Space Quest 6

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  • Tijn

    Ok, so I also played SQ6 now. Hoo boy, where to start with this one? It’s a mess, guys.

    The first thing you notice when playing this is how weird it looks compared to all the previous games. It’s got a sort of hyper crisp super VGA cartoon style, combined with ill-fitting 3D rendered things. It’s not exactly ugly, but it is quite strange and took me a while to get used to.

    The UI is also new, with strange “word icons” to control your character. Where other games had actual icons for walking, looking, picking up things etc. this one just displays the body part related to it in text. So the button to walk says “feet” and the button to look says “eyes”. Again, it took me a while to get used to it.

    What is kind of nice is that there’s a scrolling text box which contains all the dialogues, even though the game is also fully voiced. And speaking of voice work, I must applaud Gary Owens for doing an excellent job narrating this game. Even though I found the other performances lacking character, Gary’s portrayal of the narrator really makes up a lot of the game’s faults, so props to him for that.

    But as for faults, sadly there are many. I didn’t enjoy this game at all. Now I can get over a weak story if the puzzles are worthwhile, and I can equally work my way through some rough moon logic if the narrative is compelling. But this game combines a lackluster plot with ridiculously obtuse puzzles, which makes the whole thing really hard to get through.

    The problems are worst at the start for me. You’re dropped into a world without a real goal and you’re literally stuck from the beginning. The only way to progress seems to be to just stumble upon the path forward, as some of the characters you need to interact with appear randomly in different screens.

    After a lot of messing around, you’re kidnapped by some goons for reasons I still don’t understand after completing the game. You’re eventually rescued by a woman called Stellar, which appears to be another love interest for Roger, although he’s not particularly interested in her and remains loyal to Beatrice (who is not in the game).

    What follows is a section on the space ship Roger is stationed at, in which the game kept crashing for me. There was just no way to continue, it would always crash in the sickbay room, which is required for the main story. After some googling I found this is a known issue and there is a patch available which fixes the issue, but weirdly the patch is not developed by Sierra, but by fans of the game. Just… wow.

    With the patch in place it appears Stellar is taken away and you spend the rest of the game trying to rescue her. I feel that by this point the worst is actually over and it gradually gets better from here on out. I actually quite enjoyed the ending section, in which you’re shrunken down to miniature nano size and explore Stellar’s blood veins and organs.

    But in the end it feels empty. Nothing is really accomplished during the course of the game, and at the end you’re exactly where you were at the beginning. The game even comments on this, saying the player has been left with many questions about what the future holds for Roger as you see him blast into space.

    So yeah… a bit of a sad ending to the series if you ask me. It deserves better!


    There are two fan games that continue the series after this. Maybe they will offer a better ending?

    My plan of playing through everything in order came to a grinding halt with Space Quest 6 in the first part of the month. I really didn’t get on with this game. I only played the first section up to getting kidnapped and only got that far thanks to use of a walkthrough. Some of the puzzles were horrible – I couldn’t even identify the appropriate parts of the background as being interactible. I hate this sort of pixel hunting stuff. In one case the thing I needed to interact with was so dark I could barely make it out, at least on a CRT. I would literally never have got through this part of the game without cheating.

    Good to hear some later sections are better. I know Josh Mandel designed a lot of the game then got kicked off before it was finished. Maybe the bits that play better are the parts he’d completed.


    I’m following a playthrough by one of my preferred YouTuber, and it is interesting only for the reactions, otherwise right from start I’ve found the game depressing and really pointless. I know objectives can be quite obscure on other SQ games, but on this one is just watching Roger get punished just because and being mean to other NPC for no real reason.

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