Thursday, 25 July 2013

Game 33: Space Quest III - Ratman: The Spark Fight

Roger Wilco Journal Entry 1: "How long have I been out? I woke up today after who knows how long, my escape pod having been brought onboard some sort of huge rubbish freighter. I've spent the last few hours trying to find a way off, and thankfully my craft isn't the only one nestled amongst all the junk. I reckon I might be able to get one of these ships back into functional shape, but finding the parts I need has turned out to be quite difficult. It doesn't help that the rats here have evolved into huge thieving bastards, but I'm close now. Hmmm, perhaps this large metal plate could be useful? I'll just...OMG!!!! That really hurt! So much blood! Aaaaaggghhhh......."


I may have had Sierra overload earlier in the year, but I'm thrilled to be back with them again now!

Well I have to say that I’ve been surprised by Space Quest III so far! I was looking forward to a leisurely walk in the park after Manhunter 2, Mean Streets and Neuromancer really tested my stamina, but that hasn’t turned out to be the case (at least not so far). Considering I’d already completed the game within the last decade, and that many of the readers’ comments were predicting I would complete the game in just a couple of hours, the truth is that I underestimated how challenging it would be. The crazy thing is that I think I’m struggling with the same puzzles that I struggled with when I first played it, proving that my memory isn’t as good as I thought it was, and that my way of thinking when approaching puzzles hasn’t changed in the slightest. That’s enough banter though, let us begin! Space Quest III begins where the second game ended; with Roger floating through space in suspended animation after escaping Vohaul’s burning space fortress. This peaceful existence is interrupted when a garbage freighter, controlled by a robot, discovers the escape pod and draws it onboard. The robot cares nothing for organic life, which may or may not be a good thing for our hero, and Roger is awoken when a “sudden shock triggers the Sleep Chamber’s Revive Mode.”


A very good question indeed Roger

Roger stumbles out of the pod, which is now sitting amongst the rest of the trash aboard the huge freighter, and it’s at this stage that I gained control. I couldn’t go back inside the pod, so it was time to explore my surroundings. The only thing in my inventory was the glowing gem I used in the sequel to get through the dark tunnels, but its light had been expended long ago. The first thing I noticed in my new environment was a strange object on the ground, which was described as a warp motivator with a protruding modular plug near its base. I was unable to pick it up (although trying nearly gave me a hernia), remove the plug (it was permanently attached), or seemingly do anything at all with it, and yet I was certain from my previous play through that I was supposed to. This is where I think previous experience in adventure games can actually be a disadvantage to a player at times! My memory wasn’t clear enough to tell me what I needed to do. I just knew I had to do something! After wasting a few minutes typing everything I could, I left the modulator there and travelled east, assuming I would figure it out later.


At first the small size and velocity of my character was off-putting, but then I realised I'd simply got used to the bigger, dawdling characters of the last couple of games

On the next screen I came to a large tube, apparently part of a stripped down space tanker, and I entered it. Reappearing inside the tube, I immediately noticed the exposed wires in the wall. They seemed to be the only thing of note in the screen description, so I typed “get wire”. I was able to, and gained my first points in the game (5 points). I could find nothing else to do in there, so continued east, arriving on a screen with a giant robot head situated in the bottom right. Everything was so familiar, and yet I still had to wander around checking out whether or not I could enter other screens in any direction. This resulted in my first death, as walking off the bottom of the screen caused me to plummet a distance far beyond that which a human can survive (even a computer generated one). Looking at the robot head revealed that it was “an ancient model of a battlebot”. The description made a note of saying that one of the eyes was missing, so I did what any adventurer worth his salt would do. I climbed through it! (5 points)


I immediately knew that this object held more than meets the eye!

