|That classic 90s Sierra logo!|
Roger Wilco, our intrepid hero of both space and time returns... back to Space Quest 1! Again! Sometimes a location is so good you can't resist visiting it three times in five years. This time, we'll get to see the entire game in glorious 256-colour VGA, rather than just Ulence Flats. From what I remember from playing this not so long ago, other than the obvious visual and audio upgrades the game is basically the same as the original with a few minor changes. It's the first and only Space Quest game to get the official VGA upgrade, but there is a fan-made Space Quest 2 VGA game which I'm sure we'll get to in the distant future.
The Space Quest series is a firm favourite of mine, a wonderful mixture of science-fiction and humour that is not done often enough! (this series, Red Dwarf and Futurama being the most obvious examples I can think of, which have a number of similarities.) The game begins with an attack on the ship Arcada, of which Roger is perhaps the lowliest crew member. Woken from his slumber in a cosy janitorial closet by a rather loud alarm, he stumbles out to find the ship being boarded by Sariens, who are very much in the "shoot first, ask questions later" mindset.
In my early years, playing the original, I found this initial section punishingly difficult. Sarien soldiers would appear all too quickly if you lingered in many of the rooms and corridors, and figuring out where to go and what to do was particularly challenging (it didn't help that I didn't have a manual to give me any background information!). These days it surely shouldn't present too much of a problem for me, unless I've forgotten something since the last time I finished it.
The first major change from the original game: Roger now has bright blonde hair, rather than his muddy brown from before. I can't actually remember why this is, perhaps just an advantage of having the extra colours? I'm sure it was mentioned in another Space Quest post, so answers in the comments please! The rest of the graphics are very well done, bright and colourful and with a cartoon-ish quality that suits what is a comedy game at heart.
There's not a lot of music in this early section, the main audio being the alarm and the footsteps of approaching soldiers, but it's a vast improvement over the original (unless you're a fan of the rather limited sounds available to 1980s computers?). Sometimes less is more when it comes to game music though, and having no music and just ambient sounds can create a more tense atmosphere.
I'm playing this on the Steam version of the game (well, sort of, I've copied the game into my normal dosbox directory), since the GOG.com version doesn't come with the VGA version for some reason. Hopefully I shouldn't have any issues with game speed, there is an arcade section but I think it can be skipped if I have any issues.
So, beginning in the next post I'll see if I can get Roger out of this mess! No death count here though, I don't find it unfair to kill off the player character (most of the time), especially when you have the opportunity to save anywhere. I'll try and highlight a few of the more interesting death screens though.
Time for everyone to guess the score, and it will be interesting to see how the scores compare between this and the original, and also Space Quest IV which was released at a similar time.