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Why is SQ6 (generally) disliked?

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From everything I've seen and read throughout the years, SQ6 is perhaps the most unpopular game of the series. I consider it my second favorite, next to SQ1VGA (another disliked entry in the series).

 

I am curious--For those fans here who dislike SQ6, could you outline why?

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The game's vibe, while good for what it is, just doesn't feel like Space Quest to me. The characters and writing do, I guess it's the story that doesn't. Especially the whole Inner Space angle. Not very interesting to me. I do consider it one of the funniest in the whole series, though.

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The game's vibe, while good for what it is, just doesn't feel like Space Quest to me. The characters and writing do, I guess it's the story that doesn't. Especially the whole Inner Space angle. Not very interesting to me. I do consider it one of the funniest in the whole series, though.

 

But it's just the Inner Space element of it, is that your only qualm?

I love SQ6. It usually occupies the spot of my favorite SQ. But my qualm with it is it drags around the Information Superhighway Part. 

Polysorbate is one of the best segments (IMO) of any SQ game. I also love DeepShip 86 and inside Stellar.

But I'd have much preferred that the story concern Roger having to save Beatrice--I mean, same story, same 'inner space' angle, just with Beatrice. I don't know why Josh introduced Stellar or what his aim was with her. I mean the game references Beatrice a lot so it's not like SQ6 ignored the SQ4-5 saga.

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For me, the "tone shift" in Space Quest began with SQ5, so I'm not going to hold SQ6 solely responsible for that.

 

I will say, though, that the whole "Roger arguing with the narrator" and Roger being very aware that he was an adventure game hero was a tonal shift that was front and center in SQ6, and looking back on the series as s whole, I realize now that that was actually my main gripe with SQ6. I actually liked the disconnect between myself and Roger in the previous games, and how my main liasion with the game world was actually the narrator, not Roger himself. For one thing, that's what made the gruesome deaths work: They weren't happening to me; I was causing them to happen to someone else. (Okay, that sounds horrible now that I'm thinking about it.)

 

Anyway, even though the narrator referred to Roger as "you", it didn't feel like I was Roger; it felt more like I was possessing some avatar in a distant galaxy to do my evil bidding -- and, as the supreme icing on the cake, he was unaware that I was even doing that.

 

With SQ6, Roger became very aware of the narrator -- and, consequently, of me as a player -- and suddenly that comforting disconnect was gone.

 

That got a bit meta-hairy, but I hope you get my drift. SQ6 is a finely designed game and Josh Mandel has just the right amount of sarcasm and playful maliciousness to do a great sci-fi comedy. If you ask him, he'll say the reason SQ6 didn't click with fans was because he tried to do something different for Space Quest 6 (traipsing around the human body instead of planets) to a fan base that wanted more of the same. I didn't mind that at all, actually. It's taken me a long while to work out why I just felt the "feeling" of the game was "off," somehow.

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Perhaps that's why I like I VGA and 6 so much (which now thanks to your post I know were the products of Josh more than anyone else, it seems)--Both have that vibe where the Narrator isn't just attacking Roger, it's attacking you as well; an acidic level of cynicism present in both games. It makes sense that Josh had a hand in both SQ6 and SQ1 VGA--They had the same feel. I never minded the narrator fighting with Roger/you, just the pacing issues in SQ6 are what bothered me.

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I didn't say it was just the Inner Space angle. That's just one thing. And the only thing I can really 100% pinpoint. There are many things. The art style, Stellar, the soundtrack, the other characters. I also never said I hated the game. And I also don't hate SQ1VGA.

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I didn't say it was just the Inner Space angle. That's just one thing. And the only thing I can really 100% pinpoint. There are many things. The art style, Stellar, the soundtrack, the other characters. I also never said I hated the game. And I also don't hate SQ1VGA.

 

I didn't say you hated it. I agree the soundtrack wasn't the greatest. The only SQ game I feel that had a totally great soundtrack all the way through was 3. 

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Perhaps that's why I like I VGA and 6 so much (which now thanks to your post I know were the products of Josh more than anyone else, it seems)--Both have that vibe where the Narrator isn't just attacking Roger, it's attacking you as well; an acidic level of cynicism present in both games. It makes sense that Josh had a hand in both SQ6 and SQ1 VGA--They had the same feel. I never minded the narrator fighting with Roger/you, just the pacing issues in SQ6 are what bothered me.

