Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon

aka: SQ3, Space Quest 3, Space Quest III: Die Piraten von Pestulon
Moby ID: 142

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 81% (based on 26 ratings)

Player Reviews

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

Have a Monolith Burger before Arnoid catches you!

The Good
The first Space Quest pretty much defined the whole series with its lighthearted, amusing space tale about an extraordinary janitor who keeps surviving against all odds. The second installment was less funny and focused more on various hazards. Space Quest III goes back to the template of the first game, but enhances it with more humor and personality. Filled with all kinds of wacky situations, weird encounters, and silly fun, Space Quest III is perhaps the most typical game of the series, its most "pure" representative. Together with its sequel, it is also the one fans of the series usually remember most fondly.

Gameplay-wise, Space Quest III has decidedly more to offer than the previous games. The new text parser allows you to choose more concrete verbs and some very specific actions. There is an excellent variety of different situations and actions you could perform in the game. From traditional exploration and item-gathering to playing funny minigames, navigating a spaceship, or infiltrating a company building disguised as a janitor (what a disguise, indeed...), there is always plenty of things to do, keeping the game fresh and exciting. There is not a bit of repetitive gameplay in Space Quest III, and it is amusing and diverse from the beginning to the end.

The humor is also much more evident in this title than in the two previous games. There are more weird characters, all sorts of funny situations, plus the traditional death scenes that were the trademark of Sierra's adventures at that time. Pop culture references, movie spoofs (a terminator called "Arnoid"? Really?..), and situations far surpassing the earlier installments in comedic entertainment value (such as a mecha fight against a dorky office boss) are much more prominent. The game is more verbose and descriptive, having somewhat warmer, eloquent writing. Also, while in the two previous games you were still a nameless "player" (although the hero's real name was mentioned in documentation), this is the first game where Roger Wilco acts under his own name. In this game particularly, the charming "loser" personality of Roger comes to life. Later Space Quest installments added more character development, but Space Quest III made a step in that direction.

Technically, this game is a noticeable step forwards compared to its immediate predecessor; with a new, updated version of classic Sierra text-based interface, the game's interaction became richer, more intelligent and satisfying. The graphics are also much more impressive than in the first two installments; until now, Space Quest III is remembered as one of the finest examples of late EGA art. Even compared to other Sierra games made with the same engine, those visuals have something that make them stand out.

The game presents a good variety of locations, classical Space Quest-style planet-hopping that was lacking in the second game. From a spaceship graveyard to an intergalactic burger restaurant, from a mysterious planet with a purple surface and a shop that sells tourist souvenirs to the headquarters of an evil corporation, the locations of Space Quest III always keep the player interested, pressing him to continue playing and see where he would be taken next.

The Bad
Space Quest III has its weaknesses. Firstly, while it does expand the game world and increases diversity, it is still a rather short and fairly straightforward game. There is hardly any exploration of a continuous world in the sense of King's Quest. In fact, most of the locations are very small and there isn't much you can do there besides performing the necessary actions to advance the plot. The only exception is the initial junkyard - which is, frankly, not a particularly thrilling area to begin with. It is also disproportionally long, occupying about a third of the entire game. And while you can visit several planets afterwards, the whole thing is over a bit too soon, with only the tightly scripted hazards creating the illusion of a longer adventure.

In terms of storytelling, Space Quest III is a disappointment. The two earlier games were hardly groundbreaking works of fiction, but at least they had overarching goals and objectives that made sense within a larger context. In this installment, you escape from the lengthy junkyard sequence only to travel to the few available planets without any compelling reason. The actual plot information is handed to you almost by accident, and by that time you might have already completed areas you had no idea were crucial for your quest.

The Bottom Line
Amusing characters, all kinds of weird deaths to avoid, funny locations - the classic Space Quest ingredients are all there. Space Quest III feels a bit too simple at times and suffers from traditional Sierra-style strange logic; but it is also a dynamic, entertaining game that stays in your memory with all its silliness and charm.

