Space Quest 5 (The Next Mutation) is a DOS adventure game, and the third in the series to use oil-painting style VGA graphics. The previous games produced in such a style in the Space Quest series were Space Quest 1 VGA Remake, and Space Quest 4, both of which were DOS games and shipped on disk and (full-speech) CD-ROM versions. However, Space Quest 5 shipped on disk, without speech only, rather than the Space Quest 4 distribution arrangement.
Since Space Quest 5 was a Sierra game, it is notable for its humourous death messages aplenty. Fortunately, the situations in which you can die in the game are not excessive, unlike some previous games in the series and in other Sierra games.
Space Quest 5 is the last game in the series I have fully completed (excluding Space Quest 1, EGA edition). I consider Space Quest 5 to be the best of the series.
Bea and the Timeline
Beatrice, the Ambassador, will be the mother of Roger Wilco Jr., who saves Roger Wilco's life in Space Quest 4 using an overdeveloped hairdryer with the power to open a time vortex, into which Roger escapes. At one point in SQ5, if Roger fails to rescue Beatrice, he as a result dies, since Bea is required to produce Roger Wilco Jr. who saves Roger's life and as such Roger dies since Roger Wilco Jr. never existed to save Roger's live in Space Quest 4.
For the main part, gameplay is centered around the SCS Eureka. It consists of three rooms and a corridor:
The player must beam down to planets on many occasions to investigate the unusual goings-on that happen along the course of gameplay.
SCS Eureka Crew
The bridge allows Roger Wilco, the hero, to perform a variety of orders. Droole, a red headphones-wearing alien notable for a mouth not completely unlike that of Zoidberg in Futurama, handles navigational issues. He is supposedly rather trigger happy.
Flo, a green alien, handles communication issues. At one point in the game, the player has the option to Hail Starcon as a logical option. Forcing the player to take matters into their own hands, the player is served with a number of dialing tones and some jazz funk on-hold music. Music from the genre is also played in death messages.
Cliffy, the engineer, refuses to wear standard StarCon uniform, and is somewhat slow in his walk. He is notable for starting a fight at the Space Bar, owing to the terming of the SCS Eureka as a garbage scow.
- Cliffy: Cap'n, this guy called our ship a garbage scow! I couldn't sit there and let him get away with it.
- Roger: But Cliffy, the Eureka IS a garbage scow!
- Cliffy: Well, he doesn't have to go rubbing our noses in it.
This is a reference to The Trouble with Tribbles (TOS) from Star Trek.
Both Flo and Droole are somewhat cold and businesslike to Roger Wilco at first, but both warm to the apparent heroics of the captain.
Eventually, Roger Wilco has Cliffy reprogram a WD40 droid to be the science officer of the ship. Previously, WD40 was sent for the purposes of terminating Roger for failing to pay for a "free" Labion Terror Beast Mating Call Whistle. Previously, an Arnoid terminator droid was sent to terminate Roger in Space Quest 3, but Roger made haste to dispose of the droid.
As a result of such debt-collection attempts, Roger always reads the small print on "free" items from now on, considering that the word was printed in large letters on the order form for the whistle in Space Quest 2.
Roger Wilco himself has just enough intelligence to be able to make use of the buttons mounted nearby his chair, which allow him to contact Cliffy the engineer, WD40 the science officer (if available), and activate the self destruct sequence, which involves an Astro Chicken egg timer.
He can also head down to the Pod room, where he has the option of opening the (one-door) airlock and sucking himself into space (which is, apparently, how the last captain died. Guess those StarCon aptitude tests aren't so effective.)
The intercom system of the Pod room is non-functional, accordingly due to Cliffy's rigging up of a voice activated toilet flush. However, when the crew tired only so much of having to shout Bombs away, the voice-activation system was rigged up to the teleporter instead. Other options involve using the EVA Pod to leave the ship, something which is necessary twice in the game, one occasion on which the puzzle involved is sadly vulnerable to the timing issues of modern computers with DOS games.
Patrick Stewart, who played Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, apparently played the mutant colony leader in Space Quest 5. It is, therefore, supposed that many of the character sprites were composed by pixelising/painting over filmed actors, aka rotoscope.