Space Quest IV

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Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and The Time Rippers
Sq4 boxart.jpg
Developer(s) Sierra
Publisher(s) Sierra
Designer(s) Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy
Series Space Quest
Engine SCI
Platform(s) DOS, Windows, Macintosh, Amiga, NEC PC-9801
Release date(s) March 4, 1991
Genre(s) Adventure
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution 3.5" Floppy Disk or 5.25" Floppy Disk or CD

Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and The Time Rippers is a 1991 graphic adventure game from Sierra. It was released on floppy disks on March 4, 1991, and released on CD-ROM in December 1992 with full speech support and featuring Laugh-In announcer Gary Owens as the voice of the narrator. It featured 256-color hand painted graphics and a fully mouse-driven interface. It was one of the first games to use motion capture animation. The game cost over US$1,000,000 to produce and sold more than its three predecessors combined. An Atari ST version was announced via Sierra Online's magazine, Sierra News Magazine, but was later canceled.[1]

Plot[edit]

In this installment, Roger embarks on a time-travel adventure through Space Quest games both past and future. An infomorph of reborn Sludge Vohaul from Space Quest XII: Vohaul's Revenge II chases Roger through time in an attempt to finally kill him. Roger also visits Space Quest X: Latex Babes of Estros (whose title is a parody of Infocom's game Leather Goddesses of Phobos) and Space Quest I; in the latter, the graphics and music revert to the style of the original game and Roger is threatened by a group of monochromatic bikers who consider Roger's 256 colors pretentious. None of the gameplay takes place in Space Quest IV. In fact, the "actual" Space Quest IV is only seen briefly in the introduction.

Gameplay[edit]

In contrast to the first three games, Space Quest IV uses a point-and-click interface, featuring icons for different actions. The icons are an eye, a talking head, a walking person, a hand, a mouth, and a nose, representing look, talk, walk to, use, taste, and smell, respectively. The last two almost never do anything other than provoke a humorous response from the game.

Ms. Astro Chicken[edit]

Ms. Astro Chicken: Flight of the Pullet is a video game embedded within the Latex Babes of Estros portion of the game, in a mall arcade. It is a sequel of sorts to Astro Chicken, an arcade game that appeared in Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon. The game's name is a parody of the actual arcade game Ms. Pac Man. The Astro Chicken theme music is a variation on the Chicken Reel, a traditional folk song best known for its use in animated cartoons.

In the game, the player controls a flying chicken, whose enemies include flying squirrels, windpumps, shotgun-wielding hunters and hunting dogs. Dropping eggs on enemies immobilizes them and increases the player's score. After playing the game for a while, the arcade cabinet explodes, though this has no effect on the player or broader game.

Easter eggs[edit]

An easter egg in this game is accessed by entering the code in the time capsule as the top row of buttons in order from left to right. This transports Roger to the volcanic planet of Ortega from Space Quest III. Unfortunately, this time Roger is not wearing any thermal underwear, so if he steps out of the capsule, he melts. Much like SQI's Ulence Flats, Ortega (what little of it is seen) appears in SQIV using the graphical style of the earlier game.

Another easter egg near the end plays on the desktop format of Macintosh computers, featuring a toilet in place of a waste basket. Certain icons must be "flushed" down the toilet; however, if the icon "SQIV" is deleted in this way, the game exits. An additional icon, referring to King's Quest, brings up a message when "flushed" indicating that a massive amount of data has been deleted, referring obliquely to the large number of 3.5-inch disks early versions in that series required on some systems.

When Roger is in Space Quest I, the save window changes to the old style.

Copy protection[edit]

Originally, the time pod codes could only be found in the manual as a form of copy protection. In later releases, the codes were added to the game.

Reception[edit]

In 1991, Dragon gave the game 5 out of 5 stars.[2] In 1992, they gave the Macintosh version of the game 5 out of 5 stars as well.[3] Computer Gaming World's Charles Ardai stated in 1993 that "the CD-ROM version is even more filling than the original. It accentuates and improves all of the game's strong points", with Owens and others providing much better voice acting than in King's Quest V. While noting that the CD-ROM did not change the brevity of the gameplay, Ardai added that "there are better adventure games than Space Quest IV [but] there are few games that are more entertaining. Fewer still are improved so much in the transition to CD-ROM". He concluded that "Space Quest IV is the perfect multimedia game: it looks and sounds great and it offers an experience one could not get from a floppy-based game".[4]

Lawsuit[edit]

In the original version of the game, the Galaxy Galleria features a store named Radio Shock, a parody of electronics retailer Radio Shack. After Radio Shack filed suit, the store was changed to Hz. So Good in subsequent versions.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sierra Product Information: Atari ST". Sierra News Magazine (Sierra On-Line) 4 (1). Spring 1991. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia & Lesser, Kirk (September 1991). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (173): 55–60. 
  3. ^ Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia & Lesser, Kirk (March 1992). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (179): 57–62. 
  4. ^ Ardai, Charles (1993-04). "Sierra's CD-ROM Version of Space Quest IV". Computer Gaming World. p. 34. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 

External links[edit]

Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers at MobyGames