Space Quest: The Sarien Encounter

How to introduce the first PC game I ever played to people who perhaps have no idea what it is? I guess we'll start at the beginning with Sierra On-line. Sierra was for much of the 90's the king of PC gaming. Back then adventure games ruled on the PC and Sierra was the premiere maker of adventure games (Lucasart's fans refuse to believe this and out of our gracious spirits we let them believe whatever they want to, it doesn't change the realities.) King's Quest was their flagship product, the creation of Roberta Williams, that followed the adventures of Sir Graham and his family, set in a fantasy setting. Space Quest was the creation of two men, Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy (they become the two guys from Andromeda) they pretty much created the first two games by themselves. Space Quest is a sci-fi game with a simple sense of humor.

I'll be guiding you through the first three games of the series (there was a total of 6). My primary goal in these LPs is to show you through the games, while getting a perfect score, or higher. Second, is to show you all the ways to die in them (or all the ones I've ever discovered). Sierra's games had a lot of ways to die, as well as quite a few ways to make the game unbeatable, which is why you were expected (and told) to save often. Most of the fun in Space Quest comes from the death messages you receive. If I have time (and the technical savvy) I might go through the VGA version of SQ1 and show the differences. So anyway feel free to post your thoughts, expectations, and more. The first post should be up tonight!

For the record I'll be playing these games from memory, yes as a youth I did have the time to waste and the fortitude to play repeatedly to get perfect scores... I also had the phone number to Sierra's Hint-Line (they charged you, Man, were my parents pissed about that)

PS - For more info than you could possibly want on the Space Quest Series, I recommend SpaceQuest.Net

The Arcada

I'd be doing a disservice if I didn't put the theme music to Space Quest up either, so here's that (which I had to record myself because everyone seems enamored with the remakes soundtrack... where's the love for the old PC speaker? Though I think what you're hearing is the better audio on the Tandy, emulated)

The story of Space Quest is that you, Roger Wilco, are part of the crew of the Arcada which is completing work on the star generator which will be used to turn one of the lifeless planets in the Earnon solar system into a new star, as the current one is dying. Unfortunately, you're not one of the scientists or military men working on the project. You're a janitor and not a very good one. We start SQ1 walking up from an on-shift nap.

we head left from where we started and continue through the next screen.

'Til we get here and search this unfortunate fellows body, he's got a keycard on him, and following the adventurer's creed of taking everything, we loot the corpse. Next we head back the way we came, only to witness:

He stumbles forward a little and then slumps over, Roger investigates:

The man works up just enough strength to look over at the rows of cartridges on the wall and says "astral body" before breathing his last.

So, we head over to the console and "look at screen" once there we type in "astral body" and let the futuristic system do its work:

Then we grab the cartridge, adding it to our inventory and put it in to the machine to see why it's so important:

Or not... guess we'll have to find out later...

Restoring the game I take the cartridge and this time leave through the left door and take the elevator down and through the blasted open doors:

We head out the blasted doors and to the right, taking the elevator down:

Will Roger make his way off the ship? Of course he will, but he'll die trying first!

As soon as Roger got off the elevator he heard footsteps and hid behind a bulkhead, after the guard moved on he headed right to the next chamber:

after looking around he uses the control to open the bay doors, and then headed right:

sliding the purloined keycard into the slot he heads through the elevator and into the airlock. being a janitor he checks the two closets for cleaning supplies but finds only a suit and some sort of gadget. He changes clothes and picks up the device:

He then makes his way over to the console and pushes the open button, opening the door to the left, he then moves into the next room:

There are several ways to die here. I'll briefly fill you in and then you can head over to the death section to see the actual descriptions and images: If you enter the airlock without changing clothes, you die; if you go into the big pit in the middle of the screen, you die; and, if you walk into space, you die. Returning to the console we check it out and raise the platform, and then enter the escape pod:

Okay, there's a lot going on here. First things first lets close the door and buckle our seat belt. Next let's turn the power on... what next?

can do!