Climbing down the interior of the robot head brought me to another scrap-filled area. There were no further screens accessible in any other directions, so I began investigating the two ships that were situated there. The first one was a small white pod with a hatch in it. Looking at it revealed some writing: “For a good time, don’t call HAL!” Clearly this was supposed to be the pod from 2001: A Space Odyssey, making Space Quest III the second game in a row to make reference to Kubrick’s sci-fi classic! It seemed obvious to me that I should be able to climb into the pod, or at least find something hidden inside, but the game kept telling me that the hatch was too small. It certainly didn’t look too small! Once again my memory was playing tricks on me, making me think that I was simply struggling with the parser, but eventually I had to accept that the pod was there for decoration only. I turned my attention to the larger ship, which was half buried in rubbish. I was absolutely one hundred percent certain that I was at some stage going to get into this ship!


The hole certainly looked big enough for me to get into

Looking at the ship only revealed that it had the name Aluminium Mallard etched on each side, and that it had a small hatch on the top. I tried climbing up onto the ship, but was continually told that “the ship is too slick”. I tried climbing up the various giant toys strewn around it, but that didn’t work. I wracked my brain, trying to figure out how I might have reached the hatch when I first played the game, but simply couldn’t do it. By now I was starting to think that my brain might just have a 30 game memory limit (perhaps my deck has a RAM of 30?), and that any games I revisit from now on are going to draw blanks! I once again had to admit temporary defeat and made my way back to the starting screen, stopping to try using the wire on the motivator with no success. I then took the south exit, reappearing on a screen with various spaceships amongst all the junk. One of the crafts was clearly a tie fighter, but the game described it in a rather humorous way: “This bulbous craft looks like it has seen a lot of action in its day. You believe it to be a bowtie fighter dating back to the cologne wars.” Looking over all the other ships and junk turned up nothing, although the metal plate leaning against a typical UFO craft looked suspicious.


Yes, that's blood spurting out of my wrist as I rapidly die!

Luckily I’d just saved my game, as trying to move the plate resulted in me cutting my wrist and then dying in horror with blood literally spurting upwards out of my wrist! I was torn between being horrified that the game would randomly kill me in such a bloody fashion at no fault of my own, and giggling in glee for exactly the same reason! I restored and made my way east to where a bucket conveyor carried trash upwards and offscreen. Once again there was a bunch of oversized bits and pieces on the screen, including a giant arm, but none of it appeared useful. I hopped into the bucket and was carried up to a conveyor belt, then unceremoniously dumped onto it (5 points). Here my memory finally kicked into action, and I knew I would have to firstly “stand”, and then “jump” to avoid being shredded (10 points). I could now walk west or east along a narrow rail, with one wrong move certain to result in my gravitationally assisted death. Walking as far as I could go to the west brought me to a machine hanging from the rail which was located directly in front of a small room. There was a droid in the room, and I had the feeling I didn’t want to hang around to draw its attention!


I waited around once to see what the droid would do if it noticed me. Needless to say, it didn't end well!

I hopped into the machine, which turned out to be a “grabber”. I was then able to move around the oval shaped rail, dropping the claw at the base of the grabber down to the ground beneath. Doing this at different parts of the rail caused the claw to drop down into each of the screens I’d visited previously, but I knew exactly what I was attempting to do. I moved from screen to screen until I was situated above the starting screen, and then dropped the claw directly down onto the motivator I’d spent so long trying to manipulate (15 points). I also figured I knew where to drop the motivator too, so I moved around until I was directly above the space ship (the one I wasn't able to climb onto) and lowered the motivator into the cavity at the back of it (15 points). It fit perfectly, although I didn’t have much idea how this would assist me in the short term. Clearly the motivator was needed to prepare the ship for takeoff, but I still had no idea how I was going to actually get inside it! I continued to ride the grabber around the rail until I noticed a hole just outside the room with the droid. I hopped off, and stepped into the chute...


I think I've got something....yep...I've definitely got something! It's a biggin' too!

