Monday, 22 July 2013

Game 33: Space Quest III - Introduction


Oh, yes! There will be blood!

After a couple of lengthy adventures in non-Sierra territory, we’re back in the comfort zone with the third in the Space Quest series. The game, subtitled The Pirates of Pestulon, was released on March the 24th, 1989, and was once again written and designed by the Two Guys from Andromeda, Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy. As usual, they weren’t alone in this endeavour, and sought the assistance of a bunch of eager young fellows, made up of both newbies and industry veterans alike. On the programming side, Mark and Scott were joined by Ken Koch (who’d already worked on King’s Quest IV so had experience with the SCI0 engine), Doug Oldfield (who would go on to work on Codename: ICEMAN later in the year) and Christopher Tudor-Smith (this was the first of many Sierra games for him). Veteran Mark Seibert was once again involved, although this time he handled only sound effects for the game and surprisingly not the music, given his credentials. The reason for this was that the music gig was given to Supertramp drummer Bob Siebenberg. From what I can tell, it’s the first and only computer game involvement that Bob had, so it will be interesting to see just how notable it is.


Someone named John T. Shaw designed the box. It's certainly action packed!

To put the game into perspective, Space Quest III was the fourth game to use the SCI0 engine, behind King’s Quest IV, Leisure Suit Larry 2 and Police Quest II. Both Hero’s Quest and Leisure Suit Larry 3, which I’ve already blogged through, were created and released after Space Quest III. It was actually one of the very first games to utilize Sound Blaster cards and interestingly, despite it also including a few examples of digitized audio sampling, they were only included in the Tandy, Amiga and Macintosh versions of the game. There was only very minimal use of digitized speech for these versions anyway (I think Roger says “Where am I?” during the introduction), so it’s not a huge loss. Before anyone makes any predictions about me getting stuck, please not that I played the game about five years ago (for the first time), so should be able to cruise through it. I own the Space Quest 1-3 Collection from GOG, so that’s what I’ll be playing (it uses DOSBox). I’ve skimmed through the manual, but its standard Sierra fare, recounting the closing stages of the previous game and then explaining the controls. It does however break away momentarily to inform the player that the Two Guys from Andromeda have been abducted by software pirates! There really isn’t a whole lot more to say in this introduction, apart from the fact you should all click on this link right now!


You gotta love these guy's wacky, self referential sense of humour!

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There's a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no CAPs will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. As this is an introduction post, it's an opportunity for readers to bet 10 CAPs (only if they already have them) that I won't be able to solve a puzzle unassisted (see below for an example). If you get it right I will reward you with 120 CAPs in return (it's going to keep going up until someone beats me)! It's also your chance to predict what the final rating will be for the game. Voters can predict whatever score they want, regardless of whether someone else has already chosen it. All correct (or nearest) votes will go into a draw.

Example Bet:

N cevingr vairfgvtngbe vf jung V nz
Va n jbeyq jurer znzznyf pneel gur ybnq
N ybire ybfg vf jub V zhfg svaq
Ba n qnexre guna rkcrpgrq ebnq

Jub nz V sbe 20 PNCf?

Extra Note: Once again, Lars-Erik will gift the next readily available game on the list to the reader that correctly predicts what score I will give this game. So, if you predict the right score (or are closest), you will get 10 CAPs and a copy of Loom from Steam! How awesome is that!? Good luck!

54 comments:

  1. Yrjgba sebz Qvfpjbeyq Abve?

    This guess thrown out, though, I'll go for 57. Same issues and positives as Police Quest 2, to me (arcade sequences are quite rudimentary but take some small amount of getting used to.) As I promised, I did a quick runthrough in a small window, playing out of the corner of my eye while watching some Youtube clips over the weekend. The game took me two hours fifteen (there were three stumbling blocks, and only one of them was a puzzle - I'll list them out as I go along, but I don't remember the puzzle being an issue honestly - it was just a sequential thing.) I managed 714/738 - but I'll point out that there are a couple of point deductions in this one (largely nonsensical ones ala Larry 2's cliff plunging), so I'm fairly sure that you won't score a 'perfect game', but I wouldn't wager CAPs on it either. Still. Enjoy!

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    1. Wow!!!! That's absolutely correct Aperama!

      I really thought that one was going to be challenging. It took less than half an hour for someone to solve.