There isn't much to do in here, only two more buttons the "don't touch" one, and "autonav." Pushing the first sends us to King's Quest 1, with some commentary by Ken and Roberta Williams, not pushing the other one sends us spiraling through space forever (both of which have been added to the death post.) So let's push autonav!

Looks like were headed for Kerona!

FYI: If we'd had left Arcada without the gadget, we would have been screwed as without it the aliens we'll be meeting soon would be unintelligible, and we'd have been unable to progress through the game. Also,if you don't take the cartridge in the Arcada the game is unwinnable, in fact you can get all the way to the final "level" of the game not knowing you need it before you get stuck... If I miss something else, and I'm sure I will, please point it out to me! I thought that if you wasted enough time on the Arcada it'd blow up but doesn't seem to be the case, in this version (2.2) perhaps in one of the earlier ones though.

Kerona, but Where's the Lime?

Roger's just crash landed on to the planet Kerona:

(I tried unbuckling my seatbelt before landing but it doesn't let you, which also seems different from my old floppy version which would have you busting out of the window on landing) Looking around Roger finds a survival kit that's been dislodged and nabs it. Finding nothing else of interest he climbs out and takes a look around... and notices some of the windshield on the ground and picks it up. then heads off to the left:

There's nothing to the left, death also awaits you if you go up or down, so right it is, picking up some of the local fauna on the way:

Well this outcrop seems to be the only thing around so lets head up and investigate:

Notice the cracks growing on the bridge? every time you cross it the get a little bigger, until on the 5th crossing it collapses and you die... It's right about here too, if you don't take your time that you meet:

Now if that thing runs into Roger he's going to be nothing more than a fine red mist, but seeing as its down there and we're up here Roger can ignore it for now. He continues to the left, and it appears I'm missing the a screen capture here, but if you look over in deaths you'll see where we are, it's the one with the hole in the side of the cliff, continuing onward:

Mot much going on here Let's just check that fallen arch out:

What strange danger lurk below ground?

Kerona's Soft Creamy Center

Hmm... an underground cave system... I'll just pick up that rock there and make my way to the left

Nothing here either... Guess I'll just keep walking...

I guess, that wasn't a good idea... maybe if I hug that wall?

and then put that rock I found on the little geyser (that makes total sense) which opens a door behind me and move on:

You can't see it in the shot but on the path above there is a liquid dripping down... considering this is a Sierra game, I'm confident in saying that touching them would probably kill you... as would that purple pool of liquid to Roger's right:

It isn't clear from the screen or in the game how you're suppose to get to the next screen here, but you have to move through the rock formations until you walk behind them and into the next scene:

If we had failed to pick up the glass shard at the wreck site, we'd be screwed again. There's no way to get back to the surface to get it. We have it though and use it to destroy the system:

Moving onward we carefully pass through the dripping acid (another death), a little hint for those playing at home, anytime you're faced with arcade elements in a Sierra Adventure you should move the speed down to slow. Now we're on the upper path above the tentacled horror hiding grill:

and we end up in an absolutely dark room:

If we hadn't picked up the gadget (on the Arcade) and turned it on, that whole conversation would have been gibberish and the first time player effectively stuck. ...and with that we're kicked back to the surface on the outcrop just west of the rock bridge, crossing it again makes the cracks expand. Also another Spider Droid will drop down as well. If you wanted to you could use the big rock there on the bridge to crush the droid, but I have other plans for the droid. So we make your way down to the ground and then avoiding, the droid make your way to Orat's cave which is right there on the lefthand side of the screen (I don't know what happened to all my screen captures of this event.) Make sure the spider droid is close behind you, though as you enter the cave, once there hide behind the rocks and watch the fireworks:

Don't forget to pick up proof of your deed:

An alternative to killing Orat with the droid is tossing the dehydrated water at him, which he swallos whole... and then explodes... either way nets you the same amount of points (same with eliminating the droid.)

In an alternate universe where the droid wasn't following us and we thought Orat was merely lonely for companionship:

Now we have to make our way back to the elevator and through the cave again (the only hassle here is avoiding the dripping acid, again) to present our "trophy" to the giant alien head:

We head through the door and into our future!

