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SummaryA nice adventure game from the British version of LucasArts
The GoodSimon is a teenage boy living at home with his parents. He gets distracted when his dog Chippy starts wandering out of his bedroom. He follows the dog up the ladder to the attic where Chippy discovers a book called Ye Olde Spellbooke and shows it to Simon, who, showing a lack of interest in it, decides to throw it on the floor. This causes a portal opens and Simon and the dog enter a new dimension. There, he realizes that he must rescue the wizard Calypso from the evil sorcerer Sordid.
In Simon the Sorcerer, you will meet characters that can help you or hinder you, and most of these characters are based on fantasy and myth. During your travels, you'll encounter goblins, dwarfs, trolls, devils, and witches – the same type of characters from The Lord of the Rings. I enjoyed the parodies from different fairy tales, including Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, and especially The Three Billy Goats Gruff, in which the troll refuses to be thrown into the water because the actual story says so.
Gamers who have played adventure games from LucasArts will feel comfortable with Simon's interface, which is split up into two sides. The left side consists of twelve commands. The most common ones are Walk To, Pick Up, Talk to, Open, and Use. The rest of the commands are unusual and consist of Consume, Wear, Remove, etc. Your inventory is displayed on the right side.
Simon uses 256-color VGA to display graphics. The game features amazing environments that include forests, snowy mountains, swamps, and castles. The characters and the different objects that you have to manipulate are well done. I can even say that the graphics are even better than those in a LucasArts game.
There is humor in the game. Since it is impossible to die in Simon, you are free to experiment with the commands and use those with objects in each scene, and it is likely that whenever you do so, Simon will produce a somewhat funny response. For example, farm animals such as pigs and ducks can be seen throughout the game, and if you try to Talk to them, he will say “I'm not Dr. Doolittle, you know.” If you enter the dwarf cave, you are asked for a password by the head dwarf. If you get it wrong, he will keep on saying “No, try again.” until you get it right. Too bad you don't have that going on in real life.
The sound is excellent as well. Whether you play the game with MT-32 or Sound Blaster enabled, I enjoyed listening to almost all of the music, especially those that included some beats. The sound effects are slightly better than what you hear from a few adventure games. I enjoyed listening to a crow that sits on top of the well in the witch's house. The crow doesn't even produce a crow sound at all. The voices are great and the characters are funny to listen to.
The BadThe main problem this game has concerns the inventory. For example:
- A postcard that you carry throughout the game allows you to save, load, and quit games. This is annoying if you have quite a number of items sitting in the inventory, resulting in the postcard being invisible unless you scroll down. The same can be said with the somewhat-ancient map that you use to travel between locations. I don't think that there was anything wrong with putting a huge button in the middle of the interface that is labeled “MAP”.
- When I ended up having heaps of shit sitting in inventory and decide to save and load a game, the scroll arrows were gone, and the only way that I could make them appear was to click on empty space.
- When you pick up items, they are added at the beginning of the inventory, rather than the end. This can be annoying when you are near the end but have to scroll to the beginning in order to use it on something on the screen.
Calypso is mentioned at the beginning of the game, as well as throughout. Yet, he doesn't make an appearance in the game; not at the beginning, not throughout, and not near the end. I only know his existence by voice. I had to play the second episode of the series to see what he looks like.