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SPACE QUEST 5: Story Structure and Plot Point Flaws

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Bad direction is a good excuse. I recall Josh mentioning that he was trying to make Graham's vocal lines fit with the action that took place. Like if he was out of breath he'd be panting, if sad he sounded sad, whatever. And Roberta and the directors and whatever said "No, Graham is always buff."

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Interesting stuff Troels.I knew that Sierra frequently turned to their own employees for their early adventures in voice overs. I recall being quite surprised to learn that Scott Murphy had voiced Vohaul (and Mustard). Care to shed any more light on which characters were voiced by whom? How about in SQ6? I've always wondered if the voices in 6 were the result of better quality actors or better technology.

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The actors in SQ6 were, apart from Scott Murphy in the Cyberspace easter egg, professional actors. I'm not sure they were such an improvement over the Sierra cast, to be perfectly honest. But there you go.

 

In SQ4, every character apart from Roger and the narrator were voiced by Sierra employees. I don't think I can remember them all, but here are a few:

 

Roger Jr. was played by Stuart Moulder, who was producer on SQ1VGA.

 

Kelli Spurgeon was Zondra. She and her husband Rick Spurgeon were sound designers.

 

The Sequel Policemen were played by Mark Seibert and Orpheus Hanley, who also did the music for the game.

 

Barry T. Smith played the Hz So Good salesbot and the Monochrome Biker ("mister look at me, I'm in VGA!"). He was an artist. He's also the host of the Current Inside Copy video on the Space Quest Collection.

 

Neil Matz was the pickle. And an artist. He's got the funniest voice in the entire game. "I taste like crunchy toejam sauteed in vinegar."

 

And Scott Murphy played that guy. The blue skin. No, wait ...

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Mark Seibert didn't write the music. He played a very minor role. But he was Music Director at Sierra and got his name in there somehow. Credit for SQ4's soundtrack goes to Ken Allen.

Ken Allen did most of the music, yeah. The way I heard it from Mark was that he did contribute a few pieces here and there. And as Music Producer he edited all the music before it went in the game. Also, Orpheus Hanley is listed in the credits for "additional music," or something to that effect. Along with a couple of other guys.

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Mark Seibert did compose the soundtrack for a few Sierra games, Police Quest 2 being one of them, as well as Quest For Glory 1, King's Quest 5 and a tiny bit of 6 (in particular, the then-infamous "Girl In The Tower" song). Ken Allen sure has had a run-around with Sierra, though; he also did Space Quest 1 VGA and the Colonel's Bequest. As a matter of fact, most of Sierra's in-house composers have a wide range of experience. Just listen to the difference between the soundtrack of Freddy Pharkas and Quest For Glory 4, or King's Quest 6 and Dagger Of Amon Ra. Both pairs of games had the same composer, but distinctly different styles.

 

Police Quest 3 stands out as being especially unique, though, in that it did not enlist the use of an in-house composer, but instead the efforts of Miami Vice's own Jan Hammer. Unlike the other composers, you can see a great deal of similarity between the soundtracks of Police Quest 3 and Miami Vice. One ponders if this is because Jim Walls was attempting to embark on a theme that only Hammer could provide.

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Yep. And of course for SQ3 Sierra enlisted the talents of Supertramp's drummer Bob Siebenburg. Not to mention KQ4's score by hollywood composer William Goldstein.

 

KQ5 actually had 4 composers including Chris Brayman and Rob Atesalp, but Seibert and Allen did most of it.

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Ooh, famous people doing game soundtracks. I actually dig that - when it's done right. Like in the case of SQ3.

 

Jan Hammer doing PQ3 was cool, too - although I didn't play that one as much, even though I'm a big synthesizer music fan.

 

Michel Legrands score for Torin's Passage was really great and adventurey - even though, as I understand it, most of the actual in-game incidental music was done by Mark Seibert or in-house composers.

 

Actually, it must have been hard getting famous composers to do game soundtracks back then. Once they found out how the final product would sound with conventional home sound cards (my Sound Blaster 16 and I go waaay back :) ), it must have been hard to see the bigger picture. I remember Trent Reznor saying that if id Software had decided to go with MIDI for Quake, he wouldn't have done the soundtrack.