DOS · by Unicorn Lynx (181778) · 2014

The first graphic adventure I played

The Good
Roger Wilco is not more than the average guy. In fact, he' less. Being a janitor on a spaceship is not what I would consider a promising career. To make matters worse, he crashes in a junkyard, is wanted by some weird post-science fiction female Terminator and dies on every possible occasion. It's fun. As long as you don't forget to save regularly, at least. Space Quest III is a funny game with all sorts of little allusions to other science fiction characters.

The Bad
A Sierra adventure is a deadly trap for its characters. And it's not much fun to see Wilco being ripped to pieces for the 99th time. The music is nerve wracking from today's point of view. But that applies to most games of that decade.

The Bottom Line
The game is a combined graphic/text adventure: You have to type in your instructions, and in case Roger Wilco gets what you want, he executes your order. And dies as often as possible. What makes up for this, is that Space Quest III is really funny. So take your time, turn off the music and stockpile some tranquilizer. Or you will go through the roof after Wilco's first dozens of deaths

DOS · by Isdaron (715) · 2001

All-Time Favorite Game of this Type!

The Good
The slapstick humor in this game are second to none. From jokes about your deaths (you aren't going to avoid this at least a few times), to jokes about incorrect commands, this game laughs at you and at your character, Roger Wilco, constantly. The story is also great. It is an interesting trip through the galaxy that takes you to many interesting places. Gameplay is your typical text-parser adventure, but that's also what helps to make the game fun to play as you learn what you can and can't do.

The Bad
The game is difficult if you don't know the words to enter in the text-parser in order to do things, but it is still possible. The graphics are dated by today's standards, but then again, the game isn't new. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out where you have to go next in the game because there are often no clues to help you along. I did this without walkthroughs or faqs, and it was not an easy game to do in some parts.

The Bottom Line
This game was a very funny game that was filled with slapstick humor. Ever try swearing in the game? HAHA! The game was really well written and the story was great! This was the first game I played in the SQ series and it got me hooked on this style of game. And this is one game (and the series) where you just have to kill yourself in all possible ways just to see what the game says about you!!

DOS · by Riamus (8480) · 2003

Representative of a lost era-one of the best

The Good
This game was the first computer game I ever played. It came out in 1988, but I didn't play it until about 1990, when I was 9. Its mix of space adventure and incredibly funny humor immediately appealed to me, and for years the Space Quest series was my favorite series of computer games. In this game you pick up the story of Roger Wilco where he left off at the end of the second game, drifting through space in an escape pod. Roger gets the first ship that is completely his in this game, which gives him the ability to planet-hop at will, and you get to zip from place to place at will for most of the game (a neat kind of perk for a kid whose bedtime was still 9 PM). It has a rich plot compared to the first two games, as well as improved graphics. When I finally finished it, I just sat in front of the screen with a feeling of accomplishment, and immediately felt like playing the next one. A true pinnacle of early adventure gaming.

The Bad
Not many bad things, in my opinion. It was a challenging game, which would have been good, but my version of the game had a little glitch that didn't let me save the game. Whenever I died, I had to start at the beginning again. This allowed me to get REALLY good at navigating around the trash freighter at the beginning of the game, and increased the feeling of joy when I finally finished it. The arcade-like sequence at the end when you have to destroy Elmo's Scumsoft fighters to get away was kind of repetitive, and seemed really hard to me. Could have done without it, but what are you gonna do? The Astrochicken game at Monolith Burger was also kind of monotonous, but was too hilarious to complain much about.

The Bottom Line
If you don't mind the not-that-great graphics (by today's standards), and have an interest in classic text-parser adventure gaming, go to E-bay and pick a copy of this up for a couple bucks. You have to start it from a DOS prompt, but it still works on today's computers. In my opinion, this kind of adventure gaming went out with the text window. I can't describe it (I don't know if anybody can), but there's a certain something about these kinds of games that I absolutely love. Sierra's different "Quest" games (Space, King's, Police) were about all the games I played for a few years, and they kind of drifted away once spoken voiceovers on CD came in. So while you're enjoying today's adventure games, look back at these incredibly fun pioneers of the genre.

