Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon

aka: SQ3, Space Quest 3, Space Quest III: Die Piraten von Pestulon
DOS Specs [ all ]
See Also
Buy on Amiga
Buy on DOS

Description official descriptions

Narrowly escaping the events of Space Quest II: Vohaul's Revenge, Roger Wilco's escape pod floats through space. As just another metallic item of junk, it's soon picked up by an interstellar garbage hauler. Waking up in a pile of trash, quite familiar for this janitor-turned-hero, Roger Wilco must somehow escape. Once given access to the rest of the galaxy, he'll soon find himself having to avoid a collections cyborg for payments overdue, dealing with the corporate prison of software company Scummsoft, and having to digest the greasy food from the galaxy's finest hamburger joint.

Space Quest 3 is a graphical adventure. The mouse is functional for movement and inventory access, however the game primarily relies on a text parser for specific commands and manipulation of objects on screen. In addition to the regular gameplay, there are also various mini-games, such as a simple non-scrolling arcade game Astro Chicken, as well as a radar screen representation for ship-to-ship space combat.


  • מסע בחלל III שודדי החלל של פסטלון - Hebrew spelling
  • שודדי החלל של פסטלון :III מסע בחלל - Hebrew spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

13 People



Average score: 81% (based on 25 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 126 ratings with 12 reviews)

Not quite the classic it's remembered as

The Good
The very best part of SQIII comes as it first loads up. For many people, the opening theme was the first time they ever realised that a PC could actually make music.

SQIII is light, cheesy fun. Roger Wilco, your eternally hapless alter ego, fumbles his away around the galaxy and becomes a funnel for increasingly tacky jokes from his creators, the Two Guys From Andromeda. The graphics are good, the sound is magnificent, and the endless sci-fi injokes will keep you chuckling across the stars.

The Bad
SQIII's episodic structure makes it a very linear game. A very EASY linear game. Once you've marched through it, periodically saving because of the endless ways to suddenly die, there's not much more to do. And even people with a high cheese tolerance may find themselves challenged by the relentless dumb laughs.

The Bottom Line
To steal from Stephen King, SQIII is the computer-game equivalent of a burger and fries. It's fun. Many people have extremely fond memories of it. But people who somehow missed out, who are wanting an intro to Sierra-style gaming, should check out Hero's Quest instead.

DOS · by Colin Rowsell (43) · 2002

Space Quest isn't the same without Xenon

The Good
The graphics are good, though I reckon another Space Quest game in the AGI format would've been fine. I like most of the problems/solutions, the planets are good, Ortega is especially atmospheric with its deadly heat and lava surrounding you. Bob Siebenberg's new Space Quest theme is very good also.

The Bad
I felt that Space Quest isn't the same when you're not protecting Xenon, no matter how Xenon dissed Roger in SQ2 by sending him back to his janitor job. Xenon was the serious part of Space Quest, in the first game its sun was dying and in the second game Vohaul was going to destroy it(in a silly sort of way). I felt the idea of rescuing Scott and Mark and taking them to Sierra was ok, but kind of "sub-plotish". I wanted to get back to Xenon even if they dissed me again.

The Bottom Line
It's a good text-adventure, looks and plays good, just has a silly story.

DOS · by Andrew Fisher (695) · 2018

Great game, but sadly falling short

The Good
Space Quest... part of the 'quest' series of games produced by Sierra, one of the most beloved and well-known video game companies of times past. When I was a kid whenever I heard 'Sierra' it simply meant a fantastic game, no matter what. They had that charm that just sucked you and in and all the cameos and in-jokes (still obvious to the player) made it look like the people who made it, from top to bottom, are just one fun-loving group who want to entertain as much as make a profit... and you knew them all, something not common today.

Space Quest 3 is sequel to everyone's favorite janitor after whatever mess he managed to clean up last time. It's actually a fairly interesting scenario that he's in, and most people don't even notice it. In the previous game, Roger Wilco (which in this game became his official name instead of the default if you didn't enter anything before) was forced to put himself into some kind of hibernation in order to survive since he had so little time left before the life support died. It was a nice ending, really, but it leaves you to wonder... just for HOW long has Roger Wilco been there? In the depths of space, easily decades, or even centuries. That's when the story comes in.

OK, now I'll really start discussing what's good about the game. First of all, the humor that's so common to a lot of Space Quest games is here and in full swing. Just the very first few screens probably reference over half a dozen sci-fi shows and movies of the past and they're very obvious about it. Some of the puzzles are actually quite interesting and do require some thinking and exploration, and not all of them are obvious, which is, in a way, a good thing and a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.

