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You serve as a member of the crew of the Arcada as a janitor.

That's right, a janitor. And not a very good one.
Opening Scroll from Space Quest I: The Sarien Encounter

File:Space Quest.jpg

Space Quest is a series of sci-fi themed adventure games made by Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy (collectively, the 'Two Guys from Andromeda'). Published by Sierra in the late 1980's and early-to-mid 1990's, the protagonist is not a grizzled Space Marine or brilliant scientist but one Roger Wilco... a space janitor. And not even a particularly almighty one.

Stronger than a Betegeusian Puddle Monster, faster than a Xenon Space Weevil, and better with a mop than a blaster, the unwilling Roger finds it his fate, time and again, to Save the Galaxy.

His arch-nemesis: Sludge Vohaul, a grotesque parody of an alien mastermind, who first encounters Roger face-to-face in the second game as Vohaul monologues about his plan to flood Roger's home planet of Xenon with an army of pushy insurance salesmen.

The games extensively parody most of modern science fiction, and Star Trek in particular.

In addition to the official six game series, there are several fan-made games and a graphical update to the second title on the level of the official update to the first. There had been talks of a Space Quest VII, but as of now, it looks like there will be no more official installments in the series. However, the Two Guys have recently reunited and are looking to make a new "SpaceVenture" that's totally not a new Space Quest. Totally.

Tropes used in Space Quest include:
  • Action Survivor: Roger Wilco.
  • Adult Child: Roger has shades of this coloring his bizarre hyper-competence. For example, after taking control of his own starship in Space Quest V, he gives a rousing (and random) speech to his new crew members, who ignore him, before sitting in his chair and spinning around with his hands in the air.
  • Adventure Game: Of the text-parser and later point & click variety.
  • The Ahnold: A deadly collections agent robot. Gender-flipped in Space Quest V, when the deadly collections agent robot is a gynoid.
  • All Your Ship Are Belong To Us: The beginning of the first game.
  • Almighty Janitor: Roger Wilco, sorta. When you're controlling him, he has these huge insights that allow him to save the galaxy (when you're not sending him to many humorous deaths). Unfortunately, when you're not controlling him, Roger is heavily implied to be a lazy, clumsy, not particularly competent janitor, who also seems to have pissed off people in high places. The first game, you survive the initial Sarien onslaught because you were asleep in the closet. The second, you lose a broom while sweeping the deck because someone beeped you. It was the third one this week. Rogers improves though, as by the sixth game, your supreme capability to get rid of stubborn mildew stains and black heel marks allows you to keep your old post as janitor second class.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Used several times, most notably in Space Quest IV (Dr. Lloyd's message about the Vohaul-corrupted computer), and twice in Space Quest V (from the point of view of a pukoid-infected colonist, and a second from the geneticist who created the toxic waste).
  • Author Avatar: The Two Guys from Andromeda.
  • Bag of Spilling: Averted in the sixth game, where it turns out that Roger's been stockpiling a lot of his old junk from his previous adventures (like a good adventure game hero ought to), and has them all strewn about his room.
    • And the third game, where he still has the glowing gem. Where the rest of his inventory went, however, is a mystery.
  • Betting Minigame: The slot machine in the bar in the original game.
    • Turned into a frustrating Luck-Based Mission due to the fact that you could randomly get three skulls, which kills you. You are literally required to Save Scumming to get past this part. There's a device you can use to cheat it in the VGA remake (which, of course, robs you of the points you get for doing it legitimately).
  • Big Bad: Sludge Vohaul: he is behind the Evil Plan in the first game, but does not appear in person until the second.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In Space Quest IV, Space Piston could be titled Space Press, as press is piston in French.
  • Bling Bling Bang: In his fantasies as a macho space ranger in the Space Quest Companion, Roger always carries a pair of pearl-handled laser guns.
  • Body Horror:
    • In Space Quest III, get hit by lightning or get electrocuted and get ready to sleep with the lights on.
      • It's also not a good idea to hop in the lava from Ortega.
    • The poor souls wandering the streets of Xenon in Space Quest IV, given a lobotomy and fixed with headgear that keeps their eyes permanatly wired open. All they can manage for speech is a scream. A second example is the pukoid mutation of Space Quest V.
  • Brain Uploading: Vohaul in Space Quest IV.
  • Bridge Bunnies: Flo in the fifth game is a subversion of one. Instead of an attractive twentysomething lady, Flo appears to be in her late forties, and her countless failed marriages have turned her into a bitter old crone... who nevertheless starts flirting with you once the crew starts warming up to Roger.
  • Butt Monkey: Despite being a pan-galactic hero, everyone still treats Roger like a second-rate janitor (granted, he kinda is a second-rate janitor). Even after becoming a starship captain, he's still treated like crap, by both his crew (at first) and his superiors. And after stopping the Pukoid threat, he's promptly court-martialed upon return with a bunch of trumped up charges and busted back down to janitor again. He's not even court-martialed for something understandable like blowing up the Space Bar with Space Monkeys.
  • The Cameo: At least one in each installment, most were Sci-Fi related, but occasionally even members of the development crew would make an appearance.
    • Space Quest I: several famous robots appeared in the Droids-B-Us store, including the Daleks from Doctor Who, Robbie from Lost in Space and even the ones from Laputa: Castle in the Sky. Don't Forget the Rifleman reference to BattleTech in the VGA Re-Release.
    • Space Quest II: one of Vohaul's alien monsters bears a suspicious resemblance to the titular Alien. If it kisses you... nothing will happen until the end of the game, when an alien bursts out of your chest, naturally killing you.
    • Space Quest III: the USS Enterprise can be seen making a stop at the Monolith Burger (the Space Quest version of McDonald's), and the garbage scow's hold contains a TIE Fighter, the Jupiter 2, and the pod from the Discovery One.
    • Space Quest IV: King Graham (from the King's Quest games) can be seen in the background while Roger is waiting to be eaten in a pterodactyl nest.
    • Space Quest V: Elvis shows up in the Starcon academy. As do Darth Vader, Obi Wan Kenobi, Worf....
      • Also, the USS Enterprise, a shuttle from Star Wars, and a few other notable ships appear in the space dock at the Starcon station.
    • Space Quest VI: E.T. can be found on Polysorbate LX.
  • Caught in a Snare: In Space Quest II, Roger accidentally trips a hunter's snare (at least you can't see it beforehand), and is stuck there until the hunter who set it eventually comes and takes him down, intending to bring him back to his lair as lunch.

