Simon the Sorcerer
Description official descriptions
Simon is just an ordinary boy living in modern-day England. One day, his dog Chippy discovers a chest with a book inside, entitled Ye Olde Spellbooke. Without thinking too much, Simon throws the book on the floor; as a result, a portal opens, teleporting the boy and his dog into a fantasy world. Simon is promptly captured by goblins bent on cooking and eating him but manages to escape. Soon he realizes that he must play the role of an apprentice sorcerer and rescue a benevolent wizard called Calypso from an evil one, aptly named Sordid.
Simon the Sorcerer is a point-and-click adventure game very similar to contemporary LucasArts titles (in particular Monkey Island) in concept and gameplay. It features twelve verbs displayed on the screen at all times for interaction with the environment. Objects that can be interacted with are highlighted when the player hovers the mouse cursor over them. The puzzles are inventory-based: Simon will have to collect and carry a large number of items in order to advance in the game. Almost every character comes with an extended dialogue tree to explore. Most of the conversation choices are used for a humorous effect and are not required to pursue.
Like in LucasArts' adventures, it is impossible to get irrevocably stuck or die in Simon the Sorcerer. The game world consists of dozens of interconnected screens, most of which are accessible from the very beginning. Although there is usually only one way to solve the puzzles, the player can work on multiple tasks at once, and exploration occupies a large portion of the game. Whenever an important location is discovered, it is marked on the map for instant access, so that the player is not required to retrace his steps in order to revisit it. The game frequently parodies popular fairy tales and fantasy works and sometimes breaks the fourth wall as Simon directly talks to the player, acknowledging he is a character in a computer game.
- שוליית המכשף - Hebrew spelling
- 魔法师西蒙 - Chinese spelling (simplified)
Credits (DOS version)
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|Graphics / Artwork|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 85% (based on 39 ratings)
Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 111 ratings with 7 reviews)
So I decided to play Simon the Sorcerer again. Had I not stumbled upon my own review for this game I would have never realized that I already have played it. And then I noticed on many adventure gaming boards that how many people loved this game. So I was thinking that perhaps I was too young to appreciate this game, that perhaps it really is a good game. It was because of those reasons and that my former review of Simon was rather dreadful to read, that I decided to do a review of the review.
Bob the Imaginary Gaming Friend: "Yeah it was pretty bad, especially with lines like: "Well......it did have a nice atmosphere...it was sweet. The game had a innocent fairy-tale like feeling to it....the feeling I have long searched in a fantasy game.It is easy...graphics are tolerable. But if you are searching for originality then I advise you to stay away from this Monkey Island clone(with a sweet fairy-tale alike atmosphere....but it is still a forgettable game)." Like cut it with the dots already."
No wonder the approvers secretly mocked me all these years. It
s a good thing that Im crazy now. What would I ever do without you Bob? Anyway, it was hard for me to review this game because after playing it I immediately forgot what happened in the game, and since I strive to be as honest as possible I wrote this review while playing the game (well at least parts of it). Bob will fill you out on what other games came out in 1993, just to give some sense of wider picture.
Bob: "Well to many 93 was a great year - Gabriel Knight, Betrayal at Krondor, Quest for Glory 4, Sam and Max Hit the Road, Wing Commander: Privateer, Doom, etc. – but considering that the release date of Simon the Sorcerer is 2 Jan 1993, I think it’s far more honest to compare it with games from 92 - Legend of Kyrandia, Fate of Atlantis, King’s Quest 6. And basically, the last entry from a game series that Simon greatly got inspired from, came out 13 months before Simon the Sorcerer (I’m talking about Monkey Island 2 of course)."
So the following here is a heavily-edited recording of our gaming session. After that, me and Bob will say a few final words and that`ll be that then.
Bob: "Put it on already."
Bob: „Ach! Mine ears! What horrible music.“
That guy in purple is Simon, in case if you were wondering Bob.
Bob: "Some of the comments he makes during the credits sequence are quite amusing - "I would have skipped by now", I was actually thinking of the same thing."
I must say, the voice of Simon is actually a joy to listen to. Well done, Chris Barrie.
