Games that time forgot: Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon

Callahan Cover

 

With all the next-gen antics, it appears that the Tuesday forgotten games articles were, not-so-ironically, forgotten last week. To make up for it, this week’s game is  both extremely obscure, and extremely good. It’s called Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon, and it’s free to download. Hit the jump for more.

 

Story:

Callahan’s titular saloon is a meeting place on the edge of space and time. Any person from any part of the universe, from any time, can come in to drink, play a game, or tell a story. You’re Jake Stonebender, a travelling musician from the 1960’s. One night at Callahan’s, a museum curator shows up and talks about closing down–and destroying–his museum. It turns out the museum is Earth, and he has grown tired of its stupid citizens and their petty problems. As Stonebender, you must help people around the bar solve their problems, which are typically related to Earth, and in so doing prove that the small blue planet is worthy of existence.

Along the way you’ll save the rainforest, protect a space station, and challenge corporate greed, all in the name of friendship and, you know, a desire not to have your entire planet obliterated.

            

Callahan screenshot 1

 

 

Gameplay:

 

Callahan is a point and click adventure game. Like Myst III or Zork: Grand Inquisitor (if you haven’t played the latter, tell me so I can do one of these articles on it next week), you have a full 360 degrees of horizontal movement and can use your cursor to pan around the setting. 

There are five different adventures you can go on, each one corresponding to a particular problem plaguing a particular inhabitant of the saloon. They are self-contained and can be solved in any order.

As far as adventure games go, it’s pretty standard. Use items with other items, talk to people through dialogue branches, etcetera. It’s a bit harder than many games in its genre, but otherwise, there’s nothing particularly different about the actual mechanics.

 That being said, what sets Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon apart from all the other adventure games released at the time is how goddamned funny it is. Almost every “look” description for every item in the entire game has a funny explanation behind it, and the dialogue exchanges are priceless. Even now, just thinking about some of the dialogue from the game, it’s hard to keep from chuckling. It’s surprising that the game was made almost 10 years ago, because the rhythm and style of the dialogue still feels very fresh, and its sense of humor (apart from the occasionally dated topical joke) remains just as intact as it was at the time of its release. If you’re a fan of Freddy Pharkas, Frontier Pharmacist, you’ll most certainly dig it considering the same dude, Josh Mandel, wrote both games.

            

Callahan screenshot 2

 

 

Why You Probably Haven’t Played It:

 

Because it’s fairly old,  it’s got a crappy name, and it’s a  DOS adventure game that LucasArts had nothing to do with. I have no idea as to the game’s success as far as its actual popularity and sales figures at the time of its release, but unless you’re a frequent visitor to Home of the Underdogs, one would assume that you haven’t yet played it.

 

Where You Can Download It:

Here. If I’m still Elephant-retarded, the direct link is https://www.the-underdogs.info/game.php?id=165 . God bless Home of the Underdogs.                

 

Anthony Burch