I tumbled out the bottom of the chute into a darkened room, lit only by three wire connected lamps (5 points). Three evil looking rats looked on as I explored the area, finding that the lamps and wire connecting them up were the only items on interest. “Some brittle-looking wire runs from lamp to lamp and then disappears into a hole to the left.” Why did the game make such a point of describing the wire as “brittle”? I already had some wire of course, but I tried unsuccessfully to pick up some more. I checked out the “hole to the left”, and inside I discovered a “reactor which seems to be providing power for the lights”. I added it to my inventory (15 points), and since I couldn’t find anything else that I could do down there, ascended the ladder at the end of the room, reappearing amidst the junk on the screen with all the derelict spaceships. I wondered whether I would be able to get back down underground from my new location and found that I could if I typed “climb down” while hidden amongst the rubbish. I took stock at this point, and wondered what I was supposed to do with the wire and reactor.


Roger had always wanted to hold centre stage, yet he hadn't expected such a tough audience!

It seemed likely to me that I was supposed to use the reactor on the motivator somehow, yet I’d already dropped that into the back of the submerged ship. I certainly wasn’t going to be able to use any of the items I had to climb up onto the ship. Confused, I decided to revisit every screen and see if I could find something I’d missed the first time. To my great surprise, when I re-entered the tube where I’d originally collected the wires, a large rat dropped down and mugged me! The damn thing stole my wire and my reactor, causing me to lose 20 points in the process! Why didn’t I remember any of this?! Was I dead ended now? Did I need to do everything in a different order? Was I supposed to use the reactor and wire on the motivator before I slotted it into the ship, and this was the game’s way of telling me? Surely not! I knew that Sierra could do bitchy things like that, but by 1989 they were much better at behaving themselves. Weren't they?! I calmed myself down and thought about the situation rationally. The rat had run off to the right of screen. Where might it have gone? Perhaps I could get my stuff back?


Biff!! Pow!! Ratman wasted little time in taking down the evil janitor!

Long story short, I wasted a fair bit more time trying to climb up onto the ship, and looking for a place that the rat might have put everything, to no avail. I even tried to figure out what might happen if I got the reactor before moving the motivator, in the hope that if I attached it prior to dumping it into the ship something might happen. It was only when I went back underground to where I originally collected the reactor that I found the lights were all back on. The rat had returned the reactor and then turned the lights back on. I gave myself a face-palm, annoyed that I’d not remembered the three evil looking rats that were overlooking that screen from the edges. When I looked at the wires attached to the lamps, I also discovered that they were no longer brittle and cheap! So the rat had stolen back the reactor and replaced their crappy wiring with my SQ approved wiring. There was only one thing to do…I stole it all back! I realised that my downfall so far was that I was trying to remember my way through the game instead of approaching everything with the logic I normally use. I tried to forget everything that was oozing out of my memory banks (or not) and tried to look at my current position with fresh eyes.


It's a little tricky that I couldn't take the wire before but now I could. It's not completely obvious that the rat replaced the wiring with my better quality stuff either.

What was my main obstacle? Getting up onto that bloody ship! Has there been anything on any of the screens that I might be able to use to assist me with climbing? Well, there was a ladder right in front of me. But that was the only way out of the room, so I couldn’t exactly remove it. Was I supposed to pick the ladder up from outside the room, despite the fact I couldn’t even see it from amongst all the scrap metal? How exactly would I carry a ladder around anyway? I climbed up the ladder and out of the underground area, then typed “get ladder”. “You grab the ladder and jam it in your pocket.”(10 points) Why was I surprised? This sort of thing had occurred in other Sierra games in the past! Did others out there struggle with this puzzle as much as I did? Regardless, I took the ladder straight to the ship and used it (10 points), giving me access to the hatch on the top. I opened it up and hopped inside (10 points), delighted that I might finally get off this freighter and into the guts of the game. I’m not blaming the game for my woes so far. The puzzles have been a little bit tricky, but the extent of my struggle has been pretty much self-inflicted. I’ve learnt a couple of valuable lessons: 1. Don’t be overconfident when starting an adventure game, and 2. Don’t rely solely on memory when I replay a game and instead apply logic to every scenario.