The graphics and sound were a bit above average for a 1989, and a lot of the drum tunes were very well done in my opinion. Plus you can't help but laugh at the Microsoft and McDonald jokes found there, and let's not even get started on the 'tourist' spots parodied!

The Bad
All righty then, the bad. As much as I cherish every single Sierra game ever made (I own as many of them as I can, and I just wish I could get more memorabilia), I would have to criticize this game since it does have some short comings. Though in a way they could actually be excused if you saw it from a different angle.

First of all, the game itself is one of the shortest Sierra games I've ever played, and there's not much in way of risk if you know exactly what to do and when... the same cannot be said of most other adventure games. Also there are very few 'extra' points or alternate solutions in the game. This is very important because, as a sort of tradition, Sierra games frequently had a few dozen points that could be obtained by doing things that aren't obvious or finding stuff that most people overlook. In this game, there is only one real situation like that, with another one having two different solutions (one giving more points), but that's it. The game is very straight forward in that regard and the only really difficult part is just in the beginning before you take off in the Aluminum Mallard (an obvious play on 'Millennium Falcon'), the game becomes very simple after that, actually.

And it's simplicity was obvious in the fact that it was the FIRST sierra game me and my brother ever finished without having to look for a walkthrough (and that was in the pre-Internet, not an easy thing to pull off). The only thing that really surprised us was finding the message at the end of the Astro Chicken game... I can still remember my brother's expression and gasp when we saw that coming. But other than that, there's not much challenge in it.

Some parts of the game are completely illogical and glaringly underdone. For example, one vital part of the game involved you having to disable the force field generator. Yet you do this by just grabbing a grenade from a group of surveyors (why'd they need it to begin with?) after they leave the planet with all their equipment just lying there... you don't even do anything, just wait and they're gone! Then you waltz into the compound, climb a ladder that seems to serve no purpose other than getting you into a strategically placed position to destroy the whole generator with just one grenade! Wow, that was really weak.

I love Sierra games a lot and saying stuff like that is not easy for me to do. But in all other Space Quest games that involved sneaking around (i.e. all of them), they had sequences that were far more believable and better done than that. There was really no excuse for them to make something like this. Adding guards and alternate routes and puzzles along the way would have made the game a lot better.

Now that I'm done with the major problems, I want to mention a presumably major problem that I don't believe is worthy of much criticism... the lack of plot. I know that most people critiqued the game for its lack of plot, but I believable it can and should be forgiven. For one thing, the game takes place in an indeterminate period of time after Roger went into hibernation, and it's never given directly, but we could say it's a LLOOONNNGGG time when you hear the joke given by terminator robot. Seriously, in order for the price of a cheap toy to have interest that rose to that kind of money must take centuries at the very least. At that point in time, Roger Wilco had no home, no job, and (probably) no surviving friends or relatives... with the exception of the terminator and his employer. This leaves Wilco to have a reforge everything anew. The only real problem with this is that Wilco had no actual motivation to want to rescue the 2 guys from Andromeda to begin with, and they were only two guys, not a whole planet to save or anything. If they'd have included just a touch more plot about him tangling with scumsoft before all that to give him that motivation, it would have been a lot better.

The Bottom Line
This is a Sierra game! It's great, it's engaging, the main character is the type of guy that you will NEVER forget no matter how hard you try, and it has a staying power beyond words. I played and finished this game at age 8 and I never forgot how to do it. That's what it is. ;)

DOS · by Salim Farhat (69) · 2008

[ View all 12 player reviews ]



The "Two Guys from Andromeda" (Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe) made a special video-appearence in a humorous (and quite a bit silly) Space Quest III promotion film. The short clip was allegedly recovered in the year 2000, and is now downloadable from several sources on the internet.

Astro Chicken

The irritatingly awkward Astro Chicken game features a irritatingly catchy, dubbed by fans "the Astro Chicken theme" (imaginative, huh). But this piece of music wasn't actually created for this game; it first appeared in the first Police Quest game, when someone planted a chicken on Sergeant Dooley's desk.

After winning the Astro Chicken, you are given a hidden message, written in the Galactic Alphabet. For those of you who can't be bothered to decode it, here's what the message says.


                       TWO GUYS IN TROUBLE


When you retrieve the decoder ring and use it to decode the message, one would think that the game would automatically decode it for you.


