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The Space Bar

MobyRank MobyScore
Macintosh
...
3.4
Windows
77
3.3
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Description

Armpit VI is a mining planet rich in ore known as Uptite, which can be refined into the very valuable Upshot. The planet is owned by a corporation named Amalgamated Vacuum, which runs its own Security Force. Alias Node is a member of AVSF, and also the only human on the planet. One night, he and his partner Maksh nearly witness the assassination of a fellow officer during an investigation of a break-in. The trace leads to the local bar, The Thirsty Tentacle. Unfortunately, the killer appears to be a shape-shifter capable of assuming the likeness of any of the multiple aliens in the bar. To make matters even worse, Maksh has been abducted. Alias Node has only a few hours to find the criminal before he escapes on a space shuttle.

The Space Bar is a humorous puzzle-solving adventure game. Navigation is done by moving between pre-rendered backgrounds, which can be viewed from different angles using full camera rotation. Many areas and objects can be zoomed on and interacted with in a fairly detailed fashion via context-sensitive menus. Conversations with the characters contain recurrent commands allowing the player to order them to perform actions, ask about various topics, as well as assume different attitudes. Following the tradition of older text-based adventures, each action advances the game's clock by an equivalent of a minute. Certain events will occur and characters would appear depending on the game's internal time. There is an overall time limit of several in-game hours.

Alias Node possesses a unique ability known as Empathy-Telepathy ("emp-tel"), which allows him to enter the worlds of several alien bar patrons and control them there. Each such segment plays as a self-sufficient adventure game on a smaller scale, with inventory-based, logic, and time-based puzzles. Controllable aliens include a shady character in conflict with the authorities, a teenage tree-like creature "rooted" by her mother, a robot specializing in alien sports, and others. Their gameplay may differ as well - for example, one of the aliens can use his tail for interaction; the insect-like bartender sees the world through his many eyes, etc. Most of the segments also involve unique application of local lore and rules, reading various documents for clues, and so on.

Once an emp-tel segment has been solved, crucial information is obtained, bringing the protagonist closer to the goal of his investigation. It is possible to tackle those sections in any order, but all of them must be eventually completed. In the bar itself, as well as in the alien worlds, the player has access to a map at all times. Alias Node's log contains general information about the aliens and the ongoing investigation and lists collected clues.

Screenshots

The Space Bar Windows Pressing the Scroll Lock key will get rid of the ingenious, yet highly uncomfortable insect view. Now, study the civilization of Zzazzl!..
The Space Bar Windows This vending machine in the bar has useful items for humans and non-humans alike!..
The Space Bar Windows Every flashback has its unique tone and fitting comments
The Space Bar Windows A cowboy-themed bar

Part of the Following Group

User Reviews

Intriguing, imaginative and one of a kind! Windows monkeyislandgirl (8623)

The Press Says

Coming Soon Magazine Macintosh May, 1997 94 out of 100 94
Coming Soon Magazine Windows May, 1997 94 out of 100 94
Just Adventure Windows Feb 01, 2006 A- 91
Gamezilla Windows Nov 01, 2000 88 out of 100 88
Mac Gamer Macintosh 1997 83 out of 100 83
Power Play Windows Mar, 1997 77 out of 100 77
GameSpot Windows Jul 25, 1997 7.7 out of 10 77
GameStar (Germany) Windows Sep, 1997 76 out of 100 76
Adrenaline Vault, The (AVault) Windows Aug 07, 1997 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70
PC Joker Windows Aug, 1997 65 out of 100 65

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Trivia

Meretzky tried like heck to keep the game at a "T" rating to maximize its audience. In the cowboy theme bar, there are "pictures of naked people, sufficiently in sufficiently low resolution so as not to jeopardize this game's rating". Nonetheless, the ESRB slapped The Space Bar with an "M" for drug use in the Auditon and Sraffan flashbacks.

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Contributed to by Adam Baratz (1344) and Terok Nor (19553)