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Mop Jockey

Vohaul Strikes Back vs. Incinerations

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Speaking as one of the VSB leads, they're certainly two different games. I felt VSB stuck more closely to the Space Quest style, whereas Incinerations took Space Quest off into a new direction.

 

So I would say VSB is probably the better sequel, but Incinerations is likely the better game for being able to stand on its own.

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VSB was more of a comedy-first game (more akin to SQ3 or SQ6), and Incinerations wanted to tell a story (more akin to SQ5). I really respect and love the immense effort that went into both games -- VSB because the team went through so much to get the game out, and Incinerations because it was basically a one-man job.

 

Personal preference? Probably Incinerations. But don't tell Fred that. ;)

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I'm actually leaning towards Incinerations as well. VSB wound up as a comedy game which has more in common with Space Quest 6 and the LucasArts classics. What is said and what happens during the course of the game aren't always supposed to hold any meaning in regards to the plot, but they're nearly always trying to raise a laugh from the player. I like to think it turned out a funny game. But it's not too preoccupied with any relationship with the rest of the series, other than trying not to break canon.

 

The humour in the game also stems from distinctly different cultures. The bulk of it was written by Andres, who's an Estonian. A few of the jokes, references and design ideas in there are mine, and I'm Danish. And Martin, who's Australian, just crammed a ton of sci-fi references into every little corner of all the locales. Most of the people on the team throughout the game's development were also quite young. All of that serves to make the humour more European/British, and overall less subtle than something Scott would write.

 

Incinerations, on the other hand, is indeed a plot-first game, and Chris infused it with a more American kind of humour that is closer to what Scott came up with in the first four games. Like the first Space Quest game, it's a serious sci-fi story at heart, in which the comedy mostly occurs because the main character is so removed from the stereotypical space opera hero. It's a subtle aspect of the series that I've only really come to appreciate quite recently, and Incinerations nails that completely. And hey, let's not forget that the story is actually very well-written. It'd have worked well on its own terms; actually, Chris planned to rename the returning characters, vehicles and locations, should he receive any attention from Activision. I'm glad that didn't come to pass, though. As long as we get no more official instalments of the series, Incinerations is to Space Quest what Fury Road is to Mad Max.

 

So, yeah, Incinerations it is. But I am immensely proud to have worked on both games (though I'd love to beef up my parts of the Incinerations soundtrack), and I'm proud that these two fanmade games were actually deliberately made to fit together - something I still think is unique for fan games...

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I personally like VSB between the two, though it might be my personal bias (SQInc definitely caused me more headaches).  1996 to 1997 was kind of a sweet spot for adventure games, existing between the VGA Golden Era and 3D Armageddon where games like "Curse of Monkey Island", "Broken Sword", and "Leisure Suit Larry 7" were walking on blazed trails and weren't afraid to play with large casts of characters, open-world sandboxes, and tongue-in-cheek humor. I think "Vohaul Strikes Back" fits into that sweet spot. When I first joined the team, there was already so much content made for the game. Dozens of characters, enormous maps, massive dialogue trees, etc. Not to mention it was a great team experience. Even back when it was just a proposition on a forum post, VSB carried a very strong spirit for adventure gaming that I respect.

 

Incinerations is to Space Quest what Fury Road is to Mad Max.

 

*head explodes*

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