User review spotlight: Carmageddon (DOS). Released in 1997.

Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers (DOS)

100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  *Katakis* (37842)
Written on  :  Aug 04, 2003
Platform  :  DOS
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Space Quest gets a facelift

The Good

Back in Space Quest II, Roger managed to shut down Vohaul's life support system and stopped a machine that planned to infest Xenon with genetically-engineered life insurance salesman. But before Rog did this, Vohaul managed to back himself up on a single floppy disk. He hated Rog for doing this, that he sends the Sequel Police to end Roger's life once and for all, and the first encounter with the Sequel Police is on Magmetheus where he has a drink while chatting with his alien friends. The Sequel Police takes Roger outside where he learns his fate (terminate him on sight). However, two guys help Wilco escape by allowing him to enter a Time Rip that sends him to Space Quest XII, on the ruined remains of Xenon.

This is where the control is handed over to you. Since this game was made in 1991, Space Quest IV uses the SCI1 engine, and this means that the Space Quest series no longer requires typing in a text box, but you have to perform all your actions by using the icon bar to select a series of icons, then click on an object on the screen to execute the action. For instance, click on the TALK icon then click on a person on screen and Wilco will strike up a conversation with him/her. Alternately, instead of going up to the icon bar, you can right-click until you find the icon you want, then use that. Since Space Quest IV uses the SCI1 engine, the graphics are now in 256-color VGA, not 16-color EGA, and I assure you, the graphics are the best ever seen in a SQ game, particularly when you've entered the Space Quest X time sector. Support for more sound cards are also added, adding support for the Creative Music System/Game Blaster and the IBM PS/2 Audio/Joystick Card.

In order to complete the game, Roger is required to use a time pod to enter several time sectors, and in order to enter these, the correct code must be entered in the console found in the pod. Early in the game, wherever Roger goes, the Sequel Police follow, so he must quickly do his stuff, then get out of there. One of the time sectors is Space Quest I, where just about everything looks like Ulence Flats back in SQ1AGI. Plus, you might be able to travel to Space Quest III if you've discovered the right code.

There is a lot of humor in Space Quest IV, and the best place for humor would be the Galaxy Galleria Shopping Mall in Space Quest X. You see, you can go to the software store and browse titles like Boom, King's Quest XXXXVIII: Quest for Disk Space, Where in the World is Hymie Lipschitz (and who really cares), and Checkerboard Construction Set, which even runs in an unknown video format called TA-RA-RA-BOOMGA. And you can also dress up as a woman in order to access someone else's ATM card, and browse bizarre items at Radio Shock (Hz. So Good in CD-ROM version). There are a couple of mini-games that you can play at the mall. For example, you can go to the mall's arcade to play Ms. Astro Chicken or you can try to make burgers at Monolith Burger. These mini-games are not required to complete the game, but doing the latter is not only fun, but will also award your points.

There is copy protection inside SQ4 and it is triggered when you enter the time pod for the first time on SQ12, and requires you to enter the X/Y co-ordinates of two symbols found in the game's manual in order to proceed. If you fail to enter the right co-ordinates three times, Roger gets out of his pod and gets blasted by a Sequel Policeman. There is also a CD-ROM version of SQ4, and there are a lot of differences between this version and the disk version. As usual, the CD-ROM contains full speech and the copy protection is also removed. Personally, I prefer the disk version better for its own sound effects. And as for the music, this must be the first Space Quest game not to have its theme at the beginning of the game.

The Bad

I didn't like the timer-related issues that was infested all over SQ4 CD-ROM. On my system, it was virtually impossible to enter some areas without using a slowdown program. These timer-related issues include:

* The sentry droid on Space Quest XII comes on the screen every five seconds, instead of 10-15 minutes.

* It was impossible to enter the ship the Sequel Police came down in, as you are immediately blasted when you go on the screen with the ship.

* When you see the two Sequel Policemen talking, they blast you right away when they finish before you have a chance to get into one of the pods.

* Just after you get out of the pod on SQ10, the Sequel Police also arrive, not allowing you to explore the planet.

* When they arrive at the mall, you have no chance of outrunning them in the Skate-O-Rama sequence.

* When the countdown begins near the end of the game, it happens way too fast.

* When you fight Vohaul at the end, he comes at you like Superman.

I used Turbo, and it worked until I faced the fifth issue, then it became useless, but I eventually found another way to pass the Skate-O-Rama sequence.

The Bottom Line

Another nice game of the Space Quest series, and is the last to be made by the Scott Murphy/Mark Crowe duo. After SQ4, Crowe continued the SQ series by himself and was not to work with Murphy again in the near future. ****