Next, the worst part of the game!

Ulence Flats: Not Quite the Most Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

Walking into the odd shaped door Roger finds himself in a room with a decidedly steam punk aesthetic. Also a helpful alien talk a lot:

Fascinating. What's that? A computer? Cool, does it have Solitaire? No, huh:

Oh, hey! Remember that cartridge we picked up so long ago on the Arcada? I wonder if we can use it here, let's just plug that into the slot there (wow the future uses cartridges! How quaint?) Text? Damn the future stinks:

Hmm... Okay well, I'll try to remember all that!

Well, that seems all there is to do here, let's blow this proverbial "Popsicle stand"... Wait, better make sure to grab the cartridge out the computer, now let's check out our sweet ride:

(a key?! Jeez, the future seems a lot like the late 1980s...) Well, Roger hops on this skimmer, revs the engine and move off toward the pink horizon:

So begins the only arcade sequence in the game, the skimmer trip to Ulence... Again, it is recommended to turn the game's speed to slow, so that you have time to get out of the way of the rocks in your way, if you hit more than four rocks you'll find yourself loading your saved game:

Didn't quite make it on the first run:

My next attempt was more successful, but still just barely making it to Ulence Flats:

Look how friendly people are! I just showed up and I already have a friend!:

"Yeah right, this classic Falton is worth way more than that! Get lost!" That guy looked shady so Roger makes sure to take the keys out of the ignition before exploring scenic Ulence Flats! Let's see how many ways could we have screwed up here? If we had taken off on the skimmer without reading the cartridge we could get all the way to the end of the game and be stuck! If we sold the skimmer to that guy for 30 buckazoids, we could get to the Sarien ship but not be able to board it, also if we had left the keys in the ignition, we'd be SOL as well, with no initial money which we need to get through this section of the game.

Next time: A tour of Ulence Flats, gambling is SOOOOO much fun, and getting off this stinking rock!

Since Roger is new to the town he might has well take a walk around and check things out:

Ok, so we've toured this little slice of "culture" on Kerona and are back where we started! Hey our new friend is back!

A jetpack?! That's an offer I can't refuse! But, now were stuck here with only 30 bucks and no idea what to do... might as well go into this building, a bar! Roger feels dangerous and cooler already:

Sadly though no want seems to want to talk to Roger... Nothing gets Mr. Wilco janitor extraordinaire down! so, Roger stands around and listens to the three music sets:

Listen here As heard here Sounds like

"Sounds retro..." Roger thought, before realizing that the slot machine had just opened up... Funny he didn't remember seeing the guy leave... nothing here but a pile of dust, oh well let's play slots!

Playing the slot machines is the worst part of Space Quest 1 and there's no way of avoiding them either (unlike in the re-make). We start with 30 buckazoids (and a saved game) and are trying to get enough to buy that fancy spaceship we saw in our tour (the one by itself) and a droid to fly it, maybe with a little left over for some incidentals... Getting cherries is fine, but in order to win big we'll need to get eyeballs or diamonds, getting skulls will mean game over:

Feel free to browse through the rest of the site while I grind to get 250 buckazoids out of this thing... maybe I can beat my record and only need to reload 3 times!


You're back? Well, I didn't get lucky and beat my old record but I did manage to get enough of these two to break the machine:

Now that we have all this money let's go spend it! Oh another friend? He wants to help us? Wow, everyone on this planet is so nice:

Dammit, back to the Slot machine...(or my last saved game) If I hadn't of listened our mugging friend would have followed up on his threat:

Ok, I've got 250 dollars again and this time I'm not going to follow strange aliens into back alleys... To Droids B' Us (which was originally Droids R' Us but Sierra faced a lawsuit and had to change it...) to pick up a mechanical friend, all the fleshy ones here seem intent on ripping us off:

I probably am interested in your sale items, but I still want to browse, thank you!

These robots really look amazing, and I'm loaded. I'm sure I can afford one of them:

Or, not... Fine, let me look at the sales items:

"It's green? That's my favorite color I'll take it!"

