Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Adventure of the Week: Space Quest V - The Next Mutation (1993)

I've been slowly working my way through this long-running Sierra On-Line 3-D Adventure series, and we're up to Space Quest V: The Next Mutation, published in 1993.

I hadn't played this one before -- somehow I lost track of the Space Quest series around the time of its release, so I'm glad to be coming back to it.  It's not voiced, which surprised me as entries IV and 6 were both given the "talkie" treatment.  The art style is more comic-bookish, with more detailed artwork and lots of facial closeups, though still presented in 320 x 200 256-color VGA.  The standard display font is also smaller, to fit more text onscreen; this one was developed by Dynamix using Sierra's SCI technology, its origins hinted at by coffee cups in the background and the logo for the fictional in-game company Genetix.  It was also not developed by the Two Guys from Andromeda (recently reunited for a new not-exactly-Space Quest project, thanks to Kickstarter) -- only Mark Crowe worked on this game.

I always encourage interested readers to play these games before reading my commentary, because in the interest of documenting this one, I will have no qualms about describing the plot and puzzles in detail.  This one's easy to track down, as it's still available as a retail package, and half the fun of adventuring is discovering things for oneself.  Be advised that beyond this point there lie...

***** SPACE SPOILERS! *****

The game continues a longstanding Space Quest tradition by opening with a Star Trek-inspired credits sequence, borrowing the musical style from the classic TV series.  Fleet Admiral Roger Wilco is investigating the disappearance of several ships in an uncharted region of space known as the "Menudo Triangle."  He is haunted by memories of meeting his son in the future (in Space Quest XII as portrayed in Space Quest IV), and the image of Roger's beautiful future/past wife, Beatrice.  A full CD-ROM production is sorely missed here, as the parody is weakened by the lack of voiceover -- the intro is mostly text, in the form of a captain's log entry that... borrows... rather heavily from Star Trek.

Suddenly, Admiral Wilco's ship is under attack!  And... then...

His reverie is broken by Captain Quirk, who admonishes Cadet Wilco for using the bridge simulator without permission as lights come up on Wilco's current struggles to get through the Academy.  The training sim, following another series tradition, looks a lot like the Millennium Falcon.

The school's holomap isn't working at the moment, so Roger has to walk around the facility to see what's going on.  Ambassador Beatrice Wankmeister is visiting the school, and we can see her ship docked outside through a viewport -- hmmm, wasn't that Roger's future wife's name?

In the central rotunda, the Starcon crest looks like it could use a good scrubbing.  But we weren't allowed to muck about in the janitor's closet earlier.  There are some areas requiring Security Clearance Alpha, which Roger clearly does not have.  (And one of the sentries is clearly playing Missile Command!)  One viewport window has a used ship for sale by good old Fester Blats.

Entering a classroom, Roger learns that the Starcon Aptitude Test is being given today, and of course, he is unprepared.  It's multiple-choice, fortunately, and we can guess at some of the correct answers (and there's also no requirement that we do well on the test, as will become clear later.)  But Roger was late for class, so he has to scrub the Starcon Crest, and can now access the janitor closet.  Its contents spill out, of course; Roger can grab the Scrub-O-Matic and some Safety Cones.  We can set the cones out and then maneuver Roger around to scrub the floor using the mouse -- when it's been thoroughly cleaned, Captain Quirk and Ambassador Wankmeister arrive.

Beatrice is aware of Roger's work on the Sarien Encounter, and he finds her beautiful, of course.  Then Quirk slips on the freshly-scrubbed floor -- he loses his toupee in the process, the embarrassment earning Roger Double Secret Probation, in yet another pop culture nod to National Lampoon's Animal House.

A creature invades the school's computer systems just as Roger's SAT is being graded.  There are apparently Sludge Bandits dumping toxic waste all over the galaxy, and Ambassador Wankmeister seeks the academy's help.  She is none too impressed with Roger at this point, despite his record, having seen him doing menial labor, so if they're ever going to hook up Roger is going to have to climb a few rungs in her estimation.

