Since Professor Spark's Biosphere, a geodesic dome containing a closed ecological system, is too delicate to be entered, the user must fly one of several remote-controlled probes called "Explorers" through a cavernous maze to reach it. The user moves the around the maze by pressing the right, left, and up arrow keys on the keyboard. The probe has a limited amount of energy, though. Every time the probe bumps into the walls of the maze, it loses increments of energy. However, the energy level can be increased with twinkling force shields, located throughout the underground tunnels. If the energy level becomes completely depleted, the Explorer crashes to pieces and must start over.
There are several airlocks which Polly will only open if the user correctly answers a biology or geology question. The answers to Polly's questions become clues which allow the user to determine which of the Biosphere's five environments she has hidden a Mission Clue or Invention Points in. The environments include a desert, a rainforest, a savanna, a mountain range, and an ocean. The game always begins with the Explorer underground, which Botley notes is unusual.
There are five different environments with animals and plants.
- Grassland (Savanna)
- Mountain Range
Difficulty level differences
- Level one: The explorer goes slow.
- Level two: The explorer goes at a medium speed.
- Level three: The explorer goes fast.
Digital manual description
What's growing in the Biosphere?
The Professor's Biosphere is a grand, growing maze of plants and animals in five different environments: the desert, the tropical rain forest, the mountains, the grasslands, or the ocean. You'll find the door to the Biosphere on the second floor of the Mountain Mansion. This is just the place for Polly to hide Mission Clues and Invention Points. You've got to check this out. But you can't just walk around in there. You need to use a Biosphere Explorer.
To launch a Biosphere Explorer, click on the Launch button in front of the Biosphere Viewer under the window to the Biosphere.
Unfortunately for you - or fortunately, depending on how much you like challenges - your Biosphere Explorer emerges way beneath the Biosphere, in a giant underground maze. To get to the top, you'll have to fly the explorer through narrow passages and avoid dead ends. Also, Polly is up to her old tricks, and sometimes she'll interrupt your trip and ask you a question. Listen carefully and answer correctly, because each answer will lead you closer to where a Mission Clue or Invention Points are hidden!
- Maneuver through the maze using the arrow keys on your keyboard. The Up Arrow blasts the explorer's thrusters, while the Left and Right Arrows rotate the explorer.
- Be on the look-out for twinkling Force Shields, located throughout the maze. Fly over them to pick them up, because they'll help keep the explorer in one piece if you happen to crash into a wall!
- When you enter an airlock, Polly will appear to ask you a question. Answer correctly and she'll give you a hint and let you pass through the airlock.
- Use Polly's hints to select the right environment and land on the designated landing pad.
- Click on the key on your console to open Polly's hiding place and see what's there! When you start your trip, you'll have two keys to unlock the Mission Clue or Invention Points that Polly has hidden inside the Biosphere.
- If you run out of keys before selecting the correct site, you'll have to go back to the Launching Pad to select another explorer.
- While in the water, the Explorer's flames become bubbles.