I just bought this thing!? That alien seemed friendly, I'm sure I can get a refund:

Dammit! ...but after a short detour to the Bar and the cursed slot machine, I'm back to buy the correct droid this time:

Now that that's squared away time to pick up a ship!

I swear we're almost off this piece of rock

Pinky's is known all across the galaxy for their used spaceships sales, and Roger is just lucky enough to find them here on Kerona:

Show me your wares, Giant disgusting space alien!


Nope, again

Yes, Please!

I've already got one! Okay now that I have a ship and droid to pilot it, where am I supposed to go? Maybe those unfriendly folks in the bar know? But no one likes me! Guess I'll use these coupons and drown my loneliness in alcohol:

As Roger quietly intoxicates himself he overhears other patrons conversations:

Sector HH it is! Let's get out of here!

FYI: The coupons mentioned by Pinky and the Robot salesman were included in the original boxed version of the game...

Random Things Around Fart Town

added to the inventory:

Roger could buy the wrong ship:


Roger can get drunk:

and after stumbling around for an indeterminate amount of time, Roger makes his way outside:

First the Deltour. Then, Glory!

Roger finally knows where to go and he has the means to get there! Shaking off, the lingering effects of the alien bromide, Roger makes his way to his new ship:

Roger is approaching the Deltour as we speak:

In his excitement in actually getting this far, Roger leaps out of his ship:

Whoops, looks like Roger needs some way to provide direction to his life:

Ignoring the door Roger explores the exterior of the ship to the right (or left):

Note to future self: Don't go exploring the exterior of the Deltour! Okay lets give that door a try:

What a rude droid! But I'm still stuck... I wonder what do know... Oh, wait the droid is coming back! I'll just follow him out! In the next episode Roger crawls ever closer to being a hero!

Roger quickly follows after the weird sounding droid before the door closes behind it and finds himself:

In a spare room? Doesn't seem much to do here, lets go exploring:

Okay, looks like the Sariens aren't receiving guests at the moment, Roger will have to come up with something else... There are two ways to get Roger where he needs to be, both involve that chest we saw in the spare room. We can either hide in it, or use it to get to that vent and live out that action movie standard: crawling through ducts. The points are the same, either way. We'll do the vent one, first Roger stashes the jetpack in the chest, then pushes it up against the wall underneath the vent:

The ventilation system of the ship loops on itself, so it doesn't matter if you go up or down, just turn off at the next right:

The Laundry Room? This is the most boring spaceship ever! What next Roger? Using the 2 working brain cells nature gave him Roger devises his most brilliant plan ever, to hide inside the washing machine, until he thinks of something better to do. Oh, shit here comes someone:

Now that Roger looks, but thankfully doesn't smell, like one of the Sariens he can safely explore the rest of the ship and figure out exactly what it is he's supposed to do!

As long as no one asks Roger to take his helmet off, he should be okay. Let's go exploring! Sadly, Roger's desperate need for friendship overrides any caution he might have had and he begins striking up conversations with every Sarien he encounters:

Roger isn't talking just to hear his own voice. You can get 2 or 3 points if you have a conversation with a Sarien about King's Quest 2, but the conversations are random so I've got to keep trying, it finally happens though, and then I kiss the alien (for an additional point):

With those tasks out of the way Roger moves to the upper floor of the Deltour where the Star Generator and Guns are to be found:

The elevator on the left takes you up, the one on the right won't be accessible 'til later

Here we are, just to the right is where the star generator is located, and here it is:

Drats there is someone guarding it and there appears to be some sort of shield protecting it as well... That droid there would kill Roger if he didn't have the uniform on, but since Roger does, it just ignores him. We'll be heading back to the left to get to the upper level and the armory.

