Space Quest III - A classic Sci-fi adventure sequel reviewed by Cola Powered Gamer

Space Quest III is one of the funniest and self-aware video games ever. An improvement on almost everything from the previous two games, Space Quest II and it really shows. Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon, developed by Sierra and its duo Two Guys From Andromeda, and released in 1989, it’s simply known as Space Quest III. The game brings a few improvements and several changes.

Space Quest III is the first game to use Sierra’s upgraded SCI0 engine, which features higher resolution and mouse control. You can no longer name your character, and the game adopts the previously default name, Roger Wilco. There is also much more attention to detail in writing and the visuals. The game is also funnier, and the narrator is much more sarcastic this time around, and of course, the game is full of references to other sci-fi movies and TV Shows.

The plot follows Roger, right after the conclusion of Space Quest II. After getting in the escape pod, Roger is floating around in space in hypersleep. Soon the pod is picked up by an automatic garbage freighter. Roger wakes up and must find his way out from this freighter. Right after exiting the escape pod and exploring a bit, you will see that the freighter is full of references. You will encounter an ACME rocket, Jupiter 2 (from Lost in Space), a crashed TIE fighter, the pod form 2001: A Space Odyssey, a giant Transformers head and that is all in the first 10 minutes of the game. Exploring the freighter, Roger finds an almost intact ship called the “Aluminum Mallard “, (probably a reference to the Millennium Falcon)that needs some fixing. After fixing it, Roger escapes and is free to roam the galaxy.

The game offers several planets to visit, but in reality, they must be visited in order. The first planet you visit is Phleebhut, and after selling the crystal from SQ II and doing some shopping, Roger will find himself being hunted by Arnoid the Annihilator, for not paying for the whistle you got back in Space Quest II. You cannot escape and must face Arnoid, which can be defeated in several ways. Either by being crushed between the gears, or being eaten by Phleebhut Podsnatchers, a trickier way to beat him, but this will get you the most points. After this, Roger heads to get a meal at the Monolith Burger. With nothing to do, Roger decides to master an arcade game, Astro Chicken (which is a game similar to Lunar Lander). After finally mastering a game, you get a secret message that can only be decoded using a decoder ring. Roger learns that the game developers Two Guys from Andromeda are kidnapped by Pirates of Pestulon and are forcing them to make diabolical software.

Playing the game outright, without reading the manual or looking at the game packaging, you wouldn’t know that you need to save the Two Guys from Andromeda (although it is plastered all over the game packaging). Only by beating the Astro Chicken, you will get the message that you need to rescue the Two Guys from Andromeda. The Pirates of Pestulon are actually software pirates, and Roger uncovers the sinister plans of video game company ScumSoft (probably a jab at Microsoft), which is run by a fourteen-year-old Elmo Pug. After sneaking in the ScumSoft HQ, Roger frees the Two Guys from Andromeda but is soon captured. He is challenged and forced to fight Elmo Pug in a giant Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots fight. After winning Roger and the Two Guys from Andromeda escape. During the escape, Roger destroys several pursuing spaceship in a simple arcade game, and after one of the Guys fix a faulty panel, they pass through the black hole and find themselves on Earth. They actually land in front of Sierra On-Line, where CEO Ken Williams hires the two developers. Unfortunately, Ken doesn’t need a janitor and Roger goes back to his adventures.

The game is about the same length as previous ones (about 40 minutes, if you know what you’re doing), and the puzzles may be hard, but don’t rely on moon logic. Arcade sections are fun and personally less annoying. The text parser in some cases requires you to stand in an exactly precise spot to perform an action. This can be particularly annoying when you need to deal with Arnoid or when you need to zap the trash at ScumSoft. If you miss too many times at ScumSoft, a drone will appear and zap you in a case of jello, which of course means Game Over. You can still die in amusing ways, and most of them are sarcastically narrated.

Space Quest III also features music which is composed by Supertramp drummer, Bob Siebenberg, and was one of the first games to support then new SoundBlaster cards. The game also has sound effects, which include digitized audio sampling, and a single line for Roger at the beginning of the game (“Where am I?”). The digitized sound effects can be heard on Amiga, Tandy, and Macintosh versions of the game. Although, even though Space Quest III was designed to use SoundBlaster to play digitized audio, due to the inclusion of the incorrect driver, these effects were left unavailable to the IBM PC users with SoundBlaster cards. In case if you had Roland MT-32 while playing the game, there was an Easter egg where MT-32 would briefly display the message “INSERT BUCKAZOID”. The Cover was drawn by John Shaw.

The game will short is funny, full of references, good writing, and even meta-jokes. This was also the last Space Quest game that used EGA graphics and the text parser. The following games would switch to VGA and will use an icon-based menu, like most games at the time. Space Quest III was a success at the time, receiving positive reviews from the press, and praise for the game’s graphics and sound. According to the Sierra On-Line, the combined sales of Space Quest series surpassed 1.2 million units by the end of March of 1996. Developer commentary can be found here.

Sadly, the game did not receive a VGA remake or a fan remake. There were several attempts by the fans to make a Space Quest III remake, but they never came to fruition. There were two notable attempts by the fans, one was an attempt to do it in a VGA style similar to the SQI remake. The other attempt was started in UE4, but development was abandoned, but the creator of the project left the files on his site if anyone wants to pick it up and give it a try.

Space Quest III is a nice conclusion to the old EGA Space Quest games and has a funny meta ending. Give this one a try, if you are looking for good sci-fi, or good writing, jokes, and overall good comedy game. I’m sure that both the Space Quest III or the first three games in the series, will provide you with a good laugh and an enjoyable experience.

Link 1) Cola Powered Gamer Reviews!


  1. About the sadly part don't be sad. Almost 4 years after you wrote this article, last month this game finally got its overdue fan VGA remake! It's in 3D and click-to-point. It can be downloaded and played for free at - maybe you'll like to review it?

  2. About the sadly part don't be sad. Almost 4 years after you wrote this article, this game finally got is way overdue fan VGA remake! It's 3D and click-to-point. It can be downloaded and played for free at - maybe you'll like to review it?


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