DOS · by Stephen Atkinz (7) · 2001

Key SQ entry, one of the very best in the series

The Good
Well, where do I start; there are so many good things with this one…

After the somewhat lacklustre Space Quest II, things not only bounced back with SQ3, but also seemed to find a new lease of life along the way. Space Quest 3 is much closer to the original that the comparatively static SQ2, returning to having lots of different planets to visit, and lots of curious characters to meet on them – and of course, lots of ridiculous situations to get into.

Although Roger Wilco's name was given in the literature for the first two games, you could enter your own name, and the computer referred to the hero as "you"; this is the first one where you actually PLAY Roger Wilco (did that make sense? I hope so). And with it, the humour really starts to grow and find it’s footing, and the star of the series gains a ton load more character.

Plot-wise things aren’t quite as driven as the first two instalments, with the real villain not really becoming apparent until quite late on in the game, but in this case it really doesn’t matter, as there are enough puzzles and situations to keep you more than occupied as things slowly uncover themselves.

The game smoothly picks up directly from where Space Quest 2 left off (well, give or take a few light years where Roger was in suspended animation, but anyway…)
A great touch is that the several direct tie-ins from that game. A terminator is after you for not paying for a whistle you obtained in that game, and the illuminous gem found and used in that game plays a part in this one too (though quite what happened to the rest of your inventory from that game is anyone’s guess!)

The text interface is much improved and more intelligent. It’s actually the last SQ game to use text interface – I’m one of the group who believes a great chunk of the interactive appeal was lost when they passed it up for a totally point-and-click driven interface.

Considering the year, the graphics in this one are VERY impressive. Everything it a LOT sharper and more detailed than in the first two. Roger inparticular is a lot better – asides from the standard walk animation, there’s also a number of other animations (climbing in / out, tumbling over, etc) that are used at various points, and even more impressive is that when Roger walks into a dark area on a screen, the character falls into shade. Okay, so the shade falls suddenly, not like the multi-shaded graphics of nowadays, but considering things were still in EGA, it’s impressive to say the least.

And sound – supported sound cards made their entrance into the series with this one. Originally when I played this game many years ago, I only had it on the standard PC speaker, but when re-playing the game recently, I heard it through the speaker for the first time, and (again, considering the age) it was very impressive (and am I overusing “impressive” in this review?!).

To put it simply, this is one of the very best (verging on <u>THE</u> best) in the entire Space Quest series.

**The Bad**
In the very early stages of the game is quite probably the most ridiculous, over-the-top death in any of the Space Quest games. Coming to a conspicuous piece of scrap metal lying besides a scrap ship, you only have to try and pick it up, to cut yourself open and bleed to death! (LucasArts seemed to pick up on this and indirectly criticise it in some of the literature for their own games).

The ending was met with some criticism from many fans, and I’m not really sure where I stand on it. In one way its quite a intriguing idea trying to blend reality (the writers) with this actual game; but the final scene (I wont spoil it for anyone who hasn’t got that far) doesn’t really work, and ironically is actually one of the few times in the entire series that it actually feels like you’re playing a game (if you see what I mean!)

In a couple of places of the game, limitations become apparent. For example, on one planet, Phleebhut, if you walk too far in one direction, you get eaten by a giant snake; if you walk too far in the other, you get suddenly struck dead by a bolt of lighting! Well, no-one can accuse them of not being creative at least.

Oh, one other thing. Astro Chicken. Grrr. An irritating, awkward-to-play arcade game in the Monolith Burgers restaurant, that is infuriating verging on boring to play, but has to be completed in order to get a secret code from the machine (in fact, I think it’s possible to finish without beating the Astro Chicken game, but you don’t get full points).