Thanks to the computer glitch, Roger has "earned" a perfect score on his SAT.  He undergoes intensive captain's training before receiving his first, eminently suitable assignment -- piloting a garbage scow named the Eureka.  Captain Wilco has two people on his bridge crew, aliens named Flo and Droole... and hey!  This game actually has conversation options, a true rarity for Sierra's adventures and always a help when it comes to character development.  We can learn something about Roger's crew, but not very much.  Droole is close to retirement and just wants to finish out his unsuccessful career in peace.  Flo has issues with male authority figures.  There's also a Scotty-esque engineer named Cliffy who hangs out in the engine room and lab areas, trying to keep the aging ship running.


Roger can't access the ship's computer systems himself, and must rely on his semi-loyal crew.  The docking bay doors appear to be closed, so our first order of business should be to get them open.  Ah -- there's a conversation icon AND a command icon, which allows Roger to issue orders to his crew.  Hailing Starcon via Flo provides our initial orders, to pick up refuse in three sectors.

We need to reference the manual (provided in PDF form with the most recent release) to get the navigation codes for the three sectors in question -- Peeyu, Kiz Urazgubi and (I think) Gangularis.  Yes, we can confirm our orders with Flo by asking her for Status.  As we leave the academy, a ship materializes, bearing a female version of the Terminator droid who pursued Roger in Space Quest III.

I always enjoy naturalistic (if simple in this case) learning exercises in adventure games.  We figure out that we have to drop from lite speed to normal speed before we can orbit a planet, and then activitate the ship's refuse collection beam.  Except it seems we have arrived at Gingivitis, not Gangularis? Ahem... this would be because I input the wrong code number.

Of course, we pick up the trash, and then our systems detect a life form in the waste containment system.  It's a face-hugger -- but a cute little one that Roger decides to name Spike, and keep as a pet onboard the ship.  It starts burning holes in the deck with its highly acidic waste, making Cliffy none too happy, so we will need to fix that if Spike is going to stick around.

The ship's science lab-slash-transporter room has a Habitube lifeform container; it's not portable, though, so we'll probably have to bring little Spike back here.  Fortunately, the creature wanders in before we can leave the room, allows Roger to pick him up without injuring him, and is now gurgling happily in the Habitube.  Unfortunately, he likes to break out -- Roger indicates that we need to calm him down somehow, but we're not permitted to put him in the nearby cryogenic chamber.

We can borrow some useful items from Cliffy's toolbox -- antacid tablets, a laser cutting torch, a hole punch and a high-voltage circuit fuse.  Other items can be examined, but not taken.  Maybe feeding Spike antacid will help him settle down?  Yes -- though we can't use the tablets directly with Spike or in the empty tank, we have to put him in first and then add the antacid.

With that problem contained, we're off to Peeyu to continue our trash collection duties.  Here, we accidentally intercept suspicious communications between colorfully-named, unidentified entities -- MAGGOT TO DUNG HEEP, COME IN DUNG HEEP -- communicating via US Sprint.  (Apparently the company had a product placement arrangement with Sierra, as it has now been mentioned twice -- though it's not a great fit, as the contemporary, non-satirical reference tends to pull us out of the Space Quest universe.)  Flo says the message came in on an official Starcon frequency, but was moving around quickly; the transmission itself hinted that Captain Quirk might have been involved.

Nothing else seems to be afoot, so we can pick up the local trash and then head off to Kiz Urazgubi.  And here, our troubles begin -- a tractor beam locks in, a photon torpedo hits the Eureka, and our weapons systems are inoperative.  Yep, the Gippazoid Novelty Company is still pursuing Roger -- the earlier robot failed, but this new WD-40 terminatrix is determined to take Roger as prisoner, or blow up his ship.

