Space Quest II: Chapter II - Vohaul's Revenge

aka: SQ2, Space Quest 2, Space Quest: Chapter Two - Vohaul's Revenge
Moby ID: 128
DOS Specs

Description official descriptions

The ace janitor Roger Wilco thought he'd seen the last of Sludge Vohaul. However, like every evil scientist is supposed to, Vohaul returns with an even meaner scheme. This time he intends to infest the planet Xenon with thousands of genetically engineered door-to-door life insurance salesmen. The last thing he wants is Roger messing things up, and so the brave janitor is captured and brought to the planet Labion to spend the rest of his days working in Vohaul's mines. Fortunately, the shuttle that takes him to the mines crashes, and Roger is the only survivor. He will have to survive the dangers of the jungle planet Labion, and eventually stop Vohaul from executing his mad plan.

Vohaul's Revenge is the sequel to The Sarien Encounter, and the second game in Sierra's humorous Space Quest series of adventure games. The player navigates Roger Wilco around with arrow keys, and interacts with the world by typing commands. Like in the previous game, there are many ways for the player character to die. Much of the gameplay is dedicated to avoiding the many traps and hazards Roger will meet on his way. Some actions must be performed quickly in order to prevent Roger from getting killed.

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Credits (DOS version)

6 People

Game by
  • Two Guys From Andromeda
Design
Programming
Graphics
Game Development System

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 69% (based on 15 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 106 ratings with 8 reviews)

Similar to the first, but inferior

The Good
The game has basically the same three acts/scenes as the first game, home space station, wild alien planet and enemy space fortress. I thought the planet was the best stage in Space Quest II, some very nice screens, nice in a dangerous sort of way. There is certainly a variety of obstacles you have to go through to get back to the landing pad and escape the planet and possibly foil Vohaul's plans. I actually got stuck for at least a month on one part, trying every solution I could think of and finally hitting the right one, but I'm not too resentful about that.

I thought your final confrontation with Vohaul on the bridge of his asteroid fortress was well done as was the escape through the fragile glass tubeway on the asteroid exterior.

I thought the ending was a necessary touch, not just another standard finish.

The Bad
Well I think it would've been nice if they'd had a home space station stage, more like the first game. Not necessarily an alien hijacking, but some more things to do before moving on to the planet stage. I think Vohaul's asteroid was a letdown too, the problems and their solutions not so impressive, made up for in part by the confrontation with Vohaul and how his defense against you provides a way for you to defeat him.

The Bottom Line
Well again, it's lowly janitor becomes a hero by clever manipulation of his environments. It's good in the way that it progresses to meeting the supposed mastermind behind the Sarien assault/robbery of the first game, though it STILL isn't clear if Sludge Vohaul is scientist Slash Vohaul from the cartridges' message in Space Quest 1, corrupted by some sort of failed experiment, or if he's his evil brother or clone(he's clearly supposed to be like Darth Vader without his mask).

Because Roger had already performed such an amazing feat of bravery, cunning and luck, defeating the Sariens in the first game, I think it made his feats in this game seem less important. Also important was that after all he'd done, he was still a janitor and treated like one. I suppose one would still feel inclined to do what had to be done, regardless of rewards, but there is a slight hollowness about it, knowing what you know now about the people of Xenon.

DOS · by Andrew Fisher (697) · 2018

The game that introduced me to my favorite villain of the series

The Good
Everybody loved the original Space Quest. It was original and humorous, and it contained lots of exploration and adventuring. Sales of 200,000 copies were enough to convince Sierra to release a sequel to the game. I got Space Quest II right after I completed the fourth game in the series, and I have to admit it was one of the favorite SQs, right up there with number five.

The game comes with a small comic which I enjoyed reading. It chronicles the events after the original game and, although I lost the comic ages ago, I think it also introduces Vohaul, the antagonist of the game and tells the story of Roger being interviewed on Letterdroid, which you get to watch in the remake of the game. People illegally downloading this game won't have the pleasure of reading it.

SQ2 follows on from the original game. Roger Wilco managed to steal the Star Generator back from the Sariens who were planning to use it for evil purposes. Here, we get to meet the mastermind behind the plan. As revenge, he plans to unleash deadly life insurance salesman onto Xenon and, to make sure that his plan proceeds, dumps Roger on Labion where he is doomed to spend an eternity working in the mines.

The game is slightly better than the original Space Quest, because it ups the ante a bit. What I mean by that that you have to perform unexpected things you never did in an adventure game before. For instance, right from the start - when Roger is on-board the XOS4 - the way you can make Roger walk sideways on the wall and upside down is a stroke of genius.

The majority of the game takes place on the planet of Labion. It is a jungle planet, which makes it all the more exciting. When I first played this game, I was always curious to see what is on the next screen I have to go to. SQ2 has a few puzzles here and there, but they are quite easy to work out. I think the most challenging one would be navigating through the vine monster without touching any part of it.

