As Roger Wilco, ace janitor aboard the Xenon Orbital Station 4, you are ordered to the shuttle bay to clear up a newly-arrived craft following a serious case of space sickness. Once aboard, you are mugged by a couple of interstellar ruffians, and carted away. So begins the second in the Space Quest series.
You awake to find yourself in the clutches of the evil Sludge Vohaul, who is angry with you for ruining his Sarien operation (see Space Quest 1). Condemning you to a lifetime in his mines, he boasts that he is about to take revenge on the Earth. 'I have a plan so horrible, so frightening, so diabolical, that no-one will be able to stop me!' he boasts, and proceeds to explain how he intends to infest the Earth with thousands of genetically engineered door-to-door life insurance salesmen. With that, you are carted off to a nearby planet, and under armed guard, taken for a ride on a hover-platform to the mines.
Unfortunately for Vohaul, things do not quite work out quite as he expected. En route, the platform runs out of fuel, and before the argument between the guards over whose turn it was to refuel it is resolved, you have plummeted to the ground. Luckily, you are the sole survivor of the crash, one of the guards having broken your fall. Now is your chance to prevent Vohaul from implementing his deadly plan. But first you have to evade the search party that comes after you, and deal with such hostile phenomena as man-eating mushrooms, monster-infested swamps, and all sorts of beastly things, including a hunter who rather fancies you - spit roasted!
Your character can be controlled through the joystick, mouse, or cursor keys. I found the cursor keys to be more accurate, especially when negotiating tight passages.
A speed control allows the character one of four different speeds, and slow is often the most useful, for the planet is not without its unexpected tight corners, which make the gameplay almost arcade-like. One of these occurs early one, when you meet up with sensitive tendrils draped over the ground. Tread on one and it will cocoon you in no time. A careful study of the tendrils will reveal that there is a clear if perilous path through, which in turn suggests that you must now travel though it.
But were there more than a couple of bugs in the program, or was my copy faulty? To the back of the clearing where the hovercraft crashed, for example, I went exploring behind a large tree, and then decided to walk out of the back of the picture. For a while nothing happened, until the Guru showed up meditating, and I had to reload - Workbench and all. There were a number of other occasions where the computer locked-up altogether, freezing the current picture, when I had tried to use a marginal exit. However, with sufficient saved game positions, this should not altogether spoil the game, however annoying it might be.
I am only just about the get into the meaty bits, Guru permitting, and SQ2 is proving an exciting and often hilarious adventure. If you have not already played it, now it is the time, before the arrival of the next in the series, Space Quest - The Pirates of Pestulon due soon.