So it's time to beam down, under duress.  We can't bring Spike along -- if we try, Roger puts him back before energizing the transporter beam, so we won't be able to attack the robot with acid.  We see the Terminatrix' ship land, then she turns it invisible and flies off in search of Roger.  She arrives shortly near the lagoon where Roger has materialized.  We have to keep him moving, ducking her shots by traveling through some conveniently-placed caves and looking for an opportunity to dispose of her.  The area covers several screens of caves and outcroppings, and this is an interesting puzzle, as there are quite a few almost-possible solutions to explore.

It seems like we're supposed to use the laser torch to cut the tree she's standing on when it seems like Roger has nowhere to run in one area, but it's not possible to get close enough to do that before she zaps Roger.  Some fruit hangs slightly out of reach -- can we somehow swing across?  Ah, if we go back around the way we came, we can hide inside the log -- with Roger's eyes peering out from a presumably strategically valuable hiding spot.  Further east is a narrow plateau, but it doesn't seem like we can get to the top -- the WD-40 android shows up and knocks Roger to his doom.  We can also stand on top of the log, with equally fatal results at the moment.

This is a pretty complex puzzle -- I needed a walkthrough to suggest that we can take some of the hanging banana-like fruit, but only a very specific set of them.  And we have to intentionally walk out on a thin limb, breaking it and falling into the pool where we started (none of the feared threats that prevented Roger from entering the pool earlier manifest.)  With the resulting stick, we can knock the almost-reachable cluster of fruit around, causing it to swing close enough for Roger to grab it (with good timing.)

Now can we set up a good slip-and-fall situation for the robot?  No, but we can climb up above a cave where a loose boulder (nicely camouflaged against the background) is perched, and wait for WD-40 to show up below.  This takes some patience, and I did lots of waiting around, until I realized that I'm supposed to knock the boulder across the gap and into the cave while she is climbing up, not down on her head after she gets up top.

This knocks her cloaking system out, which may help, and now we can hide in the log and use the banana on her... but she flies off before anything happens?  We earn some points, but nothing seems to be happening -- Roger can't even exit the log.  Apparently I just missed the timing as far as the animation was concerned -- she flew back in, and this time flew back up and exploded.  (Apparently using the fruit on WD-40 causes Roger to put the fruit in her exhaust system, rather than making her take a fall -- a limitation of the point-and-click, parserless style adopted in the later Sierra games.)  Now Roger is safe, and can collect her head as a trophy.

To beam back up, can we go to the plateau?  No, we need to return to the original site in order for the transporter to get a good fix.  Ah -- the android's cloaked ship is still here.  Cliffy arrives to collect the pieces of WD-40.  He starts reassembling it, and for some reason Roger is happy to give him the head; I would have assumed the last thing he wants is a reanimated Terminatrix, but we'll see what happens.  Cliffy gives Roger a leftover part of indeterminate purpose in exchange.

Our work is done for the time being, so we can take the crew to the Space Bar for a little relaxation.  Cliffy goes off to visit an old friend at the bar, while Flo and Droole hang out chatting.  The Nova Station Space Bar is a domed part of the space station, with a giant lava lamp in the center.  There's a new ScumSoft game called "Battle Cruiser" in the bar, but it doesn't seem like we can play it right now.  There are security officers barring access to a more interesting area to the east (and borrowing from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as we are informed that one of them likes to read his awful poetry to his prisoners.)

We can sit at the table with our crew -- we have to use the WALK icon, not the HAND icon, which threw me off for a bit.  A robotic waiting machine takes orders and delivers drinks.  A con man approaches -- Nelo Jones, Merchant of Venus and dealer in artifacts (and a Trouble with Tribbles homage.)  He gives Roger some dehydrated space monkeys (a la Sea Monkeys) and a coupon.

Then Quirk shows up to taunt Roger, and challenge him to a game of Battle Cruiser, so we will be doing something with that.  It's essentially Battleship in space, with three layers of depth to the playfield; we can shoot torpedoes in the traditional style, and use a limited number of probes which reveal more of the surrounding area.  The AI isn't great - it often tends to re-fire at areas it's already checked -- but it still takes some time and luck to beat Quirk.

