Welcome ladies and gentlemen (yes you) to the very second Retro Game Rewind! Before we begin, I need to update you on the status of the Retro Game Rewind. Thanks to the feedback from our folks on staff and reader comments, I am going to change up the format of RDR just a bit. First off, from now on RGRs will be a little longer and more like a review, but they will not receive a star rating and will not be an in-depth review. If possible, I will include other reviews. For some games that obviously is not possible because of their age. The second change is that the schedule will move to a monthly release schedule to accommodate the longer format. I will also be suckering other people in to writing recruiting some of our other authors to show off one of their favorite games too! So without further talking from me it is time to get your click on with…
The Space Quest Collection
Way back in 1986 Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy (“Two Guys from Andromeda”) from Sierra On-Line created an adventure game which was meant to parody famous science fiction tales such as Star Wars and Star Trek. The games star hapless janitor Roger Wilco who, while managing to screw up just about everything in the process, saves the universe. The original Space Quest game was released in October 1986. The games included in the Space Quest Collection are Space Quest 1: The Sarien Encounter, Space Quest 2: Vohaul’s Revenge, Space Quest 3: The Pirates of Pestulon, Space Quest 4: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers, Space Quest 5: The Next Mutation, and Space Quest 6: The Spinal Frontier. Those six games are the entire run of the series.
Thanks to Wikipedia for this handy summary. Check out the full article right here.
The Author’s First Encounter
I first picked up the Space Quest collection on Steam last summer around the time that LucasArts had released the remake of Monkey Island 2. I had been showing someone at work the game and was blabbering on about how cool I thought Monkey Island 2 was and how funny it strived to be. My co-worker had said it reminded him of a game that he and his office all enjoyed back in the 80s. That game was Space Quest. He had mentioned that everyone in his old office spent many an hour conquering the depths of all the Serria On-Line games. With such praise planted in my mind, I headed for the internet to see if I could find this game somewhere. I found out that Steam had the entire collection (1-6) available at a very affordable price. I gave it a download and was on my way to saving the universe.
Playing the Game
Playing any of the Space Quest games is very simple. Space Quests 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 all have a point and click interface where the player chooses and icon (walk, look, pick-up, etc) and then clicks on something/somewhere. Roger will execute whatever action you chose. The tricky part of this system is knowing where to click. Space Quest 2 involves moving Roger around and typing text commands to him to tell him what to do. SQ 1 functioned similar to this game before the remake was made. The original is not included in the digital collection. Either way, you will be spending some time scratching your head, as many of the challenges in these games are ridiculous. That ridiculousness is actually adding more humor to the game, so it is a good thing. When playing any Space Quest game be ready to try strange things with the items you pick up.
The games are very unforgiving too, you have to keep saving or you will be forced to start over from the beginning when you die. I say “when you die” because you will eventually cause Roger to stumble into a deadly trap or situation, it’s inevitable. Roger can also be killed in a multitude of funny ways, so you will not be killing him the same way all the time. Have I mentioned you will do something stupid and kill Roger? Killing Roger aside, the games are fairly short if you use a walkthrough and blow right through it. I think that was part of the original game design. If you make the games tricky to figure out, they will last longer. While you may sound annoying, you feel pretty good after you figure out the solution to one of the wonky puzzles. Should you get stuck, I recommend the walkthroughs hosted on Space Quest dot Net.
These games were released back in the days when VGA was the new video interface, so you should not think you are getting a PS3 experience here. SQ 2 uses a minimal number of colors (called EGA) and looks pretty dated. The first game in the collection is actually a remake, and it is not using the low color counts of the second and third games. SQ3 is sort of a odd ball whose graphics are a mix between SQ2 and SQ4 (imagine that). The SQ 4 and 5 all use the updated graphics used in the SQ 1 remake (called VGA). SQ 6 has the highest quality graphics as it was the last game in the series.
Why Should You Play?
Without games like Zork, Monkey Island and Space Quest, we would not have the adventure games we do today. It is hard to believe that games like God of War, Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed are all in the same category of games as Space Quest, but they are. The Space Quest Collection gets you a good bit of humorous bang for your buck. You have to put aside the 2d sprite graphics and look at the story and gameplay behind it to see that these are quite classic games. If you like a challenge in your games and you like to have a good chuckle, I highly recommend this series.
Check out Steam to get the Space Quest Collection. Why yes, I do have a link to the Steam Store page.