Finally I can get outta here...I think!

Session Time: 1 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hours 30 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written 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 points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!

79 comments:

  1. Seems like having played this game before may be a detriment to actually solving the puzzles sometimes. You'll probably breeze past some of the places I had problems though.

    I didn't struggle on the parts you did, but I did spend a lot more time with the grabber, both finding out what I was supposed to use it for and where.

    Regarding the ladder, I don't even blink about usage of Hammerspace in adventure games. I need to get up, go get a ladder! One of the more (adventure game-) logical of the puzzles there I thought. :p

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    1. And doesn't Roger say "Ouch!" or something like that, when you put the ladder in your pocket?

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    2. Possibly. I played without sound, so I can't confirm.

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    3. You're right Ilmari. He did say "Ouch", which is a clear example of Sierra game creators taking the piss out of themselves. They know it's ridiculous. :)

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    4. Just checked. He does say "Ouch!" but only in text, not in sound

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    5. I agree, that Trickster's memory is harming his abilty to judge this game fairly. *Gets out his leatherman* Don't worry this won't hurt much! *Chases after Trickster to cut his memory out*

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  2. I'm finding that this game is taking much longer than I initially thought it would as well. However it is for a completely different reason. I have tried playing it four times today and every time I have started I have been called away by a screaming 2 year old twin for one reason or another. I have not even made it to the first screen shot on this page which is from the intro.

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    1. You have my respect Draconius! I have a single three year old, and she's enough to delay sweet gaming time regularly. I can't imagine having twins!!!

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    2. Hey, I'm a father of three and I still manage to set apart some precious gaming time during the week. Part of which is spent on this blog. That has to be worth a few CAPs!

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    3. The only reason it was only the twins stopping me was because the four year old was at kindergarten. Got up early this morning and played through the game. See your shameless grab for CAPs and raise it.

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    4. I know, I know, I've turned into a pathetic grovelling wretch. Will leverage my kids for CAPs. That's what dropping three places in the space of a few weeks does to you. I used to be in the top three, you know, never begged for one. Now I've almost veered into Canageek territory. *sob*

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    5. I think we'll soon all be joining CAP Addicts Anonymous...

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    6. I have to say, since the additional of CAPs and having an influence on the blog I'm much more invested in joining for games.

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    7. Then my cunning plan is working perfectly! Mwahahahaha....ahem.

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    8. Charles: OUCH. I resent that!

      You all have convinced me that getting a vasectomy as soon as possible is a really, REALLY good idea.

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  3. All you need to do is think about LSL2 and the gigantic cola cup...

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    1. Or Mean Streets and the 10 foot pole.

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    2. Yes, I think what made this one tricky though was that you needed the ladder to exit the room, and then couldn't see it once you'd left (as TBD stated below).

      Still, I feel like I should have got through this first session much quicker than I did. I don't think the game was unfair.

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    3. Wait until we get to Monkey Island 2...

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    4. Or Zak McKraken and the giant comb.

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    5. That sounds like a whole new adventure game "Zak McKraken and the Giant Comb" Maybe we should Kickstarter it.

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  4. OK. I'll put my hand up. I was stuck because I never thought to type "get ladder"

    I do think it's a bit cheap to make you do that on a screen where you can't see the ladder, but it's not totally unreasonable so I'll let it slide.

    But now I'm on my stolen? ship and ready to explore the galaxy!

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    1. To be fair you can do it in the lower room as well, and get the ladder. But then you can't get up the hole. So you do know the ladder can be taken. From there it's not a really long stretch to climb to the top of the ladder and pick it up from there.

