I admit I was a tad skeptical when first I heard of this game. Amateur sequels to professional games are rarely of the same quality, and an amateur addition to the legendary Space Quest series would have a lot to live up to in the way of fan's expectations. |
It's actually rather good.
The Lost Chapter, written by a chap going by the tag of Monster D Vonster, is supposedly Roger Wilco's forgotten adventure, set between SQ episodes 2 and 3, just after your character Roger escaped in the pod from Vohaul's ship. In fact, you still retain your old inventory from SQ2. The game opens with the pod - surprise, surprise - crash-landing in a forest on an alien planet with your goal to figure out how the hell you're supposed to get off it. So it follows the series fairly closely in that respect.
The game was created using the AGI Studio game engine, so the interface is exactly the same as most early Sierra games, as are the graphics which are the familiar blocky, garish 16-colour affair. The backgrounds are definitely up to scratch, and Roger himself certainly looks more robust than his former scrawny self. Music and sounds accompany gameplay with their usual bleepy MIDI charm.
Gameplay itself is also in the traditional style of build-up-a-collection-of-miscillaneous-paraphernalia-and-use-them-on-stuff type of puzzle so time-honoured in adventure. It isn't always clear where to use some of the objects, however, and some of the puzzles are downright nonsensical. Still, this rings true for most Sierra games as well, so maybe Vonster didn't want to break the trend.
In fact, the only place where I would say The Lost Chapter lets itself down is with the pedantry in the required phrasing of commands. The game's vocabulary isn't very broad. You have to use the EXACT terminology in a command in a lot of cases, and it might take several tries to figure out that you had the right idea as to how to go about solving a particular puzzle, but used the wrong word. I can see how this would be especially frustrating for gamers for whom English is not the first language, or indeed anyone who is unfamiliar with the American style of phrasing. Still, this probably wouldn't be too big a problem for a determined gamer, and if it bothers you, just keep a thesaurus handy.
All in all, SQ-TLC is quite the little gem among amateur sequels... not everyone's cup o' tea, but if you enjoyed the original Space Quest series, then there's no real reason why you shouldn't enjoy this as well. Two thumbs up!
Note: This download is the latest version that includes mouse support for moving Roger around, although it is not a substitute for the parser. Check the official site for future patches and updates.
Reviewed by: Rhubarb Celestial