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CALLAHAN'S CROSSTIME SALOON

Reviewed by  Mr. Bill & Lela


We really love this game. It is the unique and memorable result of combining the talents of two creative and comedic geniuses: best-selling science fiction writer Spider Robinson and Josh Mandel of Freddy Pharkas fame.

Callahan's is a special kind of bar. Like 'Cheers', it is a place where everybody knows your name, and it's always open (turn on your speakers and refresh to hear 'Cheers' now). It is an unremarkable place located on one of the back roads of Long Island, New York, and from the outside it looks like any of the million other nondescript dives that you see across America. But this bar is different. First of all, you can only find it if and when you have a problem or malady of the spirit, and need it. And chances are, the only thing that will satisfy that need is not, as you might think, the booze that is served inside, but is instead helping another patron with THEIR problem.

Which brings us to the patrons of Callahan's: the denizens who hang out here are not your average run-of-the-mill bar hoppers. No, they tend to be a motley crew of intergalactic travelers from other planets, times and dimensions. Even Mike Callahan is not the genial Irish barkeep that he appears to be, but is instead an emissary from some remote world in the distant future.

As the story begins, we learn that humanity itself has a problem ..... a major problem. It seems that our planet, in fact our entire galaxy, is about to be eliminated by the 'gods', who are downsizing due to a budget crunch. Unless some reason can be found for keeping us, some great redeeming value, we will be removed from their 'art exhibit'. And so the curator of their art museum drops into Callahan's to observe .....

You play Jake Stonebender (Robinson's alter ego), an itinerant wandering minstrel with a guitar he calls Lady Macbeth, and you're one of the regulars at Callahan's. And tonight you will find yourself helping a very colorful assortment of friends. In addition to saving the universe, you will be called upon to help save a Central American rainforest because it is the source of a great chocolate bar, reunite a lovesick vampire (the bar's designated driver!) with his long lost love, travel to the mind-reading future of Manhattan to aid a disillusioned psychic, save your friend the talking German Shepherd from imminent vivisection, and stop a hostile race from depleting all of the earth's testosterone!

This game is based on Robinson's books by the same name and Mandel does the delightful stories proud: perfectly capturing both the wonderful spirit and dry tongue-in-cheek humor of Robinson's works, even according to the author himself. The stories are engrossing and are presented as 5 offbeat mini adventures, each complete in itself, within the framework of the major quest. The music is great and both the scenery and the unforgettable characters are superbly rendered, and the voices are perfect. And practically everything in the game is clickable, with abominable puns, great jokes, and intelligent pointed observations that had us laughing out loud. You can't die, so take your time, explore and look at everything.

It is a long, 1st person, point and click game with 360 degree panoramas. The puzzles are part of each story and range from simple and easy to intricate and challenging enough for the most seasoned adventurer. Plus there is 'Riddle Night', a tradition at Callahan's and Casimir's, with some difficult word games revolving around old movies and rock stars. There is a hint book included which contains a complete walkthrough, but we would recommend that you give it to a friend for the duration or you'll miss a lot of the great humor and fun.

In the introduction to the hint book, Robinson confesses that what he really always wanted to be was a folk singer, and if you ask Fast Eddie, the piano player in Callahan's, to play his 'specialties', you'll hear Spider's great voice sing 4 of his original compositions, plus there's more of his guitar on the jukebox at Casimir's.

But what we loved the most about this game was the laid back feeling and love of life expressed ..... and the philosophy inherent in the story. That the strange face of an alien is only the uniqueness of a special friend. That the real joy in life and the best way to help ourselves comes from helping another. And that ultimately, our redeeming value and our only saving grace lies in our ability to laugh at our own mistakes.

Don't miss this wonderful, classic, one-of-a-kind game!

Produced (1997) by Legend Entertainment.

Minimum System Requirements: PC Only!

Where To Buy This Game:

Walkthroughs or Hints:

"Walkthrough" available here!

"Walkthrough" available here!


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