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    2. Yeah, you're right. I'm just looking for an excuse not to realise I was just too darn unobservant. :)

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    3. Oh, I'm guessing we all have been there multiple times. And will be repetaedly as well. :p

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  5. And I've finished! You guys weren't kidding about it being short. Apart from the ladder, I was only semi-stuck one more time (xrcg orvat xvyyrq ol gur naqebvq)

    I had fun for the 4 hours or so I played, but I don't think Trickster will score it very highly. Gur fcnpr pbzong frpgvba naq ebobg obkvat frrzrq n ovg bhg bs cynpr, ohg jrer rnfl rabhtu.

    All this gaming nostalgia reminds me of the days when spammers would type vaguely coherent sentences.

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  6. Man, it sucks for The Old Reader to be down. I'm having to manually check this site multiple times daily for updates! Glad to see this game's kicked off to a good start. Fun read, brings back memories of a few things I'd forgotten.

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    1. I've been using Feedly, seems adequate. There's also something called Comma Feed I think, but it was always slower for me and had a lot of down time in the beginning.

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    2. I tried Feedly, but it seemed too bloated and didn't perform well on my trusty netbook. I'm using InoReader now and I'm pretty happy about it. Clean, uncluttered interface.

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    3. Yeah, Feedly was my first attempt and I couldn't get it to organize things correctly. I had a bunch of identical feeds and couldn't make too much sense out of why.

      The Old Reader is most like Google Reader, I think, and that's what I'm used to. I don't do anything terribly fancy; I track new posts and new comments on a handful of blogs.

      The Old Reader's back up, BTW...:)

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    4. Web based RSS services? BAH AND HUMBUG! Sage, a Firefox extension puts your feeds in a sidebar. Click the one you want, and it gives you a list of articles. Never goes down, and updates quickly to each new Firefox version, though you may have to use the website instead of the official version. And yes, Firefox Sync means it will work with that 'cloud' garbage.

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  7. I played this a month or two ago (I had bought the 2006 King's, Police and Space Quest collections on a visit to Estonia). I also got stuck on the stupid ladder bit and had to use a walkthrough. I simply assumed it was fixed to the scenery. >:( Luckily in many VGA games the removable objects at least stand out from the background.

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  8. It's nice to be able to approach a game you like with slightly fresh eyes. Enjoy the newness/sameness feeling and I'll catch up with you on the other side.

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  9. I'll admit that after a bit of reflection, this game does remind me of one thing that separated Sierra games from their counterparts in a strange but good way - you might have died fairly often, but it was always fun to see what screen would pop up. Dead ending you into a death sequence was where several *cough LSL2* kinda let that experience down, but playing as extremely accident prone crash test dummies alters your perception a bit.

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    1. Yeah, I don't mind the deaths in Space Quest at all. They're normally hilarious and often gruesome, making experimentation worthwhile. The Larry one I complained about was due to the player pretty much having to die to be able to figure out what to do next.

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  10. Steam sale: Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals http://store.steampowered.com/app/11370 75% off. Point and click. Brain too tired to read Trickster's update, will have to get to it tomorrow or after work, despite extra time. Zzzzz. Wish coffee didn't fight with my medicine. See Twitter for details.

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    1. Thanks, it's coming up as as Borderline in 2008. Better get on the sale now. :p

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    2. I sense your sarcasm Lars-Erik, and it is completely justified! ;)

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    3. I should be careful with my snarkiness. Sometimes it backfires, such as when I fall into my own trap and go buy it to be prepared in a few years time. :p

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  11. Right well that was done very quickly in one sitting, much faster than I anticipated. I really did remember every bit of that game. The only surprises for me were whfg ubj onq naq naablvat Nfgeb Puvpxra, Ahxrz Qhxrz Ebobgf, naq gung fubbgvat gur fcnprfuvcf frdhrapr jrer. Nyy gur nepnqr frpgvbaf jrer fb cbbeyl vzcyrzragrq.

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  12. Fitting extra read about Sierra: http://www.filfre.net/2013/07/the-unmaking-and-remaking-of-sierra-on-line/

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    1. Thanks for that Josh! I never realised how close Sierra were to going out of business before they released any of their classics.

