Space Quest 2 was released as quickly as possible following the success of Space Quest 1, which has been something which has always surprised me. I never got on well with the first in the series, cursing the unresponsive text-based interface and general feeling of “what AM I supposed to be doing?”. Nevertheless, I began playing Space Quest 2 with an open mind. Which lasted for about the first 5 minutes.
The introduction is more impressive than in SQ1, and sees you (still not Roger Wilco, yet…) sweeping a hangar and, when disturbed, letting your broom fly into space (okay, the graphics of that weren’t great, but it made me laugh. What’s that, 3rd time this week?). My heart soon sank, however, when I saw that the same interface was back. The graphical-movement, text-interaction interface which Sierra never quite managed to master. The game is, in layout, just like the first – only with a different storyline and slightly more thought-out graphics.
So, I thought, I’ve got to leave the hangar. First thing I did was step onto what looks like a platform to the right…and fall off the spacecraft to my death. Dying is usually the thing I do most frequently in Sierra games, and it never fails to annoy me. Reload the game, this time making sure I step EXACTLY onto the platform. Down I go into oblivion once again. Three tries later, I’m now convinced there has to be another way. That thing on the roof looks promising…but how do I get there? Accidentally, I find out that I’m wearing magnetic boots and can walk up the wall (as if walking up the wall is the first thing you’d try). My initial hope that Sierra might at least give you an idea of what you’re supposed to do vanishes.
Still, I’m at the thing on the roof and I walk across it. Nothing. I walk back across it. Nothing. I wait on it for a few seconds. Nothing. Cursing, I consider whether or not to call up my friend (as two heads are better than one) when I suddenly end up in the next room. Sierra always value large amounts of patience, despite never giving you any indication if what you’re doing is right or wrong.
After that shaky start, I continue through the game without much of a hitch. A mysterious kidnapping from an old enemy in SQ1 ends me up on a strange planet, where I’ve managed to escape and people are looking for me. I start to remember the horrors of SQ1’s first level and, yes, here we are again. Killed if you get seen and left with no idea of where you’re supposed to go or what you’re supposed to do. Oh, by the way, there’s a concealed pit in the landing area for you to fall into and die. Why is it there? No reason…just another thing to kill you, as if the game wasn’t hard enough already.
Cursing, I eventually shut the game down and proceeded once more, this time armed with my friend at my side (who had the walkthrough, in case we got drastically stuck). After completing the game, getting utterly foxed by the interface or incredibly obscure puzzles no less than five times, I was left with the same feeling as SQ1. What a great idea – if only Sierra had put more time into getting people who’d never seen the game before to play it, and then look at where they got terminally stuck and why.
On the plus side, SQ2 has a fair amount of humour and there are moments when you have the great feeling of the game being challenging enough to make you think, but not so hard that you can’t puzzle it out at all…ever. It has its moments of that feeling far more often, but real die-hard Space Quest fans or, for that matter, RPG players who grew up on text-based games and know all about how to say “press the button” in a hundred different ways until they find the right one will probably enjoy the game a lot. If you don’t fall into the above categories, don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed.
Graphics: 6/10: Sierra sorted the problem of clarity and it’s now easier to tell what objects are. Other than that, the graphics are a bit of a let down in their blocky and blobby nature.
Sound: 3/10: Marginally better than the first, but still utilising the internal sound card when there were games out there making use of wave and midi formats. Weird.
Gameplay: 2/10: Far too many frequent moments of “what am I supposed to be doing?” and the interface just doesn’t make the game easy or rewarding to play.
Originality: 7/10: Nothing much different from the first in the series, which was disappointing, although the Space Quest idea itself still had a lot of aces up its sleeve.
Long-Term Interest: 3/10: The funny moments might make you want to play the game more than once to see them again, but since completing the game itself is such an uphill struggle you may never even get that far.
Overall: 4/10: Some improvements on the first, but a real let-down to the other games in the series.
- MobyGames: Space Quest 2: Vohauls Revenge
Read all about it on MobyGames.
- Wikipedia: Space Quest 2: Vohauls Revenge
Read all about it on Wikipedia.
Check out Frans' very cool Space Quest website at SpaceQuest.Net for everything you'll ever need for the Space Quest series. A great resource site, and the first place to check if you're having problems with the game.
Space Quest 2: Vohauls Revenge
- Designed by: Sierra
- Published by: Sierra