      20 CAPs coming your way.

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    2. I was on Tex Murphy for a bit, but couldn't get past 'mammals'. Only ever played Discworld 1, but elephant-borne landscapes would fit this much. :) Add dark streets and it clicked nigh instantly.

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  2. Another one I haven't played, so I'll join up. Since it's another blank canvas, I'll just throw 52 out there.

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  3. A note for anyone using Soundblaster for sound effects: The drivers that the game originally shipped with a faulty driver, making the effects not play. You should either update it using this page, or simply copy SNDBLAST.DRV from a copy of the 1990 KQ1 remake if you have that. A good way to test if it's working is to see if "Where am I?" is voiced, as there indeed should be a sound effect.

    Also a note regarding MT-32 music: The game exploits a few bugs that exist only in the first "generation" of MT32s, and MUNT doesn't yet replicate them AFAIK. So the game would sound correct only on a real 1st-generation MT32.

    I'm going to guess 56.

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    1. Uh, I meant "The drivers that the game originally shipped with were faulty". >_<

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    2. Note: If you play the game with ScummVM (Just point to the Space Quest 3 folder even if you've got a digital download version which uses Doxbox by default) the "Where am I" is voiced without doing anything else, so I assume ScummVM doesn't have the driver problem

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  4. It's interesting (for a Sierra game) that you can deal with a certain opponent in at least two ways in SQ III.

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    1. Someone beat me to it! Actually many of the early Sierra games had alternative solutions. Here are some I could remember:

      KQ1: Many puzzles have a violent and non-violent solution (e.g. you can kill a dragon with a dagger or throw water on it), furthermore, you can cross bridge either by bribing a troll with a valuable item or with the help of a goat etc.
      KQ2: Again there's violent and non-violent solutions, like killing a lion or feeding it.
      SQ1: You can kill the droid and the cave monster with two different methods, and you can reach the laundry in two different ways.
      Black Cauldron: You can lead the pig to safety or you can follow the plot of the movie and let it be captured. Also, there are few different endings.
      SQ2: You can trick the guard of the hovercraft with a rock or kill him with it.
      LSL2: You can use fruits or sewing kit to survive boat trip, and you can use ash or sand to cross ice.
      Gold Rush: Three different routes to California.

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    2. Also, Heroes Quest/QFG1 came before this. Just look at the brigand's fortress - two points of entry (the 'ambush' entry and the hidden cave), three ways of dealing with the minotaur (sneaking behind, attacking from the front, casting 'calm' to put him to sleep) - realistically, that's a little more impressive to me!

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    3. I should point out that Hero's Quest came after this. I played the games in the wrong order, which is something I hope to avoid from 1990 onwards. Space Quest III was released in March and Hero's Quest in October.

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  5. My guess is 53. I didn't read about the cut-off date with my previous guess, I hope I'll nail this!

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  6. This is just pure nostalgia for me, because SQ3 was the very first adventure game I ever played. It will probably have a similar score as other Sierra games of the era: let's say 55, because it is a bit short.

    And so that it wouldn't be just a cruise for Trickster, I present a Challenge: can you find two different ways to deal with a certain Schwarzenegger-clone?

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  7. Fnz sebz Fnz naq Znk Uvg gur Ebnq

    I'm going to go a 54. This one is just too easy and I think that will bring it down a bit, especially if only played recently. Also some of the arcade sections are just annoying.

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  8. I'll go high(er) and say 58. Lots of good little bits in this one. I think the end of the game is a little silly, but the rest holds up extremely well. Even though it was a pain, I always got a kick out of Astro Chicken. Also, lots of great death sequences in this one.

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  9. Another game I have no clue about, let's go with 52 since that's what the last game got.

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  10. I'll go with 56, and voluntarily exclude myself from the free game draw; I don't play adventure games very often, so someone else would enjoy it a lot more.

    On the plus side, you should shoot through this game, since you've played it before, on the downside....Sierra games are boring to read about (for me).

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    1. I wouldn't be surprised if the next post has "Won!" in the title.

