Simon the Sorcerer 3D
Description official descriptions
Continuing the series after seven years, Simon the Sorcerer 3D marks the return of the young spellcaster. The game is a direct sequel to Simon the Sorcerer 2, and starts precisely where the second game ended: Simon is imprisoned in Sordid's body... At the beginning of the game, the evil wizard Sordid is free again. He is now selling a mind-changing cola and you must stop him, and this time, unlike in the first two games, also save the world.
Many familiar characters from the two previous games are back, and so is Simon himself with his red cloak (and not the violet clothes from the first game). The classic adventure gameplay is based mainly on wacky puzzles, like the first two games, but the game is now entirely rendered in a 3D world. There are some action sequences, less linearity in the plot, and Simon can die. Besides, some puzzles can only be solved in a 3D environment and require extensive exploration.
- 魔法师西蒙3D - Chinese spelling (simplified)
Credits (Windows version)
33 People (22 developers, 11 thanks) · View all
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 62% (based on 22 ratings)
Average score: 2.9 out of 5 (based on 26 ratings with 6 reviews)
As far as I know, the troubled development of Simon 3D went like this: Headfirst (back then still named Adventure Soft) initially began with Simon 3 right after Simon 2 (1995). But then they came up with "The Feeble Files" and halted Simon 3 to produce this game. After "The Feeble Files" was published, the work on Simon 3 resumed, which was back then still a classic 2D adventure which would make use of prerendered graphics like The Feeble Files". But 2D was out back in the late nineties, and they did not find a publisher for the game. But there was some general interest towards adventures in 3D at the time, and Headfirst decided to write an entire new third Simon game in 3D, which of course happened to be Simon 3D. Ironically, when this game was finished in 2000, they could not find a publisher for it either. Then, by a time when it seemed that the game would stay unreleased for good, a publisher (Vivendi) was found and Simon 3D hit shelves in early 2002, almost seven years after Simon 2. So, why do I tell all this? Because I wanted to play this came ever since I finished Simon 2 in late 1995 and when I played the game after all these years, it was one of my most disappointing experiences as a gamer.
The story begins not too long after Simon 2. Sordid, who now possesses Simon's body, returns from Simon's world. He and his servant have more evil plans to come as they are going to hunt a being called "Ancient One". Sordid leaves Simon's body to occupy a new mechanical one Runt constructed for him. Somehow, Calypso manages to get hold of Simon's body and reunites his soul with it by performing a ritual at a temple. This is also the place where the actual game begins. The temple serves as tutorial to to learn the controls of the game.
The game itself has many flaws in almost any aspect, but there is quite a huge amount of challenging yet entertaining puzzles. As I often read that games tend to be quite short nowadays, it can be said Simon 3D is really a long and complex game. Even without several flaws, which stretch the time needed to solve the game artificially, it takes quite a while to reach the end. Though the humour misses the tone of the first two games, there is still plenty of laughing.
Well, where to begin? Let us first start with the less essential, the graphics. To be honest : Simon 3D is just downright ugly. I am retro gamer now just as I was in 2002, when I played the game. I can still look at graphics from 1980s games and appreciate them, though I know the time where they were uptodate is long gone, but Simon 3D just makes me wince every time I look at it. The game is actually from 2000, but even then you could hardly call it eye candy. The characters and the environment are just blocky, everything's created with a really low amount of polygons. Hands are cubes, fields of corn are large cuboids with yellow-brown texture, and so forth. The characters are clumsily animated and do not have different facial expressions, apart from Simon. Faces are carved very primitively or are just a textures on a basic geometric object.
The music of the game is not bad, but just an overall forgettable orchestral score. Although the first two games didn't stand out for me on the musical side, let alone be on par with LucasArts classics, they at least had some nice, mildly catchy melodies. I can't complain about the sound effects however, and the voice acting is absolutely brilliant (note: I played the German version and cannot tell about the original English dub).
The first aspect where the game really falls flat is the controls. The scheme for moving around is basically okay, but moving around in close quarters or near walls is a pain due to the buggy and ill-programmed camera. Furthermore, Simon tends to get stuck everywhere and often stops when you even slightly hit something while running. And you will have to run a lot, since the areas are huge and the spots where you can do something are far in between. As to movement, there are some teleporters and later in the game, you can call bird which can carry you to certain points. The problem with this is that you often still have some way to go from the nearest point you can reach via teleporter/ bird, and the time you save is eaten up by the unskipable animations you are shown when you use either method. And as if this was not enough, the game suffers from really atrocious loading periods. Although my computer exceeded the requirements in each point by far and although I installed the whole game on hard drive, there were still minutelong loadings whenever you entered a new area. Handling the inventory and and objects is very long-winded and irritates the player further. It takes to much actions to select an item and another object to use it on, especially within the inventory. To extend the annoyance, Simon also makes snarky remarks whenever you make a wrong action, and they cannot be turned off or skipped, so you have to listen to many lengthy comments over and over again. This really grinds your nerves when you do not have a clue what to do next and want to try out a bit.
After all these years of waiting, I was really excited how the game would pick up the excellent cliffhanger from the last game and continue the story, but unfortunately, Simon 3D falls downright flat in terms of narration. After the intro and the tutorial chapter, Simon is just left with the task of getting to the city of Poliganis to meet Calypso. Then you spent a huge part of the game to find a way to cross a chasm, which separates you from Poliganis, by running around a vast open area and solving puzzles at hotspots and talking to people totally unrelated to each other or your task. The plot does not evolve / continue while you are dealing with the chasm problem, there are no cut-scenes or things happening at other places, which often conveys the impression that there is no actually story, only tasks (and there's not much plot to speak of after you reach Poliganis, either). Okay, the first Simon game also consisted mainly of wandering around and trying to solve puzzles at point A with objects picked up at point be, but at least it wasn't so spoiled with the flaws mentioned above, the technical problems and oversized, lifeless areas. And here's another problem of the game: Everything is just so lifeless and devoid of atmosphere. The areas are vast and empty, with just a few characters to interact with around (and most of them are not even occupied with something like in the old games). Mostly it's just hills and fields and houses. Even the city of Poliganis is mostly empty, there is one lone driver connected to a puzzle and two or three people you cannot even talk to around. Atmosphere is an important aspect of an adventure game, but sadly, Simon 3D fails at it the same way it collapses in adequately continuing the brilliant second game.
