Callahan's Crosstime Saloon is the central thread that weaves the tapestry of five mini-adventures into a main storyline that is really the sixth, save-the-universe episode. Action, innovative scenarios, decent puzzles and an abundance of good humor abound in this creative romp through space and time. Your character is wisecracking, fun-loving, folk musician Jake Stonebender who suddenly finds the fate of the universe resting squarely on his shrugging shoulders.
A graphic adventure, solidly in the tradition of previously successful Legend Entertainmentgames, Callahan's provides a satisfying mix of immersive game play, competent graphics, interesting problem-solving aspects and rich, innovative and humorous plots -- all based on the sci-fi ideas of writer Spider Robinson. Game designer Josh Mandel, known for his creative work on Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist, keeps the adventure flowing and lighthearted throughout.
As Jake, your five mini-adventures include a trip to Brazil with Josie the Time Cop to save the source of a rare chocolate and saving the well-mannered, gentlemanly, lovesick vampire Pyotr (previously Callahan's designated driver who tragically became addicted to alcohol) from killing himself over a long lost love. Also, you'll be helping the alien Squish right a wrong he's perpetrated upon the unsuspecting world, rescuing a talking German Shepherd (Ralph von Wau Wau) and assisting a mind-reading, obnoxious, annoying salesman (Al Phee) to get a grip. None of these descriptions will remotely spoil the enjoyment you'll experience during gameplay of these scenarios. All these well-constructed, humor-filled and genuinely funny situational episodes lead to the final chapter where the fate of the universe is decided.
In addition to the puzzles contained within the mini-adventures, there are games within the game, as any time spent in Callahan's Crosstime Saloon will reveal. These puzzles can be tough but you're given the option of ignoring them if you wish. Not all of them have something to do with the game plot but they're a gratuitous add-on for the puzzle-minded fan. The interaction with the multitude of zany, bizarre and interesting friendly patrons at the bar is the real heart of the game.
A slick, traditional click-and-point interface provides wonderful gameplay and every location is teeming with objects to investigate, most leading to very witty and comical results. The graphics are clear and crisp as is the dialogue. There is even a game walk-through included with the manual for those who feel the need for speed.
Between the running gags, incessant punning (there are tons of them), flat out funny jokes and numerous humorous situations, if you don't at least smile while playing this one, then it's possible you don't have a funny bone in your body. In fact, you might be described -- in Callahan's bar game terminology -- as being "an organ of thought and neural coordination, though lifeless," or, simply put, brain dead.
Graphics: Crisp and clear.
Sound: Competent voice acting, good music score, and decent sound effects.
Enjoyment: If you're a fan of puns, humor, and jokes, Callahan's Crosstime Saloon is a tour de force packed with witty, funny content. If you have no sense of humor, stay far away from this title.
Replay Value: There is so much humor in the game, some could be easily missed first time through. Once the plots are known though, there's not much in replay value, but the humor makes a revisit worthwhile.
The bar is run by Mike Callahan. The regulars are welcoming and willing to listen to any visitor's problems, no matter how strange, but do not snoop if a visitor is unwilling to share. Strange and unusual events and visitors turn up with frequency in the stories. Regulars at Callahan's include a talking dog, several extraterrestrials and time travelers, an ethical vampire, a couple of Irish mythological beings, and an obscenity-spewing parrot. The stories make heavy use of puns. Irish whiskeys are the preferred beverage, with Tullamore Dew and Bushmills mentioned in nearly every collection of shorts or novel that references the saloon. The stories are seen by some as an homage to Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp's Tales from Gavagan's Bar and Arthur C. Clarke's Tales from the White Hart.
In 1997 Legend Entertainment released a graphic adventure game for the PC, designed by Josh Mandel (of Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist fame), based on the series. The player controls Jake Stonebender (narrator of the books) through a series of bizarre adventures. Included in the game are several songs performed by Spider Robinson himself, which can be heard by talking to the pianist in the bar and asking for "one of your specialties".
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