After the game, we find a drunken Cliffy in the middle of a fistfight, as a result of which he gets thrown into the brig.  Conferring with the crew again, Flo confirms that the alien sitting with Quirk when we entered looks like the MAGGOT alien on the transmission we intercepted earlier.  Our immediate concern is to liberate Cliffy.  A warning on the Space Monkeys package suggests that it should not be mixed with alcohol, so let's see what happens if we do that...

The monkeys run rampant, and when the guards run to investigate we can turn off the force field and use Spike's acidic properties to free Cliffy from his cell. Everyone escapes, and we receive orders to go to Klorox II.  But before we do, maybe we should see if we can do something with the cloaked WD-40 ship back on K.U.  Cliffy has WD-40 herself up and running; we beam down right by the ship, and can use the "extra" piece of WD-40 Cliffy gave Roger to access the invisible ship's elevator.  We are warned that it's heavily secured, and I managed to get Roger zapped by approaching the controls.  A panel on the cloaking device housing presents a puzzle -- if we can open it, that may be all we need to do here.  We can't use any tools on it -- I got the latches open, but wasn't able to free the device after I could see it on the first try.  I had to reference a walkthrough on this one -- it's a matter of turning the dials and opening the locks in a certain sequence.  I had tried all the binary combinations of the four dials without unlocking anything.

Cliffy gets to work installing the cloaking device, and now we can head off to Klorox II as ordered.  There's no waste beacon here, so we can ask Flo to hail the planet to see what's going on.  We receive no response, so we hail Starcon -- but the line is busy and there are literally billions of callers ahead of us, so it's time for Roger to take command.  Hailing a ship raises the Goliath, Quirk's ship, but he doesn't have any helpful ideas.  So all we can do is beam down and check it out ourselves, casting Roger in the role of unlikely hero yet again.

Prior to beaming down, we can check in with Engineering from the bridge -- Cliffy indicates that the refurbished WD40 is now acting as the ship's science officer.  She says the surface atmosphere is breathable, and also recommends sending an away team down.  Droole seems anxious to accompany Roger surfaceside.  (And Roger is wearing a red shirt, a matter of some concern.)

It appears that the former residents of the colony left in a hurry.  Exploring the greenhouse, Roger is attacked by a bloated, disfigured man who spits in his face, creating a similar effect on Roger and ending the game.  We have to dodge Roger's head back and forth to avoid the deadly loogies, long enough for Droole to show up and shoot the man.  Before he dies, his mutated face returns to normal, and he says something about bad soup and a path over the ridge, which Roger can't make sense of.

The computer in the greenhouse requires an access code, which fortunately happens to be on a scrap of paper dropped by the mutant man upon his entrance.  A log kept by the colony administrator mentions strange events -- a survey team disappeared, then there was a mutant attack -- and informs us that the colony's facilities have been sealed using the administrator's personal passcodes, and that the local escape shuttle was stolen by the mutant surveyors, who retain an understanding of technology.  This suggests that they are still out there somewhere, and Roger will probably have to go clean up this mess.

East of the colony, a soup can is lodged on a rock above Roger's viewpoint, unreachable.  Returning to the ship, we pick up a faint emergency transmission.  Quirk's ship, the Goliath, is under attack!  Flo thinks the transmission came from the Thrakus system.  A "meanwhile" sequence shows the Goliath's crew being mutated, including Quirk.  When we arrive, the Goliath is nowhere in sight, but an escape pod beacon is picked up on the surface, which WD-40 reports is highly toxic.  A button on the engineering bay wall (that's easier to use with the hand icon than it is to "see" with the eye icon) provides access to the pod bay, where we can pick up an oxygen tank and a rebreather mask.  We have to use the controls here to reopen the elevator door, and can see that these might also be useful should we need to take the ship's repair pod out for a spin.

