Callahan's Crosstime Saloon

From Legend

Brief Description

If you've read any of Spider Robinson's Callahans books, you'll know some of what to expect in this game. If you haven't, I'd recommend that you read the books, but you can still play the game. It's just that there will be some references that make sense to fans of the books. The expected pieces for those who have read the novels are Riddle Night and the jokes.

The main character of the game is Jake, a modern roaming minstrel. His first challenge for the evening is to win riddle night, so he has some money in pocket. After that, things get even more challenging.

The game is actually a set of seven small adventure games. You'll solve them in a set sequence and a lot of the puzzles need to be solved in a particular order as well. The puzzles you'll need to solve are frequently quite difficult and require a lot of time, patience, and observation to solve.

Warning, this game may cause some players distress. It has parts in it like "Two barrels donated by visiting Shogun Association and conveniently located between the two slickest streets in town." pause for click "(Surely you've heard of a doubled barrelled Shogun? They got both barrels right between the ice.)"

Game play

This is a tough game. You need to be very careful and very observant. Sometimes you need to hunt the pixel to proceed. Other times, you need to have talked to everyone about everything.

The game has an online help feature that demonstrates a bit about playing the game.

One of my favourite features of this game is that the save games seem pretty unnecessary, unless you want to mark something to do again later. The game saves your place automatically when you quit and returns to that exact spot when you restart the game later.

Gripes about the game

The interface can be annoying. It can be very easy to try putting things on top of other things because you accidently clicked a tree and the next click will try to put it on something else. Given that you need to look at everything to solve the puzzle in the game, this can become a real nuisance.

Hunt the pixel. A few of the screens are just packed with things to see and touch. This makes it very very difficult to find the one or two small but vital items on the screen. Exits, in particular, can be difficult to spot sometimes.

Conversations with the other character can also drive you mad. It is frequently necessary to a) run through every option so you can exit the conversation or b) talk to the person several times just so you can run through all the options when you know this person is going to give you the next clue. In other words, you don't really have control over stopping and starting conversations at some critical times.


The game is almost but not quite excellent. I will admit, I was up later than usual to finish the last bit. The jokes are very good. But the puzzles have a few too many "have you checked every thing and played with every possible button/lever/switch?" Without the clue book, this would be an extremely difficult game.

The clue book was included in the package I bought, but that made it too tempting to stop thinking and just look up the next clue. Give the clue book to a friend and don't let them give you too many clues at any one time.

There were no critical timing puzzles, some nicely integrated mechanical puzzles, and the only threat of death I had, didn't come to pass. My main warning about this game is that 'hunt the pixel' and 'try looking at absolutely everything' is vital. Highly recommended for hard-core adventure gamers or those who like the humour and or those who don't mind using the clue book frequently.

Some final thoughts on the game.

Some of the songs are sung by Spider Robinson, author of the Callahan books. He has a nice voice, and it was neat to have that included in the game.

A much harder but equally funny adventure game is Discworld based on Terry Pratchett's novels. The sequel Diskworld 2 is easier with more clues. Sam and Max Hit the Road may also appeal to you. Also Toonstruck may be a game that you'll find entertaining.