The Space Bar (Windows)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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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 The house of the alien art dealer - one of the many lushly decorated rooms. He seems to possess some very famous human works of art...
The Space Bar Windows No bar is complete without a kitchen - and a cook, naturally!
The Space Bar Windows A new, quiet area of the bar opens later in the game. Just sit and relax... because this game needs everything you've got to crack it
The Space Bar Windows Entering the bar. Talking to Fleebix and Thud - probably the first alien patrons you'll meet in the game

Part of the Following Group

User Reviews

Intriguing, imaginative and one of a kind! monkeyislandgirl (8620) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

Critic Reviews

Coming Soon Magazine May, 1997 94 out of 100 94
Just Adventure Feb 01, 2006 A- 91
Electric Games 1997 89 out of 100 89
Gamezilla Nov 01, 2000 88 out of 100 88
Computer Games Magazine 1997 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Power Play Mar, 1997 77 out of 100 77
Adrenaline Vault, The (AVault) Aug 07, 1997 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70
PC Games (Germany) Nov 05, 1997 65 out of 100 65
PC Joker Aug, 1997 65 out of 100 65
PC Player (Germany) Sep, 1997 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60

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Trivia

Steve Meretzky's daughter Sasha provided the voices of the bibbles in the bibblebonk casino game.

Related Web Sites

Adam Baratz (1344) added The Space Bar (Windows) on Jan 03, 2001
Other platforms contributed by Terok Nor (20166)