Beaming down to the planet... whoops, it would help if we put the respiration mask on before beaming down... brings us to the escape pod's crash site.  It's time for a few Star Wars references, as the pod looks just like the one crashed on Tatooine, and Roger's mask sounds like Darth Vader's labored breathing.  The pod's occupant has escaped, and might be Beatrice judging from the outfit left behind.  Trying to explore to the west leads to Roger being attacked by Bea, who thinks he's a mutant, and our heroes end up hanging from a giant mushroom over a deep gorge.

Roger needs to help Bea climb back up; I tried to extend the stick and her coat, to no avail; if she dies, then Roger has no son, ergo no rescuing Roger in SQ IV, ergo no Roger in SQ V.  I had a hard time getting this to re-trigger after a restore, then realized I had saved my game before visiting the pod; this event won't happen until we've done that.  We can use the coat to help Beatrice up, and she throws Roger a vine -- and then before we can beam up, we are surrounded by mutants and fatally covered in mutagen slime.  We have to request a beam-up from Cliffy before we climb up, then as soon as we're in the clear we get taken up to the ship, and Roger and Bea get to have a moment.

She is dying from exposure to the mutagen, but the process can be slowed down by putting her in the cryo-chamber.  And she stole the mutants' warp distributor cap to slow them down, indicating that she may be a very suitable companion for Roger.  Whoops -- I used the cryogenic chamber's microwave oven-style control panel to put her in cooldown mode for too long, and made a Beasicle out of her.  32 seconds is too long; so is 5; 10 does the trick.

Now we need to find a cure.  Except we're under attack by the Goliath, under the command of the mutated Captain Quirk!  We need to raise our shields, and duck into an asteroid field; we escape, but now Cliffy has to take a spacewalk to make repairs to the Eureka's exterior.  He succeeds, but gets knocked into space, so now Roger has to take the EVA out himself to rescue Cliffy.  This requires mastery of the pod's piloting and claw mechanism, and we have to finish before we run out of oxygen and fuel.  Fortunately there's a tractor beam to bring us back in once we have grabbed our crewman.

Where to now?  Maybe we can find some more clues on Klorox II.  The soup can is still unreachable... but aha, we can go around the other side of the screen to reach it.  The can of Primordial Soup mentions the Genetix Research Corporation in sector G6, code 41666. 

Returning to the ship, we observe WD-40 seems to be breaking down a bit, as her circuits are reportedly functioning "perfectly... perfectly... perfectly..."  That may not bode well.  Droole has a variety of funny little habits we can see when we return to the bridge and he's not working -- playing a portable videogame, reading MAD magazine, bouncing a ball-and-paddle around -- but he always returns his focus to the job at hand.

Whoops -- after beaming down to the Genetix facility, Roger's gone through a classic The Fly hybridization and is now reduced to buzzing about with wings and a fly's head.  This means Roger's brain is now in control of a fly, while his body hangs out, even more clueless than usual.  As a fly, we're not heavy enough to use the communicator, which at least has conveniently landed on the ground in an open position.  We can't seem to summon fellow flies from a nearby dumpster for help.  We can, however fly through an electronic key card lock where nine laser beams are visible.  They're not fatal to a fly, so maybe we can walk around to block the right beams to open the lock; but we can only block one at a time.  Fortunately, we can just walk through the lock into the facility.

Inside, we find a computer terminal, indicating that the dome has been jettisoned. Are we too late?  Using our tiny body on the touchscreen, we can reset the system and check the logs and other data.  Only Dome 3 appears to be online.  We can look around the building using the security cameras, and see Fly Wilco dumpster diving -- sigh -- and, more helpfully, Cliffy and WD-40 beaming down to assist.

The logs indicate that the last user at this workstation was playing Astro Chicken 3: Henhouse of Doom, but we never get to play it here.  We also learn that an intruder led to the emergency evacuation.  Domes 1 and 2 were apparently launched and detonated, but Dome 3's system was halted.  There's also a log indicating that the Primordial Soup was meant as a biological terraforming product, establishing the foundation of a food and atmosphere chain on otherwise uninhabitable planets.  A bacterium, caseus vellox, was selected and bombarded with radiation to verify its viability.  But the rodents used for testing became piles of goo with deadly teeth, one bit a lab researcher, and the rest is unfortunately familiar recent history.

