Space Quest: The Sarien Encounter Review
Hello everybody, Shaun Meyers here to share my thoughts on my experience with Space Quest: The Sarien Encounter, the first in the Space Quest series from 1986. I received the entire Space Quest series from my friends at GOG for review purposes but this has no effect on whether I liked the game or not.
To be completely honest, this was the first time I’d ever experienced the Space Quest series. The game predates my birth by 2 years. It wasn’t until around 2011-2012 that I started to become interested in adventure games so this is one that I missed out on, until now.
I did a little research on the game for my review and found out that at the time of release it sold 100,000 copies and since then it’s estimated to have sold over 200,000, not including its many re-releases. The game saw a VGA remake in 1991 but GOG only has the original EGA version from 1986 as of writing this review. This game was also a major figurehead for sci-fi adventure games as well as being the first evolution from text to visual adventures for the genre similar to how King’s Quest first evolved the fantasy genre. The Space Quest series saw a total of 6 games at its conclusion in 1995.
In this first game the character has no name (you chose one for him) but in the later games he’s known as Roger Wilco.
Now that our history lesson is over we can get into my opinion on the game and I’ll admit it’s a bit mixed.
This game is ancient. My expectations were low due to its age and I wasn’t surprised. The graphics are similar to early Atari graphics and the colors used are enough to burn your retinas. Various shades of hot pink, bright red and neon green were used throughout with some shades of orange for sand. Not visually appealing to say the least.
My next complaint is with the sound effects, or lack thereof. Since the game is so old the sound effects are merely computer generated sounds that are jarring and incredibly annoying, so I recommend turning the sound off if you want to maintain your sanity.
My last complaint with the game is with some of the more annoying puzzles. Most notably the skimmer rock dodge puzzle and the slot machine puzzle. The skimmer rock puzzle has you dodging rocks as you pilot a skimmer across the sands of Tattooine… I mean Karena. It sounds simple but it’s quite difficult to complete at normal speed. So if you’re having trouble with this one, I highly recommend lowering the game speed as it’ll make it easier.
The slot machine puzzle is an obvious forms of game padding. “Hey Bob, we need an idea to make the game longer.” “Well, how about we design a puzzle that revolves around a slot machine. Give the player 24 bucks to start with and make them acquire $250 to complete the puzzle?” “Bob, you’re a genius!” I’ll be honest with you and say this puzzle is easily one of the lamest I’ve ever had to endure to finish a game; Nothing like having to save the game when you win and reload every time you lose just to make enough money. Wow! I’m having so much fun sitting on this slot machine for 30 minutes while I collect money… I really hope there isn’t a puzzle like this in the future games.
So, as you can imagine I didn’t have a whole lot of fun with the game and even in my video I began to mock it a bit as I was playing it. At the time of release it may have been something pretty amazing but in all honesty, it’s not really worth revisiting. There are so many other great sci-fi stories that you could be experiencing, like Mass Effect and Technobabylon. In the end, I don’t recommend it unless you’re a die-hard fan of Sierra or are curious about it.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to watch the video and read my review. It’s been a pleasure writing/recording them for you all. If you enjoyed either of them, be sure to subscribe to my channel, like/share the video, or share this review with your friends, it’d be greatly appreciated.
Happy gaming folks! – Shaun Meyers (Kyo Akiara) out!
You can purchase the game yourself here: https://www.gog.com/game/space_quest_1_2_3