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Video Game / Space Quest V: The Next Mutation

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Space Quest V: The Next Mutation (also simply known as Space Quest V) is the fifth game in the Space Quest series, released in 1993. Roger returns to Xenon after his previous adventure, and decides to finally pursue his dream of becoming a space captain. He manages to graduate from the StarCon academy thanks to a combination of cheating on his aptitude test coupled with a serendipitous computer glitch, and is given his first command: The SCS Eureka, a garbage scow.

While collecting garbage around the galaxy, Roger and his new crew manage to stumble onto an illegal garbage-dumping conspiracy. They are eventually tasked with stopping a mutagenic disease that resulted from this illegal dumping, which to their dismay has infected the SCS Goliath — StarCon's flagship — commanded by Roger's new rival and nemesis, Captain Quirk. To further compound his problems, Roger's love life is thrown into chaos when he meets Beatrice, the woman whom he learned in Space Quest IV will give birth to his son.

This is the first game in the series not to be designed by both Guys from Andromeda, only Mark Crowe was involved. It was also the only Space Quest game to not be developed in-house by Sierra, but by its sister company Dynamix, where Crowe was relocated shortly after the release of Space Quest IV, in order to help Dynamix get a feel for Sierra's SCI engine. A voiced CD version of the game was planned at one point, but was ultimately canceled as the developers were undergoing financial difficulties, and the decision was made to focus entirely on new games instead of making upgraded versions of existing games.

No connection to Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.

This video game provides examples of:

  • All Germans Are Nazis: The security guard when rescuing Cliffy stops you by saying "Achtung! Verboten!".
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If you're running the game on a system that uses the 16-color EGA palette, the game will let you skip the crest floor-cleaning sequence with the normal amount of points, as it understands that the limited number of available colors would make it difficult for you to determine if the floor is clean.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Two examples of it. One on Klorox II, and one in the Genetix dome relating in full detail how the Pukoid infection came into being.
  • The Ahnold: The sister of Arnoid the Annihilator is now pursuing Roger for the same reason that Arnoid had in Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon. Despite being female, she acts the same as Arnoid.
  • A Father to His Men: Say what you will about Wilco being an Idiot Hero. He will go to incredible lengths to save his crew, namely his chief engineer. Twice.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: The facehugger alien Roger takes in as a pet seems feral and mindless up until the part it tells Roger and Cliffy (via body language) to use the teleporter to cure Bea by extracting the pukoid virus from the host on a molecular level.
  • Banana in the Tailpipe: How Roger finally disables the gynoid.
  • Big Bad: Captain Quirk, who later turns out to be the leader of the Pukoids.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Once you deactivate the shields on the Goliath, W-D40 storms the ship in time to freeze the Pukoid crew and save Wilco.
  • Blob Monster: The climax has the mutated Captain Quirk piloting his shuttle inside the mass of discarded Pukoid material, merging with it and gaining sentience.
  • Body Horror: People infected by the Pukoid mutation don't look great to say the least.
    • Quirk himself seems to have it even worse than most mutants, he is literally disfigured.
    • Bea in cryostasis will get worse and worse each time you look at her.
    • And let's not even get started with the Quirkoid blob.
  • Bridge Bunnies: Flo is a subversion of one. Instead of an attractive twentysomething lady, Flo appears to be in her late forties (who knows how old she really is, as she is an alien… with green skin, as it happens) 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.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Thanks to time recursion, if Bea dies (before birthing Roger Wilco Jr), Roger Wilco ceases to exist because it results in the breaking of the Stable Time Loop where Roger Wilco Jr, Roger's Kid from the Future, would have gone back in time to save Roger Wilco Sr. from the Sequel Police. If Bea ceases to exist, so does Roger Wilco Jr, which means so does Roger Wilco Sr.
    Narrator: Bea is dead. In an alternate future she would have borne your son. In the future past of Space Quest IV your son would have saved your life. But she didn't, so he couldn't, therefore you aren't.
  • Callback: The first time Roger flies somewhere in his new ship, there's a cutscene showing W-D40 de-cloaking and being assigned a mission to terminate him. Just like how in the third game, the first time Roger flies somewhere in his new ship, there's a cutscene showing W-D40's predecessor Arnoid de-cloaking and being assigned a mission to terminate him.
  • Chekhov's Gun: During the StarCon Aptitude Test, one of the questions describes the encounter with W-D40 later in the game, and the correct multiple-choice answer describes how you will actually need to defeat her during that encounter.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Roger ends up hanging from a cliff with Beatrice clinging to his belt. If you don't help her up fast enough, Roger's pants slide down, revealing polka-dot boxers.
  • Corporate Conspiracy: Genetix is the group behind the illegal dumping of toxic chemicals on inhabited backwater worlds within the Federation, as well as the resulting Pukeoid Mutation Plague. They're getting away with it because Captain Quirk, who has been assigned to find and stop the dumpers, is secretly on their payroll and even assisting in the dumping. This backfires spectacularly on him.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Genetix people.
  • The Corruption: The Pukoid infection.
  • Cryonics Failure: Failing to freeze or defrost Beatrice exactly according to the instructions on the cryopod's control panel will kill her.
  • Darker and Edgier: This installment is surprisingly dark for a comedic sci-fi series. A lot more is at risk as the Pukoid infection wreaks havoc on anybody physically and mentally. Not to mention that Roger is dealing with three plots that put his very life at stake and it's treated seriously.
  • Daydream Surprise: The game begins with Roger bravely commanding a StarCon military vessel in pitched battle… which is soon interrupted by Captain Quirk, who chews him out for playing in the training simulator when he should be in class.
  • Death World: There are only three planets where you need to beam down to as part of the storyline. Two of them are breathable, but will have more than their fair share of attempts on your life, and the last one of them is Thrakus, which has a toxic atmosphere and thus requires the use of a rebreather. All of the other planets in the game have conditions so hostile that you will die immediately upon beaming down to them.
  • Dirty Cop: The Paragon of StarCon, Captain Raemes Tipper Quirk, is secretly a member of the Sludge Bandits, a group of criminals whose most recent crimes involve illegal dumping in the G6 quadrant. As a Sludge Bandit, Quirk's job is to quietly dump hazardous materials on various planets and ensure that StarCon remains ignorant of the consequences. He is eventually infected by mutated colonists as a result of his own dumping of Primordial Soup on their planet, which eventually leads to his death.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Happens to everyone infected by the Pukoids. Especially visible with Quirk, who went from an arrogant opportunist to a genocidal maniac.
  • Dying as Yourself: Happens on Klorox II, where a Pukoid-infected colonist is fatally shot by Droole. In his dying moments, he thanks Roger and Droole for putting him out of his misery.
  • Elvis Lives:
    • Averted in the Galactic Inquirer "Elvis Watch" article, when an Elvis sighting turns out to be an outrageous Monolith Burger promotion for their new Banana Sandwich Combo.
    • If Roger walks to the far east side of the rotunda while still at Starcon he'll see Elvis walking through a security checkpoint. Being a lowly cadet, Roger regrettably can't follow and find out what he's doing there.
  • Explosive Breeder: The Space Monkeys when mixed with alcohol.
  • Expy:
    • Captain Quirk is obviously an evil parody of the original Captain Kirk.
    • Spike is clearly a pet Facehugger, complete with inappropriate facial affection and acidic spit.
  • Foreshadowing: During the regular garbage run, the Eureka intercepts a communications between one of the Sludge Bandits and an unknown party. The player can see the one who responds to the call has a sleeve identical to the uniform of Starcon's top officers, which is eventually revealed to be Quirk.
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1": Right when Roger actually needs to, telling Flo to hail Starcon late in the game results in a "please hold"-style jingle while a text box reads, "You have reached Starcon Central Command. All our wavelengths are busy now, but if you stay on this frequency, an operator will answer your call in the order it was recieved. Currently you are 2,856,875,333."
  • From Bad to Worse: At the beginning of the story, the pukoid menace was largely confined to uninhabited or sparsely populated planets. After pukoids infect the crew of the starship Goliath, the possible ramifications become truly apocalyptic because of the Goliath's ability to infect the entirety of StarCon. Fortunately they can only go at cruising speed, thanks to Bea's sabotage before she escaped.
  • Fungus Humongous: So humongous that they make up the entirety of planet Thrakus' terrain.
  • Funny Background Event: Wander around the halls at StarCon Academy, and you'll eventually get to see Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi having a duel in a far-away corridor.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The Primordial Soup project was originally meant to create a terraforming bacteria to feed off the noxious elements of a planet and generate oxygen, water, and everything else. However, it soon devolved into a mutating virus that turns everyone into violent, grotesque mutants bent on infecting everyone. The Primordial Soup makes the mutants immune to Thrakus' toxic atmosphere: they beam down without rebreathers, and seem to be perfectly fine!
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing: After Roger destroys W-D40, Cliffy rebuilds and reprograms her to be the Eureka's helpful but stoic science officer and she stays that way for the rest of the game.
  • Hollywood Board Games: At the bar, Captain Quirk challenges Roger to a play of Battle Cruiser (basically, Battleship in space) to show his superiority. During the whole Mini-Game, Quirk is sporting a smug expression. If you quit, he taunts Roger for being such a loser. Promptly after the game, Quirk abuses his power to incarcerate one of Roger's crewmates. Any doubt left that Quirk is an entitled, jerkass manchild?
  • Homage: To 2001: A Space Odyssey when Roger heads out in an EVA pod to retrieve Cliffy.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: With the way he's introduced (chewing out Roger for skipping class to pretend to be a macho starship captain), you'd be forgiven for initially thinking of Captain Quirk as another Reasonable Authority Figure who's had his patience sorely tested by Roger's slacker ways.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Subverted with Quirk. Despite his prominent mandible, he's already involved in shady dealings before the game begins, and ultimately is turned into a genocidal mutant horror that only Roger and his Ragtag Band of Misfits can stop.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: If you take Beatrice out of the cryopod without defrosting her first, she crumbles in Roger's hands.
  • Meaningful Background Event: At the Space Bar, you can spot Captain Quirk meeting the suspicious alien from the call you received earlier on a mission.
  • Meaningful Name: Quirk's ship is named the Goliath, reflecting how it's the most powerful ship in the fleet, and is opposed by Roger and his crew of washouts in their lowly garbage scow.
  • Mini-Game: At the Space Bar, Roger must play a match of space-themed Battleship against Captain Quirk in order to advance the plot. And you have to win the game without losing a single ship in order to get the Last Lousy Point.
  • My Brain Is Big: The alien that is sitting next to Roger during the Starcon aptitude test is noted to have a large brain pan and manages to answer every question right, which our hero naturally uses to his advantage.
  • Oddball in the Series: Although it uses Sierra's then standard SCI scripting language, the game was mostly programmed by sister company Dynamix, and thus it exhibits a few quirks, a dramatically darker style, and sense of humor different to the rest of the Space Quest series.
  • One-Winged Angel: Sort of, the Pukoid Captain Quirk, rather than being cured, drives his escape shuttle into the massive blob of Pukoid material floating in space, merging with it and turning it into a massive, hostile being that tries to eat the Goliath.
  • Outlandish Device Setting: The Eureka is equipped with a "cryo-chef", which is used to freeze or cook food. If you take a look at the machine, you'll find a list with instructions on how to freeze, defrost or cook various kinds of food... and how to freeze or defrost an ambassador, which you'll end up using to save the life of ambassador Beatrice Wankmeister after she becomes infected with Pukoid sludge.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Seems to be Cliffy's preferred method of maintenance, since he can be seen doing it repeatedly in various places around the ship. Additionally, when he goes out on EVA to fix the ship after the battle in the asteroid field, the sound-effects make it clear that he is simply banging on the hull with a hammer.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: Several, although given that Roger's ship is a crummy garbage collecting vessel held together with chewing gum and prayer, it's justified at least.
  • Product Placement: The Sprint logo in communication transmissions. Not so surprising since Next Mutation was one of several Sierra games people could get as a reward for signing up for service.