Narrator: Eventually, the cerebral fireworks begin, and you pass out. [...] You dream you're a man named Leisure Suit Larry...

  • Chekhov's Gun: Among them are some of the hypothetical questions posed in the Starcon Academy Test in Space Quest V: for example, one question asks "you are stranded on an alien planet being stalked by a killer robot. What do you do?". This same situation occurs later in the game, and two of the answers to the SAT question are, in fact, the solution to the puzzle.
    • There's also the dead fish in Space Quest VI, which even the narrator starts to wonder why people keep giving it to Roger as it progressively decays over the course of the game. He ultimately uses it to defeat Sharpei.
  • Clothing Damage: In Space Quest IV, Roger's shoes and pant legs get vaporized by the Latex Babes of Estros in preparation for leg-shaving based torture. Shortly after, you must get replacement clothes in order to enter Monolith Burger, which has a "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service" policy.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Double Subversion: stepping out onto lava planet Ortega without special protection will cause you to die instantly from the planet's high surface temperature. The protection in question? Thermo-cooled underwear. Really.
  • Conveyor Belt O' Doom: In Space Quest III, Roger must leap off a conveyor belt before falling into a trash grinder at the end of it.
  • Copy Protection: Lampshaded in Space Quest IV ("Okay, here's the dumb copy protection"). In all cases, the answers were All There in the Manual. The CD version did away with the copy protection entirely, instead letting a random guess take you where you needed to go.
    • Was supposed to be averted in Space Quest VI if the game's head writer hadn't quit halfway through designing the game. By the time his replacement realized the mistake, they had to include the hints that were supposed to be programmed into the game with the manual as Feelies.
  • The Corruption: The pukoid infection from Space Quest V.
  • Cypher Language
  • Darker and Edgier: Unlike the rest of the series, Space Quest V is much darker and contains some more mature themes and nightmare fuel then all the previous games combined.
  • Death World: Labion from Space Quest II, and Ortega from Space Quest III. Also, the planet where you rescue Beatrice in the fifth game (poison atmosphere, deadly drops, pukoid ambushes...).
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The Monochrome Boys in Space Quest IV. They make fun of Roger for his "fancy VGA graphics".
  • Dying as Yourself: Used in Space Quest V.
  • Earthshattering Kaboom: The Star Generator in the first game, in itself a subtle take on the more famous Death Star. Of course, as originally envisioned, the Star Generator would do just that: generate stars. It was designed (actually cribbed from a weapon designed by Vohaul) to save Xenon, as the planet's sun was burning out.
  • Easter Egg: There is at least one hidden in most of the games.
  • Evil Cripple: Vohaul had a habit of testing his experiments on himself, and the repeated mistakes had taken their toll, reducing him to a barely mobile, deformed and obese creature on life support.
  • Explosive Breeder: The Space Monkeys from Space Quest V, when mixed with alcohol.
  • Explosive Decompression: Sudden decompression sucks.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Stellar. Just look at all the random junk you come across while running around inside her body.
    • Most of the fauna (and quite a bit of the flora) on Labion doesn't particularly seem to care that you're not a planetary native. They eat you anyway. Some of them get indigestion though!
  • Fake Action Prologue: The beginning of the fifth game, where Captain Roger Wilco commands an intense battle on the bridge of his ship... until his viewscreen is suddenly filled with the giant image of Captain Quirk, who tells Cadet Wilco to get out of the training simulator.
  • Fan Sequel: Plenty of them too.
  • Fantastic Voyage: Parodied, of course.
  • Fat Bastard: Describes Sludge Vohaul perfectly. Both Roger and the Interactive Narrator tend to sling fat jokes at him a lot.
