Space Quest fan games

Space Quest and King's Quest are the two Sierra series, that has sprung a lot of fan based games, either remake of the old games or unofficial sequels. Here I'll be taking a glance upon Space Quest fan games, as I've already taken a look at the official games in the series.

Space Quest 2

Only one Space Quest game has gotten a finished fan remake and that's the worst of the first three, Space Quest 2: Vohaul's Revenge. I don't really much care of the game itself, but as free fan remakes go, Space Quest 2 is a superb job. Not only does it have pretty nice VGA overhaul on the graphics, but it also has a good soundtrack as well as an okay cast of voice actors. It's clearly a labour of love for the people involved. Also, as a bonus, it has a remake of Al Lowe's the Troll's Tale included in it, so it's really a double remake.

It's not a 1:1 remake, as it does change some things, like adding alternative solutions on some puzzles and even expanding originally so desolate asteroid base of Sludge Vohaul.  This all doesn't really change the fact, that the original game itself was a bit dull and the plot just never feels like it's getting off the ground. Also, the ending with Sludge Vohaul is terribly anticlimactic here as it is in the original.

Infamous Adventures, the group that made the remake, was toying around with a remake of Space Quest 3 as well, but commercial game development whisked them on other endeavours, which is a good thing, as they've already published two commercial games. One is a pretty decent Quest For Glory style game, Quest for Infamy and the other is a retro adventure The Order of the Thorne - the King's Challenge.

Space Quest 2 remake is freely available through Infamous Studio's website, their commercial titles can be bought from GOG or Steam.

The Lost Chapter

No matter how much the Lost Chapter is someone's labour of love, and it's done free of charge because someone loves something, I can't say much of anything else about the Lost Chapter than it's like 101 courses on bad game design: it has a dull, large game world, with very little to do, it doesn't give you much of hints, items on screen are easy to miss, it has loads of unavoidable deaths and it overall feels like it needs to be played with a walkthrough in hand.

The Lost Chapter is set between Space Quest 2 and Space Quest 3. It begins with an unexpected wave hitting Roger's escape vessel, in which he's sound asleep. He wakes up only to find himself from an unknown planet jungle, so obviously, he needs to find a way off the planet. This leads in Roger walking around old Sierra AGI graphics style jungle and diving under swamp water. It's like an extended excursion in Labion forest and it all makes me ask: why?

Vonster Vision, the developer of this one, has created a game, that is so overly punishing and riddled with old-school adventure game annoyances, that it'll make even saints rage quitting it after 10-minutes of gameplay. The official Space Quest games have deaths, of course, but they never felt this sadistic to me.

If you want to play it, you can download it from the official site. As a note, it's been made with a very old version of AGS studio and is actually a DOS based game, so in order to run it, you probably need to use DosBox.

Space Quest 0: Replicated 

This one is actually good. Just like the Lost Chapter, Replicated uses the AGI engine style graphics and parser interface like the two first games did. This time around though, it manages to look much more like a genuine Sierra AGI game, as it uses the NAGI engine, which is a clone of the original AGI. Also, surprisingly enough, the game runs right from the bat under Windows 10, but you do need to fiddle config files in order to run it full screen. Unlike the Lost Chapter, Replicated is actually a prequel to the whole series, taking place before Space Quest 1.

The story starts Roger waking up from a nap (again) in a janitors closet when he finds that the crew on a research lab, Labion (though the opening intro actually calls it Xenon at first, but then changes it to Labion) Orbital Statio 10, he's stationed on has been slaughtered. As Roger isn't found of dead people, he needs to escape, which he does with an escape pod, which crashes down to Labion (of which forests we don't see that much, luckily).

After some hiking back and forth, Roger finds himself from a spaceport, from which he manages to find a ship, which he promptly uses to visit Monolith Burger. He also meets a mysterious blue chick, whom he previously saw in the space station and later on heard talking to an ugly looking alien in the spaceport.