You can die many times in this game, and I enjoy doing so in this game just to see how Roger dies. The root monster in the aforementioned paragraph will devour Roger if he touches any part of its vines. There is probably a clip on YouTube that shows all of Roger's death, so if you are a fan of adventure game deaths, you should take a look.

Since the game is made in the mid-Eighties, Sierra still used their old AGI engine which displays graphics in a 160x200 resolution. Also, sound only comes through the PC Speaker and there is no mouse control, meaning that you have to type commands at a parser. You may think that this is crap today, but back then it was all we had. When it comes to graphics, I often ignore its chunkiness and just focus on what objects are on the screen, and its shape and color. I liked what Vohaul's asteroid looks like. It kinds of reminds me of that planetoid in Universe, with the lights coming out of it.

The sound comes through the PC Speaker only as soundcards weren't invented back then. It is improved if you own a Tandy Computer; you will be able to hear three voices instead of just one. Actions are performed by entering commands at the parser. This is great because you can experiment with different commands, and quite often the game will generate a funny response.

Finally, there are multiple solutions to some puzzles, meaning that SQ2 can be played again, allowing you to take a different path to what you took before. The only one I can think of has to do with the Labion Terror beast that you have to get past.


The Bad
Space Quest II can be quite short, depending on how well you go at the game. If you know what you're doing, it will take you well under three hours to complete. Also, I don't like the way that the cover reads "Space Quest II" in the usual SQ font, yet it reads "Chapter II" right underneath. So calling this game "Space Quest II: Chapter II - Vohaul's Revenge" is downright pathetic.

The Bottom Line
Space Quest II is the sequel to the original game, starring one of my favorite villains from the SQ universe, Sludge Vohaul, who dumps Roger on the planet of Labion while he plans to infest his home planet with life insurance salesman. The game may be short, but there are enough puzzles in the game to keep you occupied, and Labion itself also provides plenty of exploration. Why didn't I talk about the game's humor? Because there isn't any at all.

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43092) · 2012

Fair but very average sequel in the series

The Good
Well, any Space Quest is good Space Quest (even though my critique of this one may seem to suggest otherwise!). As always, there’s some good challenges mixed in that will make you think to solve them, and everything has that “heyday of Sierra” feel about it.
There’s good use of solving puzzles by manipulating objects in a certain way via the text input. For example (SLIGHT SPOILER), at one stage, you’re crawling in a dark series of tunnels, where you have a glow-in-the-dark gem to see but need both hands to crawl; the solution is to "hold gem in mouth". Exactly the sort of puzzle that would be lost when the “point and click” (no typing) interface took over in later Sierra games.
It’s also quite satisfying how you can complete puzzles and the game, but not using the best or full solution, leaving you short of points and giving you something to go back to and try again – much better than several later Sierra and LucasArts games, where everything was pretty much linear and there was only one way to do everything.
Whilst having played the first game will help get the full grasp of things (such as just why Vohaul wants you captured in the first place!), there’s no real need to have played the first one to get into this one – it stands up on it’s own.
Oh, and one other thing – the comic that came with the game. Ahh, for the days when wonderful extras like this were thrown in. Maybe not in the same league as the later LucasArts’ classic Sam & Max comic manual, but still really good, and a welcome extra.

The Bad
Well, a few things didn’t quite click for me with this one. I did like this game, honest! But…
Being released a mere few months after the original Space Quest, there are maybe a few signs that this was a somewhat rushed sequel.
The graphics and interface are virtually identical to the first one; normally in Sierra adventures, there at least some small tweaks between games at least. In fact, the initial opening screen is identical to that in Space Quest 1 – when I first played it, for a moment I worried that I’d somehow got a copy of SQ1 by accident!!
The sound is average to what you’d from the era, but it did seem to me to be very sparse in places.
My main gripe is that there are only two real areas to explore – the jungles of planet Labion, and Sludge Vohaul’s asteroid base. Much of the enjoyment of the original was that there was much leaping from planet to planet. But in this one there isn’t really much of that, making it seem rather limited compared to just about every other SQ instalment. Being stuck on a single jungle planet for much of the game is rather static for a Space Quest outing; and the majority of it, to me, felt like it could just as easily have been out of one of the ‘Kings Quest’ games.
The other key SQ ingredient – lots of bizarre, strange beings to meet and interact with, is also notably lacking in this one. And what few characters there are, are basic compared to those that grace other entries in the series.
There are some good puzzles, but most of them are overcome with one single action, and seem rather undeveloped.
This game is definitely the most humour-light in the series – aside from having the odd quip here and there, much of it is pretty ordinary, with no real laugh out loud material like so many other SQs in the series. (Much of this is to do with the lack of characters to interact with). Oh, and Vohaul’s plan to fill planet Xenon with evil clone salesman – (semi) amusing maybe, but it’s never strong enough nor developed enough to hang the entire plot on.
There’s no glorious ending with this one – it leads well into Space Quest III, but on it’s own it is pretty flat, with the adventure finishing quite abruptly (I actually re-played the ending over several times, thinking I’d missed out something. I hadn’t).
The original had so many great little bits, such as finding the best spaceship to buy, and then the best robot to co-pilot it; SQ2 has no really nice touches like that. Thank goodness the designers flair returned in SQ3, which was much closer in concept to the original.

