its own unique look tailored to the personality and problems of its owner. The environments range from topsy-turvy suburbs, to miniaturized cityscapes, to circuses made of meat.
Scott Campbell, Razmig Mavlian, and Nathan Stapley heavily-influenced the visual design of the game.
Critical Acclaim, Commercial Failure
Psychonauts' melding of strong storytelling and creative level design won it praise among critics, but failed to move copies off store shelves. Tim Shafer estimated that the game had sold 400,000 units across all 4 platforms. The units sold only refer to physical (disc) copies of the game sold at retailers, and not copies sold through digital distribution services or the store at the Double Fine website. It's unknown if and how much of the digital sales Double Fine receives. Often jokingly Schafer has stated if gamers wish to support Double Fine because they enjoyed Psychonauts they should pirate the game and then buy a t-shirt on their website.
This commercial failure, combined with the failure of the big-budget Advent Rising, resulted in the near-bankruptcy of Majesco publisher of Psychonauts.
-Coach Oleander's speech can be re-enacted by Raz in game by going to the camp's welcoming area, standing on the tree stump and using the interaction button.
-Mr. Pokeylope can be brought back to the camp and shown to each of the campers, providing they have been rebrained.
The Double Fine store made two separate soundtrack albums produced in 2005 available for purchase.
Psychonauts Original Soundtrack
Music by: Peter McConnell
|Track #||Track Name||Track Length|
|3||Stay Out of the Moonlight||4:30|
|6||The Lungfish Lair||1:55|
|7||The Milkman Conspiracy||1:41|
|8||Dr. Loboto's Lab||1:56|
|9||Duel With The Critic||1:22|
|10||The Catwalk Phantom||1:51|
|11||March of the Inmates||1:42|
|12||Sasha's Immaculate Mind||1:41|
|13||The Censors Unleashed||1:30|
|15||The Wild Bull Run / El Odio||1:38|
|17||Gloria's Secret Garden||1:54|
|18||Bonita's Tragic Muse||2:14|
|20||Title and End Credits||4:38|
Psychonauts Original Cinematic Score
Music by: Peter McConnell
|Track #||Track Name||Track Length|
|2||Bobby Zilch and Sasha||2:06|
|3||The World is a Better Place||1:03|
|4||March of the Psychonauts||2:45|
|6||Was that a Dream?||2:39|
|7||Top O' the Lungfish||2:05|
|8||Call Me Linda||0:57|
|9||Dr. Lobato's Evil Plans||1:49|
|10||Ah, the Theater!||2:11|
|11||Rise Up Milkman||2:34|
|13||Beauty and the Bill||0:59|
|14||Love Found and Lost||1:56|
|15||End of the Asylum||3:21|
|18||Psychonauts Theme Medley (Remixed and Remastered)||4:29|
- Operating Systems: Windows 98 SE/2000/ME/XP.
- Processor: 1.0 GHz Pentium(R) III and AMD Athlon.
- RAM: 256 MB.
- Video Card: 64MB GeForce 3 or higher, or ATI(R) Radeon 8500 or higher (excluding GeForce 4 MX).
- Sound Card: DirectX 9.0 or higher compatible.
- DirectX version: 9.0 or higher (included on game disc).
- Hard Drive Space: 4.0 GB minimum hard drive space.
- CD-ROM: 16X or faster.
- Operating Systems: Windows 98 SE/2000/ME/XP.
- Processor: 2.0 GHz Pentium IV and AMD Athlon.
- RAM: 512 MB.
- Video Card: 128 MB GeForce FX 5600 or higher or ATI Radeon 9600 or higher.
- Sound Card: DirectX 9.0 or higher and EAX 2.0 or higher compatible.
- DirectX version: 9.0 or higher (included on game disc).
- Hard Drive Space: 6.0 GB minimum hard drive space for full installation.
- CD-ROM: 16X or faster.