Later on, he finds out there's some plan with clones and that someone named Vohaul is trying to create an army of clones, which the blue chick wants to prevent, so Wilco to the rescue. All this leads into Wilco penetrating the secret cloning lab, where he changes the army program with insurance sales one. This won't come back at him in the future. But anyhow, after some short lightsaber duel, Roger has again won the day.

All in all, Replicated is a well-made game, that captures the Space Quest feel pretty nicely. Also, it's one of the best looking AGI games I've ever seen. While it's a bummer it doesn't have a proper soundtrack, as it uses only PC speaker tunes, it at least uses those peeps while looking great.

My thumbs up, go and get it here. Jefferson Stewart, the developer,  really did a great job with this one.


Vohaul Strikes Back

I had high hopes for this one, but in the end, I found it disappointing. While it does have some pretty solid production values, the background art is some of the best I've seen in any fan game, for a free game, it also is relatively poorly written and a mostly unfunny entry to the fan game base of Space Quest. It's not the worst of the fan games, mind you, but it didn't really click with me personally.

My biggest dislike about this one is the character of Roger Wilco. Before he was lazy, and even before that he was more of an idiot savant of survival kind of a blank slate. Here he's portrayed as a pretty gutless dolt who's also a bit of an egotistical ass as well.

In all, it feels like the makers of this one have been inspired the most by the worst official Space Quest, Spinal Frontiers, so I guess there's nothing so bad that there wouldn't be someone who'd find it a source for inspiration.

As the name of the game suggests, Vohaul is again trying to kick Roger around for busting his dreams of grandeur. Roger and Beatrice end up in Vohaul's new base located on an ice planet, where the potential future missus Wilco is to be kidnapped and it's up to Roger to stumble around in order to not only save his girl, beat up Vohaul as well.

VSB is also a pretty large game, free or commercial. But as I stated, I really didn't care that much of it and couldn't really force myself to play it through. I have done so, ages back when it was originally released, and I do recall disliking it back then as well, pretty much because of the same reason I dislike it now.

Like I said, I did have some expectations of this, the same way I had expectations of Zak MacKracken Between Time and Space as well. Neither expectations were met, but then again, both are free fan games, so I can't claim I feel robbed or anything.

You can get the game from the developers' own site.

Incinerations

Incinerations is one of the most ambitious free fan games made. As a whole, it isn't very Space Quest like experience, as the developer Datadog wrote it intentionally in a way that would have had made them easy to just swap names to something else and get a fully original game, had Activision decided to slap a cease and desist order on the game. But as that didn't happen, the game was released as a fan sequel to Space Quest instead.

So, as the game was designed with a consideration of possible legal ramifications, a lot of the game and the universe of Space Quest was redesigned to be something wholly different. Had they called Roger Wilco something like Sam the Spacehero and changed the character sprites, no-one would have known that Incinerations would have anything to do with Space Quest.

At the beginning of the story, Roger wakes up from a broom closet, where he has been spending some well earned R&R between scrubbing the floors, as the life of a space hero has again hit the rocks. Oblivious of the reasons of his waking up, Rogers first task is to get to the kitchen and brew himself a cup of coffee. After which he realizes the ship he is on is under attack. From there begins the adventure, when Roger ends up telling his story to a life-saving soldier during an escape pod ride.

As I stated, the Incinerations is technically pretty ambitious. While it doesn't do anything special with gameplay, it does have around 45 minutes of pre-rendered in-game cinematics, alternative endings, original music, a lot of backgrounds and the game itself is relatively long. It is all in all, extremely impressive piece of work and would be that even if it was a commercial adventure game from 2012. The only thing it really is missing is voice acting.

Incenrations isn't graphically groundbreaking, it is in fact, rather ugly looking, all in all, but the cinematics are well done and the animation is surprisingly good. The script is well above the average as well and that makes for a lot.

Incinerations is a game well worth playing. It doesn't even need you to be that familiar with the original series, as it is, content-wise, so drastically different, that it works perfectly well as a standalone game. You can get it from here.



Comments