MicroProse's answer to Space Quest
In the early 90's, MicroProse
introduced us to a Space Quest
rip-off called Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender
. As far as I know, it is the third adventure game that they created after Dragonsphere
and Return of the Phantom
. In this game, space guy Rex Nebular is asked by Capt. Stone to get a precious vase that can only be found on an non-existent planet. If he returns to Stone with the vase with him, he will get 75,000 galactars. Getting this item will be dangerous, as he will encounter beautiful but deadly women who have a personal vendetta against men, and have a need to continue their race using a machine known as the Gender Bender. A ship shoots your "Slippery Pig" down onto a planet, and you land underwater.
You start your adventure inside the Pig. The interface for this game is found at the bottom of the screen, and nearly occupies half of the screen. The first half consists of several LucasArts
-style commands such as Open, Talk to, Push, and Pull, while the other half consists of your inventory (in its rotated state). Clicking on whatever inventory item that you have will bring up a few miscellaneous commands that allow you to manipulate them. The ability to manipulate items like this is not often present in many adventure games. The background of the interface consists of moving pictures, which change to reflect what environment that you are in. Occasionally, a plane will fly across the interface, with a banner saying "Eat at Joe's" on it. Moving backgrounds are not present in the adventure games that I have played and completed so far, and I found them a nice feature to look at. The extra features, including the spinning objects and the moving backgrounds, are memory intensive and are not required to complete the game. So if you are using these and you receive an "Out of Memory" error message, you might want to turn these things off, either via the setup program or in the game itself.
The graphics in this game are good, but they have not got that Sierra
feel to them when they are compared to games that came out at the same time, including Space Quest IV
and King's Quest V
. Some of the music in the game have a similar feel to the music that you hear on the summary screens in Where in Space is Carmen Sandiego? Deluxe Edition
. The MPU-401 sound module is supported, though I did not notice a huge difference in the sound - either it was too quiet or it sounded crap to me.
There are sound effects in the game, but these are very basic, and they don't reflect the sound that is supposed to be heard. Seriously, most of the sound effects in Rex Nebular
sound like as if a person is playing an instrument for about three seconds, then stops.
The Bottom LineRex Nebular
is a good game, though not quite as good as the SQ games from Sierra. However, Rex Nebular
has four endings, whereas the SQ games only manage with one ending. The ending that you see will vary from game to game, depending on what you do. There is only one perfect ending, and this ending is quite funny. The rest of the endings only deal with deaths.