Adventure Forums - View Single Post - Lagomorph Plays Sierra Games
View Single Post
Old 04-17-2011, 12:41 PM   #37
Lagomorph
Member
 
Lagomorph's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 51
Default Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon (1989)



Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon (1989)

The first thing one notices upon starting Space Quest III is the new theme music. Gone is the heroic PC speaker anthem of the first two. In its place, we find an upbeat melody that oddly carries with it a melancholic nostalgia for the 80’s. Beginning the game is like opening a time capsule and realizing that the essence of its contents could never be replicated again. It seems appropriate to begin in a mode of time travel on the meta-game level, for the game is both sci-fi and self-referential.

Space Quest III immerses you in a canvas of vibrant, detailed visuals. From the first scene, the graphics top any Sierra game that came before it. The numerous sci-fi references among the junk form an interesting metaphor—Roger must escape the remains of his inspirations to form his own unique destiny. He must write his own game (a theme revisited in the game’s conclusion). The world is laid out in a spatially interesting way. Not only do you exit screens by going left and right, but also up and down—aboard such unusual landscapes as conveyor belts and giant robot necks. Gone are the two-dimensional side-scrolling screens of the first two games. For the first time, we are also given the opportunity for nonlinear interplanetary travel. This helps heighten the games sense of exploration—it’s a true space adventure now.

However, the puzzles and plot often do not respond as well to this newfound sense of freedom. On board the junk freighter, I ended up solving the puzzles in reverse order. I had all of the parts to fix the ship before I was able to get into to the ship to know that it was broken. You’re not required to play Astro Chicken, but if you don’t, the plot won’t make sense. This happened to me just because I decided to explore the locations in a different order than the game expected me to (I soon realized I was missing something and went back to play it before proceeding further).

The plot is pretty fun though. This might be the first adventure game where the designers put themselves into the game. I like reading stories about the old Sierra development team and find it fascinating how they had their headquarters out in a small town among the California wilderness. It was neat to see the mythology of the game meet the mythology of the game makers. I believe Space Quest III is also the first Sierra game to reference LucasArts. It’s interesting to note that LucasArts had achieved archrival status after having released only two games. In its structure and self-aware humor, Space Quest III even resembles LucasArts’s later Monkey Island 2. They both also feature gutsy endings capable of alienating fans. But such a comparison serves to highlight The Pirates of Pestulon’s flaws as much as anything. In addition to the structural flaws mentioned earlier, Space Quest III feels much too short. The junk freighter seems to be only an intro sequence at first, but then you find out it’s almost half the game (and the harder half too!). Ironically, the game tries to trick you into thinking it is going to end even earlier than it does. Nevertheless, Space Quest III shines in its atmosphere and is probably the best of the series thus far. But word on the street is that the next game tops all other Space Quests. We shall see.

Additional Notes

Hardest puzzle:
Spoiler:
Getting the ladder. I just never thought about picking up something that big.

Dead ends encountered:

None

Best part:
Spoiler:
Killing the Arnoid.

Worst part:
Spoiler:
The “3D” corridor section—it was just annoying to navigate.

My final score: 718/738
__________________
Lagomorph Plays Sierra Games
Lagomorph is offline