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    2. I've been following The Digital Antiquarian for a bit and it's full of really interesting articles about the early computer era and the beginning of companies like Sierra. Worth reading imho.

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  13. Aaaand I'm done too. Really, really short. It was fun while it lasted though, except the annoying nenpqr frdhraprf. Nfgeb Puvpxra jnf gbgnyyl vzcbffvoyr ba n gnoyrg (uvturfg fpber V tbg jnf sbhe V guvax), naq gur ebobg svtug jnf naablvat jvgu gur erdhverzrag gb jngpu gur phgfprar orsber rirel nggrzcg.

    All in all, enjoyable, but not a high scoring one for me.

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    1. Lbh jrer noyr gb fnir gur tnzr whfg nsgre gur phg fprar jura lbh svefg fnj gur fvqr ba ivrj bs gur ebobgf naq tnvarq pbageby bs lbhe ebobg. Not that that really helps you now.

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    2. Bah, I tried saving loads of places there but never could get it to work. Must not have tried at the right time. Oh well, thanks anyway. :p

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    3. During the times the game won't let you save 'properly' by using the Sierra save system, if you're using ScummVM you can still save at any time by pressing F5.

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    4. I didn't even think about trying it in ScummVM, I just used dosbox. Thanks!

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    5. In many Sierra's SCI games, even if there's a moment where you can't type commands, you can usually access the menu by pressing Esc and save from there. Also, DOSBox's Alt+F12 command can be used to speed through boring unskippable cutscenes.

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  14. Amnesia: The Dark Descent (first person horror adventure game) is now available on GOG.

    It's also 75% off for the next 2 days.

    http://www.gog.com/gamecard/amnesia_the_dark_descent

    Scariest game I've ever played. Get it and play while alone in the dark!

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    1. I hate horror. Which means I'm out of luck in later years when every other adventure game seems to be a horror game. D:

      This one is coming up as Accepted in the 2010-run by the way, so it could be a cheap way to complete the collection.

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    2. I bought it. But then you already knew that right!?

      Hey...it was on sale!

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    3. I don't do scary-horror, where things jump out at you, or like really scary things like reading Slenderman stories or such (I read http://www.amazon.com/dp/0811871002 and didn't sleep right for three days. I was 20 at the time....)

      However, I love intellectual horror, like H. P. Lovecraft and hope we see more adventure games in that genre.

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  15. New puzzle/adventure game written by Neil Gaiman, Wayward Manor.

    http://whohauntsneil.com

    Seems to be a Kickstarter-inspired thing where you can buy small or big things to help finance it, except it's not a required amount needed to start production.

    Blurb: Set in a 1920s Victorian Gothic pastoral estate, Wayward Manor focuses on the plight of a ghost whose hope of a peaceful after-life is interrupted by a remarkable cast of intruders. Awoken from his post-mortem slumbers, our ghost must find ever-more inventive and brilliant ways to scare them away. As the ghost learns more about the living characters, he also learns more about his own death and after-life, and the danger they are all facing.

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  16. Hoping to get SQ3 finished (for the millionth time) before your next post Trickster...

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    1. Maybe we should stop lapping Trickster, don't want to upset him. ;)

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    2. Well, how's this for upsetting.

      I finished the game in 65 minutes exactly, from Sierra start screen to end credits. With 708 points out of 738. (timings taken from screenshots I captured during the run).

      So yeah, pretty short when you know what you're doing! The only reason I was over an hour was because of the arcade sequences. Otherwise I reckon I probably could have managed it in about 45 minutes.

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    3. Speaking of lapping, anyone know where I can get a copy of The Colonel's Bequest? I have a copy for the Atari ST, but I don't have an Atari ST to play it on. Thought I might get an early start as I remember there being so many different ways to do/miss things as everything that happens is time based. I also think there are different endings.