The first stage of the game, set in the intergalactic garbage is great (and should be under the “good” section), and in fact may quite possibly be my favourite section in any Space Quest game I’ve played. But it would have been kewl if they had expanded it even more, and made it bigger. Damn, a whole game on it’s own could have been set inside that place.

But that’s about it on the bad side. Normally I’ll pick holes in anything, but there truly wasn’t much I didn’t like about this one.

**The Bottom Line**
Classic Sierra, Space Quest at it’s very best. One of the best in the entire series (in my opinion, I’d say it about level pegs with SQ4 in as the overall best, as they both have their own strong-points). Although SQ1 is the logical place to start, SQ3 is a good game to start with if you’re new to the series. With – for the time – cutting edge graphics and sound, with some of the series’ strongest humour and ideas, this is one of the very best; one of the finest examples of the heyday of classic Sierra games. If only they made them like this nowadays.

DOS · by Jayson Firestorm (143) · 2002

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.

DOS · by Olivier Masse (443) · 2001

A beginning of a new era

The Good
the 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 Bad
I 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 Line
SQ3 is much better than the previous Space Quest's because of its colorful graphics and excellent sounds. Not to be missed. ****

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43091) · 2003

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

Best Space Quest of the series! Roger Wilco at his best!

The Good
This game had it all for me, the theme, the environment, the characters, the puzzles and the entertainment level was very high. This is the first of the Space Quests to use the improved interface used in games like King's Quest 4. Its graphic and sound enhancement was warmly welcomed by Space Quest fans.

This game was extremely fun and it wasn't too difficult to figure out. Flying to different planets, exploring them. Pretending to be a janitor (it was a far stretch :), dodging and evading a crazy robot that is trying to kill you and some in-game arcade games like Astro Chicken all are apart of what makes this a great game.

I remember this game also had one of the highest possible points available in any of the Quest series. Somewhere around 730 points possible which conveyed the length of the game. Pretty long for those games.

The Bad
There wasn't anything I didn't like about this game. I don't believe there were even any pesky in-game copy-protections thrown at us like Sierra usually did. It was an all-around great space cruisin' adventure game.

The Bottom Line
If you liked any of the Space Quests, you would love this one. Definitely my personal favorite of all the Space Quests. I give this game a high rating and recommend it to anyone interested in classic PC gaming.

DOS · by OlSkool_Gamer (88) · 2004

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 (697) · 2018

4 hours worth of - get this, FOUR HOURS worth of fun

The Good
Now I'm not going to spend much time writing a review for this game. Which took 4 hours to finish. You know, like I wouldn't want to spend more time writing the review than actually PLAYING THE GAME?!?

It's fun. OK, I admit it. The graphics are good-looking, really, no kidding. You'll even cast a shadow occasionally. Everything's quite colorful, there's a lovely space burger bar to visit, a cool cheesy space-ship, an amazing incredible fantastic load of junk (it's not really that amazing but you'll spend half the game in it, so there must be something special about it, right?), a hot volcano lava planet, a couple of green planets. Empty black space. Diversity. I liked the new menu style, and the text-box style - it immediately looks a lot more professional and thought-out than in the previous game. I even got to use the mouse to point where I want to go and press some buttons! If only game designers today would think of stuff like that.

The sub-games were fun, the best part for me. Astro-chicken, message ring decoding, battlebot fighting game, the space ship simulation. It was actually very cool to have your own ship. It was also cool that you weren't stuck in the same viewing style the whole time - at times it switched to a bigger scale, another time it switched to pseudo-3d as you're walking through a circling hallway, and the spaceship has its own big screen with just your huge static head indicating your presence. It's things like that make you feel appreciated and loved.