  • Fungus Humongous: The fungus world in Space Quest V.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: "Genetix — we play God, so you don't have to."
  • Grand Theft Me: Shows up as a plot point in both Space Quest IV and Space Quest VI.
  • Guide Dang It: a Sierra adventure game staple.
  • Have a Nice Death: Most deaths in the series, as is wont in a Sierra adventure series.
  • Heroic Mime: Roger in the first three games. Starting with Space Quest IV, he gets regular dialogue.
    • Except when he orders a Keronian Ale or three in Space Quest I.
  • Hints Are for Losers: The hint books have several fake hints and berate the player for spoiling the game by looking ahead.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Space Quest I. Hoo boy.
    • Hilariously, when you buy the right ship off him (naturally it's the most expensive) and figure out how to get it to take off, you then find out that he sold you some other guy's ship.
      • Even MORE hilariously, if you pay close attention during the takeoff, the guy who comes screaming at you for taking his ship is also a man who will mug you if you follow him earlier. Enjoy some intergalactic karma!
  • Human Popsicle: Beatrice in the fifth game. The Eureka crew also uses it against the Goliath.
  • Indy Escape
  • Indy Ploy: Roger is a grandmaster of this stunt. The only game where there is anything resembling a plan is when the crew is boarding the Goliath in Space Quest V.
    • Even then, it's more "Infiltrate here, get here, flip the switch, try not to die." That's the entire plan.
  • Insignia Rip Off Ritual: Done in the introduction to Space Quest VI to help assert that Status Quo Is God.
    • Then taken to extremes as Roger is stripped of his uniform, his gloves and boots, a set of prosthetic muscles, and his jockstrap.
  • Interactive Narrator: Roger ends up bickering with the narrator a few times, and at the end of the sixth game, he threatens to mess him up good. Stellar, meanwhile, wonders who the heck Roger is talking to.
  • Kid From the Future: Space Quest IV, also mentioned a number of times in various death messages in Space Quest V.
  • Last Lousy Point: As per Sierra standards, there's always some tiny task, easily overlooked, that will deny you a perfect score if neglected.
    • In Space Quest I, killing the Orat one way instead of another will net you less points.
    • In Space Quest II, failure to silence the emergency beacon, which otherwise has no effect, will miss you one point.
    • In Space Quest III, killing the collector android in one way instead of two others will get you less points (the creators prefer cleverness over practicality, making this one difficult).
      • Also, forgetting to look under the pilot's seat in your spacecraft for spare change will cost you some points.
    • In Space Quest IV, failure to pick up a specific item, and then immediately put it back loses you a few points.
    • In Space Quest V, not beating Captain Quirk at Space Battleship (mostly a Luck-Based Mission) will prevent you from getting 50 points (out of 5000).
    • Subversion in the Fan Sequel Space Quest 0: you can get about 115/101 points if you know where the EasterEggs are hidden.
  • Lemony Narrator: The voiced narrator in the voiced games.
    • That's not to say the non-voiced narrator in the non-voiced games doesn't have his moments, too.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: Implied by the ending of Space Quest III, openly stated in the Peter Spear hintbook-slash-Novelization The Space Quest Companion.
  • Magikarp Power: The fish. Only, instead of leveling up and gaining power until it becomes the ultimate weapon, it rots and decays its way into it.
  • No Fourth Wall:
    • "Casually glancing up at the status bar, you realize you're in Space Quest Twelve."
  • Nonstandard Game Over: Deleting Space Quest IV from the supercomputer immediately quits to operating system, with no warning. Also, trying things the game designers didn't anticipate.
  • Parental Bonus: Lots of jokes in the game are shout-outs to R-rated movies, which the target audience was, at the time, too young to see, like Blade Runner and Total Recall.
  • Press Start to Game Over: Provides the page quote.
