Remember… is a series of retrospectives, some from our magazine archives, and others from our more recent nostalgia dreams.
Why Space Quest II instead of I or III or IV or V or VI, you might ask? Well, we convened a meeting in the topmost tower of NAG HQ, and sat around an enormous brushed steel desk, stroking our beards and sipping taurine-infused beverages. After some five or six hours of passing around the talking stick and sharing of profound sagacity, it was finally decided that while the others certainly had their not inconsiderable merits, Space Quest II represented the last of the Great AGI Text Parser Adventure Games.
Having almost inadvertently foiled the Sariens’ fiendish plot for pangalactic domination with their stolen Star Generator, bumbling janitor Roger Wilco is now aboard Xenon Orbital Station 4. His momentary fame has all but faded into the yawing eternity of deep space, and he once again finds himself doing what he does best – cleaning stuff. While out dusting some far-flung nook (or possibly cranny) of the station, Wilco is summoned to one of the loading bays, where a shuttle has recently arrived amid reports of turbulence-induced chundering. Shortly after entering this vessel, however, Wilco finds himself the somewhat startled victim of a kidnapping operation.
Upon regaining consciousness, he’s brought before Sludge Vohaul, corpulent grotesquery and vindictive mastermind of the worsted Sarien operation. In that peculiar way that villains do, Vohaul proceeds to disclose the details of his latest scheme – something involving a plague of cloned insurance salesman and an unsuspecting universe. Wilco is then summarily shipped off to Labion, there to eke out the remainder of his shabby existence in the mines. Obviously, things don’t go quite according to plan.
THE GREAT AGI TEXT PARSER ADVENTURE GAMES
Sierra’s Adventure Game Interpreter first appeared behind the 1984 seminal adventure game, King’s Quest I: Quest for the Crown. At the time, its 16-colour pseudo-3D visuals and 320 x 200 resolution were on the cutting edge of game technology. Most AGI games used a text parser – while the cursor keys were used to move your character around the screen, players had to direct the action by typing in commands like LOOK AROUND and RUB BERRIES ON BODY and HOLD GLOWING GEM IN MOUTH. The engine was succeeded in 1990 by the more advanced Sierra Creative Interpreter or SCI. Other text parser games built with AGI include:
King’s Quest I: Quest for the Crown (1984)
King’s Quest II: Romancing the Throne (1985)
King’s Quest III: To Heir is Human (1986)
Space Quest I: The Sarien Encounter (1986)
Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (1987)
Police Quest I: In Pursuit of the Death Angel (1987)
Space Quest II: Vohaul’s Revenge (1987)
Gold Rush (1988)
King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella (1988; the AGI version is exceedingly rare as the game was simultaneously developed for AGI and SCI)
REVISITING LABION IN GLORIOUS VGA
Before going bang back in the mid-90s, Sierra’s adventure department remade several of their AGI-era games with the later 256-colour VGA-enhanced SCI engine, including Space Quest I, Police Quest I, and Quest for Glory I. Since then, using fanmade utilities like Adventure Game Studio, many people have tried their own hand at recreating AGI titles in 256-colour point ‘n’ click splendour – like this remake of Space Quest 2 by Infamous Adventures. It’s hotter than an Astro Chicken Flight Hat.
GET IT ON GOG.COM!
We’ve teamed up with GOG to give one NAG reader a free copy of the Space Quest 1+2+3 compilation. Simply drop a comment below and we’ll randomly choose a winner on Friday.