SummaryA beginning of a new era
The Goodthe Two Guys from Andromeda has brought us a fine addition to the ever-popular Space Quest series. In Space Quest 2, Roger Wilco entered the asteroid of his arch nemesis, Vohaul, and thwarted his plans to infest his home planet, Xenon, with genetically-engineered life insurance salesman, and in the process, shut down Vohaul's nervous system. He then escaped by a pod and slumbered in its sleep chamber. Space Quest 3: The Pirates of Pestulon picks up right where the previous adventure left off. While the pod was cruising driftlessly through space, another pod controlled by robots beams up Roger's pod, and the robot pod crash-lands in a nearby junk freighter. Roger's first mission is to find a ship so that he can escape this pile of junk.
But that's only half the plot. You see, Roger later discovers a hidden message inside a video game that the two guys themselves have landed themselves in trouble by ScumSoft, the evil pirate software company whose headquarters are on the planet Pestulon, hence the game's subtitle, but only if he wins the game. Roger must make a dash for Pestulon and rescue the two guys from ScumSoft, but to do this, Roger must play a series of mini-games at several stops. More on these shortly.
Like Leisure Suit Larry 2, King's Quest IV, and Police Quest II, SQ3 was designed using Sierra's old SCI0 engine, where the player must use the arrow keys to control Roger around and type commands into a text box in order to perform actions like picking up an object and talking to someone. A menu provides the ability to get help; save, restore, and restart games, or quit SQ3. Like Sierra's older games, there is the so-called "boss" key, which is an option inside the game that you can select when your boss is in the same room as you, and allows the game to behave like an application until you press another key. Sadly, in this game, pressing the "boss" key will tell you that it won't function.
Unlike the previous SQ's, there are quite a few planets to explore. This includes Phleebhut, a planet where he meets a terminator sent by the Gippazoid Novelty Co. to assassinate him for failing to pay for the Labion Mating Whistle back in SQ2, and is the planet where he exchanges his glowing gem for three items at the World-O-Wonders. Then it's off to Ortega where he discovers Pestulon and blows up the force field surrounding it, as well as Ortega.
As I said earlier, to complete his mission, travel around the SQ universe for the planet that holds the two guys, Roger must play a series of mini-games and win, and the first game he must play is Astro Chicken, where the object is to guide a chicken to safety as you direct it to land on its pad and nowhere else (without exhausting its feed), or else the chicken blows up and loses one of its lives. Then when Roger manages to rescue the two guys at ScumSoft, he gets treated to a game where the object is to beat the ScumSoft employer in a robot suit. If that wasn't enough, he has to play Star Wars with ScumSoft's ships in the game's finale.
The graphics are highly detailed than those in SQ1 (the AGI version) and SQ2, meaning that they were done in 16-color EGA, and the game has support for various sound cards such as the Adlib and the Roland MT32/LAPC1. I heard that SQ3 sounds good if you have the Roland. I just brought a soundcard that emulates the MT32, so when I ran SQ3 with MT32 enabled, it sounds great.
The BadI didn't really like Astro Chicken, partly because it wastes more of your time trying to win just to get further through the game, when you can spend that time exploring the rest of the SQ3 universe.
The Bottom LineSQ3 is much better than the previous Space Quest's because of its colorful graphics and excellent sounds. Not to be missed. ****