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    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    5. Well, the solution is to break into a computer museum and steal an Atari ST. Then we get both endings. *hands Draconius a crowbar* Because piracy is wrong.

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    6. Actually, you know there might still be one sitting in my dad's shed. Now if only it still works and has connections for modern televisions

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  17. Here's a topic for discussion looking ahead to the next game (so completely off topic for Space Quest). Laura Bow games, and I know there are others like it such as Blade Runner, have things happen related to time rather than what the player does. It is therefore impossible to see everything in one play through, no matter how methodical you are. I'm assuming Trick won't want to play through these games more than once. With so many of us now playing along, should we be making comments of things that happen in other places during the play through or save them for a big heap of comments of differences at the end. Or should we petition Trick to let us spend CAPs to make him play through games multiple times. Same goes for multiple endings I suppose

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    1. I'd say it's up to you. I know I commented on my playthrough in rot13 throughout Neuromancer. Heck, I might even blog about the games I play along if I can remember to take notes. :D

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    2. I think it was a Canageek who pointed out this possible issue (technically we've already had it in QFG1 - playing as a thief or a mage is a notably different experience.) I think we should really be pointing out alienate solutions after one has popped up and such. Between us all I'd suggest we've probably got a pseudo expert on most of the games that are soon to come anyway.

      So long as we don't force Trick to constantly double back needlessly to get a funny screen or two, where's the harm?

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    3. I agree with Aperama. I like the idea of people pointing out how they solved a puzzle differently in the comments of the same post where Trickster's solved the puzzle. That way it doesn't even need to be in ROT13 and we can get a better idea of that part of the game.

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    4. I vote you all record your playthroughs and put them up on youtube, then Trickster can watch them after he beats the game and give us a 'differences' post.

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    5. So he gets to watch around about 5 hours of repeated sameness of a game he's only just beat? I'd struggle through the first video, myself...

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    6. I barely have time to play and blog, let alone watch other readers' playthroughs. I think I just do my own thing and you guys can tell me when your experience differs from mine. I'm not too worried about my rating of the game reflecting my chosen path only. After all, I can only rate a game based on my own experience (with perhaps a small adjustment based on feedback from others).

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  18. How cow. I haven't played this in about 5 years, and it took me 75 minutes. Yet I remember the same sequences taking me eons when I was a kid. I think this is one of the games I actually called the Sierra hintline over, which is incredible, looking back. I wonder who that number is assigned to now?

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  19. All I know is that the helpline was a 900 number and the BBS was a long distance phone call. Either way, my folks weren't happy when I contacted either. I remember memorizing as many of the key presses as possible to be online as short as possible.

    Of course there were also the hint books. Loved that red cellophane and the hints that were like "this isn't in the game, stop cheating!"

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    1. I remember the BBS. I would fire up Procomm Plus or Telix and start capturing my section. Then I'd rip through everything I thought I might need as fast as possible, then hang up. Afterwards, I could review my capture session at my leisure. I never called the help line though.

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  20. Hahah. My old skillz are still with me. Tbg gur Nfgeb Puvpxra frperg zrffntr jvgu bayl n fvatyr ohpxnmbvq fcrag ba gur tnzr, naq ab fnir/erfgbevat.

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  21. @Andy Panthro: I did remove your comment. It might seem stupid for me to not want to talk about Adandonware sites when I'm obviously getting a lot of these games from them, but I think advertising them could lead somewhere none of us want to be. Anyone can find them easily enough with a simple Google search. No harm done though!

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    1. I wonder if there should be a FAQ dealing with these kind of things...

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    2. I'm assuming that instead of using abandonware sites Trickster is a part time catburgler who breaks into peoples's houses at night and steals their glassic adventure games, leaving a single red rose in their place. He would be wearing a tuxedo, white gloves and mask while doing this, of course.

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    3. Though in future, to get the uncensored version of the site, just subscribe to each post. This even stops ones blocked as spam for no good reason. Then you can see what is really going on behind the scenes, bwahahaha.

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