Space Quest: Ulence Flats

(This is part of my journey playing through Space Quest. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

uf1After slaying both the Orat and the Sarien spider droid, Roger is due for a break.  The holographic alien head ushers him into a chamber with pretty friendly aliens, who decided not to help a stranger in need until he assassinated a sentient beast for them.  That’s messed up.

uf2Roger’s able to use the computer terminal in this room to check out that data cartridge he nabbed from the Arcada.  Basically, it’s a set of schematics for the Star Generator (aka the Genesis Device from Star Trek) that needs to be delivered back to the good guys.  Help them, Roger Wilco, you’re their only hope.  The message also includes a self-destruct code for the generator which will most certainly not be needed in this game.

uf3You know how the human brain is remarkably good at burying painful memories?  I totally forgot how much the skimmer sequence haunted me from Space Quest.  It’s a simple little minigame that involves dodging rocks as you travel to the settlement.  Sounds easy, but you don’t get much time to react.  It can take four hits and then crashes.  Seen above: I crashed.

This “minigame” goes on and on and on, and both as an adult and as a kid, I found it incredibly difficult.  Sooner or later you’re going to hit stuff and you just wish it would end.  I eventually start save-cheeseballing it, saving every ten seconds without a hit and reloading every time I do get hit.

uf4That brings us to Ulence Flats, probably the nicest and most interesting place in the game.  Think Mos Eisley, because the devs surely were.  Roger’s goal is to obtain a spaceship and get off this rock.  That’s always easier said than done in an adventure game.  Roger sells the skimmer to a guy for 30 buckazoids and a jet pack.  Sweet!

uf5Inside the bar, a ZZ Top parody band is playing.  ZZ Top actually sued Sierra years after the game came out when the band found out about the parody, and I think Sierra changed them for the remake.  The performers change whenever you leave and come back in, so it’s not always them.

uf6Some of the other performers are the Blues Brothers.  Love it.

uf7To get the money he needs, Roger has to play the slots.  Of course, this being Space Quest, there’s always the chance of getting disintegrated if you pull up three skull-and-crossbones.  Since you can only bet $3 at a go, it takes a really long time to rack up the money you need.  Even with saving for every successful win and reloading on losses, I probably spent 20 minutes doing this.  Tedious is a word for it.

uf8With a wad of cash in my hand, it’s time to go spaceship shopping!  I talk to the ironically named Tiny and buy that ship in the background there, then head over to Droids B Us (another Sierra lawsuit, if you can believe it) to get a navigator.

uf9Tiny is not as trustworthy as I once thought.  No matter — we have lift-off!  We’re leaving Kerona behind forever, and I can’t be happier for it.

uf10Of course there is.  We’re all gonna die, aren’t we?

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5 thoughts on “Space Quest: Ulence Flats

  1. Man, I totally didn’t get the joke in that name when I was a teenager.

  2. I wonder whether it was even worth it for ZZ Top to sue, as I liken it to the time Disney sued an Australian daycare over their hand drawn images of the Mouse and company. All ZZ Top is doing is showing they can be real asshats over this sort of parody.

  3. Is there a way to toggle your speed in this version? I seem to recall being able to change between really slow, slow, normal, fast, and ultra fast by using the f10 key in all of those old Sierra games. It made doing certain feats easier by giving you more time to react or by giving the monsters chasing you less time to catch you. It also made driving around in Police Quest a whole lot faster (so long as you didn’t have to make any turns).

  4. You can speed up and slow down the client, which is definitely recommended for the root monster.

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