Pages: 1 2
Review by: Jim Brumbaugh
Published: August 7, 1997
Today, life is not so good. Not only are you one of the few humans on this planet, but now, you have been asked to enter a wretched place filled with scum and villainy. The Planet is called Armpit VI, and the place you have been ordered to is “The Thirsty Tentacle.” This seedy spaceport bar is where you must search for the criminal element in SegaSoft’s The Space Bar.
The player of The Space Bar assumes the role of one Alias Node, the main character in this adventure story. In the opening of the title, you learn that there has been a break-in at Headquarters. Since Armpit VI is a “company planet,” and since Alias is a company police officer, it is up to the player to solve this mystery.
Alias, as a trained member of the Amalgamated Vacuum Security Force (AVSF), has the ability to interrogate subjects in a unique way. This technique is called Empathy-Telepathy, or Emp-Tel, for short. When meeting a character, if Alias can engage this character emotionally, he will enter that character’s memories and will experience a flashback. Alias can relive the character’s memory in order to gain an important clue which will help him to solve the mystery at The Thirsty Tentacle. Each flashback is a mini-story in itself, in which the player will have to follow the story of that flashback and perform the correct actions in order to successfully complete that portion of the mystery.
The view in The Space Bar is a 360-degree, panoramic view, and the view pans by moving the cursor to the edges of the screen. When an object can be examined close-up, the cursor changes to a magnifying glass, and a click will take the player to a close-up view of the object. Certain objects will also have an action menu of their own while under close-up examination. Many objects can be taken, and Alias has an unlimited amount of space that he can use as a “stash” for acquired items.
A majority of Alias’ time will be spent interacting with other characters, in the search for clues to solve the mystery. In addition to having separate buttons to use to “Greet” another character or to “Ask About” specific topics, the “Chat” button allows the player a menu full of different directions in which to steer the conversation. It is often through the use of the Chat function that Alias will encourage one of his conversational cohorts to enter the Emp-Tel state of mind.
In order to help catalog Alias’ adventures, The Space Bar provides the player with a Personal Data Assistant, or PDA. The PDA contains a number of functions which will be of use to the player. The PDA can receive messages, and a blinking indicator light will let the player know that the undercover Alias has received a message. The Map function will display a Map of the immediate area, if one is available. Alias’ inventory is cataloged under the Stash button, and the Log button keeps track of the messages that have been received, the clues that have been revealed, and the possible suspects that have been uncovered. There is also a System button which allows access to various game settings, such as saving, restoring, volume of music and sound effects, and graphics options.
The player can expect to encounter over 30 different characters in The Space Bar, along with dozens of puzzles in varying degrees of complexity. Part of the challenge in the title is learning how to solve each puzzle from the within the confines of the particular character that Alias is in contact with at that time. In one instance, after assuming the identity of a plant, puzzles must be solved from a stationary (you might say, “rooted”) position. In another, Alias is in the mind of a creature contained within a mayonnaise jar, and all functions must be carried out by his terminally stupid “mate.”
Pages: 1 2