I'd guess it's a missing font that got replaced, heh, with squares (whether this is the "closest" font or not, I dunno, and YMMV).
For a quick fix, if you have
xfontsel in the remote system, you can use that to check for an available font (select it in
xfontsel, then hit "Select" to copy it to the selection, and paste it in another X application (click with the middle mouse button)) and then try
emacs -fn fontspec where
fontspec is the string built by
Fixing this would probably involve installing the missing fonts in the remote computer, so that emacs can use these fonts (I guess it's something like adobe-fonts? look for that kind of package in the remote system package manager (if you have an account with UID=0 there, of course, otherwise either you ask the administrator, or you have to use a workaround)).
If you want to change the emacs font like above, you can put that in
~/.Xdefaults. I'd not be surprised if you could do the same in