Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender

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Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender
Rex Nebular cover.jpg
Cover art
Developer(s) MPS Labs
Publisher(s) MicroProse
Distributor(s) Tommo Inc.
Producer(s) Ted Markley
Matt Gruson
Designer(s) Kenn Nishiuye
Matt Gruson
Frank Frazier
Programmer(s) Brian Reynolds
Artist(s) Kenn Nishiuye
Michael Gibson
Kevin Boehm
Composer(s) Jeffery L. Briggs
Platform(s) MS-DOS, Mac OS
Release
  • NA: November 1992
Genre(s) Adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender is a point-and-click graphic adventure game developed and published by MicroProse in November of 1992. The game is the first graphical adventure game developed by MicroProse. It was developed using the MicroProse Adventure Development system, and made use of 256-colour graphics.[1]

Tommo purchased the rights to this game and digitally publishes it through its Retroism brand in 2015.[2]

Gameplay[edit]

The game is divided into three difficulty levels. Higher difficulties have more puzzles and more death encounters. The left mouse button is used for selecting options and performing actions and the right mouse button is used to look at things (an alternative to selecting the 'look' option and selecting where). Some actions like sitting on a chair are automatically performed with just a left click. To get from one room to another the mouse pointer changes to a 'GO' icon where travel is possible. To get from one place to another, Rex will need to make use of teleporters correctly entering the code.

There are 10 different options, two of which are used to interact with people and seven of which are used to interact with objects. Items that are picked up have their own sub-options, most of which the protagonist Rex would not actually do (such as disassembling his binoculars). The player must also take care to prevent Rex getting killed which can happen in many places. Although Rex can die, the game has unlimited chances and the Rex's last safe position will be restored after death.

Plot[edit]

The bumbling bachelor, Rex Nebular, has been hired by Colonel Stone to retrieve a vase that holds some sentimental value. Stone offers Rex 75,000 galactars for the return of the vase. Rex agrees and sets out for the last known location of the vase.

He discovers that the planet where the vase was last known to reside has vanished, but his ship's sensors still detect a planetary mass and gravitational field, although none can be seen with the naked eye. Before he is given a chance to investigate further, a large warship decloaks behind him, and fires. His ship is badly damaged and careens towards the planetary mass. He crash-lands on a strange planet, seemingly inhabited by women only. He sets off in search of the vase and a way to get off the planet.

Decades ago, a vicious war between the sexes erupted on the planet. The males focused on developing mechanical and electronic weaponry, while the females focused on biological warfare. In the end, the females unleashed a biological weapon that eliminated the male population. Due to side effects caused by the biological weapon, the females were no longer able to give birth to males, so they had no way of continuing their species. So they invented a machine that would allow them to alter their sex for short periods of time. This machine became known as the Cosmic Gender Bender, or the Gender Bender for short.

The populace of the planet is divided into two classes, Keepers and (breeding) Stock. The Keepers are technologically advanced and reside underground, where they monitor the Stock. The Stock reside above ground and have a primitive culture. Their only purpose is to be impregnated by a gender bent Keeper in order to repopulate the planet.

Characters[edit]

  • Rex Nebular: Believes he is God's gift to women. Pilot and Captain of his space vessel, the Slippery Pig.
  • Colonel Stone: The exact reasoning behind his desire for the vase is never fully explained, but Rex does not care about that. He is only interested in the 75,000 galactar reward.
  • Bud: A large, alien male who crash landed on the planet and was held captive by the female inhabitants.
  • Herman Spiltmelk: The last known surviving indigenous male on the planet.
  • Major Karg: Captain of the large warship orbiting the planet.
  • Rox: Rex's female alter-ego. Rex becomes Rox after stepping into the Gender Bender device and has his gender temporarily reversed.
  • Dr. Slache: The maniacal doctor who examines Rex after his capture and imprisonment in the Keeper's underground base.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
Adventure Gamers 4.5/5 stars [3]
Dragon 5/5 stars [5]
Adventure Classic Gaming 3/5 stars [4]

Computer Gaming World opined that Rex Nebular had "impressive" sound, graphics, and rotoscoped animation. While the magazine called the plot "nothing new", it described the game as "a solid move into the adventure gaming genre [with] the same attention to detail that has won MicroProse raves in other products", and a good first attempt at competing with LucasArts and Sierra On-Line.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b James, Jeff (February 1993). "Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender from MicroProse". Computer Gaming World. p. 80. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "Purchase Agreement between Atari, Inc. and Rebellion Developments, Stardock & Tommo" (PDF). BMC Group. 2013-07-22. 
  3. ^ "Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender review - AdventureGamers.com". Johann Walter. 16 February 2007. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender Review". David Tanguay. 15 March 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia & Lesser, Kirk (June 1993). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (194): 57–63. 

External links[edit]