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Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon (DOS)

78
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4.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Olivier Masse (421)
Written on  :  Nov 18, 2001
Platform  :  DOS
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Summary

Roger's back, with a vengeance

The Good

While Space Quest II didn't really deliver something as interesting as the first of the series, the third installment came back with new ideas and a better storyline overall, but it was on the technical side that is was the most astonishing.

Let's start with the storyline. Not everything was explicit on-screen; sometimes you really had to "look around" to find objects, and looking around every new room quickly became a habit. Some references to the previous episodes were interesting, such as a Terminator which comes to take care of you since you never paid for the whistle you ordered from Gippazoid Novelty (sic) in Space Quest II. It also looks like being sued by Toys 'R Us didn't scare Mark & Scott as they didn't hesitate to put a McDonald's parody within the game. Although I don't remember the whole storyline, it involved space travels as usual and less time spent walking around in solo on a lonely planet as it was the case in the first two episodes. More encounters meant more fun.

One thing that was great was the fact that the game wasn't as hard as the previous ones. I was actually able to get through it in a few weeks without a hint book. Some might have disliked the fact that it was easy, but I preferred that style of gameplay.

Technically, it was the first to use the Script Interpreter with its 16 color 320x200 resolution and full sound card support. Sierra was slow to upgrade their graphics engine, but they finally did it. The artists used enough dithering techniques to make the overall graphics pleasing. As for the sound, it even supported the digital output of the Tandy 1000TL series to squeak occasional digital sound effects. That was great!

1988 can be remembered as the year when video game producers started using professionals instead of programmers to make music. The producers hired a once-star member of Supertramp to make the music and while I can't say he had an extraordinary talent for composing video game music, he was good enough with percussions to make it sound good.

The Bad

[spoilers] The ending was so lame!

Bringing back the two guys to earth was okay but landing in Sierra's parking lot and seeing Ken Williams hiring them wasn't funny. Fantasy must remain just that: fantasy. What was the pertinence of going back to the real world? It's like if DOOM ended with the hero falling in a timewarp, showing up to ID software's office, cleaning off the blood on his hands in the executive bathroom and receiving a medal from John Carmack. Give me a break.

The Bottom Line

a) A sequel that is better than Space Quest II. b) The last SQ adventure before the point-and-click interface. c) Humorous as usual. :) d) Never mind the ending.