Heh -- the Genetix Accounting department lists expenditures for 120 GB SCSI drives at $2955 each.  No longer science fiction, that, though prices have come down tremendously!  The ledger also shows a bribe to one Raemes T. Quirk for 50,000 buckazoids.  Hmmmm.  The next page shows additional bribes to Quirk, so something is clearly up.

Leaving the lab, we try to approach Cliffy -- who slaps fly Roger to death without a second thought.  Restoring, we can fly near the water to get a frog to jump onto the communicator, reaching Flo.  She relays a message to Cliffy, telling him that Roger is a fly at present.  WD-40 goes off to scan the perimeter while we show Cliffy where the rest of our body was last seen, so he can reconstitute Roger using the transporter beam.

Restored to normality, Roger mistakenly tells Cliffy about all the neat technology available in the lab, and the curious engineer resolves to break in and see what's there.  Drat!  We can use the hole punch on the plastic card we got at the Spacebar, but we need to have figured out the pattern for unlocking the mechanism while we were a fly inside the lock.  Back to an earlier save we go... at least, if we screw up the pattern, the game kindly resets the puzzle and lets us try again; I did in fact screw up, by punching where I should have blocked and vice-versa on my first try.

Entering the lab, while Cliffy oddly remains outside standing guard, Roger can access some liquid nitrogen canisters.  The research reports indicate that cooling can inhibit the mutagen, so we should try to take these along.  Returning to the ship, we see an excited Spike jumping on the cryo chamber and then on the transporter, and in the great Lassie tradition, somehow Roger picks up that "We should initiate a manual control bypass to reverse the phase polarity of the interface grid and then use the transporter to reintegrate Beatrice's DNA molecules?"  Cliffy thinks it just might work.  But just picking Beatrice up is a bad idea -- her frozen body shatters in Roger's hands.  A quick defrost for 10 seconds puts her back into portable condition, and then Roger tucks her back into the cryo unit to recover at room temperature (and stay out of the way to keep the story tidy for the moment.)

WD-40 recommends mounting a surprise attack against the still-menacing Goliath by using the EVA pod to cut a hole in her hull.  She thinks we can cure some of the mutants onboard using the transporter to help out.  So where's the Goliath?  Asking WD-40 to "SCAN FOR SHIPS" from the bridge suggests the Gingivitis sector.  We have the cloaking device working now, so putting the shields up and the cloak on seems like a good plan.

Once we have the cloak on, we suddenly arrive near the Goliath, and Cliffy asks us to come to Engineering to see something.  He brings up an image of the enemy ship -- a small section fore of the rear engines is the least populated, offering the best chance to sneak aboard.  Once we dock at the appropriate area, we can use the laser torch from Cliffy's toolbox to burn our way in.  Except it seems to have disappeared from inventory?  Ah, the inventory window is scrollable -- some items are just at the bottom of the display.  Whew!

Having cut our way in at the right spot, we must avoid roaming mutant guards.  A nearby panel allows us to confirm that the ship's warp drive is offline, thanks to earlier quick thinking by Ambassador Wankmeister.  We can earn some points by putting the warp distributor cap back in place -- but do we want to do this?  There doesn't seem to be any reason not to, but these games have a way of revealing the consequences of our actions too late for us to do anything about them.

