Narrowly escaping the events of Space Quest II: Vohaul's Revenge, Roger Wilco's escape pod floats through space. As just another metallic item of junk, it's soon picked up by an interstellar garbage hauler. Waking up in a pile of trash, quite familiar for this janitor-turned-hero, Roger Wilco must somehow escape. Once given access to the rest of the galaxy, he'll soon find himself having to avoid a collections cyborg for payments overdue, dealing with the corporate prison of software company Scummsoft, and having to digest the greasy food from the galaxy's finest hamburger joint.
Space Quest 3 is a graphical adventure. The mouse is functional for movement and inventory access, however the game primarily relies on a text parser for specific commands and manipulation of objects on screen. In addition to the regular gameplay, there are also various mini-games, such as a simple non-scrolling arcade game Astro Chicken, as well as a radar screen representation for ship-to-ship space combat.