Very early on in the game, in fact on only the second screen you come to (depending in which direction you walk), there is a piece of metal that, if you try and pick it up, causes you to cut yourself open and bleed to death, without any warning what-so-ever! This classic over-the-top death seemed to be nodded too in the literature to several LucasArts releases, with wording along the lines of "we don't believe you should die every two minutes for merely trying to pick up an object".

DOS version

The PC version of Space Quest III features digitized sound effects in the Sound Blaster or Tandy DAC (TL/SL) sound modes. The majority of these sound effects were actually recorded from the Roland MT-32 version (with a few exceptions such as the the brief speech in the opening sequence).

Supported music devices

The original version supports various music devices, with the most unusual being the Casiotone MT-540 and CT-460 MIDI keyboards. Space Quest III may well be the only game that ever used them. The keyboards feature MIDI input and output ports and can be connected to the PC just like other external synthesizers. The setup program for the game also contains instructions on how to set them up for playback. Support for these keyboards and some other devices was removed in later versions of the game.


If you eat the "Big Belcher Combo" at Monolith Burger, when you go to leave Roger will come back in, green in the face, and bring it back up.


Before performing this trick, be sure to save your game. Now, this is a neat little thing that I discovered. After you've killed the Terminator, go back into Fester's shop on Phleebut and WEAR HAT after buying it. After leaving his shop, before the computer automatically takes the hat off, begin walking in another direction. By doing this, you're stuck on this screen and can walk anywhere. For instance, attempt to walk off the right side of the screen. Once you disappear, go up and around Mog's foot. You should be able to walk on the sky, through the leg and on the roof of the shop. I'm guessing that this is just a glitch in the game. I've never been able to fix it once it happens.

Plot hole

The terminators in SQ3 and SQ5 come after you for not paying for the Labion Terror Beast Whistle. However, those of us who bought the game when it first came out know that the included coupon specified that the Whistle was free.


The soundtrack for Space Quest III was composed and arranged by Bob Siebenberg, former drummer for the popular band Supertramp.


This is the first Space Quest game to make use of digitized speech, although it's only in one small part of the game. During the game's introduction you can hear Roger say "Where I am?"


  • When you first arrive to Monolith Burger, the USS Enterprise (from the original series) warps out of there.
  • There's a TIE fighter (from Star Wars) in the garbage ship. However, it's been renamed to a bow-tie fighter from the cologne wars (the original movie mentions the Clone Wars).
  • Also in the garbage ship, the ship Jupiter 2 is from the old Lost in Space series.
  • Fester has a postcard from Arrakis in his shop. Arrakis is the planet from the movie Dune.
  • There's a small signature hiding in the introduction sequence. The pic where the droid is monitoring the escape pod - in the right lower corner, there's a signature reading "Crowe" (as in graphic artist, Mark Crowe).
  • "Monolith Burger" is also one of the places in Socket City, where you can work and eat, in Sierra's Jones in the Fast Lane.
  • Near the start try typing in "put gem in mouth" and you'll get a message that says "That's only helpful in SQ II" In Space Quest II, you needed to put a gem in your mouth in order to get through a certain section in the game.
  • The logo for Scum Soft is a spoof of the logo for Strategic Simulations Inc, which was a popular software company back at the time that Space Quest III was released.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • October 1989 (Issue #64) – Special Award for Achievement in Sound
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #2 Best Way To Die In Computer Gaming (the own body parts will be sold by a butcher after death)
  • ST Format
    • January 1990 (issue #06) – Included in the list 50 Games of the Year
    • January 1991 (Issue #18) – #5 Best Adventure Game in 1990

Information also contributed by B14ck W01f, Erik Niklas, Jayson Firestorm, Mickey Gabel, Philip Kuhn, Ricky Derocher, Stargazer, William Shawn McDonie, WizardX and theclue

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Related Sites +

  • Hints for SQ3
    These questions and answers will help you solve the game without spoiling it for you.
  • ScumSoft HQ
    The ScumSoft Headquarters
  • Space Quest Network
    One of the largest Space Quest pages in existance - with lots of trivia, tips, downloads and very much anything else you can ever find about Space Quest on the internet!

Identifiers +


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Andy Roark.

Amiga added by POMAH. Macintosh, Atari ST added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: OlEnglish, nullnullnull, Mirrorshades2k, Servo, Jeanne, Jayson Firestorm, Shoddyan, Stargazer, Crawly, 6⅞ of Nine, Patrick Bregger, Ingsoc, Jo ST, theclue.

Game added May 27th, 1999. Last modified August 14th, 2023.