Bob: "A boy, living in a perfectly 90’s environment, finds a magic book that transports him to another dimension. Some not-so-funny dialogue between goblins, who intend to eat Simon (btw, the voice acting of goblins wasn't so good at all)... well, I’m excited. Too bad that the animation and character designs are... um... too interesting."
Ahah, see Bob, now he found a letter that tells him that he has been chosen to save some old guy from the hands of Dark Lord Sordid. See? That
s all the plot that this game has. Youve been told the story and now you must solve some countless puzzles until you can see the ending cutscene.
Bob: "I thought you said that you don`t remember anything about this game. I just hope he doesn't make anymore comments like "not a pizza bar in sight". That was just too unfunny. By the way, did you notice that that horrible credits sequence music is still going on."
Yup, the music just loops endlessly in this game. The interface is just like the interfaces in Lucasarts games, you know: pick up, look, talk, use options and the inventory dividing the screen into half.
Bob: "Which also means that it will rely more on funny dialogues than funny interesting descriptions (like Sierra and Legend did)."
In the town
Bob: "I am really getting sick of this credits music. Is some variety too much to ask?"
Ah, a tavern. Drunken Druid – quite a nice name for a tavern, don`t you think?
Bob: "Finally! A different tune. Oh no, it is even more horrible than the one before."
Look at dwarf. Talk to dwarf. Hmm... no response.
Bob: "Talk to those ugly chicks there."
Bob: "Ach... horrible voice-acting."
Simon: "What are your hobbies?"
Valkyrie 1: "I like killing things and drinking a lot."
Valkyrie 2: "And I like needlework and embroidery... and killing things and drinking a lot."
Bob: "Not a bad attempt at humour at all. Unfortunately the voice-acting killed it."
Exit town. In the Forest
The backgrounds are actually quite nice. Sure it
s nothing compared to Sierras hand-drawn artbook backgrounds, but I`m really fond of this digitized VGA art (partly because I have soft memories of Westwood games from that time). And the forest tune is not overtly terrible either.
Bob: "Ha! So says you."
Boy, you can
t really stand endlessly looping positive midi tunes, can you? If it so pains, Ive heard that there`s an enhanced music project for this game by some guy called James Woodcock. It will still be looping but now it will at least sound good.
Bob: "Much better. Never underestimate guys called Woodcock's. Thank you, your work has not gone unnoticed. And look, he’s working on to enhance other games also."
Yeah, good for him. I just wish I knew what I
m supposed to do. So far, Ive picked up many random items like ladders and clangers, talked to many people that want some things and got accused of racism by woodworms. And haven`t really laughed at all. The woodworm thing was mildly amusing though.
Bob: "I liked the barbarian’s "I’m an accountant" line."
Oh dear! That conversation between the goats and the troll has gone on for several minutes.
Bob: "Trolls having a strike against fairy-tale stereotypes is not really your kind of humour, is it?"
Not really, but that
s not the case here. The voice-acting is horrible. So far only Simon has been done well, everyone else sounds just like the designers third cousin twice removed. Good voice-acting can make even unfunny things sound funny.
After some hours, DI has fallen asleep and Bob’s playing the game
Bob: "Bob’s diary. Entry 101. Been playing some old adventure game for awhile. Still have no goal – in life nor in the game. Picked up a lot of things. Met a lot of interesting folks in need of some things or others. Not much else to talk to them about. Solved many puzzles, got more things. Kissed a princess, which turned her into a pig. Used her on chocolate door. Got a joint for bees. Used it on beehive. Got wax. Still confused. Di’s sleeping, his snores accompanying the solitude of confusion I dwell in. My voice echoes back to me from the lonely halls of a purposeless life. It’s dawning outside. And I ponder on the question "Do all alter-ego’s go to heaven?" What will happen to me if I die? Can I find life everlasting also. Do I exist at all? Who am I?
Just tickled a sleeping dwarf with a feather. Couldn't think of anything else. Worked. Got a key. Now I'm off to find a door for this key to open.“
After finishing the game
Bob: "Finished the game. Experienced a pretty anticlimactic and weird finale. By the way Di, there was no ending cutscene. Just some demons dancing."
