With the advent of faster machines, the Space Quest series is plagued with timer issues. This article attempts to document them all and provide possible solutions.
The entire article is non-canon information.
List of known timer issues[edit | edit source]
Timer problems in Space Quest 1(VGA)[edit | edit source]
In the Arcada, you'll notice the screen is shaking and shaking. And it should (every once in a while). Your ship is under attack, remember?!? But on faster computers, it just won't stop. And that's incredibly annoying.
You will dehydrate in the desert way too soon. A message will pop up almost immediately when you've landed, telling you you need to drink. You'll die of thirst before you can even think of exploring the planet.
The spider droid will come too soon. Thus giving you little chance to explore the planet.
You will be unable to get past the falling acid drops in the cave on Kerona because the drops fall very rapidly. A tropical rainstorm is nothing compared to it!
Some animations in the game are too fast. The droid that passes Roger in the hallway at the start of the game rushes by at the speed of light. Roger looks like he's headbanging or something. But in fact, on slower computers he looks around every now and then. Also, the cartridge retrieval droid moves way too fast. There are perhaps more of these small, but annoying, animation problems.
Timer problems in Space Quest 4 (CD-ROM version only)[edit | edit source]
When Roger enters a screen where the "droid-0-death" can/will appear, it will come almost immediately. It will be very hard to get the rope, the unstable ordinance, the PocketPal and to hide yourself from this droid, not to mention successfully entering the sewer grate. The biggest problem is, of course, that the game doesn't give you any time to explore and look around carefully because you're too occupied escaping the droid. The droid should not appear for at least a full minute.
Boarding the transport shuttle on the streets of Xenon is almost impossible. The Sequel Police are already standing there, waiting to kill you. When playing the game on a slower computer, the Sequel Police will only appear after some seconds, giving you enough time to examine the shuttle and to enter the landing gear compartment.
The same goes for entering one of the time pods on the Sequel Police dispatch. They will kill you almost immediately after they finished talking. You won't have time to do anything, how frustrating! Normally, you have at least some seconds to move. If you move downwards towards the time pods, the game will give you even more time to solve the puzzle. With a faster machine, you virtually don't have any time at all.
On Estros, the timepod of the Sequel Policemen will almost come immediately after you've landed. You will never have the time to "trigger" the pterodactyl to pick you up. And, you just don't have time to walk around and explore the planet... You'll think you are stuck (that is, if you have the time to think that at all, you might be dead already), and will run to the nearest walk through paradise. While in fact, it's a timer related problem.
And of course the Skate-O-Rama scene. The Sequel Policemen won't give you any time to make your move.
Near the end of the game you're supposed to use the Super Computer to "flush" the droid and the brain icon. When you've flushed the brain icon, the countdown will begin and you're supposed to make your way to Vohaul's room. On today's computers, the countdown will happen so fast that you won't have the chance to leave the room and go back out to the maze.
Some animations go too fast, scrolling screens don't look like they are scrolling (because of the speed), the pterodactyl that moves even faster and so on.
Timer problems in Space Quest 5[edit | edit source]
As far as I know, the only timer problem in Space Quest 5 is the EVA scene were you need to rescue Cliffy with the pod. The controls are very hard to handle because the ship moves too fast. Normally, this puzzle is already very hard. Not only is it already fast, but you have little fuel. This puzzle requires some mouse skills, so don't whine if it doesn't work right from the start.
I've spotted some small animation problems, most notably the GradeMaster 2000 sequence. Maybe some scrolling screens effects are eliminated by timer problems, but so far I haven't found any.
Timer problems in Space Quest 6[edit | edit source]
Space Quest 6 actually behaves different on fast computers. It doesn't run any faster, but it gets unstable and/or behaves rather weird.
You won't be able to get Blaine Rohmer (the endodroid runner) to talk with you. Later on, you'll find Elmo and bump into the same problem. Normally you just have to talk to them twice, but Roger only says "Hey" and they walk away without talking back.
Probably THE most notorious bug of the entire Space Quest series; Error 47. It happens when you try to use the datacard in the ComPost in Sickbay. The game will crash and output: "Error 47: Not an object: $0 script 64994/$f29".
Solutions[edit | edit source]
Timer patches[edit | edit source]
New Rising Sun has developed some awesome fixes that COMPLETELY ELIMINATE the timer problems. Check out his webpage, which includes enough information how to install the patches correctly. However, links to actually download the fixes are old geocities links that do not work. I copied and pasted one of the download links into the "wayback machine" internet archive and was able to download it. These patched are HIGHLY recommended and preferred over slow down utilities and emulators.
Saved games[edit | edit source]
You can download Jeysie's saved games, which are saved games for SQ1 through SQ6. They won't solve the timer problems but you can load a saved game just beyond the timer problem.
Old computer[edit | edit source]
This option might feel kinda sucky to you, but you must understand the Space Quest games simply aren't designed to work with your Pentium 4 3 Ghz Windows XP machine. You can try any slow down utility to help you through the timer bugs, but it won't prevent most of the bugs from happening anyway. You'll get a game in return that doesn't act like it should. Not to mention using slow down utilities make the animation rusty and degrade game play. And who wants to use stupid utilities anyway? You just want to play the games, without any hassle. So your best solution is simply to play Space Quest on a fast 486 computer or early Pentium.
Emulator[edit | edit source]
Try DOSBox, the best DOS emulator around. This program will work on your Windows 2000 and XP machine and even the Apple Macintosh. All of the Space Quest games will work terrific, even if you own a state of the art heavy duty computer.
Slow down utilities[edit | edit source]
This is how we used to tackle timer problems in the old days, before there were and patches and emulators.
A utility was included in the Space Quest Collection CD called Mo'Slo. Read the txt and doc files provided with Mo'Slo and you will be able to slow down your computer. It works with DOS only and is recommend for 350 Mhz machines and slower. Please visit the official Mo'Slo website for the latest version.