The Bottom Line
This game is too good to associate with the word “weak”; but if I had pick the weakest instalment of the Space Quest series, this one would probably be it. It doesn’t really have anything to make it instantly memorable. After all the planet hopping and crazy situations of the original, the programmers seemed to run a little short of inspiration on this one – thank goodness it returned in Space Quest III, where the series really came into its own!
But all that said, don’t think that Space Quest II is BAD – it’s still a good game in it’s own right.

DOS · by Jayson Firestorm (143) · 2002

[ View all 8 player reviews ]

Trivia

Astrochicken

The back of the (original release) box said that Vohaul is "...madder than a drenched Astrochicken". An intriguing phrase to use, as Astro Chicken hadn’t yet been seen in either of the games - it would make it's debut appearance in Space Quest III.

Buckazoids

Space Quest II is the only Space Quest where you do not use Buckazoids (the Space Quest intergalactic currency).

Character name change

For some unexplained reason, Sludge Vohaul's name has mysteriously changed from Slash Vohaul in the first game. (It's not really known why - maybe Sierra thought "Slash" could be taken to sound a little rude for a family game?) Either way, it would remain as Sludge Vohaul for the rest of the series.

Extras

The box included a comic book named "Space Piston" to acquaint newcomers to Roger Wilco, the ex-janitor which became a hero in Space Quest. In the comic book, Roger Wilco is shown as having blond hair, however in the game he has brown hair. Budget re-releases of the game had a copy of the in-box comic in black and white instead of the colour original (well, it was a *budget* re-release!).

Graphics

While it is mentioned on the box that VGA and MCGA are "supported" (they were introduced the same year as this game), they are not "used". The game still used AGI's 16 color low-res mode.

Hidden message

When you select About SQ2 from the Sierra menu after you die, you'll get a message that says We hope you're not looking for someone to blame just because you died rather than the usual message.

References

  • The game contains allusions to the Larry series. When Roger is caught outside the swamp and thrown into a cage during his unconsciousness he dreams about being a character named Larry and having some incidents with women.
  • Sludge Vohual is of course a spoof of Darth Vader from Star Wars, and the monkey guards are a spoof of Planet of the Apes.
  • When you're inside Vohaul's asteroid, go to the bathroom on the 4th floor and enter the booth that isn't occupied. Close the door and type:

READ WRITINGS

Among the responses (just repeat the command a couple of times to read them all) the game gives you there's this one referring to the hero from King's Quest:

"Sir Graham Cross Dresses!"

Another one is:

"Ken was here! (So was Al, but we had to repaint afterward.)"

Ken & Al are of course Sierra developers Ken Williams & Al Lowe. * In the decontamination area (this is where you change your clothes at the start of the game) open your locker. In your locker there are two objects you can take but there's also this joke. Type:

GET CONDOM

The game will respond with:

Sorry. The used Nancy Reagan autographed "Just Say No" condom had to be removed for the shipping version.

Information also contributed by Gothicgene, Jayson Firestorm, *Katakis*, Ricky Derocher, and Roedie

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Related Sites +

  • "Roger Crawling" screen saver for Windows
    Figuring out how to convince the parser that you wanted to hold the glowing orium gem in your mouth was the hard part! Now enjoy the fruits of your labours as Roger kicks in with psychedelically-illuminated wanderings (and a relevant, toggleable MIDI soundtrack) through Labion's caves (including squid!) on your desktop to save your monitor from the anachronistic plague of burn-in. From Chris Geroux, as "ScumSoft".
  • Hints for SQ2
    These questions and answers will help you solve the game without spoiling it for you.
  • ScummVM
    supports the DOS, Macintosh, Amiga and Apple IIgs versions of Space Quest II: Chapter II - Vohaul's Revenge under Windown Linux, Macintosh and other platforms.
  • SpaceQuest.Net - Space Quest 2
    Extremely comprehensive site about Space Quest 2: Basic game information, hints, documentation, downloads and behind the scenes stuff, for example a downloadable PDF manual, scans of the official hint book, easter eggs, fun facts, cancelled stuff etc. etc. etc.

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 128
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Olivier Masse.

Amiga added by POMAH. Apple II, Macintosh added by Terok Nor. Apple IIgs added by Scaryfun. Atari ST added by Belboz.

Additional contributors: Roedie, Jeanne, Jayson Firestorm, tarmo888, Alaka, Pseudo_Intellectual, General Error, formercontrib, Macs Black, mailmanppa.

Game added May 22, 1999. Last modified January 20, 2024.