Haha! Dancing demons. How funny is that.
The end of the recording
Bob: "Boy, you really don't know when to stop with the editing. All my best lines were removed. Next time, I’ll edit."
So what did you like about the game?
Bob: "Well I found it quite charming actually. Boring yes, but charming. Some of the jokes were also quite witty. My favorite was the dialogue between Simon and the village druid."
Village Druid: "Leave now or suffer the consequences."
Simon: "I don’t think a man on a rack is in any position to make threats."
Village Druid: "Your emotional torture cannot hurt me, foul fiend."
Yeah, he was great, especially how he insisted on plunging a silver dagger through Simon
s heart just to see if hes a demon or not.
Village Druid: "Never been wrong yet."
But back to reviewing. Yes, I agree. It was charming: the heartwarming VGA art and the mellow music (especially after the enhancing), some quite witty jokes, the overall old-school fantasy feel of it.
But it was also terribly boring. Adventure games aren`t just puzzle games. They also need a plot. No, not just a story, but a well-done plot. Monkey Island for example made-up for those crazy puzzles it had with an exciting swashbuckling plot.
Bob: "I would like to add that thanks to Lucasarts IMUSE program Monkey Island 2 had a dynamic soundtrack, which most likely also helped to enhance the appropriate mood for the specific scenes."
s why Simon the Sorcerer fails in my opinion. It is just a collection of random puzzles and an ending sequence with dancing demons. This game hasnt any tension at all. Which also is bad for the humour, because jokes work best when introduced in with a feeling of tension. I mean, Simon just walked and picked up stuff. There`s nothing funny in seeing a guy walk.
Bob: "I don’t know about that. I laugh when you walk."
Part of the reason I think the early Space Quests were so funny was that because they provided that tension (of course they did that in a survival horror kinda way... perhaps survival comedy is the more appropriate name). And Simon the Sorcerer doesn
t. Not only does it make the game boring in the adventure sense, but also humour, well at least for me, just didnt do it for me.
Bob: "Of course, we have to take into consideration that it wasn't just your taste. You have a different taste in humour and this game has a different taste. And that is why you did not get it."
Well, what about you?
Bob: "Um... I guess, it's pretty hard in a game to do a correct timing for a joke. And some games go way overboard with jokes and bad puns. Simon the Sorcerer avoided those pitfalls, and that's a good thing in my eyes. Sure, many of the jokes were pretty meh, and there weren't that much jokes at all - for example when Simon looked at something he mostly said "It's an object x" and nothing else. But it's way better to keep the jokes few than to throw many of them into and hope that some of them will make the player laugh. No, the biggest fault of Simon is that it's just a boring adventure game."
You do make a point. I guess it`s boring also because many of the dialogues were just "Give me object x and I give you object y. Deal?" in nature.
Bob: "Yes, this game really did lack characters."
Lot`s caricatures though.
And music while nice, was pretty annoying because it was always looping. Even the better-sounding enhanced music started to bug on my nerves.
Bob: "May my ears never hear cheerful midi tunes ever. And don't forget the voice-acting. Apart from Chris Barrie as Simon, everyone else were dreadful."
Yes. Well that
s just it then. The game is charming, but boring. And the bad parts out-value the good parts in this game. Thus well come to the verdict.
The Bottom Line
I would give this game 2 out of 5. What about you?
Bob: "I'm more into 3 out 5 for this one. It is an experience, and not a bad one in visuals and atmosphere. Just mediocre in the overall experience."
So 3+2 equals 5, divide by 2 and it`s going to be 2,5 stars out 5.
As to the usual recommendation, I would say that by judging on how many people liked this game, it is possible that you, dear reader, would enjoy this game.
It's just didn`t work for me.
Bob: "There are great games and there are horrible ones - this game is neither."