 

Same! My favourite Sierra comedy games (SQ, FPFP, Pepper's, etc.) have always had Josh Mandel on the writing team. I'm not sure I have many complaints regarding SQ6, to be honest. First of all, I don't think there is a coherent "Space Quest" at all (fan myths call SQ3/4 the real deal, but it's all arbitrary anyway), and moreover I really enjoyed the Information Superhighway, the ship interior, even Polysorbate... The writing is really hilarious and it's the only other game with Gary Owens on the mic!

 

SQ5 remains my probably favourite of the series, but I enjoy a good SQ6 run as well.

 

How old are you, OP? I was born in 1986, so that meant SQ1 VGA and SQ5 were my first two Space Quest games. That might have an effect on my opinions.

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I like the art style, even though it's different, and I very much like Josh's writing. SQ6 is more overtly funny than the other games, and that resonated very well with me, back when I'd still miss some of Scott's more subtle jokes because of the language barrier. It's the Curse of Monkey Island of Space Quest, and CMI is one of my overall favourite adventure games.

 

But the story I find very forgettable. I don't care much for Stellar either. So the whole plot, in my opinion, ends up playing second fiddle to the click events, the dialogues, Roger bickering with the narrator, etc. And that's ultimately quite a weakness.

 

I reach for SQ6 very rarely, but when I do, it always manages to at least raise a chuckle. But the story never manages to make me care.

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Same! My favourite Sierra comedy games (SQ, FPFP, Pepper's, etc.) have always had Josh Mandel on the writing team. I'm not sure I have many complaints regarding SQ6, to be honest. First of all, I don't think there is a coherent "Space Quest" at all (fan myths call SQ3/4 the real deal, but it's all arbitrary anyway), and moreover I really enjoyed the Information Superhighway, the ship interior, even Polysorbate... The writing is really hilarious and it's the only other game with Gary Owens on the mic!

 

SQ5 remains my probably favourite of the series, but I enjoy a good SQ6 run as well.

 

How old are you, OP? I was born in 1986, so that meant SQ1 VGA and SQ5 were my first two Space Quest games. That might have an effect on my opinions.

 

I was born in 1990. First discovered SQ through my dad discovering SQ1VGA in a bargain bin sometime in late '97 or early '98. Was already a Sierra fan though.

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I like the art style, even though it's different, and I very much like Josh's writing. SQ6 is more overtly funny than the other games, and that resonated very well with me, back when I'd still miss some of Scott's more subtle jokes because of the language barrier. It's the Curse of Monkey Island of Space Quest, and CMI is one of my overall favourite adventure games.

 

But the story I find very forgettable. I don't care much for Stellar either. So the whole plot, in my opinion, ends up playing second fiddle to the click events, the dialogues, Roger bickering with the narrator, etc. And that's ultimately quite a weakness.

 

I reach for SQ6 very rarely, but when I do, it always manages to at least raise a chuckle. But the story never manages to make me care.

 

I agree SQ6 has a weak story. But when it comes to Sierra games, the plot never really mattered to me as much as the journey itself, if that makes sense. That's why I've never really gotten into PQ or Gabriel Knight and have tended more toward KQ and SQ.

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I agree SQ6 has a weak story.

Not that I necessarily disagree about the particulars, but, overall, I find it ironic that people say SQ6 had a weak story -- when it clearly has the most story of any SQ game (SQ5 being a close contender). At least, it feels like more of a "beginning-middle-end" thing, rather than the "seat-of-their-pants" story/writing of The Two Guys' games.

 

Okay, so I actually prefer the SOTP approach, because I felt it gave SQ1-4 an impetus and wild, reckless abandon that you just don't get with a story that's been meticulously planned out (SQ5+SQ6). But that's neither here nor there.

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But it's just the Inner Space element of it, is that your only qualm?

I love SQ6. It usually occupies the spot of my favorite SQ. But my qualm with it is it drags around the Information Superhighway Part. 

Polysorbate is one of the best segments (IMO) of any SQ game. I also love DeepShip 86 and inside Stellar.