  • Product Placement: The Sprint logo in communication transmissions in Space Quest V.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: The reason Sludge Vohaul is an ugly, deformed, cripple.
  • Recycled in Space: The series is the snarkier, raunchier, and somewhat Darker and Edgier little brother of King's Quest, taking on sci-fi tropes where King's Quest took on fantasy ones.
  • Red Herring: In the fourth game and the VGA remake of the first, you get the "Lick" and "Smell" commands, in addition to the standard "Walk", "Look" and "Use". They serve no purpose but to add flavor and make Roger seem crazy as he goes around licking and smelling everything.
  • Red Shirt: Parodied in Space Quest V because Roger, now a starship captain, is the one wearing the red shirt.
    • Eventually lampshaded by Droole, who says it is bad luck.
    • It should be noted that Roger can't die in the fifth game until he gets the red shirt: it is only possible to lose in some ways that do not involve death.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Stellar Santiago is introduced as an old friend (and potential romantic interest) of Roger's without any prior evidence of her existence.
  • Ret-Gone: What happens to both Jr. and Roger if Beatrice dies.
  • Ridiculous Future Sequelisation: Space Quest IV, with its Time Travel theme, labelled its various time periods using sequel numbers. The post-apocalyptic future into which Roger was initially thrown is identified as "Space Quest XII"; the galactic mall in the "Space Quest X" period also tosses a reference to King's Quest XXXXVIII: The Quest For More Disk Space (back in the days before CD-ROM drives) stated to be by "Roberta Williams III".
  • Right Man in the Wrong Place: Pretty much sums up Roger's place in most of the games.
  • Save Scumming: The hint book recommends you do this as frequently as possible, and it's easy to see why.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: The SCS Eureka of Space Quest V is equipped with one of those. It's needed towards the end of the game. Ditto for the Arcada in the first game, where it is activated just before the start of the game.
  • Series Continuity Error: Whether it's deliberate is debatable, but the Terminator-style robots in Space Quest III and Space Quest V are out to kill Roger because he forgot to pay for a mail-order whistle he received for free in the second game. With compounded interest (and the fact that Roger went into cryogenic sleep between games Space Quest II and Space Quest III), the bounty on Roger's head is stated to be over 400,000 buckazoids.
    • The Space Quest Companion Hand Waved the coupon as a gift for a public television pledge which Roger (obviously) never followed through on. The Gippazoid Novelty Company which advertises the whistles also makes the "death slot machines" which the player was required to beat in the first game; not exactly the most trustworthy company in the galaxy....
    • Another one involves the introduction from Space Quest VI, in which they commend Roger for returning the SCS Eureka. The same SCS Eureka he blew up to kill the Big Bad in the previous game.
  • Shmuck Bait: "THIS BUTTON IS NOT TO BE PRESSED AT ANY TIME" in the first game's escape pod. Go ahead, press it....
  • Shout-Out: Blatantly on multiple occasions: the Space Quest I remake features one of "The Unseen", a Starfleet shuttle, an opening cutscene similar to the capture of the Blockade Runner in Star Wars: A New Hope, a Krayt Dragon Ribcage Ridge from the latter, and a Romulan Warbird. It's a wonder Sierra didn't get sued over it all.
    • Legal action forced them to change "Droids-R-Us" in the first game to "Droids-B-Us", and to change "Radio Shock" in the fourth to "Hertz So Good". They also got in trouble from ZZ Top's management for having an Expy of the band in the VGA remake. The latter were still Dummied Out in the code, so they could be restored by hacking.
    • That didn't stop them from making a joke out of it, as can be seen here.
  • Solar CPR: The Star Generator.
  • Take a Number: In Space Quest VI, you take a number and get 3. However, the current number being served is 4, and it counts up from there.
  • Take That: A hilarious one in Space Quest VI demo that didn't make it into the final game:

Narrator: What are you going to do? Play More Dull Combat 3?

  • Temporal Paradox: "But she didn't, so he couldn't — therefore you aren't."
  • Torpedo Tits: The assassin droid WD-40 from the fifth game.
  • Trial and Error Gameplay: The whole series.
  • Trouser Space: Lampshaded in Space Quest III:
    • You put the ladder in your pocket. Ouch!
    • And again in Space Quest II:
      • You pick up the wastebasket. Aren't you amazed at all the stuff you can carry? You've just got to know how to pack.
    • And again again in Space Quest VI:
  • True Companions: Oddly enough, there seems to be one on the Eureka with Flo, Cliffy and Droole. It's only later that the three of them accept Roger.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Many, many examples: the hoverbike obstacle course and the slot machine in Space Quest I, Astro Chicken and Ms. Astro Chicken...
    • In the remake of Space Quest I, the slot machine and the hoverbike become optional. In Space Quest IV, Ms. Astro Chicken, unlike the previous game, serves absolutely no purpose, but there's no indication it serves no purpose. Conversely, Astro Chicken in Space Quest III serves a very important purpose (it gets the plot moving, for god's sake!), but there's no indication that it serves that purpose! Argh!
  • Unwinnable by Design: As a classic Adventure Game, it's easy to miss any number of items that are later required to solve puzzles (or die trying), some of them crossing into Guide Dang It territory. Among them:
    • In the first game, when someone offers to buy your hovercraft, if you accept his first offer, you'll miss out on a jetpack needed to maneuver in zero-gravity later in the game. And if you forget to take the ignition key from your skimmer after declining the man's first offer, he'll simply steal it from you.
    • Likewise, if you forget the emergency kit from the escape pod, you won't have the water necessary to avoid dying of dehydration, or (in the VGA remake) the emergency knife needed to acquire an item. Also, that shattered windshield? Better take some glass from it. Trust me on this one.
      • The first two games are full of these, in fact: if you break the slot machine, it will never work again. Oh, you bought the wrong droid? Restore. Failed to take the rope after you escaped the hunter? Restore. Did you drink five beers at the bar? You'll wake up behind the bar, missing key parts of your inventory. Restore. Didn't use the order form to get the Labion Terror Beast whistle and now you're in the caves or beyond? Restore. In a lot of cases, you'll be pretty far beyond the location where you needed to get a critical item, with no way to return. Hope you've been using more than one save.
    • Or in the fourth game (Space Quest 12 area), if you don't think to write down the Space Quest 12 code before taking off in the Time Pod, you'll never have the coordinates to return there. In the CD version, this code is always the same, but in the original (floppy disk) version, it is generated randomly on each playthrough.
    • Some of the other games are a little nicer, by presenting you with (non lethal) puzzles that simply bar your passage if you don't have the required item to beat them. Space Quest V has a blink-and-miss-it puzzle where you have to match holes in a punch card, and if you get it wrong, the game kindly resets the card so you can try again (rather than having to reload your previous save from several puzzles earlier).
    • And in almost every case of Have a Nice Death, there's a hint about what you should do, most notably starting in Space Quest III, although there's usually a thinly veiled insult as well.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: The opening cutscene to Space Quest V.
  • Vader Breath: Vohaul from Space Quest II.
  • What Does This Button Do?: The emergency button in the escape pod labeled DO NOT PUSH.
  • What You Are in the Dark: A surprisingly common trope for a comic series.
    • In the first one, you have a ship and a pilot droid. It's a ship full of mean, nasty Sarien bandits against one not-so-Almighty Janitor. The pilot droid suggests hauling tail. It's a Nonstandard Game Over if you take it.
    • In the second one, no one knows about Vohaul's plan. In theory, you could save your own hide instead of shutting down Vohaul's life insurance salesman invasion. Again, Nonstandard Game Over if you take it.
    • In the third, Roger technically didn't have to rescue those two ingrates from Andromeda.
    • In the fifth? Well, Star-Con was totally willing to look the other way while their golden boy dumped toxic waste on remote planets and blew off the concerns of the young female ambassador representing many of the dump sites. In fact, Roger gets punished for doing the right thing and stopping Quirk.
    • The sixth one? Again, he could have turned his back on Stellar and none would be the wiser. Heck, the villain was a wealthy and well-connected admiral's widow. Instead, he runs off to stop her.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: Roger Wilco can die in some... very interesting ways, including from plain player stupidity.