Space Quest III: Pestering Pestulon

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

p1With a mighty wump, Roger lands on the moon of Pestulon.  The ScumSoft headquarters are a fearsome facade indeed.  Good thing that I’ve saved a certain invisibility belt from a certain assassin droid.

p2The good news is that the invisibility belt works wonderfully; Roger breezes past the guards.  “Top o’ the morning to ye, gentlemen!” he does not say.  The bad news is that the belt loses power right after he gets in.  Drat.

p3Inside, Roger finds — guess what? — a janitor’s closet.  Taking a cue from Space Quests… I and II, I guess… he slips into the familiar overalls and becomes disguised in plain sight.  While I’m all for this development, I’m less pleased with the devs trying to get cute by trying to make a pseudo-3D corridor here.  It’s very annoying to navigate, since it rotates really quickly and doors are hard to enter properly.

p4Future or no, ScumSoft’s cubicle farm looks distressingly similar to corporate buildings today.  Roger has to go about vaporizing trash as to keep up his disguise, which I find all kinds of amusing.  Take THAT, space garbage!

p5So they’re MMO bloggers?

p6All hail the nerd king, Elmo!  Obviously, this is the most famous fictional Elmo that was ever made.  Pity that you’re only now learning about him.

Roger swipes the portrait and makes a copy, just in case he meets Elmo and wants an autograph.  Wouldn’t that be something!

p7While amusing, the ScumSoft accounting department is somewhat of an annoying maze.  They also literally crack the whip here!  How can I get that job?

Did I mention that Elmo is a 14-year-old boy?  I just learned that myself.

p8Oh no!  Roger arrives on a balcony to see that ScumSoft has impounded the Aluminum Mallard.  You… you… dirty irdy birdies!  No, not you, Mallard.  I was yelling at ScumSoft.

p9Using Elmo’s stolen keycard and the photocopy, Roger gains access to this unusual holding cell.  These are the Two Guys from Adromeda, AKA the creators of Space Quest III.  It’s very meta.  Roll with it.

p10It’s a trap!  Again!  Roger wrings his hands helplessly as ScumSoft guards surround him, Elmo taunts him, and the accountants look on in glee.  What horror is in store for our hero?

p11What about a game of rock-em sock-em robots?  Or… ahem… Nukem Dukem Robots.

So after all of our adventuring through Space Quest III, the game ends with two minigames sequences.  The robot boxing one is pretty simple (I got it on the second try), which is then followed by a space “battle” that’s more primitive than the HUD from Star Wars Episode IV’s X-Wing display.  This second one gave me a lot of trouble because the controls simply did not work.  I don’t know if it’s a problem with DOSbox or whatever, but it rendered SQ3 unwinnable for me.  And considering that this is the very last obstacle to overcome, that felt rotten.

p12Final Thoughts

As I’ve mentioned a few times, Space Quest III was light-years better than the two previous games in this franchise in almost every regard: graphics, sound, plot, characters, locations, humor, and death scenes.  Finally, the series took grab of the scifi premise and went somewhere with it, giving us a planet-hopping adventure.

While it’s still short, it’s longer than the previous games.  What I’m not willing to overlook is that the story is… still pretty lacking.  It’s not a story.  It’s a series of events that are not connected with each other whatsoever.  Roger needs to escape from the garbage scow.  Roger is hunted down by Arndroid.  Roger saves the Two Guys.  The end.  Even for a parody game, I kind of expect something more here.

The three minigames are a mixed bag.  Astro Chicken was well-done, but ending the game with the other two really sucked and felt very contrary to the spirit of the franchise.  This isn’t an arcade game, it’s an adventure game.

All in all, I had a great time revisiting an old favorite.  This was the last Space Quest I ever played, which means that the upcoming Space Quest IV for this retro game series will be a brand-new experience for me!

2 thoughts on “Space Quest III: Pestering Pestulon

  1. Scott May 22, 2014 / 2:03 pm

    I love reading your commentary on these classic Sierra games. Reminds me of my mispent youth.
    If you’d like to make Bio Break more PG-13, you should really review the Leisure Suit Larry series. I spent many hours playing those games hoping that my parents wouldn’t come in at certain points.

  2. Syp May 22, 2014 / 4:04 pm

    Ha… probably won’t be doing LSL for a couple reasons, mainly a lack of interest in them.

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