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Simon the Sorcerer (DOS)

100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  אולג 小奥 (168675)
Written on  :  Aug 21, 2003
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars

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A very good adventure in classical style, but still below the standards of Lucas Arts

The Good

"Simon the Sorcerer" is a rather sweet game. You play a child who suddenly finds himself trapped in a magic world, complete with good and bad wizards, orcs, dwarves, giants, talking animals, etc., and you have to overcome all obstacles and to defeat the big bad guy. The game has plenty of atmosphere, wandering through the large forest is cool, especially because there are always some locations you know you can't access, and you become interested in solving the puzzle that prevents you from going there. The game utilizes the ever-amusing branching dialogue system like in Monkey Island, and is generally influenced by this classic game. The hand-drawn graphics are great, and the MIDI music is wonderful. The puzzle system copies the "death-less" scheme of "Monkey Island", and is definitely one of the game's strongest points. There are always several puzzles needed to be solved, so that your interest never fades. The puzzles themselves aren't too hard, but the inventory quickly becomes overcrowded, and it's not always obvious to find the right item combination for a solution.

The Bad

Okay, it is funny. But it is not that funny. Of course, there are some nice jokes (like the Tolkien fan who imitates Gollum), and amusing characters (I liked the two demons near the end of the game). I personally prefer this game to the second one with all its hilarious nonsense, but I don't think "Simon the Sorcerer" is a great comedy. Perhaps it is better it stayed that way, because the humor became quite tasteless in later AdventureSoft games such as the sequel or Feeble Files.

The story of the game is virtually non-existent: you must overcome a series of clever puzzles in order to defeat a bad wizard and to save a good one. The story hardly develops during the game, as you are trying to find your way through the intricate maze of puzzles. There are no truly memorable characters in the game. The Valkyries in the bar are slightly amusing, as are the two demons I mentioned above, but no character was truly brilliant, including Simon himself.

I have no complaints about the gameplay, but "Simon the Sorcerer" doesn't really break any new ground here. The puzzle design is solid, but there were no really great gimmicks to add some pepper to the whole thing (like the time aspect in Day of the Tentacle or the mini-games in Sam & Max).

The Bottom Line

"Simon the Sorcerer" is a nice game, it looks good, it sounds good, it has some excellent puzzles and a pleasant atmosphere. But I can't really compare it to Monkey Island or other great Lucas Arts' games. It is a worthy addition to adventure genre, but not the immortal classic it strived to be.