The non-existent plot aside, the writing and scenes were good - at one point you even have to play intergalactic James Bond and infiltrate and blow up a big generator, previously viewing it in a telescope left there by some men who were conducting experiments there and can be seen leaving in their own spaceship (see? it's actually explained why a bunch of objects are there!). The initial junk-yard exercise is also very well thought out, with plausible objects and working mechanisms and a quaint plausible atmosphere, with lots of cool broken thingamajigs lying around to be explored. And one of the greener planets has a neat statue of a huge monster in it, and you can actually get inside and ride a big lift up its leg or something.

As for the humor, I thought that the dying messages weren't quite as funny as in the last game, and I kinda generally don't seem to remember all that huge amount of humor that the other reviewers here have noted (and I just finished it an hour ago so I hardly could've forgotten it). The accountants scene at the end is hilarious and very sarcastic, and the terminator that goes after you because of an unpaid bill from the previous game is amusing, and the Astro-chicken is funny of course but aside from that there weren't all that many jokes there. But it was generally tasteful and well-written (the ending aside), and actually I think that the sort of a mild humorous sheen over it all might've very well influenced the Monkey Island series - for example, the way you shove a ladder in your pants. And the way your character comes across as a big fat dope. (Btw, it's probably the Space Quest series that were parodied in Monkey Island 1 the time you fell off the cliff and "died".) And check out the space burger bar - doesn't that visually remind somewhat of Sam and Max Hit the road? Or maybe I'm just imagining things.

The Bad
Ok, the game is just too short. It's also very badly paced (the seemingly "introductory" scene in the dump in fact takes up about half of the game) and - look people, it HAS NO PLOT! This is just the pits - for most of the game you have no idea whatsoever what you are supposed to be doing, and then it turns out that you must save the game's two designers from the clutches of "ScumSoft" and deliver them back to the Earth so that they can make more Space Quest games for Sierra.

As if that wasn't enough, they managed to make the game both linear and unlinear at the same time, incorporating the worst of each approach with admirable grace and stupidity: for most of the game you're free to do whatever you choose with no purpose being thereby provided, but the key location of the game only becomes available when you succesfully beat the Astro-chicken game and a coded message suddenly appears on the screen. The "plot" thus becomes apparent to you, the fact notwithstanding that you most probably have already blown up the huge generator that imprisons the hapless game designers for no other good reason than that it was standing there and you're supposed to "interact" with things in adventure games. Like Max would say, "we just like blowing up huge force field generators".

As for the length issue - I admit that I took the occasional peak in the walkthrough and didn't spend the obligatory 2 weeks trying to figure out which burger bar menu item has the decoder ring in it or that you - thank god for point-and-click interfaces - have to STAND UP before JUMPing to safety whilst being gently nudged into a shredding machine. But - brilliant mind-benders like this just can't compensate for the fact that most of the locations here have at best 2 or 3 things you can interact with (allowing for the fact that interaction with at least one of these will result in the death of your character), and mostly don't have even that. The objects you can have in your inventory probably total under a dozen, and there are virtually no "use this with that" puzzles which IMO is one of the basic ingredients of any adventure game worthy of the name. All the objects in this game have only the most obvious of uses, and unless you count "using invisibility belt when you have to pass a bunch of guards" a challenge, then you're probably bound to start wondering at some point as to whether this isn't some sort of a predecessor to the interactive movie, mini-games and all.

The Bottom Line
A definite improvement over the previous games in terms of graphics and production values (there is even appropriate midi mood music for most of the scenes), but the game still has obvious trouble taking itself seriously (and even humorous games should do that, as Monkey Island proved), and, while some of the seperate locations are involving and very nicely done, as a whole the game doesn't even begin to make any sense. Still, its commitment to being (mildly) humorous and providing various unusual and eye-catching locations was probably quite influential, and can be appreciated even in this day and age.

DOS · by Alex Man (31) · 2003

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

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by S Olafsson, Jeanne, Alsy, Tim Janssen, Jo ST, Martin Lindell, Martin Smith, Patrick Bregger, Pseudo_Intellectual, Scaryfun, TheWalkthroughKing, Víctor Martínez.