  • Punny Name: Several of the planets in the game have these. Tying with the theme of the game and series, several of them are related to garbage, cleaning, and diseases.
    • Gingivitis, in the Halitosis star system.
    • Klorox II (a reference to Clorox bleach).
    • Monostadt VII (a reference to Monistat 7, a yeast infection remedy).
    • Commodore LXIV.
    • Peeyu - a stinker of a planet.
    • Kiz Urazgubi, where Roger has to confront the Terminatrix, or pretty much do what the planet name read aloud implies.
    • W-D40 is a reference to WD-40 lubricant.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Eureka's Crew. Droole is there because of a screw-up that resulted in him destroying one of StarCon's robotic freighters. Flo didn't see "eye-to-eye-to-eye" with her former captain, so she transferred to the Eureka, and may or may not be responsible for the death of the Eureka's former captain. W-D40 was reprogrammed by Cliffy into serving as the Eureka's science officer. Roger was assigned as the Eureka's captain because Captain Quirk has it out for him. Cliffy seems to be the only crew member who's on the Eureka willingly. Droole mentions, correctly to boot in Roger's case, that an assignment to the Eureka is either because "you screwed up really bad or someone has it out for you."
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Roger gets assigned to the Eureka, a garbage scow, because his superior officer Captain Quirk hates his guts.
  • Red Shirt: Roger wears this when he becomes captain, which gets constantly lampshaded. Cleverly, there are ways you can lose before you become captain, but none of them result in Roger dying. Once he wears the shirt, the game goes all out on letting Roger Have a Nice Death.
  • Retraux: In the Eureka's maintenance tunnel, you can pull a fuse that will reduce the colors down to 16 versus 256. It only works in the maintenance tunnel, though, since Roger replaces any removed fuses when he leaves.
  • Reverse Polarity: The line is present in the test at the beginning of the game, where one would think it was a Star Trek Shout-Out, and it actually becomes a Chekhov's Gun near the end, as it is how Cliffy rewires the transporter of the Eureka to save Beatrice. He then goes to do the same on the Goliath to transport all pukoid materials into outer space.
  • Schmuck Bait: In the climax, Quirk in a shuttle collides with a pukoid blob, becoming part of it. Even though Roger himself says this is bad news, he can choose to ride it out as the blob is seemingly not dangerous... But then he dies.
  • Sea Aping: Roger is pressured by a salesman during his visit to a space station into buying some space-monkeys. He uses them later to create a distraction, which ends up destroying the station.
  • Self-Deprecation: In the manual, a behind-the-scenes exclusive look shows how the creative team came up with their original plot ideas, by reading the Star Trek Compendium and a Star Wars guide book, while an Alien facehugger model sits on their desk.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: The SCS Eureka is equipped with one of these. It gets to be used.
  • Series Continuity Error: Roger is pursued for not paying for the Labion terror beast mating whistle from Space Quest II: Vohaul's Revenge despite the fact that it was clearly marked on the order form as being free.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Thus Spoke Zarathustra is played each time the SCS Eureka collects some space trash, coupled with a short cutscene of a sun rising behind a planet, its light revealing a gigantic garbage bag floating gracefully out in space.
    • Twofer: A transporter accident causes Roger to exchange heads with a fly.
    • The Pukoids use Super Soakers to shoot Primordial Soup at prospected targets.
    • Some characters yell out a "D'oh!" when they mess up.
    • Obviously multiple to Star Trek, but especially Captain Quirknote .
  • Space Cadet Academy: The Starcon Academy.
  • Stealth in Space: W-D40's spacecraft has a stealth mode which becomes a plot point.
  • Stealth Pun: Not terribly stealthy, but the SCS Eureka's self-destruct countdown mechanism is shaped like an egg. It's an egg timer.
  • Take That Me: The biochemical company that developed the Primordial Soup (and dumped it illegally) is called Genetix, and even has a similar logo to the company that developed Space Quest V, Dynamix.
  • Temporal Paradox: Letting Beatrice croak, as mentioned above. "But she didn't, so he couldn't, therefore you aren't."
  • The Federation: StarCon. A quite incompetent and corruption-ridden one.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock:
    • If anything goes wrong during the StarCon Academy segment of the game, Roger gets "flushed" out of the Academy in an escape pod.
    • It's also possible to get sucked out of the Airlock on the Eureka if you stupidly push the button to open it.
  • Torpedo Tits: The assassin droid W-D40. She provides the page image.
  • Trigger-Happy: Droole's solution for any problem is to shoot first and ask questions later, a mishap where he did exactly that to a robotic freighter is the reason he's on the Eureka in the first place. He suggests going in guns blazing to rescue Cliffy from the Space Bar's brig, nevermind that the people locking him up are StarCon crewmen. On Klorox II, he blasts the Pukoid off Roger and saves his life.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: Shown in the opening cut-scene, much to Roger's dismay. Although the reason it shuts down is because he's caught messing around in the simulator when he's supposed to be in class.
  • Vehicular Sabotage:
    • Performed by Beatrice on the SCS Goliath to prevent it from warping away and infecting the whole galaxy. Roger has to put back the cap on the warp drive in order to escape the explosion of the SCS Eureka.
    • Roger also does a bit of sabotage, bringing down the shields to allow W-D40 to warp in.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Pukoid mutation spreads fast and has no known antidotes, but extreme cold does stop the mutation or paralyze any mutant. Halfway through, Spike, of all creatures, comes up with the idea that the transporter pattern buffer can separate the victim from the pukoid material, which is used to cure Beatrice and the Goliath crewmen.

Alternative Title(s): Space Quest V