DOS · by The Fabulous King (1330) · 2011
Simon is often placed in situations that many younger gamers would surely find humorous: bellying up to a bar, uttering minor cuss words, or sassing elders, but adults also will not be able to suppress a chuckle or two at the numerous double entendres and political snipes (though the Dan Quayle joke is a bit dated). Simon is a 12-year-old boy who wants nothing more than a Gameboy for his birthday. Instead, a stray dog with a strange book in its mouth shows up at the front door during his birthday party. Simon's parents don't have the heart to tell him that the dog is not a birthday present and allow him to keep it as a pet. The book is forgotten in the attic. Much later (as we see in a wonderful opening scene), Chippy (for that is now the dog's name) discovers the trunk in the attic that contains the book, and Simon is soon thrust into a world of fantasy and magic sporting the required raiment of all magicians, a ponytail and a pointy hat. What follows is a mix of Fractured Fairy Tales meets Monty Python as Simon must rescue Calypso the wizard, the only person with the power to return Simon to his home world, from the clutches of soon-to-be arch-nemesis Sordid. This game contains much of the one-liners and juvenility so familiar to fans of the Monkey Island series. In the few instances where the characters are fleshed out, it is more because their personalities are developed through extended give-and-take with Simon. In the tradition of a comic book, where the villains are always more interesting than the heroes. Puzzles are well thought-out and progress from the simple to the difficult. The inevitable to-and-froing is eased by providing maps that allow you to visit any location with a simple click. The menu interface is representative of the period in which the games were originally released. Simon the Sorcerer has a list of verbs available at the bottom of the screen, such as Walk To, Give, Pick Up, etc., that allow the player to choose an appropriate command.
The only thing this game actually lacked was a decent Out of Europe launch, if this was the case maybe there would have been a longer adventure game life for all of the classics. However, saying that, this game did lack explosions!
The Bottom Line
I would describe this game in a few words: This game is the best of the whole Simon series and is more than capable of beating the first two Monkey Island games. This game is one of the true great classics that not many people have played, and too few have given word of mouth too.
This game has amazing graphics (for the time) Which is why it is such a cult classic of adventure gaming. The storyline is expertly done by Simon Woodroffe. And it is packed full of British humor!! this game will have you laughing at double entendres, and innuendos while also laughing at the 12 year old's apparent Manhood dilemma, of having to cuss at older people and get sarcastic comments out to very old powerful wizards!
Windows · by phil buckley (19) · 2006
Simon the Sorcerer 1 is a point n' click, graphic adventure game set in a fantasy world. Fans of the Monkey Island series or Disc World should love this game. Despite its age, it features some impressive animation, graphics and sound. The voice acting is terrific and be on the lookout for some funny British humor, parody and political satire.
Die hard fans of point n' click, graphic adventure games might find the game a tad bit on the easy side. The game's ending is something of a let down, mainly because it was originally made for the old school computer disks.
The Bottom Line
Simon the Sorcerer 1 has the point n' click adventure gameplay that fans of Monkey Island will enjoy as well as some great British humor and satire that will remind gamers of Blazing Dragon or Disc World. It is not the hardest adventure game on the market, but is certainly one of the most enjoyable.
Windows · by ETJB (431) · 2010
This game first had a disk version and then a CD-ROM version. The CD-ROM version features full speech.
Graphics of the game were entirely hand-drawn on paper. Later they were scanned and manually colorised using computer's software.
- Amiga Joker
- Issue 02/1995 – #3 Best Game in 1994 (Readers' Vote)
- Issue 02/1995 – Best Adventure in 1994 (Readers' Vote)
- GameStar (Germany)
- Issue 12/1999 - #90 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
- Power Play
- Issue 02/1995 – Best German Localization in 1994
Information also contributed by Martin Smith
Related Sites +
Provides extensive background info for Simon the Sorcerer, with pictures of the cast and examples of voice-overs, credits with pictures of and info about the design team, a demo of the game, specific details about the game, all musical themes, shots of every location in the game, video clips, saved games, a list of reviews, including a "nostalgic "review and tech specs.
Playing Simon 1 in Windows XP
Complete instructions by Inferno
official game website for the iPhone version
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by IJan.
iPad added by MrMamen. Android added by Ingsoc. Macintosh, Acorn 32-bit added by Sciere. iPhone added by Kabushi. Amiga, Amiga CD32 added by Martin Smith. Antstream added by lights out party. Windows added by MAT.
Game added November 29th, 1999. Last modified September 20th, 2023.