o IBM PC compatible 286/16 or better
o VGA/MCGA graphics adapter
o Supports Roland, AdLib, SoundBlaster, Covox
and Pro Audio Spectrum sound cards
o 386/20 or better
Copy Protection: One doc check at very beginning of game.
necessary in subsequent sessions.
:: PREMISE ::
Your character, the "interstellar adventurer and bungling bachelor
Rex Nebular" has been charged with finding a priceless vase. Rex,
not generally inclined to great feats of courage, has dollar signs
in his eyes as he accepts the quest from an irate colonel. Rex hops
into his ship, the Slippery Pig, and plummets headlong into the
lost planet Androgena, populated entirely by alien women (looking like
humans, amazingly enough!).
There's one catch: these women hate men. Having won the
Wars" they succeeded in eradicating all male forms from their species.
I mean they >really< hate men. They now rely on the temporary, but
drastic, effects of the Gender Bender Machine to continue their
reproduction. No damsel in distress or planet to save here... our man
Rex is motivated by good old fashioned greed. Rex must overcome
hostile goonies and obstacles of all sorts in order to recover the lost
vase and return a rich man.
:: INTERFACE ::
Like most animated adventures of the day, REX NEBULAR uses the ol'
time-tested (and Sierra-perfected) mouse method of negotiating around
the hero's animated environment. Although a mouse is not required, I
have a hard time picturing this game being much fun without one. The
bottom of the screen has the standard action icons as well as a
scrollbar with all of Rex's worldly possessions in clear view. For those
of you exceeding the minimum hardware requirements, you're treated to an
impressive rotating, digitized image of the inventory item you currently
have selected. Not essential, but definitely adds to the richness of
the screen (the giant leaves were my favorite...). Actions such as
"WALK TO" and "LOOK AT" are assigned to the mouse buttons by default,
allowing Rex to move around without too frequent mouse-trips to the
command icons. Dialogue and detailed descriptions appear in text boxes
over the action.
:: SIGHTS & SOUNDS ::
The graphics in REX NEBULAR are very impressive. The game uses
standard 256 color VGA mode, but incorporates digitized actors for
characters movements and occasional close-ups. This adds greatly to the
otherwise pleasing artwork (toted to be a hybrid of drawn & digitized
images). The game is obviously a spin off of Sierra's successful
Space Quest series (IV most directly), and the art style shows it. The
introduction and end-game sequences both boast impressive rotoscoped
spaceship animation, reminiscent of the intros to Wing Commander and
I use a SoundBlaster Pro (supported with the game's generic Soundblaster
driver) and was pleased with what I heard. The entire introduction
(some 5-7 minutes of it) uses digitized voice, but the remainder of the
game relies on on-screen text (unfortunately!). While the sound effects
are not as frequent as I'd hoped, the backing music is both thematic
and appropriate. REX NEBULAR doesn't sport the blood-pumping scores of
Wing Commander, for instance, the music is very pleasing as a backdrop
to the puzzle-solving situations Rex encounters.
:: PUZZLES & PLOTS ::
This is where things start to slip.
REX NEBULAR allows the user to play in Easy, Medium, or Hard skill levels.
This directly points to not only the number of puzzles found, but also the
complexity of each. While this is an easy way to scale down difficulty
for those less adventure-hardened players, playing in Easy mode does not
eliminate the objects needed at harder levels. This will probably
confuse many players using Easy mode, finding themselves stuck with
numerous objects with no apparent use. While this is not a major point,
I doubt it would have been too difficult for Microprose to omit such
Being a somewhat experienced adventure gamer, I was able to play Hard
level through to the end in about eight hours of game play. This may
seem somewhat short (it did to me), but I doubt the "get this object
to get that object" mode of puzzle creation could be stretched much
further. I think Microprose could have benefited from veering from the
object-oriented puzzles (OOPs, sorry for the stale pun...) and developing
the character interactions (few & far between) or other plot devices.
Most of the game takes place in the deserted male-city of Machopolis,
resulting in an only moderately-interesting plotline and few innovative
puzzles. Although there is one very humorous sequence involving an
obnoxious little dog...
:: ODDS & ENDS ::
This game tries, with only half-hearted success to be "adult" (probably
in the spirit of Leather Goddesses of Phobos, since Steve Meretzky
wrote the VERY humorous Rex game manual), but doesn't do much more than
poke fun. The game can be played in various different modes, from tame
to risque, but is not meant to be an adult game by any means.
Conveniently, REX NEBULAR can use up to 100 save slots, and has minimal
copy protection (see above).
REX NEBULAR is an enjoyable game for the recreational gamer, but will
offer little to adventure-hardened users (like myself I suppose :)
I must say, however, that the game's ending is abrupt, and I could go
as far as to call it downright lame. Perhaps Microprose should have
concentrated less on whizbangrotoscopedsuchandsuch and more on
intriguing plot development and puzzles.
REX NEBULAR's overall rating: >> 3 << out of 5
This review is Copyright (C) 1992 by Adam Pletcher. All rights reserved.