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    2. Nah. Average says he plays for about thirty minutes to get a good selection of screenshots for a first impressions post. I'd say post 2 ;) (I'll admit that the parser is a bit difficult from time to time though. For instance, I knew that I needed something va gur svefg fperra. V svtherq V'q svaq bhg jung vg jnf, rira gubhtu V xarj V unq gb hfr gur pynj gb chg vg va gur Nyhzvahz Znyyneq. Ybbxvat ng gur fperra qvqa'g rira npxabjyrqtr vg. Bs pbhefr lbh pna chg gjb naq gjb gbtrgureba gur fperra. Nyfb, gur TBT irefvba unf n oht jurer vs lbh unir gur jvevat juvyr vafgnyyvat gur ernpgbe, vg qvfnccrnef ol qrsnhyg naq lbh'er ng na hajvaanoyr tnzr fgngr)

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    3. I'll chime in on the side of the game here:

      For point 1) 'Ybbx' ba gur svefg fperra erirnyf puhaxf bs zrgny naq byq fcnprjner 'ybbx fcnprjner' erirnyf n ovg bs qrgnvy ba gur 'zbgvingbe' vapyhqvat vgf anzr vg jvyy nyfb erfcbaq gb znpuvar, bowrpg, naq qrivpr, nf jryy nf gur cebcre anzr bs zbgvingbe.

      Point 2) Gung'f abg n oht, TbT irefvba be bgurejvfr, jura lbh trg eboorq ol gur eng perngher vs lbh nyernql unir gur jver vg gnxrf obgu gur trarengbe naq gur jver. Jura lbh erghea gb gur eng perngher qra fperra lbh unir gb trg obgu gur trarengbe naq gur jver onpx nf frcnengr pbzznaqf. Fb vg vf abg vg'f abg n tnzr raqvat oht, vg'f whfg gur eng perngher gnxvat obgu cvrprf bs grpu vairagbel sebz lbh naq lbh abg gnxvat obgu onpx.

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    4. I put up a little ROT-13'd comment here, but found I was spouting gibberish by the end of it. Dead right on both accounts, Jarikith (I was dissuaded by 'ybbx zrgny', 'ybbx fpenc', 'ybbx', 'ybbx ng sybbe' etc which all gave different descriptions to the one I was after.) Still, I'd maintain it's quite confusing tvira vg znxrf n cbvag bs gryyvat lbh gung lbh'ir 'cvpxrq hc gur purnc jvevat' - but if I'd stuck to my adventure game logic-guns, I'd have found the answers sooner or later, instead of reloading and working around. Given as much, the game could have been completed in closer to -2- hours with a ten year old memory of the game. :)

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  11. I'm going with.. 61. And I'll be playing through as well! Wheee! Now I just need to pick a version. Steam! GoG! Or my Space Quest Collection CD! Which will it be?!?

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  12. SQ3 is probably one of the better games in the Space Quest series. It also has a notably good MT-32 soundtrack.

    I think I've played all of the Space Quest games, and enjoyed them to varying degrees: I originally bought floppy SQ4 around 1991 (when it was fairly new) as one of my first VGA games; took me forever to beat it even with a hint book, but I liked it enough to then buy the VGA remake of SQ1 directly from Sierra via mail-order, plus a Space Quest 1-3 floppy compilation.

    I'll also guess 61.

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  13. I'm going with 57... just because :p

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  14. I've already got Loom on steam, and I've never played SQIII, so I'll bet 59 just out of interest.

    Looking forward to this one! I'll probably play along. I recently got a real MT-32 and this seems as good a game as any to try it out on.

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  15. This was the first game I ever got on PC, and my sister and I picked it out based solely on the box art. We chose wisely, and ended up hooked on adventure games ever since...

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  16. I'll chime in with 51, because no game has gotten a 51 yet.

    And I'm playing along with this one. Comments about it being short give me encouragement, as I'm usually very bad at Sierra Adventures with text parsers

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  17. After Nueromancer, this is gonna be crazy short in comparison. I definitely have a lot of fond memories of this game though, so shall be looking forward to the playthrough!

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  18. This is my favorite Space Quest game. Love it so much. Also one of those you have to play with Roland emulation. Seriously, night and day on this one. Well, on all games, but I remember thinking that this one was where they really made the Roland shine in comparison to SB.

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  19. After playing this for a bit, let me tell you this: Astro Chicken is no fun at all to play on a tablet without proper arrow keys.

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  20. Looks like a new adventure game is up on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/233370/

    The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief, from the creator of The Book of Unwritten Tales. Three Episodes, the first released today, with one purchase getting you the other two as they become available.

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  21. I'm going to stop lurking around and place a bet. 57!