What's more or less left is the humour. Here Simon 3D catches up to its predecessors, at least partially, but there are some issues as well: Yes, Simon is a teenager in puberty, a loudmouth and a bugger, but in this game he's way over the top. While he was always quick with sneering, Simon now really does not stop until he has utterly ridiculed and insulted every single person he talks to. This has got a tendency to get tedious after a while and also makes him quite unsympathetic as character. Also, the jokes have gotten much more dark and especially vulgar since the previous games. I don't say that I'm offended by this, but it really feels mismatched, unexpected and out of place.
While must of the traditional puzzles are fine or at least okay, the game unfortunately contains unsuccessful attempts to make use of the 3D environment. The highly promoted new possibilities of 3D boil down to a bunch of action-adventure-like test of dexterity. For example, Simon must steal a key from a sheriff who is sleeping in his office. He can just go to the key and take it, but navigate on a very narrow path through many piles of trash. If he touches anything, it will yield noise, the sheriff will wake up and Simon has to do the whole thing all over again. Getting through this is a real pain due to the bad controls, and overall this has nothing to do with adventure puzzles. And these passages are not the only superfluous thing you cannot avoid: There is also a ton of mini games implemented. While I enjoyed most of the mini games in, for example, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, these soon got on my nerves. Some of them are quite difficult to get through, especially when you're not used to any sort of action game, then they're additionally messed up by the flawed controls, you cannot skip any of them and furthermore, most of them just aren't enjoyable. They are rather just even more misguided attempts in introducing new features.
The Bottom Line
I cannot deny the impression that the whole game was made up while programming the engine. It's just so fitting to assume that the puzzles and location where created on the fly and then poorly sewn together with a lackluster "story". Through in a bunch of action sequences to test your new engine, and voilà! I really longed to play this game through years and wanted to like it, and I could have looked over quite an amount of flaws, but Headfirst, I must say, have messed up too many essential aspects of an adventure game.
Windows · by Riemann80 (19269) · 2010
It functions, at least!
This game was clearly written by a hopeless bunch of disgruntled, belligerent, intolerant misfits everyone used to laugh at. Not to mention racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic... how this game scraped an 11+ rating is absolutely baffling! Even if it wasn't, it looks bad. Remember this was two years before Half-Life 2. The blocky models and blurry textures are hard on the eyes.
The Bottom Line
I hate this game... I really do. This is, hands down, my most hated game of all time!
Windows · by Frank Tiberius (2) · 2023
I consider this one of the worst games I ever played, the only ray of sunshine in this game was the writing. Fortunately the writers continued to write Simon with the same excellent dialogs that we saw in Simon 2. I really enjoyed Simon's cynicism. This is about the only good thing I have to say for this game.
Where to start? I really loved the two previous games - especially Simon 2 - which to this day is my favorite quest game. Needless to say I was impatience to see the release of the sequel.
The control interface was completely changed from the classical point and click mouse control, now we control Simon via the keyboard in a very uncomfortable way and there are control bugs which cause Simon to run against the walls almost every time you try to move him.
The puzzles also changed for the worst, while the two previous games were pure quest games with inventory based puzzles, this game chose to add mini-games. Those mini-games are extremely boring and tedious and had nothing to do with the adventure game and it seem they were merely added for the sake of using the 3D environment.
The new 3D look is the major area that the game creators really screw up, the characters look extremely ugly and so is the rest of the game environment, it really looks like the game's programmers didn't know what they were doing.
Another blunder of the new 3D look was the game environment, it's simply huge and empty, so you find yourself spending a great amount of time running in empty fields or streets looking for something that Simon could interact with, this get very tedious and contribute to your feeling of boredom from this game.
The Bottom Line
Despite being a huge Simon fan I found this game simply unplayable, by level three the control bugs got worse and worse, so that a simply task like walking the streets became a chore (running into walls would cause that...) and this made me abandon the game.
I think what made this game a real disappoint is that it has the great plot and writing of the previous games, but horrible controls. If the creators would have invested more time programing a better and bug free 3D environment, or if this game was made in 2D it could have been an excellent game.
Windows · by Ingsoc (1366) · 2011
In November 2000, the game went gold and press copies were sent to various magazines. I played that version and various reviews appeared. A few weeks later, the word was out that publisher Hasbro's QA department was not pleased with the game (especially the graphics) and developer Headfirst lost its publisher.
The search lasted until 2002 when AdventureSoft picked up the game and released it with small improvements. In an interview on Quandary, Andrew Brazier, assistant Designer at Headfirst, responded to all the critics saying it was their first step into 3D, which was very hard, but necessary to get funds as (in his own words) "2D is pretty much dead now".
Related Sites +
Randy Sluganski of Just Adventure+ talks to <moby developer=Andrew Brazier>Andy Brazier</moby> about <i>Simon 3D</i> before its release.
Simon the Sorcerer 3D: Interview with Andrew Brazier
Quandary interview with Andrew Brazier about the making of Simon 3D (now archived at metzomagic.com)
- MobyGames ID: 6401
- GOG.com: simon_the_sorcerer_3d
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Game added by Unicorn Lynx.
Game added May 17th, 2002. Last modified August 29th, 2023.