“ Developed and Published ba Adventure Soft. You are a normal teenage boy called Simon who is somehow transported to a magical world and there you find that the good wizard Calypso has been kidnapped by the evil wizard Sordid locate and free Calypso in orde „
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In the world of the point-n-click adventure game, humour is king. This was the lesson given by Lucasfilm?s excellent game, ?The Secret of Monkey Island,? which was certainly the pioneer of the genre with its compelling plot, great locations and very funny dialogue. Adventuresoft?s ?Simon the Sorcerer? was less well-known, but was still a very playable and classic example of the adventure game genre. SITUATION The player controls the movement, actions and speech of a young man/teenager called Simon, who has apparently been whisked from his humdrum life of homework and television into a much more interesting fantasy place by a wizard called Calypso. The game starts with Simon entering Calypso?s cottage, which is filled with quite useful items and objects on which you can practice all the game?s commands. Simon is tokenly wise-cracking, sarcastic and has a tendency to say ?bloody? or ?bugger? but nothing more severe; he is a gentleman at heart, and he realises he will have to become a wizard in order to rescue Calypso and return to his life. Oh, and his dog Chippy has also been sent along, quite unnecessarily as he?s only really used to attack a pig woman. The setting of the game is beautifully created, and mainly consists of woodland areas at the start. Despite the rather limited nature of the point ?n? click genre, there is enough diversity to keep the player interested, and a large number of routes to be taken whenever you feel like it. As the game progresses, the settings change to a murky swamp land, a frozen wasteland and a number of interior locations such as village shops, a jail and then the final half of the game? inside the realm of the evil wizard Sordid! CONTROLS Simon the Sorcerer can be controlled by the mouse and nothing else . Clicking on a part of the screen with the left mouse button automatically highlights the command ?Walk To? and Simon wanders over there, but to interact with people and objects it is necessary to use the commands at the bottom of the screen: WALK TO: Straightforward, this is automatically activated whenever you click on a part of the screen CONSUME: Hardly used at all in the game, its main function is to provide some enjoyable banter from Simon when you ask him to eat something inedible. Mostly this results in an auto ?I can?t eat that? response, but the programmers have inserted a number of alternatives when it seems appropriate. TALK TO: Open conversation with people/monster things. This can be activated automatically when the mouse cursor is over a character by pressing the right mouse-button. Then a number of conversational topics appear, the bottom of which is always a way to close the conversation. You know, if you can?t be bothered. LOOK AT: Useful for examining items, extra secrets can often be found through doing this. When the mouse cursor is aimed over an object, ?Look At? is highlighted and can be activated automatically by clicking the right mouse button. PICK UP: Picks up objects and puts them into Simon?s wizard hat. The most enjoyable visual example occurs when Simon picks up a ladder and somehow fits it all down there; the equivalent of Guybrush Threepwood (?Monkey Island?) shoving items down his pants. REMOVE: The alternative to ?wear,? this is surely the least used command in the game, and only two examples of it springs to mind. OPEN: Very useful whenever there is a closed door, window or box. Some items can also be opened in the inventory, revealing further delights. CLOSE: No come on, you know what this does, surely. WEAR: Dons an item of clothing or jewellery. MOVE: An easier option than Monkey Island?s ?Push? and ?Pull,? this shoves something out of the way, assuming it has been designed to do that. USE: Uses an item with something else. Two clicks are usually required: one on the item in inventory and the second on the other inventory item or the object on the screen. This only works when programmed to, however, so you can?t go mixing all your items up if you get bored. GIVE: Gives an item to a person/monster thing, works in the same way as ?Use.? GRAPHICS The graphics are obviously pretty simple compared to games today, but despite the flaws it is always easy to distinguish objects on the screen. The detail and effort put into the backgrounds and characters also makes this game very enjoyable, even when you?re wandering around aimlessly as there are plenty of small touches (squirrels, birds, worms) that you might not notice at first. All animation is carried out in a small series of movements that are slowed down slightly, presumably to avoid using unnecessary disk space (the game was already spread across 9 floppy disks on the Amiga!) STYLE Comparisons to the more well-known ?Monkey Island? are inevitable, and the humour and gameplay seem fairly similar, however the style is somewhat different. Where MI relied on lots of character interaction and tasks, Simon is based more on the individual character?s exploration and discovery. The constant references to fantasy works such as J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis sho uld also keep fantasy geeks happy, while there are lots of references to fairy tales such as Rapunzel. An interesting feature of the game is that, as the player will inevitably get a little annoyed with the look of the game as they struggle their way through the first half, the second half of the game is completely different in its look and playability. SIMON ON CD ?Simon? was released on the PC with slightly more options and an audio track that would not have been resourceful on the Amiga. Lots of bad acting for most of the characters actually makes this less desirable to some, such as myself, than the Amiga version that only had music ? and fantastic, atmospheric music at that ? is granted some salvation by the fact that Simon himself is voiced by none other than Chris Barrie; the actor and impressionist famous for his work on ?Spitting Image,? ?The Brittas Empire? and, most of all, Rimmer on ?Red Dwarf.? VERDICT ?Simon the Sorcerer? is a game aimed at those who enjoy a challenge, and a very long, often very tedious play. I prefer ?Monkey Island? in some respects, but this is still one of my favourite games from the bygone era. Without the attention to detail by the game?s creators in terms of the graphics and sound, this could have been a very boring game, but it manages to stay memorable and logical even today. It?s often found very cheap for the PC, and I think you can turn off the vocal track if desired, so it might be worth a try. Just don?t expect the resourcefulness and individuality available on modern role-playing games such as ?Diablo II? and ?Neverwinter Nights?: essentially, roleplaying games on the Amiga were never very good, as the format wasn?t suited to them, so these adventure games were the en joyable replacement.