The Let's Play Archive

Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender-Bender

by cmndstab

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Original Thread: I didn't make this title up - LP: Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender-Bender!

If you liked this LP, you might also like Super Robot Wars: Alpha Gaiden by Tobias Grant, Parasite Eve 2 by Crowetron and Traffic Department 2192 by Cmndstab

Introduction

The early 90s were a brilliant time for adventure games. Sierra had just moved from their keyboard-driven EGA adventure games to their VGA engine and were remaking all one million quest games again. Lucasarts were taking Sierra's crown as the dominant force in adventure games, with Monkey Island 1 and 2 selling like hotcakes and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis making headlines with it's revolutionary "three-stories-in-one" feature. The 7th Guest and Myst were released, bringing the CD era to a dramatic beginning and it seemed that the adventure game genre was set to continue to lead the games market. Wolfenstein 3D and Doom changed all of that of course, but for a while there they were the big thing and imitations popped up everywhere.


One company that hopped on the bandwagon was Microprose, a comically ill-fated company that never seemed to put a foot right despite releasing some very good games through the 90s, perhaps most famous for their string of excellent Grand Prix simulators. Throughout the early 90s, Microprose also produced a string of adventure games, the first of which was Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender-Bender.





Like so many other adventure games of its time, it featured a bumbling but likable protagonist, and a tongue-in-cheek narrative. Perhaps unusual for it's time were the graphics, which were much less cartoony and more "realistic" (or at least as realistic as graphics got in 1992) than other games of its time. It also featured "adult" dialogue with a cleaner option available, a relatively new idea that never really caught on. (Funnily enough, the only other LP thread I ever made was for Traffic Department 2192 which also contained a "clean" script for younger gamers). In an era of ridiculous puzzles, Rex Nebular contained relatively sensible solutions, and taking a leaf from Lucasarts book, made it nigh-impossible to die (other than a few scripted sequences and one big bug, which I'll show towards the end of the LP), opting instead to show you your horrifying death and then simply return you to before you made the choice that brought it about.

Ultimately, Rex Nebular was a commercial failure, and original plans to produce a sequel were scrapped within six months of the games release. Microprose kept the engine, their own rendition of Lucasart's SCUMM system, and made a few more games but none made much money. The main complaints about Rex Nebular were that it was too short, too easy, and too empty. Being released at the same time Fate of Atlantis hit the shelves probably didn't help. The musical score, while relatively good for its time, was too short, and the game's snappy dialogue was hamstrung by the disappointingly low number of NPCs.

Nevertheless, it is hard to decide whether Rex Nebular is a flawed gem or simply a substandard game. Feel free to make up your own mind throughout this LP!





Strap yourself in. It's going to be a bumpy ride!

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