 

I agree that Polysorbate is one of the best parts in the whole series, I put it second only to the Galaxy Galleria...

I also really like the DeepShip86, but then I think the game really falls off after that. I don't like the Information Superhighway section

and I don't like Inside Stellar either...

 

It's a game I sometimes really feel like I want to play again, but then I remember that it all kind of goes off the boil midway through

and I don't want to get disappointed all over again after the great beginning and then not having a great ending to look forward to, lol.

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To me, SQ6 feels like the least focused of the series. The other five games all have their center. SQ1 and SQ2 are mainly about the planets. In SQ3, you have the Mallard. SQ4 has the time-pods. SQ5 is about commanding a ship. For the mostpart, SQ6 doesn't have any of that. For half the game, you're just solving puzzles because you keep running into things that you recognize as puzzles. And once you have your own ship, it doesn't open up a new world, you just use it to explore places you've already been to.

 

I honestly believe the game doesn't come into its own until the "inner space" aspect at the end. I always enjoyed that section. I liked that there was an educational angle to being inside a human body and learning about its functions to solve puzzles. It felt like a nice twist to the Space Quest formula, and I wanted to see more of it over visiting retirement homes. Roger could easily spend most of the game in a fully-developed human body sandbox where he travels through blood vessels and solve puzzles in the heart, lungs, assorted glands and other organs.

Where the game truly does shine is the dialogue. It is arguably the funniest game in the series. And that Ascend-O-Pad.... how can one elevator be the most entertaining room in the game?

SQ6 is hit-and-miss for me. It touches down on a lot of my adventure game pet peeves, but sparkles enough that I keep forgiving it.

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And once you have your own ship, it doesn't open up a new world, you just use it to explore places you've already been to.

 

Yeah, this pretty much nails what I dislike about the game... it starts off on an amazing planet and feels very open and vast, then

you get on the ship and it gets really insular from there. Going to Delta Burksilon V just feels like going to another room on the

Deepship basically, and then going into the computer and Stellar again feels like you're just stuck in roughly the same place, to me. 

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SQ6 is my least favourite of the series too.  Although it is funny in parts, the general feeling that I get it that it is trying to be more grown up and better produced and is trying to be consciously funny.  The constant putting Roger down starts to grate for me too.  Yes, Roger is a bit of a doofus but in previous installments that is a sideline to the main story instead of the central theme.  And in the first few games, he is trying to save the universe and the comedy is almost coincidental whereas SQ6 tries very hard to be funny all the time. 

 

I can see how other people would see it differently though, particularly if SQ6 was one of the first ones that they played instead of playing the earlier ones first.  SQ5 was on the way to becoming a bit like SQ6 too, but I didn't mind that so much because the visual style was very much like SQ4 which I liked.  My favourite is probably SQ3.

 

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I'd honestly say poor direction. It just... is all over the place.

 

I dislike the arguing with the narrator. I find the Polysorbate 80 parts to be too much... "When can I into space" and utterly hated that idiotic logic puzzle. I mean, obtuse copy protection in a CD title? Really?

 

Maybe I'm one of the few who did, but I LOVED Space Quest 5 and while I understand it was something of a tone shift it kept to the successful and established patterns of SQ3 and SQ4. Roger finds himself in strange situation. Rodger manages through wit/cunning/dumb luck to get himself a vehicle. Roger sees strange new places, meets interesting people, and puts strange things into his pants.

 

SQ6 on the other hand breaks with the model. He shows up in an area that reminds me of North Philadelphia more than the depths of space and the jokes are a little stale. The earlier space quests were a bit more backhanded with their references. On top of it the art style was just weak. The sprites just did not work with the backgrounds. It was an awkward mix and the game suffered for it. On top of that once you did get a ship you didn't explore anything. I didn't like the whole inner space bit, and the Information super highway wasn't fun back then and now it's just so stale and dried up a concept that there are people who are old enough to vote who were born when it was overplayed.

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It kinda lost what made SQ great for me. The feeling you were part of a bigger universe, kinda like star wars. SQ3 still captured the atmosphere best for me. Had your spacespace and you could zip off to explore different planets.

The super highway jokes were old back even then, and the inner body thing.... agh.

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