Space Bar article by Al Giovetti
Preview by Al Giovetti, 10/29/96
Genre: animated graphic adventgure
Release: May 1997 new release, October 1996
Developer: Legend Entertainment
Producer: Steve Meretsky
Art: Ron Cobb
Requirements: Windows '95 and Macintosh
History: Steve Meretzky has been involved with Activision and Legend Entertainment. At Activision, in the dark ages of games, Steve worked on text adventures like Planetfall, Leather Goddesses of Phobos, Zork Zero, and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galexy. At Legend, Steve has launched such great games as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice series, Super Hero League of Hobokin, and Eric the Unready.
Ron Cobb has been responsible for many movies and helped with the overall look of many including the Mos Eisley Cantina Scene in Star Wars, Aliens, and The Abyss. Steve has a reputation for a zany unrestrained sense of humor spoofing all types of science fiction and fantasy.
Plot: You are Alias Node, a detective hired by Amalgamated Vacuum on the planet Armpit VI to track down a criminal who is wanted for grand theft and murder of a fellow officer. You've been sent to The Thirsty Tentacle spaceport bar to apprehend the assailant, but you have no idea who - or what - to look for. Literally everything under every sun can be found holed up here.
Try to blend in. The clues all point to a shape-shifter masquerading as another alien. Your job is to find which alien is actually the shape-shifter, and you must use your own mind-melding techniques to access a first-person account of memories from the minds of the aliens you interview. The hardest part is talking with every alien in the bar before the culprit becomes suspicious. Your partner has been taken hostage and his life depends on it!
All of your "telepathic" discoveries take place in the first person so you essentially become a different alien in each of 8 hilarious flashback adventures, which take place in dazzling environments with 360-degree, 3D-rendered views. There are 75 major puzzles and hundreds of mini-puzzles that you have to think your way through fast if you want to solve the mystery in time. Think you're up for it? Think again. And again. And again. And again. And so on.
Game play: You go around the bar interrogating people and viewing the movies until you either die, lose the guy or win the game. When you experience the flashbacks you enter the aliens' bodies and view life from their perspective, similar to what happened in Bad Day on the Midway. In one part of the game you assume the persona of Auditron who can only see things that make sounds. The large insectoid Zazzi sees multiple objects since he has multiple eyeballs. You also assume the persona of a potted plant, limbless alien living in a jar, a robot, and a moron.
Puzzles: Steve has his twisted sense of humor and mentality with him at all times as evidenced by the drink machine called the Mister DrinkMaster 2000 which exists in the game only to make drinks that can kill you. Some drinks which are good for some of your alien alter egos are not good for others and you must figure out which are the right drinks for who in order to survive.
Interface: The interface has a panel across the bottom which has a rudimentary inventory, a character icon, and some other information that can be controlled and accessed from the panel. The game uses a rudimentary parser like interface for determining actions in the world, which are more varied than the ones seen in most modern graphic adventure games. The verbs indlude smell, pull leg, and other lengthly options.
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Chris Hudak, http://www.gamespot.com/previews/spacebar/index.html
Jeff Green, Computer Gaming World, issue 154, May, 1997, pg. 50-52.
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