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Space Quest III - The Pirates Of Pestulon


indigo has written 3 additional reviews

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Written by indigo

March 15, 2005


The adventure game market of the late eighties was saturated with, dull second rate entertainment. This was quickly exploited by companies like Lucasfilm (later changed its name to LucasArts), whose introduction of a mouse driven 'point and click' system- soon saw the demise of old fashioned adventuring altogether.

However before the dawn of luxuries such as the mouse, gamers were subjected to the hit and miss text structure, where players had to type their actions from the keyboard. Although specific actions were required to complete a series of tasks within the game- players without the ability to read the creators mind were subjected to hours of guessing the right syntax. While this became truly cumbersome to all without a Thesaurus and a photographic memory, some players enjoyed the challenge.

Sierra was a company with a long back catalogue of influential games and was generally learning from past efforts by trying to combine the traditional, with modern control elements. One of their first games to do this was Space Quest 3: The Pirates of Pestulon.

Sierra's 'Quest' games spanned fantasy, modern crime and science-fiction and spawned such creations as 'Leisure Suit Larry'. While some games were particularly rigid, the Space Quest series was light hearted enough to appeal to young and older audiences. Containing pastiches of popular culture and a suitably immature script, gamers were treated to adventures across many different planets, which included time travel and erroneous alien shopkeepers.

Graphics, Sound & Gameplay

What really stood out about Space quest:3 was the sense of humour, your hero- hapless 'Roger Wilco' a space janitor, endeavours to become a captain of his own ship- a typical underdog scenario for a player. The fact Wilco was naïve and a bit of a coward only enhanced the comic effect and with gaudy characters like invisible robotic bounty hunter 'Arnoid' the game achieved a classic status.

Unlike the games that had gone before it, Sierra had included a mouse movement system and a new improved Parser interface (allowing nearly all words to be understood by the game). The quality of the graphics for the time was unmatched and the game won a prestigious 'Best Adventure of the Year' award in 1989.

Space Quest and its sister games featured what could be called a sinister and slightly dubious inclusion in its game play. The fact that you could die at any moment put pressure on the player to be cautious of events (and to save the game every five minutes), this however only encouraged people to use their brains instead of brawn.


While being overtaken in popularity by Lucasfilm's offerings such as the Monkey Island series, Sam and Max and Day of the Tentacle, Sierra's games still have a devoted following and while Space Quest 3 may not be the best adventure game out there- it does retain a certain aura of nostalgic amusement for it's audience. The fact that you build yourself a space ship in this episode- gets my vote!

  • Graphics: 8
  • Sound: 6
  • Gameplay: 8
  • Overall: 8

Review Comments

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Zone Warrior

February 12, 2023 by AtariCrypt

Once again, pesky aliens are giving us Earthlings lots of grief. We previously fought them off but they managed to pinch a time machine so are using that to alter history and wreak havoc by taking crucial hostages from each period in an attempt to halt their influence. From the invention of the wheel in prehistoric times to England's King Arthur uniting Britain! And where would any of us be today without Japan and its technical wizardry? Yep, we cannot allow this - the fight is on!

Son Shu Shi

March 21, 2021 by ST Graveyard

What an accomplishment this game is. Created with such a small team, the result is really amazing. The game oozes creative passion. While the gameplay is really well balanced, it is a tough cookie, very hard from time to time with its moments of sheer frustration. As of level 3, timing becomes key. You will need to practice and learn the levels to complete this game, there are so many bad guys on screen it sometimes gets a bit hard to take.

Blood Money

April 4, 2020 by Morcar

Graphically, it's also nice on the eyes with well-defined graphics and animation. You really get the feeling that the developers put some thought and love into the game. Remember what I said about the large levels? Well these are wonderful and are very different to each other, they also scroll fairly smooth in all four directions.

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