 

Er ... This got off-topic, didn't it? Sorry for perpetuating that. Maybe this should get its own thread in the off-topic forum.

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I actually like Space Quest 5. Not my favourite game in the series but I thought it was a pretty enjoyable game. The only thing that was off was the music. It wasn't bad but it seemed out of character.

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The SQ5 soundtrack really was going for that 60's Star Trek feel, which it succeeded. But yeah, not the highlight of the game for me, for sure. Fun game, though. Decent plot, nice graphics. Kiz Urazgubi was a fantastic sequence. Probably my favourite. Reminded me of Kirk and the Gorn.

 

Doesn't beat SQ4, though. That had everything.

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But yeah, not the highlight of the game for me, for sure.

 

I actually thought the SQ5 soundtrack was pretty solid. Way better than SQ6.

 

That said, I'm really bummed to hear that Ken Allen's SQ5 soundtrack will, apparently, remain unheard forever. :(

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See, I think the SQ6 score gets a bum wrap. I think it's loads better than SQ5's for cohesiveness and variety, while maintaining a theme and having a few key themes through it, namely the SQ6 theme, the Sharpei theme and the Roger theme.

 

I still like the SQ5 score a lot. But SQ6 is hardly much worse, IMO.

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Hah. It's amazing how different our tastes are, Alistair. I believe the main theme in SQ6 to be the most boring of them all. It just sounded so generic and lazy to me. Nothing special about it at all. Just filler music. It didn't have the epic feeling of either SQ4 or SQ1VGA's themes nor the catch-iness of SQ3's. Or even the simple elegance of SQ1 and SQ2's! It was just lifeless. To be fair, SQ5's theme wasn't that great either, being just a slight alteration of Star Trek TOS's theme without any hint of the SQ theme at all anywhere. But SQ6 made even less of an impact on me music-wise. I think the least of any Sierra game I've played, actually. Except maybe KQ7. I just never cared for Dan Kehler or Neil Grandstaff's scores. They didn't have the "something special" that the earlier Sierra composers had.

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I think I know where you're coming from, but I always liked the Kehler/Grandstaff scores. Eco Quest 2 and Larry 6 are two of my faves from the GM era. And KQ7 also. Loads and loads of great music. Hardly a bad track in any of those scores.

 

Now SQ6 is a mixed bag. I'm not saying it's the best Sierra score, or even the best SQ score, that award goes to SQ4 and we all know it.

There are some bad tracks, in fact there's several, but something that is forgotten (I think) in such a long and large score, much of which is unrecorded in such scores as the QuestStudios score, is that over 50% of the score is very good, which looped is probably more than 45 minutes of music, longer than some of the EGA Sierra scores, JUST in good themes.

 

I like the SQ6 theme, but I definitely agree it's not the SQ3, 4 or 1VGA theme. I think it fits the game very well, and probably the score fits the game well, being an experiment, a bit of a mishmash, a bit more serious and a bit more wacky, not a serious game with some comedy, matched with orchestral and goofy music like SQ4 and 5.

 

I guess my point about SQ6 has always been, if you stop comparing SQ6 the game to SQ4 and 5 the games, and the soundtrack to those two soundtracks, what is left is a decent game with (IMO) a great soundtrack. The Orion's Belt themes and the 8-Rear themes are 5 tracks for example that are all very good (except maybe the 3rd Orion one)- 8-Rear Part Two is one of my all-time favourite SQ pieces. I think people have a hard time divorcing SQ6 the game from the soundtrack, and the comparisons to previous games and soundtracks. I like SQ6, so maybe that has an impact on my love for the score.

 

Heh, and guess which Sierra composer I most recently got in touch with, Brandon- Neal Grandstaff ;)

 

Enough about that- back to recording SQ4, funnily enough ;)

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Many of the soundtracks tend to match the style and atmosphere of the games they were made for. Police Quest 2 has a major 70s vibe to it, for instance, while Sid & Al's Incredible Toons' soundtrack is outright psychotic. The adventure game soundtracks stand well enough on their own as, at the very least, decent soundtracks. Robert Holmes' Gabriel Knight soundtrack, however, is in my opinion the best score of any of the Sierra games.

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