Roger continues making his way through the Deltour:

Here it is: the Armory; and hopefully some answers to how Roger will manage to save his planet and himself:

An ID card? Shit! Does Roger have one of those? a quick search of his new uniform reveals that indeed he does:

He hands it over to the droid who goes into the back to get Butston Freem's weapon, while the droid is in the back Roger quickly picks up one of those grenades on the counter (the game only lets you carry one at a time, and we'll need both to get that perfect score.) The droid returns and hands over a pulseray to Roger. That's right now the Sariens will tremble in fear! Sadly, as Roger was walking around he dropped the grenade cutting his mission short:

There must be a better way to use this thing:

That seemed to do the trick! Now lets go back for that other grenade. I hand over my ID again and snap up the remaining grenade before the droid comes back to report:

While heading down to more closely inspect our handiwork in the Star Generator room, Roger runs across a sentry droid and, just for kicks shoots at it:

At least, the droid doesn't try to kill me for shooting it.

Finale: Bye, Bye Deltour!

Roger is so close to the end of this game and a perfect score, he can smell it (sadly, his constant use of harsh industrial cleansers has made everything smell like lemons)! Sadly, Roger was also born with one leg slightly longer than the other:

Great, our easy task now got a lot harder, this place is crawling with armed Sariens! (Who'd think their own ship would be infested with them?) Roger, now more cautiously, makes his way to the Star Generator, or he would have if he could shoot for shit:

After reloading and practicing shooting at the wall repeatedly Roger tries again, and makes it to the Star Generator safely this time. Rifling through the guards clothes he finds a remote control and uses it to disarm the forcefield around the Star Generator:

Quickly looking over the device Roger locates a keypad at the base and enters in the code he learned from the cartridge: 6858 and activates the self destruct sequence, and too be extra careful reactivates the force field around it (you get no points for doing this, its just something I always do):

Roger makes his way to the left and down the elevator, exiting it he makes sure there are no droids or Sariens to kill before ducking into the previously locked elevator:

How convenient, the elevator took use directly to this escape pod (that entire ship only had one? weird...) Roger, just narrowly avoiding slipping, crawls into the shuttle and punches it, just in time:

As Roger speeds away the Deltour slowly explodes (also, note the score in that last screen capture):

Finale: The Big Ending!

We're treated to seeing Roger's shuttle sped at the screen while the Deltour blows up:

Roger has done it! Against all odds! Seriously, a janitor saving his planet? Back on Xenon, Roger is rewarded for his valiant act:

Then the credits role and we're thanked for our hard work:

That's it folks! We've beat Space Quest 1 and as primitive and ridiculous as it seems this game is light years ahead of King's Quest 1 and 2 (I'll even throw 3 in as well, because the first half of that game is one long copy protection scheme, I'm not joking it's terrible) Besides showing new inventory (one item), there are a few more deaths, and then showing the alternative way to deal with Orat and the spider droid, back on Kerona and then using the trunk to get to the laundry instead of the vents on the Deltour. I hope those who have been following this have enjoyed it, criticisms and compliments are always welcome! As are ideas on how I should present the second Space Quest.

Alternative Therapy

Using the rock to kill the spider droid:

Alternative method of eliminating Orat:

Game ending text if you don't take the cartridge out of the computer on Kerona:

The number of ways I killed Roger Wilco in Space Quest 1? 38


All the fantastic ways Roger can die. The first image is the standard text you get after the death description, everything else are the specifics

Getting shot on the Arcada:

Falling down the launch bay pit:

Entering bay without suit:

Going into space:

No Autonav:

Pushing "Don't Touch" Button:

Getting up close with the Sarien Droid:

Falling off the outcrop, or walking across the "bridge" multiple times, or falling from any great height:

Investigating local rock structures:

I often wonder if that last sentence is an obscure sex joke/admonition...

Enjoying the scenic desert:

Standing around in the desert

Playing with the Tentacled monster:

Playing in the Pool:

Playing with High Energy Lasers:

Singing in the (Acid) Rain:

Meeting Orat:

Waiting around in the Laundry Room:

Shooting in the Armory:

Taking a grenade after being warned:

Showing ID to droid a third time:

Try to sneak out of the Armory with a grenade without getting your pulseray:

Being killed by a droid on the Deltour:

Falling into the trench by the Escape Pod on the Deltour:

Waiting around on the Deltour after activating the Star Generator:

Killed by Sarien in a shoot-off:


All the various items Roger can collect on his strange journey