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Space Quest 6: Roger Wilco in the Spinal Frontier (DOS)

72
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  אולג 小奥 (168743)
Written on  :  Jun 14, 2001
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Summary

Farewell, brave janitor!

The Good

Notwithstanding the disagreement of some fans, I believe that Space Quest VI, the last of the epic janitorial saga, is a worthy conclusion to the series.

In fact, it has everything that made the series memorable: humorous dialogues and situations, funny sci-fi cliches, parody, wacky gameplay segments, swift changes of locations. To that, it also adds a surprisingly solid narrative, which in my opinion is the most original one in the series.

Space Quest VI will be remembered for being one of the most all-encompassing movie spoofs among video games; plenty of movies are parodied here, from Terminator to Fantastic Voyage, which inspired the most memorable chapter of the game: the travel inside Stellar's body (I hope you know what I mean... for those of you who didn't play the game - it's not what you think!).

As always, there are some very funny situations and creatively designed locations - think of, for example, the part where Roger appeared on a Windows 3 desktop. What really attracted me was the "hub" of the game - the planet Polysorbate. It really gave you some opportunities to explore -something all the previous games in the series were missing. You could visit different locations and solve the puzzles gradually, understanding the situation and getting used to the location and its inhabitants. And you didn't have to worry about dying.

That's right: although you could still technically die in the game, you were automatically restored to life shortly before you tried the lethal experiment, without any penalties. Which means that they retained the funny death screens, but didn't force the player to cringe his teeth when he realized he forgot to save. It's a win/win situation.

Graphically and musically, the game is still very impressive. Perhaps some of the backgrounds and character graphics lacked the charm of Sierra's previous efforts, but for its time, Space Quest VI was certainly very good-looking and perhaps even better-sounding.

The Bad

Perhaps it lacked the sheer wackiness, the dramatic events, and the satiric wit of Space Quest IV; also, the story of the predecessor, while less original, was generally better.

Some of the puzzles were also really incoherent and unnecessary, the worst one being some assembling exercise that turned out to be, among all things, a copy protection! A copy protection for a CD game of that time? Why?

I actually bought this game. I got the original jewel case off eBay or something like that. But lo and behold: the copy protection must have been hidden somewhere in the box, because even though I explored the jewel case with a magnifying glass, I couldn't find anything that resembled it. So I had to look for it online.

Also, the game had a show-stopping bug, at least on the computer I played it on (admittedly, belonging to a more powerful generation): at one point it crashed, refusing to let you continue. A patch corrected it, but I still remember the frustration...

The Bottom Line

It was easy to see why they didn't want to make more Space Quest games; sooner or later, they would run out of creativity, because you can only do harmless sci-fi parodies for so long. The final chapter of Roger Wilco's digital heroics might have begun to show the first signs of decay; but it was still a great classical adventure, with entertaining gameplay and enough wacky ideas to keep you in suspense.

Good-bye, Space Quest! You were fun while you lasted. And you'll always have a place in the adventurer's heart, because they don't make games like this anymore.