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  22. Nice, I'll go with 55. Love the video, by the way, and the fact that they seem to be using an internal debug version of the game! (check the menus)

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  23. Adventure game sales (While I wait for my vacuum traps to cool):
    Kentucky Route Zero: http://store.steampowered.com/app/231200/
    The Raven - Legacy of a Master Thief: http://store.steampowered.com/app/233370/?snr=1_4_4__100_2 (Jarikith beat me to the release, but it is also on sale! :D)

    Some newish releases that I don't think have been mentioned:
    Dragon's Lair: http://store.steampowered.com/app/227380 (17th of May)
    Nancy Drew: the Ghost of Thornton Hall http://store.steampowered.com/app/226820/ (14th May)

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    1. I find it highly humorous that Dragon's Lair is a 'new release', Canageek (though I'd say it doesn't really warrant as an adventure game, given it's essentially an extended quick time event.)

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    2. I don't think it works that way! At least it didn't last time. I mentioned a new adventure game on steam, on sale, and then that it was also on GoG, on sale, and still netted just 5 CAPs total. So.. nyeh! My CAPs! Stay away from them Canageek! :P

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  24. Space Quest 3 is a pretty good adventure game, even if it is a bit too short (especially if you know your way around!). There's only one section I really don't like, but no doubt it'll be discussed when Trickster gets to it.

    I'm going to give this a chance with a 62. I think it really has enough charm to get there, and the puzzles are generally quite good.

    I think I'll be playing along, even though I last completed it only about a year or so ago.

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  25. Precinct - from the creators of "Police Quest"

    Precinct is a new police adventure video game from Jim Walls, creator of the classic Sierra series “Police Quest”.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/precinctgame/precinct

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    Replies
    1. That was announced already, a few posts back.

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  26. I just became a backer of Precinct. Since I get to respond right after Corey Cole, I'll add that I'm waiting for Hero U to be finished as well. I think I've backed every Sierra alum so far. Those were the days I tell ya.

    Anyway, personally I thought SQ3 was the last of the great Space Quest games. While I played them all I just felt like 4 was good but never liked the mouse (non parser) interface. The rest of the series just got hard to solve puzzles and some meh plots.

    BTW, I have all the Sierra/Interactive newsletters and I remember an article about SQ3 where they talked about the Supertramp connection. I'll see if I can dig it up. Do you already have stuff like that Trickster? Would you want it if you don't? Happy to scan it. Guess I just found it here (http://www.spacequest.net/archives/misc/interaction/vol2_num1.shtml) but I can say I have the original anyway :)

    I'll bet 53.

    Don't know why Sierra games still give me all the warm feelings after all these years...

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    1. I don't have anything like that Josh. If anyone has any retro newsletters etc. for any future games I'm playing, I'd love to see them.

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  27. I like how the abgr ba gur nepnqr znpuvar qbrfa'g nhgb genafyngr rira gubhtu lbh tbg gur qrpbqre evat; you actually have to do it manually (naq gur sbag vf fhecevfvatyl ernqnoyr). It adds to the immersion.

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    1. And you've already solved half of the game without having played it before! Yes, this is a short game.

      I actually missed this whole plot point, when I first played SQ3 many years ago. I finished the game, but it felt somewhat mysterious why I had to do certain things. A bit too well hidden, I'd say, considering it explains the central premise of the game.

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    2. Wait, I'm half way through already? But I feel like I've barely started. :p I know you guys said it is short, but I didn't realize just how short it is then. Although it may have something to do with coming straight off of Neuromancer.

      I might have lucked out on that part though. Somebody came into my office while I was gelvat gb ynaq gung fghcvq oveq, fb V whfg yrsg vg sbe n juvyr, naq jura V pnzr onpx vg jnf gurer. Is it time-based and not achievement-based?

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    3. I've only ever received it after a few successes, but I'd say you don't need them save for points (the reasoning will come to light throughout the game, don't worry!)

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    4. Half way through? I'm still in the first area (whaxlneq)

      I'm probably missing something blatantly obvious.

      But I've only played for a few hours. Hopefully a solution will hit me next time I play.

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  28. Ah what the hell, I'm playing along too.

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    1. Good stuff. The more the merrier.

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  29. Dammit. Can't bet. I have no points and I must scream...

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    1. You can still guess the final score. That doesn't cost any points. Have to do so before the first gameplay post though.

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    2. Oh... right. DAMMIT! First post is already up! XD

      Weekend #&#!?! family trip!

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