We can duck under some grating in the deck to enter a maze of tunnels, making our way to an elevator shaft where the moving elevators soon turn Roger into a flattened mess.  The rest of the maze doesn't offer much, except for a Pac-Man cameo.  We have to use the elevator shaft to climb up from level 8, shifting in and out of shafts to avoid it.  The maze is not too confusing -- most dead ends are fairly clear, and we don't have to waste a lot of time crawling around.  Level 7 is devoid of interesting areas, but we can use the shaft to continue up to Level 6.  It's been a while since I've had to use a sheet of graph paper for a Sierra game, so this whole process was rather enjoyable.  Level 6 leads us back into the shaft, where we can now climb up to level 4.  From here, once we return to the shaft from another directoin we can move up to Level 1.  But this level is dead too.  At least the maps make geographical sense, there are no weird connections to deal with.

So is there something to do on Level 2?  Yes -- at last we arrive at a differentiated room, with a switch of some kind on the wall.  Ah, it's the fabled Shield Deactivation Switch!  It's a simple switch too:

Suddenly, Roger is pulled out of the passage to face Quirk and his mutoid henchmen.  WD-40 shows up in the nick of time and immobilizes them all with her torso-mounted freeze ray cannons:

Cliffy has the ship's transporter set up for an attempted rescue of Quirk's crew -- all we have to do is hide out of sight so they all get confused and stand on the platform.  Once they're in place, Roger gives a verbal signal to Cliffy, and Quirk's crew are normal humans again.  But Quirk was not among them, so we will have to deal with him directly.  (Animation timing is important in this puzzle -- if any of the crew members are not actually on the platform, then Roger is toast.)

We return to the Goliath's bridge to see Quirk escaping in a shuttle -- and landing in a huge blob of mutant goo expelled as a byproduct of the crew's rescue.  We have to make a choice -- beam over to the Eureka, zap the blob with the Goliath's phasers, or ride it out.  Riding it out does not pan out.  And there isn't time to figure out the Goliath's phaser system.

So we'll need to abandon the Goliath and beam back to the Eureka to figure something out there.  We can lower shields and fire at the blob to get it off the Goliath.  No evasive action is possible, but we can use the garbage scow's vacuum capability to trap the Quirk mass.  Now we set the Eureka's self-destruct timer and make a run for it -- being sure to free Beatrice and avoid the blob's tendrils snaking out of the waste containment system.  Droole and Flo have fortunately already evacuated to the Goliath, but the transporter equipment is no longer functional.

Can Roger and Beatrice both fit in the Eureka's EVA?  No, it's still docked against the other ship.  Ack!  And I almost forgot to take Spike!  Opening the garbage container doesn't seem to be a good idea.  Using the air lock downstairs might help, but it draws Roger out too.  We still have a fuse in inventory, can we repair the transporter?  Ah, there's a service tunnel in the causeway.  But which one is bad? The rightmost, back fuse runs the life support system, apparently -- oops.  Trial and error isn't working well, but we can determine which fuse is which by reading the circuit diagram.

With the fuse replaced, Bea beams over -- good, it's tested -- Roger grabs Spike and beams to the Goliath, assuming command of the more powerful ship with Beatrice Wankmeister by his side, as the Eureka explodes and the credits roll.

The credits confirm that some pre-rendered 3-D sprites were created, handy for solid object animation, and the effective music was composed by Christopher Stevens and Tim Clarke.  There are no voice cast credits, of course; we note that US Sprint paid for promotional consideration, if we hadn't already figured that out.

Scorewise, I missed quite a few points -- I didn't cheat on the SAT, I lost some points for losing ships playing Battle Cruiser, and I didn't announce that we should abandon ship at the end, I just set the self-destruct mechanism and let the crew figure it out for themselves.  But all the things I really care about, I managed to do.

We have just one more official Sierra Space Quest game to go, though there are a few fan games, and of course the Two Guys from Andromeda's upcoming spiritual sequel SpaceVenture.  We'll no doubt cover Space Quest 6 in due course.


  1. Oooo, this was one of the last Sierra quest games I actually played,finished and enjoyed. I think I had a 286,with adlib card at the time. I love the way you guys present the games, and humbly ask you guys to do the next Space quest game. Thanks

  2. It's been on my agenda to hit The Spinal Frontier for a while -- thanks for the note, I'll do my best to cover it soon!